Our students engage in diverse, complex and specific experiences essential to occupational therapy

Requirements for Entry into Our Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Academic Requirements

What are our academic requirements?

The transition to an entry-level doctoral program has added three new core prerequisites to the admissions application. View the listing of the new prerequisites under the planning guide tab, or below. Any questions may be sent to [email protected].

Prerequisite Courses

Six out of the ten 'core' prerequisite courses must be completed by the time of application. Human Anatomy and Human Physiology MUST be completed or in progress by the application deadline or by end of the spring semester prior to program entry. See table below.

Prerequisite Required Recommendations

Human Anatomy*

(3 cr.) 

Lab not required

Human Physiology*

(3 cr.)

Lab not required

Introduction to Physics*

(3 cr.)

Course must include kinematics (non-calculus based) to fulfill this requirement. Lab not required.


(3 cr.) 

Descriptive and inferential statistics. Courses that focus on Research Methods are not sufficient to fulfill this requirement.

Factor of Contemporary Society to meet Human Needs:

Introduction to Sociology* and

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology*

**or a related course, but must meet specific recommendation content.

(3 cr.)

(3 cr.)

**Course content must apply, analyze, and evaluate the role of sociocultural, socioeconomic, diversity factors, and lifestyle choices in contemporary society to meet the needs of persons, groups, and populations. Courses that focus on one topic (e.g. Sociology of Education or Sociology of Sports) are not sufficient to fulfill this requirement.

General Psychology*

(3 cr.) 

Fundamental principles of biological, sociological, cognitive, and personality impacts on normal and abnormal psychology.

Abnormal Psychology*

(3 cr.)

Diagnosis, classification, etiologies of behavioral disorders.

Human Development across the Life Span*

(3 cr.)

Verification that the content of the course(s) you took covered the entire life span (infant through old age). You may need to take a series of courses to complete this prerequisite.

Technical Writing/
Scientific Writing*

(3 cr.)

Writing course in technical and/or scientific composition with a focus on audience, purpose, ethics, global communication, collaboration, usability, and digital writing technologies.

Medical Terminology

(0-1 cr.)

Introduction and definition of medical terminology related to body structure, disease, diagnosis, and treatment.

Or the equivalent of a 1 credit Medical Terminology course.

*indicates a core prerequisite.

Academic Standards

Prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited institution with a required GPA at least 3.0 and no single grade lower than a C. Courses must be taken A-F, unless taken during any of the following semesters: Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021. The exception is Medical Terminology which requires only evidence of successful completion. Each prerequisite course must be fulfilled with a minimum number of credits. Minimum credit requirements are listed next to each course name.

Quarter credits are acceptable and can be converted by dividing the number of quarter credits by 1.5. For example, a 4 credit course taken under a quarter system (4 ÷ 1.5 = 2.67 semester credits) which will be accepted as 3 semester credits.

Advanced Placement (AP) credits are accepted to fulfill prerequisite courses but must appear on an applicant's official transcript as course credit. If the AP credit(s) do not appear as course credit, College Board scores should be sent directly to OTCAS. Visit OTCAS Applicant Help Center for sending official transcripts and scores. 

Bachelors Degree

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree prior to the first day of classes in the Occupational Therapy curriculum. The degree must meet one of the following criteria:

  • U.S. bachelors degree (in any field) from a regionally accredited institution. The Program in OT does not have a preferred undergraduate major for entry into the Program.

  • Applicants with a degree from an international institution must hold the equivalent of an U.S. bachelors degree and submit a course-by-course evaluation to OTCAS conducted by World Education Services (WES). Only WES evaluations submitted to OTCAS will be reviewed. 

  • U.S. Applicants who have studied abroad as part of their coursework at a U.S. university/college do not need to provide an evaluation as long as the international coursework and grades are noted on their U.S. university/college transcript. 

Observation or Introductory Course Completion

Applicants must shadow an Occupational Therapist or complete an Introduction to Occupational Therapy course before the application deadline: 

  • Applicants must complete a minimum of 20 hours of observation and report this on their OTCAS application. Applicants do not need to supply timesheets or verification of observation, just the name of the OT, the location of the observation, and the practice areas/populations observed.

  • Applicants may also successfully complete an Introduction to Occupational Therapy course. The University of Minnesota offers OT 1003: Introduction to Occupational Therapy every semester. The course is entirely online. If you are a non-University of Minnesota student and wish to register for the course, you may register for the course as a non-degree seeking student through One Stop. 

  • While the minimum academic requirement is 20 hours of observation or an Introduction to OT course, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete both. This shows the admissions committee a commitment and fuller understanding of the Occupational Therapy profession by the applicant. 

OT Application Checklist

To assist applicants through the application process, please refer to the Application Checklist

Non-Academic Requirements

Non-Academic Requirements for Entry

The Occupational Therapy Program (OT) requires students to engage in diverse, complex and specific experiences essential to occupational therapy and that also assure patient safety. Unique combinations of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, physical, and social abilities are required to practice Occupational Therapy in timely and safe ways. The Occupational Therapy Program’s Minimum Technical Standards outline these abilities and requirements. Prospective students should review these standards prior to applying for admission. Current students must maintain their ability to meet the standards with or without accommodations.

Read the complete policy on Program in Occupational Therapy Minimum Technical Standards

It is recommended that an incoming student with a disability contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at [email protected] or (612) 626-1333 and identify as an applicant, prior to enrollment in Fall semester. Contact with DRC is confidential. This enables the OT program to provide the best educational experience possible.

Terms and Conditions

Applicants offered admission to the program must agree to the following terms and conditions.

Criminal Background Study

The State of Minnesota Department of Health requires criminal background studies on all students admitted to the Program in Occupational Therapy. Students must pass the background study to participate in community or fieldwork experiences. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination or attain state licensure. Information on national certification is available from:

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
800 S. Frederick Avenue, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
(301) 990-7979

Admitted students are provided detailed instructions for how to request a criminal background study soon after beginning the program. If admitted students have questions regarding the background study, they are encouraged to speak with our student services academic advisor.


The Occupational Therapy curriculum is delivered in person and online. Admitted students are expected to be proficient when using a personal computer, including but not limited to sending and receiving email, using data and word processing software (primarily Microsoft Office software), using the Internet, and navigating the University of Minnesota and other websites. University of Minnesota Technology and Training Services offers training for a wide range of computing tools in the event that a student in the Program in Occupational Therapy needs skills improvement. Students must be enrolled in order to access these services.

Due to the hybrid and online delivery format of courses all students in the Program in OT must have consistent and reliable access to a computer and the Internet. Students in the Program in OT will need to maintain a minimum level of capacity and flexibility with computer equipment and other technological issues.


  • A computer running either Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 -  OR
  • MAC with an Intel processor (1.66GHz or greater) running OS X 10.5 or later and Parallels Desktop for Mac, 2 GB of memory, and 20 GB of free space on the hard drive for software installation and virtual machine space. You will also need a valid, licensed version of Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8/10 to install your virtual machine.
  • A printer
  • A webcam and microphone
  • Speakers
  • Scanning capabilities


  • Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla FireFox browser with Flash, Shockwave and Java plugins.
  • If you need any additional software, it will be stated in course syllabi
  • High-Speed Internet access. Dial-up Modem or DSL connections are insufficient to meet the course content requirements
  • The ability to use the University web-based email program to send and receive messages and attachments
Planning Guides

Institutional Planning Guides

The program is currently in the process of evaluating course work from several regional and national institutions. As we finish these evaluations, we will post planning guides below. These guides are meant to be used as tools only and are subject to change at any time. 

Click on the link below to find the planning guides for University of Minnesota Campuses:

University of Minnesota campus planning guides