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

Requirements for Entry into Our Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Academic Requirements

Academic Requirements

For more information about the program prior to applying, please complete an Inquiry Form. Any questions may be emailed to [email protected].

Prerequisite Courses

Four out of the nine 'core' prerequisite courses must be completed at the time of application submission, including two of the following three courses:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Statistics

ALL pre-requisites must be completed by the time the program begins in fall semester.

See table below:


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.

Factors of Contemporary Society to meet Human Needs*:



(6 cr.)

(2 courses)


**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) may not be sufficient to fulfill this requirement.

**Please reach out to [email protected] for questions on your coursework.

General Psychology*

(3 cr.) 

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

Psychopathology/ 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.

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 COVID 19 semesters: Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 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. Visit OTCAS Applicant Help Center for sending official transcripts and scores. 

If an applicant has completed OT coursework at another institution within the past 10 years, prerequisite coursework and respective syllabi will be reviewed by the faculty admissions committee to determine if the applicant has met all course learning outcomes and the associated ACOTE standards of any course for which the student would receive credit. The OTD program rarely awards credit for previous coursework and does not award credit for previous work experience.

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. We will accept observation hours that were completed virtually and/or through telehealth.

  • 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. 

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.

Planning Guides

Institutional Planning Guides

Please see below for UM System campuses, Minnesota community colleges and Minnesota private colleges. These guides are meant to be used as tools only and are subject to change at any time. 

For all other questions on coursework, please reference Transferology.com and/or email [email protected]


University of Minnesota campus planning guides

MN Community College Transfer Guides