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Usc Occupational Therapy Essay

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree

Admission Criteria

All applicants to the OTD program must:

  • Complete an entry level Occupational Therapy degree with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university.*
  • Be certified or eligible for certification in Occupational Therapy in the United States or a OT degree from a WFOT approved program outside the United States.**
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within five years of planned enrollment with a minimum score of 153 on the verbal section, 144 on the quantitative section, and 3.5 on the analytical writing section.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from professors, therapists, and/or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements.
  • Show evidence of academic potential (based on Master’s level study if relevant), research skills and interest.***
  • Submit a personal statement (1,000 words or less) in response to the following prompt:Please describe your leadership aspirations for your occupational therapy career and the vision you have for yourself in achieving these goals. To address this prompt please upload a double spaced essay that does not exceed 1,000 words. Your essay should be uploaded in the supporting documents section.
  • English Proficiency: If your bachelor’s degree was earned in a non-English speaking country and you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, scores are needed from an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Students from some English-speaking countries may also need to submit scores. We require that the student have verification of the following scores within two years of intended enrollment:
    • An Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
    • An IELTS of 6.5 with no less than 6 on each band score.
    Students whose native language is English and/or students with a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university are exempted from this examination. If you are an international student who has questions about departmental requirements for the TOEFL, please contact Amber Bennett, Assistant Director of Admissions.

*Conditional admission may be possible if one of the GPA and GRE criteria is slightly below the requirement. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please feel free to contact us.

**Students enrolled in the OT baccalaureate or Master’s programs may receive admission contingent upon successful completion of all coursework and fieldwork prior to the start of the OTD program.

***Applicants who are currently in occupational therapy practice must submit a current curriculum vitae of work experience, publications and presentations.

Application Deadlines

The Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received. To be considered for maximum financial support, the application deadline is October 1 for a fall semester start. The regular decision deadline is February 15.

Applications received after this date are also welcome and will be processed on a space available basis. Please contact our admissions team with specific questions regarding the OTD timeline and start dates. 

Application Procedures

You may apply online anytime through the USC Graduate Admissions website. You may find the “Occupational Therapy (OTD)” program after selecting the “Independent Health Professions” under the school you are applying to. You also should arrange to have transcripts and test scores sent to USC in time to meet this deadline.

Materials to be submitted by applicants

  • Have an official GRE general test score report sent to both the USC Office of Admissions (code #4852) and to the department (code #0618).
  • Send official transcripts from all colleges you have attended to the USC Office of Admission, as directed in the online application process, to the following address:
    University of Southern California
    Office of Admission and Financial Aid
    3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911
    *Note: If you received our brochure in the mail, the address listed is different than the one provided above.  Either address will deliver your application materials to the correct building at USC.
  • Request three letters of recommendation from among professors, practitioners, or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements, utilizing the process provided called “Evaluations” in the online application.  It includes a form to be completed as well as uploading a personalized letter.  Writers may also send forms and letters directly to the Division at the following address:
    Admissions Committee
    USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
    1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
  • If you are required to submit TOEFL scores (please see above for details), have your scores sent to the USC Office of Admissions (code #4852).

Contact Us

Thank you very much for your interest in our program. Amber Bennett, Assistant Director of Admissions, would be delighted to answer any questions you may have, schedule a visit or arrange contacts with faculty members or students to further explore your interest in our program. You can reach her toll free at (866) 385-4250, or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you would like to know more, please use our Request Program Information Form, and we will be happy to send you a brochure about any of our programs.

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Admissions Blog

Thanks for visiting our admissions blog! Here we hope to address questions that are frequently asked from applicants and to clarify any aspects of the application and admissions process that may be complicated or confusing. As always, please feel free to reach out to us directly with any questions you may have, or leave questions here in the comment section and we will be sure to answer them. We look forward to hearing from you.


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