Doctor of Occupational Therapy Admission Requirements

Occupational Therapy Session

Applicants to the occupational therapy education program must demonstrate the following to be considered for admission:

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree at an accredited university in a discipline other than occupational therapy. Typically, students apply while in the last year of their bachelor's degree with a plan to enter the graduate program upon completion of their bachelor's degree.
  • Minimum cumulative, natural science, and prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework by the end of the spring semester prior to beginning the program
  • If you are an international student applying from a non-English-speaking country, please also submit a TOEFL score of at least 80 Internet-based test
  • At least three professional references
  • Personal essay - The essay should be no more than 1,000 words and addresses how the applicant's life experiences informed his or hers decision to pursue occupational therapy while also demonstrating knowledge of the profession. The essay should also demonstrate knowledge of Rockhurst University's Jesuit Core Values and how they can often inform the profession of occupational therapy. This is separate from the personal statement required by OTCAS.
  • Observation hours – Applicants should report completed observation hours on their application, but remaining observation hours for the 2020-2021 application cycle are waived. Applicants are encouraged to visit the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website at to explore OT careers and discussions of current practices.
  • Completion of all materials in the online application (
  • Participation in a personal interview

The 93-97 credit program consists of five consecutive semesters of coursework on campus,* six months of clinical fieldwork completed offsite, and three months of doctoral capstone experience in the community.*

*Students will complete a total of 3 courses (5 credit hours) through distance education. All students will need a computer with the capability of accessing the University’s wireless Internet while they are enrolled in the program. The computer may be a Windows or Mac based system. The computer must be running a more recent operating system (i.e. Windows 10 and above or Mac 10.14 or above) and updated browser (i.e. Chrome or Firefox). The computer should have appropriate applications for word processing and presentation development (e.g. Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint). Students are encouraged to download Office 365 using their Rockhurst email. Students must be able to access Rockhurst University’s Learning Management System (Canvas) for all courses in the curriculum. The latest version of Adobe Reader is also helpful for downloading and viewing research articles and course readings.


Prerequisite Courses

Students must have all prerequisite courses completed before entering the program. A minimum cumulative natural science and prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

  • Foundations of Speech (3)
    • Interpersonal Communication or Public Speaking will be accepted
  • Statistics (3)
  • Ethics (3)
    • Course description and objectives should indicate content coverage of factors involved in moral decision making, ethical principles, ethical theory, and application of these concepts. 
  • Abnormal Psychology (3)
  • Introductory Sociology or Anthropology (3)
  • Developmental Psychology (3)
  • Introductory Physics with lab (4)
  • Biology with lab (4)
  • Anatomy with lab (or A&PI) (4)*
    • A minimum of four hours of anatomy must have been completed within the past five years.
  • Physiology with lab (or A&PII) (4)

Requirements are subject to change. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the graduate admissions office or the department of occupational therapy education to inquire if there are changes before submitting an application through OTCAS.

If you have questions about whether specific courses meet our prerequisite requirements, contact Terry Forge, director of academic advising.


The Rockhurst University entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program has been granted Candidacy Status through the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). ACOTE is a part of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite. 200 North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is 301-652-AOTA (2682) and its web address is The program must complete an on-site evaluation and be granted full Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). All states require licensure in order to practice, and state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or obtain state licensure.