Pre-Occupational Therapy

pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, iupui

Interested in a Career in Occupational Therapy?

The School of Science office for Pre-Professional & Career Preparation (PREPs) will support you throughout the process of preparing for an occupational therapy program.

From advising you on pre-requisite courses and professional development activities to helping you through the application process, PREPs can assist you in every step.

Admission to an occupational therapy program is very competitive. You need to plan thoroughly from the start to be successful. The links below include detailed information on everything from the courses to the application process.

If you are an IUPUI School of Science student, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment to meet with a pre-professional advisor. The "Make An Appointment" link is on the right!

Join the PREPs Pre-Professional Advising Canvas Site


Admission to the OT graduate program requires successful completion of a baccalaureate degree, prerequisite courses (which can be worked into most undergraduate degrees), and other admission criteria.

You may choose any undergraduate major as long as you also complete the OT prerequisite courses. In any given year, the IU OT program accepts applicants from fifteen or twenty different degrees and majors.

The master's program itself, and the professional coursework, takes two full years to complete, including Summer sessions (starting second Summer session during the first year of your professional coursework), and incorporates fieldwork assignments at affiliated centers located in Indiana and other states.

IU OT admission information

NOTE that other OT programs will have different requirements and enforce different policies. It is recommended that you research other programs in order to plan your prerequisites and other admission requirements, and the timing of your courses and the application itself.


  • Introductory Psychology PSY – B110
  • Psychology – Life Span Development PSY B-310
  • Abnormal Psychology-PSY B380 
  • Introductory Sociology SOC R-100 or Introductory Cultural Anthropology ANTH A-104
  • Statistics – STATS 30100, SPEA K-300, SOC R-359, PSY B-305, ECON E-270
  • Anatomy w/lab – BIOL N-261
  • Physiology w/lab – BIOL N-217
  • Physics w/lab - PHYS-P201 or PHYS 21800 * must be up to MATH 15400- Algebra and Trigonometry level
  • Medical Terminology – HIA-M330, CLAS C-209, or RADI R-108

Each OT program has its own set of prerequisites!Most OT programs require a minimum grade of at least "C" in all prerequisites ("C-" not acceptable).

Download a Timeline!

Entrance Exams

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) – revised test

While the IU occupational therapy program does not require the GRE as part of the application process, many OT programs do require that you take the GRE revised General Test.

Gaining Relevant Experience

Clinical Observation (Job Shadowing)
IU pre-occupational therapy clinical observation requirement

Prior to submitting your application, the IU OT program requires that you complete at least 12 hours total of observation and/or volunteering with either an OT or OT Assistant, in at least 3 different OT practice settings (e.g., acute care hospital, outpatient clinic, mental health center, school system),with a minimum of 1 hour spent in each of the 3 settings. Doing so will enable you to appreciate how a OT's responsibilities differ from one kind of setting to another.

The IU OT program requires validation for each observation.  You may obtain a form to document your observation at the School of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences.  

For more information on job shadowing, visit our Job Shadowing Page. There you can download a free copy of our Professional Development Directory for a list of professional shadowing contacts.

The Application Process

Letters of recommendation
While the IU OT admission process does not require letters of recommendation, many programs do require that you submit two or three letters. Click the link above for important tips and information.

Personal statement / essay
Many OT programs require a personal essay, however the IU program does not.

Admission interviews
As part of the admission process, many OT programs, including IU's, will invite a select portion of their applicants for an interview.
The IU MSOT program normally interviews the top 75 applicants (based on CGPA and prerequisites.

Certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers
Prior to beginning professional coursework, many programs require that you become certified for adult, child, and infant CPR, commonly referred to as BLS certification, Health Care Provider CPR, or CPR for the Professional Rescuer.  Training courses are offered for a fee through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
Central Application Service for Occupational Therapists (OTCAS)
Some OT programs require that you apply for admission through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service. OTCAS went live in December 2010. A good number of programs still have their own applications and do not use OTCAS, which means that many applicants will apply to both OTCAS and non-OTCAS programs.

IMPORTANT: Each program has its own individual application cycle. Program application cycles and deadlines are different from the OTCAS application cycle! The OTCAS cycle usually opens in July and closes in June of the next year.

  • If you apply to at least one OT program, then certain portions of your application will be retained even if you are not admitted, in case you decide to reapply. (We strongly urge you to apply to at least 6 or 8 programs!)
  • If you complete all or part of the OTCAS application, but then decide not to apply in that cycle, OTCAS will delete your unsubmitted application the following June, when that application cycle closes. 
  • Therefore, you may not want to invest the time in completing the OTCAS application until you are sure you will be applying in the upcoming cycle. 
  • For example, if you planned to apply to certain OTCAS programs, during the summer / fall 2016 application cycle, you would probably want to wait until after the new OTCAS application has opened that July. If you were to open your application instead in April or May, all your work would be deleted in June when the old cycle closes, unless you have actually submitted your completed OTCAS application. The IU OT program may in the future require application through OTCAS.