Occupational Therapy

Entry-Level Admission Requirements to the OTD Program

Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Degree Admission Requirements

I. Apply to the OTD Program via online application system, OTCAS. Information considered for admission includes: 

  1. Demographic information
  2. Personal statement (essay)
  3. Experiences and achievements
  4. Licenses and certifications as applicable
  5. Minimum of bachelor degree or higher conferred by a regionally-accredited institution completed by start of the first OTD semester with preferred minimum 3.20 cumulative undergraduate GPA as obtained from most recent degree completed
  6. Official transcript(s) from regionally-accredited institution(s) showing grades earned in pre-requisite courses
  7. Three letters of recommendation as specified in OTCAS (identified in OTCAS as Evaluations)
  8. GRE: a. Taken within past five years b. Writing section score: 3.5 or higher preferred c. Competitive score on verbal and quantitative sections
  9. Two separate observation or work experiences under direct supervision of a licensed occupational therapy practitioner who has no personal connection to applicant; minimum of 20 hours at each of the two different type of settings and each with a different population. Supervisor must complete Volunteer or Work Experience in Occupational Therapy form [Due to COVID-19, Volunteer or Work Experience in Occupational Therapy is waived for the students applying to begin OTD Program Fall 2022]
  10. Three to 3-½ minute self-recorded video responding to three prompts: 1. What do you know about the profession of occupational therapy and how does the profession align with your interests, skill set, and strengths? 2. Describe a time when you failed at a task or responsibility. Explain how you recovered and what you learned. 3. What else would you like the Occupational Therapy Admissions Team to know about you? 
  11. Confirmation of review, understanding, willingness and ability to meet the Department of Occupational Therapy’s Essential Functions for Coursework and Fieldwork with or without accommodations
  12. Verification age will be 18 years or older by OTD Program start date

II. Pre-requisite course requirements

  1. All pre-requisite coursework earned at regionally-accredited institution(s)
  2. All courses completed within past 10 years; past 5 years preferred
  3. Courses taken for Advanced Placement (AP) credit are accepted for pre-requisite courses if said courses appear on an official transcript from the degree-awarding institution
  4. Transfer credit accepted by the degree-awarding institution is preferred from regionally accredited baccalaureate degree-granting institutions*
  5. Minimum grade of B- preferred on four-point scale (grades of C+ or lower are not acceptable) [Due to COVID19, courses with status of P/F or U/S will be considered relative in merit to other related course grades]
  6. Science lab pre-requisites: traditional course delivery preferred to online
  7. Anatomy & Physiology: Cadaver lab preferred
  8. Functional Neuroscience waived in the OTD curriculum if Neuroscience or Neuroanatomy (3 cr hr) taken prior
  9. No more than two prerequisites incomplete prior to the application deadline preferred

*Prior determination of equivalency is recommended using Xavier University’s Transfer Equivalency System (TES)

Required Pre-requisite Courses

  1. Abnormal Psychology (3 cr hr)
  2. Anatomy & Physiology I (3 cr hr); Lab required
  3. Anatomy & Physiology II (3 cr hr); Lab required
  4. Developmental Psychology (lifespan) (3 cr hr)
  5. Medical Terminology (1 cr hr)
  6. Physics (3 cr hr); Lab required
  7. Sociology or Anthropology – Introductory level (3 cr hr)
  8. Statistics (3 cr hr); through Math or Psychology department recommended 

III. Application and Acceptance Process

A diverse applicant pool is encouraged to apply. 1). Applications will be reviewed and accepted as criteria are met; 2). Candidates meeting criteria will be offered acceptance until cap is reached; 3). Remaining applicants who meet criteria will be wait-listed and offered acceptance as slots are available until admissions close.

Note: For students entering Xavier University as freshman, slots will be reserved for those who qualify for the “Direct Admit Pathway.”

IV. Additional Program requirements upon acceptance include but are not limited to the following:

  1. To participate in the required Total Immersion Diversity Experience (TIDE) fieldwork Level I experience in Year 3 students must have a valid passport, or the ability to obtain a valid passport for travel. For non-US passport holders, students may need to obtain a visa for travel outside the US. Contact the Center for International Education (CIE) at 513-745-3489 or studyabroad@xavier.edu with questions around this requirement.
  2. Documentation on record of immunizations: measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, Covid-19.
  3. Documentation on record of annual updates without lapse throughout program duration: a). History and physical exam; b). TB test and seasonal influenza vaccination; c). FBI/BCI criminal history record check (a felony conviction may affect certification and licensure); d). Negative drug screen results per request; e). CPR certification; f). HIPAA and Universal Precautions/Blood Borne Pathogen training; h). Liability insurance through Xavier University; i). Student health insurance; j). Membership in OOTA and AOTA.
  4. OTD program continuation including but not limited to the following: a). Minimum grade of B in all courses; b). Semester and cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; c). Ethical behavior commensurate of a future health care provider; d). Meet Department of Occupational Therapy’s Essential Functions for Coursework and Fieldwork.

Note: Candidacy Status was granted by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA; web address is www.acoteonline.org. Please read the Prospective Applicant Letter from ACOTE explaining further this process. The Xavier University Program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted 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). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. 


Program approved by Xavier University, Higher Learning Commission, Ohio Department of Higher Education. Candidacy Status granted by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (see note above)

Last edited on 08.20.2021