Virginia Commonwealth University

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Pre-Occupational Therapy

Program Information

Satisfactory completion of the courses in pre-occupational therapy advising track does not constitute admission to the entry level masters program on the MCV Campus. In the fall of the year preceding the year of desired admission, the student must apply separately to entry-level masters program through the centralized application service, OTCAS and the School of Graduate Studies.

Advising Information

Students in the pre-occupational therapy advising track at Virginia Commonwealth University prepare students for entry into a master’s-level program in occupational therapy. VCU offers an entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.). This professional program includes academic courses, a research project and fieldwork experiences. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. For a complete description of the program, visit the department’s Web site or the online Graduate Bulletin.

The curriculum in pre-occupational therapy offered by the college meets the minimum academic requirements for the Master of Science degree program in occupational therapy offered by the School of Allied Health Professions at VCU. Pre-requisite courses for master’s programs in occupational therapy differ, so students should carefully examine pre-requisites to different programs if they are interested in applying to programs outside VCU. Students intending to apply to the junior- and senior-year professional program at another institution should consult that institution’s bulletin for specific prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite courses

Students enter the master’s program in early summer and must have all pre-requisites completed before starting the summer session.

Course descriptions and information about prerequisites are at Virginia community college transfer course equivalencies are at

Pre-requisite course work

English – 9 credits

(3) UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I
(3) UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II
(3) UNIV 200 Writing and Rhetoric Workshop II

Biology – 12 credits
(3) BIOL 101 Biological Concepts
(1) BIOZ 101L Biological Concepts Laboratory

You must have at least six credits in human anatomy and physiology with lab.

(4) BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy
(3) PHIS 206 Human Physiology
(1) PHIZ 206L Human Physiology Laboratory

Mathematics and statistics – 3 credits

One introductory math course (MATH 131 or 141)
A basic statistics course should cover descriptive statistics, t-test, chi-square, analysis of variance (ANOVA), linear regression and correlative analysis.
(3) STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics

Psychology – 10 credits

PSYC 101 is a prerequisite for any subsequent psychology course offered by the psychology department at VCU.

Three to six credits in developmental or life span development courses.
Make sure the developmental course(s) you take cover the life span. Many courses say they cover the life span, but may primarily focus on one area (e.g., childhood, adolescence, adulthood or the elderly). Read your bulletin carefully and take course(s) that prepare you well across the life span.

Many students come more prepared in child development. You may want to consider a course in adult development to supplement your developmental psychology or life span development course if the emphasis was on children/adolescents.
Three credits in abnormal psychology.
(4) PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
(3) PSYC 304 Life Span Developmental Psychology
(3) PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal

Social science – 6 credits
(e.g. psychology, sociology, social psychology or anthropology)

Recommended courses
(3) PSYC 302 Psychology of Adolescence
(3) PSYC 306 Psychology of Adult Development
(3) PSYC 309 Personality
(3) GRTY 410 Introduction to Gerontology

15 hours of 300-400 level courses taken at a 4 year school

Approved electives – minimum 53 credits

It is required that students be able to use a computer for word processing, e-mail, online bibliographic searches and internet list-serve discussions.

It also is helpful to be familiar with graphics software for preparing presentations.

It is recommended that students take one or more of these self-paced computer-aided instruction courses.
These courses are graded as pass/fail.
(1) INFO 160 Introduction to Windows and the Internet
(1) INFO 161 Introduction to Microcomputer-based Word Processing Packages
(1) INFO 162 Introduction to Microcomputer-based Spreadsheet Packages

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Time limitation on courses

For the following pre-requisite courses, no more than seven years may have lapsed from the course completion to the date of enrollment in the entry-level professional master’s degree program in occupational therapy:

Human anatomy and physiology with lab(s).
Life span development.
Abnormal psychology.

There is no time limit on how current other pre-requisite courses must be.

These are minimum requirements. Applicants are encouraged to take other liberal arts and science courses to develop intellectual competence, enrich interest areas and promote awareness of a range of social and cultural values.

Rare exceptions to the pre-requisites will be considered based on clearly demonstrated knowledge, skill, and abilities comparable to those described. If you have any questions about courses meeting these criteria, you can fax the description or course syllabus to the Department of Occupational Therapy for review at (804) 828-0782.

Electives minimum of 53 hours.

Most occupational therapy programs prefer candidates with broad educational backgrounds. In addition to a strong science background, professional schools require a solid foundation in basic verbal and quantitative skills. Math and verbal are the two main components of the Graduate Record Exams that are evaluated in the admissions process. It also is advisable for students with a concentration in pre-occupational therapy to have more than the minimum number of science courses required for admission.

Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor to determine the best program of elective courses. It is advisable for students interested in pre-occupational therapy to consider earning a bachelors degree. Students are encouraged to work with their advisors to determine an appropriate bachelors degree program. If earning a bachelors degree is not possible, students are encouraged to complete a minor program before entering the master’s program. Some might be encouraged to take courses in clinical exercise sciences or gerontology programs that help occupational therapists work with their patient populations.

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Minimum academic requirements

Applicants must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of college course work and a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the pre-requisite courses. . Please note that these are the minimum requirements, and admission into the program is competitive. Most successful applicants have a 3.5 cumulative GPA and have completed an entire bachelors degree program before starting.

The GRE is required. Scores should be reported directly to VCU.

For non-native English-speaking applicants, regardless of immigration status, a Test of English as a Foreign Language score of at least 600 (score of 250 on computerized exam). Scores should be reported directly to VCU.

Students are required to have all coursework completed prior to matriculation into the master’s program. Students may apply to the program prior to the completion of all the pre-requisites as long as all pre-requisites are completed with a grade of “C” or better before beginning the program. If pre-requisite courses are in progress and you are offered admission, it will be a provisional acceptance contingent upon successful completion of these courses.

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Standardized tests

Students applying to the occupational therapy program in the School of Allied Health Professions at VCU are required to take the GRE. The GRE General Test is composed of verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections. There is no minimum score required for admittance to VCU’s OT program. However, the average GRE score for students admitted in 2004 were: verbal – 428 (range 310-600), quantitative – 494 (range 310-690), written analytical – 4.0 (range 2.5-5.5). The test scores must be current within five years. If you have taken it several times within the five-year limit, the highest overall test scores from one testing will be used. We will not combine the best individual sub-test scores from different testing sessions. Information about the GRE and registration can be located at

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Application information

In the summer of the year preceding the year of desired admission, the student must apply to the graduate program by filing with OTCAS and completing the on-line application for the VCU Graduate School. For further information and to access the applications, visit

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Required health care experience

Upon application to the program, students are required to have completed a minimum of 60 hours of experience working alongside an occupational therapist. The 60 hours should include working with adults and children. The supplemental application includes paperwork that must be completed to verify the completion of these health care experiences. It is recommended applicants present supervisors with the appropriate paperwork before they begin volunteer work.

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Orientation meeting schedule

The Department of Occupational Therapy has scheduled orientation meetings for applicants or prospective applicants to the occupational therapy entry-level graduate program. These sessions are designed so students can find out about the master’s program and the admission process. The orientation includes a tour of the department and campus, a presentation about the program and the admission process and a question-and-answer period.

The dates, times and locations of the orientation sessions are posted on the Department of Occupational Therapy’s Web site.

View directions to the VCU Medical Center.

View directions to the VMI Building.

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Timeline for admission

Entry-level graduate program applications are due December 1st. You are encouraged to submit your application during the summer of the year prior to your desired date of entry. (For example, submit in July 2012 to begin your program in May/June 2013).

Dates Admission Process
Throughout the year Orientation meetings held for prospective applicants. No reservation required.

Preparation should start 14 months prior to planned entry into the program.

December – May
  1. Take GRE.
  2. Fill out application.
  3. Write personal statement.
  4. Gather letters of recommendation.
  5. Obtain health care experiences.
July 6 – December 1 OTCAS opens. Earliest date applications are accepted.
July 6 – November 1 Early decision applications accepted
December 1 Regular admission application deadline
January 15 Early decision offers issued
January – March Offers for regular admission
Late February Open house for accepted applicants
Late May, early June Orientation for all new students; classes begin

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Helpful links

VCU Department of Occupational Therapy

VCU Honors College

VCU’s chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the National OT Honor Society

American Occupational Therapy Association

Virginia Occupational Therapy Association

Virginia Department of Health Professions

Occupational Therapy World

Occupational Therapy Internet World

The Council for Exceptional Children