University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy: The On-Campus Program for Therapists

Admission Criteria

All applicants to the Master of Arts program must satisfy the following general criteria:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university or WFOT approved program.*
  • Certification (or eligibility for certification upon completion of a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy) by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT).**
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within the last five years with a minimum score of 153 on the verbal section, 144 on the quantitative section, and 3.5 on the analytical writing. If the GRE was taken before August 1, 2011, use the GRE Concordance Scale to determine whether your verbal and quantitative scores meet the minimum.*
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from professors, therapists, and/or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements.*
  • Submit a personal statement in response to the following prompt: Please describe your interests, skills, goals, and professional accomplishments including why you are choosing a graduate program. Note: To address this prompt, in the supporting documents, please upload a double-spaced essay which does not exceed 600 words.
  • 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 email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

*Conditional admission may be possible if one of the following GPA and GRE criteria is slightly below the requirement: (1) cumulative GPA, (2) verbal score, (3) quantitative score, (4) analytical writing score. If you have questions about your specific situation, please feel free to contact us.

**International applicants are responsible for communicating with NBCOT® regarding their eligibility status. This criterion is not required if applicant does not wish to practice in the United States. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure.

Application Deadlines

In order to be reviewed, the application and required application materials must be received by the Division’s Admissions Committee prior to February 15th for a fall semester start.  Submit your application well in advance of the deadline and note that transcripts and other application materials may take three weeks or more to be processed by the Office of Admissions and then made available to our office. Please plan accordingly.

Applications received after February 15th are also welcomed and will be processed on a space available basis.

Application Procedures

Apply online at www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/apply at least three weeks before the departmental application deadline to allow adequate processing time. Be sure to complete the supplemental portion that relates to occupational therapy. 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
    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.
    *Note: Transcripts are not required for currently enrolled USC students; however, StARS reports should be sent to the Division at the above address.
  • Request three letters of recommendation from among professors, practitioners, or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements, utilizing the process provided 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 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. Our Director of Admissions, Liz Carley, will be delighted to answer your questions, 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 .(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 degree programs.

U.S. News Ranks USC #1 Program in the Nation

USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
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Phone: (323) 442-2850 · Toll free: (866) 385-4250
Fax: (323) 442-1540
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Request program information  Request program information

The USC entry-level master's degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE). ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, (301) 652-6611 x2914, acoteonline.org

Professional program graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.® www.nbcot.org

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