University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Admission Criteria

Effective Fall 2013 enrollment, all applicants to the OTD program must:

  • Complete an entry level Occupational Therapy degree with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university.*
  • Be certified or eligible for certification in Occupational Therapy in the United States or a OT degree from a WFOT approved program outside the United States.**
  • 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 section. 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.
  • Show evidence of academic potential (based on Master’s level study if relevant), research skills and interest.***
  • Submit a personal statement (1,000 words or less) in response to the following prompt: Please describe your motivations for pursuing the clinical doctorate degree at USC.  Describe your specific interests and intended professional goals.  Please identify personal characteristics that define you as an effective leader in the healthcare delivery system.
  • 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 GPA and GRE criteria is slightly below the requirement. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please feel free to contact us.

**Students enrolled in the OT baccalaureate or Master’s programs may receive admission contingent upon successful completion of all coursework and fieldwork prior to the start of the OTD program.

***Applicants who are currently in occupational therapy practice must submit a current curriculum vitae of work experience, publications and presentations.

Application Deadlines

The Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received. The application deadline is October 15 for a fall semester start to be considered for maximum financial support.

Applications received after this date are also welcome and will be processed on a space available basis.

Application Procedures

You may apply online anytime by going to www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/apply at least four weeks before the departmental application deadline to allow adequate time for processing. 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
    *Note: Transcripts are not required for currently enrolled USC students, however StARS reports should be sent to the Division at the above address. 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.
  • 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
    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 Assistant Director of Admissions, Shannon O’Brien, would be delighted to answer any questions you may have, schedule a visit, or arrange contacts with faculty members or students to further explore your interest in our program. You can reach her at 323-442-2889, 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 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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