University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Science (Ph.D.)

Admission Criteria

All applicants to the Ph.D. program must:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate field, such as Occupational Therapy or one of the biological or social sciences, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within the last five years with a minimum score of 156 on the verbal section and 146 on the quantitative 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 at least three academic letters of recommendation.
  • Show evidence of academic potential (based on Master’s level study if relevant), research skills and interest.
  • Submit a personal statement in response to the following prompt: Please describe your present research interests and experiences and why you think our PhD program is a good fit for you in advancing your research agenda. For this purpose upload a double spaced essay that does not exceed 1,000 words. Your essay should be uploaded in the supporting documents section in the USC online application.
  • 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 100 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
    • An IELTS of 7 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).

*If you have any questions about your specific situation, please feel free to contact us.

Application Deadline

The Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received.

  • The application deadline is December 1st for a fall semester start and to be considered for maximum financial support.

Applications received after these dates 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 at least three academic letters of recommendation, utilizing the process provided in the online application. Letters may also be sent 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 Director of Admissions, Liz Carley, 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 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 beautiful 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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