As a pre-occupational therapy student, Carthage has numerous faculty/staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements. For questions regarding occupational therapy school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center.

See the pre-occupational therapy timeline

These are the most common prerequisites for occupational therapy programs. However, different schools may have different prerequisites on what classes you should take. Make sure to check your desired program’s website.

  • 2 semesters of Biology( BIO 1110 & 1120)
  • Introduction to Introduction to Psychological Science (PYC 1500)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2010 and 2020 or BIO 3300 and 3310)*
  • Abnormal Psychology (PYC 3500*)
  • Child and Adolescent Development (PYC 2850*)
  • Adult Development and Aging (PYC 3850*)
  • Medical Terminology (BIO 400D)
  • Physics (PHY 2100 and 2110)
  • Statistics Course

*= prerequisites needed for a course

Other courses are frequently required — the best way to know what courses to take is to have a clear idea of where you want to go far in advance of applying.

There is no requirement for a set undergraduate major before applying. It is important to work closely with your advisors to ensure you are meeting all prerequisites for occupational therapy school.
The minimum amount required for most OT schools is around 40, but you will need more to be a competitive applicant (think well over 100). The location of shadowing largely depends on where you plan on applying. Different schools have different qualifications in terms of where and how you shadow or volunteer. Some programs require that students have hours of experience in MULTIPLE different settings; it is highly recommended that your hours come from at least two different locations to get a large amount of experience in a variety of positions before you apply.
Although most OT schools do not require a GRE, some may. Make sure you check your list of schools you plan to apply to before registering. The GRE will require less or more time studying based on how extensive your knowledge is on tested material, and you should pace out those hours around your own current and anticipated schedules. has free resources and practice tests available to assist you. We recommend that you take the GRE at least one full year before you submit your application. This would align with the summer going into junior year or the fall of your junior year, allowing adequate time to prepare if you need to retake it and ensures you have your results before your application deadline.
You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.

You will need several letters of recommendation (3-5) for your application. While different schools may have different expectations for where your letters of recommendation should come from, it is usually expected to have 1-2 letters from a science course professor, one letter from a non-science course professor, and 1-2 letters from an occupational therapist you have worked with or shadowed under.

Ideally, you should ask for a letter of recommendation at least 2-3 months in advance of your application deadline, although give as much time as possible. This way, they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience.

Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between six and eight schools in total. There is a financial commitment associated with application fees, so you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.

Applications will be submitted through the OTCAS platform. This opens in July, and if you are planning on attending right after your undergraduate degree, you should apply in the summer of your junior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit them during late summer. Your application will be most competitive if you submit it before September 1. Below is the list of application materials.

  • Personal statement
  • Shadowing hours 
  • Three or more letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • Transcripts (official copy)

Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage, and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. Carthage also has many articulation agreements that can assist you in reaching your professional goals. 

You should also join the Pre-Health Club and Pre-OT Club at Carthage, which could help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand what your next steps will look like, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now — by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. Actively participating in class and being a positive role model will help them craft your letters of recommendation. It is highly recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved. It is never too early to volunteer, shadow, or secure an internship/research opportunity. All of these experiences will help leverage your application and provide insight into your involvement in the community.