We appreciate your interest in our program. We hope you find our website helpful as you learn more about our Master of Occupational Therapy Program.

Selecting a graduate program that fits your situation can be challenging. There are many factors to consider. Learn what we have to offer by exploring our website. Read details about our mission, facilities, faculty, cost, and graduate community. Once we’ve piqued your interest, read more details on how to apply. We strongly recommend that applicants attend an information session, to meet faculty and current students and have their own questions answered.  We hope these sources of information provide what you need to make an informed decision.

Communicating with the MOT Program:

If you have questions about our program or the admissions process, please email the Occupational Therapy Program or call 540-568-2399. Please do not call individual faculty, OTCES (on-campus OT Clinical Education Services), or the Health Sciences Department.

About Our Program:

JMU’s MOT Program is an entry-level program. Entry-level programs are designed for individuals who are interested in becoming initially certified as occupational therapists. Students who complete ACOTE®-accredited OT educational programs at either the master’s or doctoral level are eligible to apply to take the NBCOT national registration exam to become certified occupational therapists.

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Qualified students who:

  • Are passionate about becoming part of the OT profession
  • Come with a variety of undergraduate majors, and life and work experiences.
  • Are motivated and curious, with strong intra- and interpersonal skills.
  • Are creative and flexible problem-solvers
  • Want to promote the justice, health, well-being, and quality of life of people, groups and populations.
  • Listen, reflect, and grow in learning spaces that respect a diversity of perspectives and experiences

The program does not accept transfer students from other occupational therapy programs.

What does it mean to be qualified?

To be eligible for admission to the MOT Program, applicants must meet all JMU Graduate School Requirements as well as all MOT Program Admission Requirements.

Our goal is to admit one cohort of 24 qualified students each year. Admission to the MOT Program is a competitive process. We typically receive more applications than we have spots available in our program, so meeting or exceeding the minimum admission requirements will NOT guarantee a seat in the MOT Program. 
How to Apply:

We use a holistic admissions process. The goal of this process is to create a cohort of students who have diverse academic backgrounds, interests, experiences, qualities, and skills to enrich the learning context and contribute in ways that strengthen the OT profession. In addition to using traditional measures of academic performance that typically predict success in graduate programs, (i.e., course grades), we also consider a broad range of non-academic factors associated with successful engagement in classes and fieldwork placements. The following non-academic sources are reviewed with each prospective student’s application:

  • The personal statement conveying written communication skills and understanding of the connection between occupational therapy, applicants’ experiences, and their professional goals
  • The video essay that demonstrates the applicants’ communication skills and analysis of how they will contribute to OT and JMU
  • Evaluations supporting the applicants’ future success in the OT program
  • Completed documentation of shadowing hours of in-person occupational therapy practice &/or completion of online shadowing experiences
Our Admissions Committee is comprised of program faculty and alumni, community OT practitioners, and program staff. We employ a multiple-step process where applications are reviewed by different teams. The initial review team confirms that all admission requirements have been met. Subsequent teams review and score personal statements and videos, and evaluate the applicants’ knowledge of the OT profession, how well their goals align with those of our MOT Program, and their communication skills.

We offer two pathways to admission: Early Decision and Regular Decision.

Early Decision: Applications are due on Friday, September 1, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. EST.
This pathway is designed for applicants who consider JMU to be their top choice. To be eligible for Early Decision, applicants must have completed all JMU Graduate School and all MOT Program requirements, submitted the application fee, and submitted their applications by the due date. Early admission applicants must demonstrate completion of all prerequisite coursework and shadowing hours (in-person or virtual).  Applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision by early November.  Applicants who submit incomplete applications will be considered within the regular admissions cycle.  Applicants who were not granted admission during the early decision review may be re-considered in the Regular Decision cycle.

Regular Decision: Applications are due on Friday, December 1, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. EST.
This pathway should be used by applicants who have a strong interest in attending JMU’s MOT Program. To be eligible, applicants must meet all admissions requirements as noted, and submit all application materials and fees before the due date. For Regular Decision, applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision on a rolling basis throughout the spring semester until the class is full.

For more information about important dates, visit the Application Timeline.

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MOT Program Policy: Criminal Background & Sexual Offender Checks

The JMU MOT Program is a graduate-level, clinical program. Based on the Code of Virginia § 23.1-407.1, the James Madison University Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program will not deny admission to any applicant solely based on criminal history. However, for any applicant who has been admitted, but not yet enrolled, the MOT Program may inquire about the applicant’s criminal history. The MOT Program may subsequently withdraw an offer of admission to anyone whom James Madison University determines “to have a criminal history that poses a threat to the institution’s community.”

Therefore, a criminal background and sexual offender check be completed for everyone who has been offered admission to the JMU MOT Program. These checks must be completed before enrollment. Additional criminal background and sexual offender checks will be required later in the Program, just before the start of Level I fieldwork. The student must comply with these additional checks to remain in good standing within the Program and before clinical placements occur. The cost of these background checks will be the sole responsibility of the student.

It is imperative to understand that if a background or sexual offender check reveals a criminal history, it is possible that the student may not be able to be placed at certain clinical sites. The program will do its best to place the student at alternative sites; however, it is possible that program completion would be in jeopardy if all fieldwork placements cannot be completed.

Upon MOT Program completion, in the vast majority of cases, a graduate must obtain national certification and state licensure before being eligible to practice as an occupational therapist. Applicants should be aware that program graduates applying to take the national certification exam complete character review questions and background checks. Having a felony may affect a graduate’s eligibility to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or apply for state licensure. Please visit the NBCOT Character Review website at https://www.nbcot.org/Students/Services#character for further information.


This program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please refer to the JMU Professional Licensure Program Status by Jurisdiction Index to determine if this JMU program meets the educational requirements specified by the associated licensing or certification agency in the state or territory in which you are located while enrolled. You can also determine if the program meets the educational requirements specified by the licensing boards in other states and territories. Requirements vary by state and are subject to change. The information provided is current as of the review date indicated in the table.

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