Congratulations on deciding to become an occupational therapist!  Occupational therapy is an exciting profession whose practitioners help people “live their lives to the fullest”. To do this, occupational therapists need to have diverse knowledge and skills that allow them to address people's needs.  

To have the foundation you need, faculty from JMU's Occupational Therapy Program have established the following requirements to help applicants like you prepare to enter our entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy Program.  Please review the following requirements for our program carefully and consider attending an information session so you can learn more.

To be eligible to enter our program, you must meet the general admission requirements established by James Madison University’s Graduate School as well as all Occupational Therapy Program-specific requirements.

James Madison University (JMU) Graduate School General Requirements

The Graduate School has established the following general requirements for admission to the Graduate School.  All applicants must satisfy these requirements.

  • Complete and submit an online application by the due date, to JMU’s Graduate School and pay the JMU Graduate School Application fee.
  • Submit transcripts verifying that you have completed (or will complete) your bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution by the time you begin in the Program.
    • You may apply if you are still completing your bachelor’s degree as long as you will graduate during the spring semester (by May 31, 2024).
    • If you earned your bachelor’s degree in the United States, you can check to see if the college or university you attended is regionally accredited, by using this link to visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website.  
    • If you completed your bachelor’s degree outside of the United States, visit JMU’s Graduate School for guidance.
    • Your transcript should reflect grades that demonstrate you are prepared for graduate school.  We recommend that potential applicants earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a scale of A = 4.0).
    • Transcripts must be submitted from all post-secondary colleges or universities attended.
    • When you apply, you may submit unofficial transcripts but you must submit official transcripts when you enroll as official proof that you meet all academic requirements.
  • Demonstration of English Proficiency.   
    • The Graduate School suggests students provide the following as evidence of English proficiency. Please see their website for additional information.
      • Complete an undergraduate program in which English is the primary language of instruction.
      • Present official copies of TOEFL or IELTS verification.

Refer to the Graduate School's Information for Prospective Students or the current Graduate Catalog section "Admission to Graduate Programs" for further information.  International applicants should visit this page about how to Apply to a Graduate Degree or Certificate Program as an International Student - JMU


Academic Requirements for the Entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy Program

The transcript(s) you submitted to the JMU Graduate School will verify completion (or anticipated completion of your bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher.

The Master of Occupational Therapy Program will accept a degree from any major, provided you have completed all of the prerequisite courses noted below.

You may apply either after you graduate from a bachelor’s degree program (or higher degree program) or during the senior year of your undergraduate bachelor’s program.  If you are finishing your degree, you will be asked to submit additional transcripts during January verifying that you continue to be enrolled in an undergraduate program and that you will graduate with a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in the MOT Program (before May 31). 

JMU’s Occupational Therapy Program Admissions Committee evaluates students holistically and looks for students who demonstrate strong academic performance.  
We consider academic performance in several ways including;

  • applicants’ cumulative GPA’s
  • applicants’ prerequisite GPA’s
  • overall grade trends

Earning a 3.0 (B) or higher on a scale where A=4.0. for the cumulative grade point average and prerequisite grade point averages is strongly recommended. Applicants interested in applying for early admission are strongly encouraged to exceed posted GPA and grade requirements.

If you have completed a graduate degree, the MOT Admissions Committee would consider the graduate GPA instead of the undergraduate GPA.

Please review the specific requirements for prerequisites in the section of the website.

Prerequisite Courses with Descriptions

Prerequisite Courses

JMU Course Equivalents

Descriptions & Other Course Names

Required Credits

Human Anatomy and Human Physiology

BIO 270 + Lab: Human Physiology + Lab [4]

BIO 290 + Lab: Human Anatomy + Lab [4]

Courses may be:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, with Labs or
  • Separate Human Anatomy and Human Physiology courses

Both anatomy & physiology must include labs.

  • Labs should use human models
  • Students are encouraged to take in-person anatomy labs whenever possible.
  • Content must address human models and human systems

For courses taken during Spring 2020 through the Spring semester in 2022), we will continue to accept online (virtual) labs for anatomy – and anatomy and physiology – courses that otherwise meet our requirements.

4 credits for each course

8 credits total

Social Sciences and Humanities

Any two of the following:

ANTH 195: Cultural Anthropology

PHIL 150: Ethical Reasoning

PSYC 345: Social Psychology

SOCI 140: Individual in Society

SOCI 110: Social Issues in a Global Context

Content should focus on human behaviors among groups of people on a variety of levels including groups, families, and institutions.

Courses may be taught in sociology, anthropology, diversity, social psychology and philosophy departments.

Introductory-level courses must be taken at the college level to satisfy this prerequisite.

3 credits for each course

6 credits total

Biomechanics or Physics

Any of the following:

HTH 441: Rehabilitative Biomechanics [3]

KIN 306 + L - Human Biomechanics + Lab [4]

KIN 407 - Rehab Biomechanics [3]

PHYS 140 + L - College Physics + Lab [4]

  • Either physics or biomechanics is accepted.
  • Physics course descriptions should include mechanical principles (e.g., force, mass, and motion)
  • Biomechanics course descriptions should include content on the structure, function & motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems.
  • Courses with labs are preferred.
3-4 credits total


Any of the following:

HTH 320: Statistical Methods for Health Science Research

MATH 220: Elementary Statistics

PSYC 210: Psychological Measurement & Statistics

PSYC 420: Advanced Psychological Statistics

SOCI 231: Introduction to Social Statistics

Content should address statistical concepts & techniques applied to health or human behaviors. Introduction to statistics is accepted as long as it is taken at a college or university.

3 credits total

Lifespan Development

PSYC 160 - Life Span Human Development [3]

Content must address

  • Human development across the lifespan (birth to death)
  • This may be taken either as one course or as more than one course; e.g., students may enroll in child development and adult development to meet the requirement

Alternative names: Developmental Psychology

3-9 credits total

Abnormal Psychology

PSYC 250: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

PSYC 335: Abnormal Psychology [3]

Content includes:

  • The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual and/or International Classification of Diseases.
  • Explanations of mental health and mental illness

Alternative names: Psychopathology

3 credits total

Medical Terminology college
This course must be taken at a 2-4 year college. A certificate is not acceptable.

HTH 210: Medical Terminology

Content covers

  • Abbreviations, prefixes, suffixes, and root words of terminology
  • Anatomical and physiological terms
  • Terms for pathological conditions, diagnostic tests, procedures, and treatments
  • Spelling & pronunciation

1-3 credits total


If you have questions about whether a course you have completed or plan to complete meets our prerequisite requirements, please email the JMU MOT Program, and include the following information.

  1. The name of the university or college where you took or plan to take the course
  2. Name and number of the course (e.g., BIO 290: Human Anatomy +Lab)
  3. The course catalog description and catalog year.
  4. Number of credits

Academic Performance in Prerequisite Courses

We recommend you earn a prerequisite GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher when factoring in the grades for all prerequisite courses

  • You must earn grades of “C” (2.0) or higher in each prerequisite course.
  • The average prerequisite GPA for the most recently admitted cohort was a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

Completion and Timing of Prerequisites

  • Human anatomy and physiology, abnormal psychology, human lifespan development, and statistics must have been completed within seven (7) years of enrolling in the MOT Program (enrollment is in June).
  • We encourage you to complete as many prerequisite courses as possible before applying to the program. This provides the Admission Committee with more information about your academic performance.  
  • To be eligible for Early Decision Admission, you must have all prerequisites completed and have grades posted in your transcripts by the application due date.  
  • If you are applying for Regular Decision, it is not necessary to have all prerequisite courses completed by the application due date as long as you;
    • Are on track to complete all of the prerequisite courses by the end of the Spring 2024 Term.
    • Have no more than three prerequisites remaining to be completed in the Spring 2024 Term.
    • Have completed two out of the three science prerequisites (anatomy, physiology, physics or biomechanics) by the end of the Fall 2023 Term.
    • If you took any prerequisite courses in the Fall 2023 semester or will be taking any course or prerequisites during the Spring 2024 semester, you must submit updated unofficial transcripts directly to the MOT Program by January 10, 2024 to verify you completed fall courses, confirm prerequisite grades, and/or confirm continuing course enrollment in a bachelor’s degree.
  • If you are offered acceptance to the program while still enrolled in prerequisite courses, you will receive a conditional acceptance and must verify completion of all prerequisites when you enroll by submitting final official transcripts to the Graduate School (by May 31).

Prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. 

Students may complete courses at community courses.

Dual Enrollment (DE) courses may be accepted provided students have a transcript from an accredited college or university. You must email the Occupational Therapy Program to have these courses reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

The following will NOT be accepted by the JMU MOT Program as prerequisite coursework.

  • Prerequisite courses taken in high school
  • Courses taken via College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or AP Testing
  • Courses taken by departmental and school examinations for credit
  • Courses taken at non-accredited post-secondary institutions
  • Experience cannot be used instead of prerequisite coursework

If you have additional questions email the OT Program or attend an information session.

Institutional Requirements

All courses must be completed in institutions that are recognized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and accredited by a regional accrediting body. To check to see if the college or university you attended is regionally accredited, visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website

Guidance on Prerequisite Courses Affected by COVID-19-Related Shutdowns

We realize that many colleges and universities did not give students a letter-grade option during the Spring 2020 through summer 2021 semesters.

Because of the variation in how colleges and universities responded to COVID-19, we will accept CR or P grades for prerequisite courses taken in spring 2020 through summer semesters in 2021 if you can show you meet the criterion of earning grades that meet the requirements noted in the prerequisite table.

When a CR or P appears on your transcript, you must confirm their grades meet our admission criteria. To confirm that your grades meet our requirements:

  • Take a screenshot of your final grades (either point total or letter grade) in the electronic grade book of the learning management system (e.g., Canvas, Blackboard) for each prerequisite course that was affected.
  • Next, save this as a PDF. Wikihow provides instructions on how to convert image files such as JPG and PNG to PDF.
  • Finally, upload this screenshot into the JMU program-specific documents section in OTCAS.
Non-Academic Requirements

Before you make the 2.5-year commitment to an occupational therapy graduate program, it is important that you understand what OT is, what occupational therapists do, and the various practice settings in which occupational therapists practice. While we believe the most effective way to understand the profession is to shadow occupational therapists in the real world, we recognize the past few years have posed unique challenges to occupational therapy practitioners that limit applicants’ opportunities for shadowing. In response to these circumstances, we recommend the following options for applicants to gain exposure to occupational therapy practice:

Option 1: Complete observation hours with an occupational therapy practitioner in the real world.

You may observe either a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed occupational therapy assistant. We encourage you to complete 20 hours of OT observation in two or more practice settings. We will accept observation hours completed within seven years of beginning in the occupational therapy program; e.g. if you intend to begin in summer 2024, we would accept hours completed from Jun 2017 onwards. We use the system in OTCAS to verify those hours.

Verification Form

Option 2: Complete Virtual OT Observations.

In response to challenges facing our healthcare, human service, and educational systems that limit applicants’ ability to obtain observation experiences in the real world, virtual simulated OT observations were developed. You may use virtual observations when you cannot complete in-person observation of occupational therapy practice. Please be aware these entities may charge additional fees for this service.

  1. OTSE (TM) (Online Occupational Therapy Shadowing Experience) (designed by Cheryl Lucas, OTD):
    • To access the tool, use the link above.   The estimated time to complete all modules is 10 hours. After you finish the modules and respond to the questions and survey, you will need to verify your completion of the online shadowing by uploading the document to the JMU Documents section in OTCAS.
  2. ClinEdWeb: Intro to OT: 20 Observation Hours
    • Completion of this online shadowing experience will earn you 20 observation hours.
    • To access ClinEdWeb: use this link to go to Intro to OT: 20 Observation Hours
    • Create an account and pay the fee.
    • After completion, you will receive a Certificate of Completion to upload to the JMU Documents section in OTCAS
  3. Combination of OT Observations and Virtual Observations
    • Applicants who do not complete 20 in-person observation hours in OTCAS should supplement their application and upload documentation showing completion of either program for online observations in OTCAS in the matter explained above.

If you have questions or for more information, please contact the MOT Program.

  • OTCAS will ask you to submit contact information for people who serve as a reference for your application.
  • Refer to How to Apply for details about submission of references.
  • Re-applicants are strongly encouraged to get new references.
  • Step two is the OTCAS Application. JMU uses the general OTCAS personal statement.  Write your personal statement and submit it through the My Application component of OTCAS.
  • As part of step two, the OTCAS Application process, enter information about your experiences and achievements as well as any information about licenses or certifications you hold or held previously into the My Application section of your OTCAS Application. Be aware that licenses and certifications are optional, most applicants do not have anything to report in here..
  • No separate resume is required.
Review the questions in step 3 of our application process.  
Then create a brief (four minutes or less) video essay on YouTube answering the questions.
Submit your video essay by emailing it directly to the MOT Program.

While this is not part of the admissions decision, please be aware that a criminal background and sexual offender check will be completed for everyone before enrollment in the JMU MOT Program. Visit our Admissions Overview for more information. Additional background checks and drug screenings are required to progress in the program. Fieldwork contracts require documentation verifying students’ completion of these checks and screenings to ensure the safety of their clients.

For further information, please contact the Admissions Committee at

Additionally, to become credentialed as an Occupational Therapist, individuals must comply with regulatory body standards for codes of conduct. This includes requirements from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and jurisdiction licensure boards. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The JMU Online Technology Requirements page lists the technology that you will need to be successful in hybrid and online courses in the program. Please contact the if you have any questions.

To successfully complete the Master of Occupational Therapy Program and thereby be prepared to enter practice as an occupational therapist, prospective and enrolled occupational therapy students must be able to meet all technical standards with or without the use of accommodations. If you have questions, please contact the occupational therapy program.

View a complete list of our technical standards

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