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Occupational Therapy Admission

The College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program considers for admission those applicants who possess the academic and professional promise necessary for development as competent, caring members of the healthcare community. To select these candidates, a competitive admissions framework has been established. Within this competitive admissions framework, multiple criteria are used to select the most qualified candidates from an applicant pool that exceeds the number of seats available. Interested individuals are advised to complete their application as early as possible to ensure timely consideration.

The Midwestern University Occupational Therapy Program uses the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy Schools (OTCAS) for students applying to the Program. All applicants to the Occupational Therapy Program are required to submit their applications to OTCAS ( with all required materials by February 1, 2024. Please refer to the OTCAS website for instructions on submission of OTCAS application materials. The Occupational Therapy Program operates on a rolling admissions basis in which completed applications are reviewed throughout the admissions cycle to determine applicant eligibility for interviews. Interviews are typically conducted during the winter and spring quarters. Admissions decisions are generally made within one month of the interview.

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Admission Requirements

Individuals applying for admission to the College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program must submit documentation for the following minimum requirements before the academic year commences for the incoming class:

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Grades of C or better for prerequisite coursework; grades of C- are not acceptable.
  3. Completion of the minimum number of prerequisite courses in the prescribed subject areas at regionally accredited colleges or universities.
  4. Satisfaction of the standards set forth by the Admissions Committee (including documentation of academic and professional promise in prospective students).
  5. Completion of the Occupational Therapy Program's interview process. On-campus interviews are by invitation only. Applicants are invited to an interview based on evidence supportive of excellence in:
    • Academic achievement
    • Oral and written communication skills
    • Articulation of the domain and scope of OT practice
    • Community service
    • Leadership in extracurricular or other activities
  6. Completion of a first aid course within the three years prior to enrollment.
  7. Current certification by the American Heart Association in Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers.
  8. Demonstration of a people or service orientation through community service or extracurricular activities.
  9. Motivation for and commitment to healthcare as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer work, or other life experiences.
  10. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with clients and colleagues.
  11. Commitment to abide by Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
  12. Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check.

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Students must complete these courses with a grade of C or better; grades of C- are not acceptable:


Sem Hrs

Qtr Hrs

Human Anatomy1, 2









Lifespan Development



Abnormal Psychology



Other Social and Behavioral Sciences



1The Anatomy and Physiology requirements may also be fulfilled by taking Anatomy and Physiology I and Anatomy and Physiology II, as some universities offer combined courses.

2Human Anatomy must be completed successfully within 5 years of admission to the Program. The lab component with cadaver experience is strongly recommended.

A course in child development, and a course in the sociology or psychology of aging, are highly recommended. Additional courses in the sciences and mathematics are recommended, including chemistry, physiology, physics, and biology. General education electives are also recommended to demonstrate competency in English composition, oral communication, problem-solving behavior, logic, and ethical theories.


What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

  • You are required to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Grades of C or better are required for prerequisite coursework; grades of C- are not acceptable. The average GPA of our applicants is 3.4.

Do I need to take the GRE?

  • No, GRE scores are not required to apply.

What prerequisite courses do I need to take?

Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses before I submit my application?

  • You do not have to have your prerequisites completed prior to applying to the program. All of your courses must be complete before matriculation into the program.

Does it matter when I completed my prerequisites or when I obtained my baccalaureate degree?

  • It does not matter how recently you earned your degree. In fact, we encourage people to apply who are considering a career change, or may be returning to graduate school after an absence. However, it is required that the Anatomy and Physiology courses have been completed within the previous five years.

What are the undergraduate majors of your students?

  • There is no specific major required for our program, as long as all of the prerequisite courses are completed. Our students have baccalaureate degrees in all areas, with the most common being psychology, kinesiology, and exercise science. We encourage students from diverse academic backgrounds to apply; many of our students majored in areas such as business, art, and English. 

What are the most important qualifications that you look for in an applicant?

  • We look for applicants who are well-rounded and have a strong history of academic excellence, a commitment to service, and experience in leadership roles. We look for applicants who are person-centered and who are sensitive to individuals or groups who experience disability, social stigma, or limited access to healthcare.

Are there certain settings you prefer my OT observations to be in? How many hours of observations do I need?

  • We do not require a certain number or type of OT observations.  We prefer applicants to observe or experience OT in diverse settings to ensure that the applicant understands the variety of settings and practice within OT. We also encourage applicants to consider opportunities to observe in other healthcare and social service fields where they will encounter diverse populations.

The Technical Standards

The Technical Standards set forth the nonacademic abilities considered essential for students to achieve the level of competence required by the faculty to obtain the academic degree awarded by the college.

Candidates must be able to perform the following abilities and skills:

  1. Observation: The candidate must be able to accurately make observations at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and sense of touch and is enhanced by the functional use of all of the other senses.
  2. Communication: The candidate must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and sensitively in both oral and written form and be able to perceive nonverbal communication.
  3. Motor: Candidates must be able to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, maintain equilibrium and have functional use of the senses of touch and vision. The candidate must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination to perform profession-specific skills and tasks.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: The candidate must be able to problem solve, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, record and synthesize large amounts of information in a timely manner. The candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: The candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of the candidate's intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the consistent, prompt completion of all responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically, mentally and emotionally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The candidate must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, effective interpersonal skills, willingness and ability to function as an effective team player, interest and motivation to learn are all personal qualities required during the educational process.

Candidates are required to verify that they understand and are able to meet these Technical Standards at least four weeks prior to matriculation (or if admitted later, within one week of deposit). Candidates who may only meet Technical Standards with accommodation, must contact the Office of Student Services to make a formal request for accommodation. The Dean of Students, in consultation with the College Dean/Program Director, will determine what reasonable accommodations can be provided. The College is not able to grant accommodations that alter the educational standards of the curriculum.

Students must meet the Technical Standards for the duration of enrollment at the College. After matriculation, if a student fails to continue to meet the Technical Standards during subsequent enrollment, the student may apply for accommodation by contacting the Office of Student Services. If the accommodation needed to meet the Technical Standards alters the educational standards of the curriculum, the student's ability to satisfactorily progress in the curriculum will be evaluated by the appropriate College's Student Graduation and Promotion Committee.

Application Process and Deadlines

To be considered for admission to the Occupational Therapy Program, applicants must submit the following to the Office of Admissions:

1. OTCAS Application

Applicants are required to submit their applications to OTCAS at by February 1, 2024. Please refer to the OTCAS application instructions for specific details about completing the application, required documents, and processing time. The OTCAS application should be available for applicants beginning in Summer 2023. Due to the large number of applications and the limited number of seats available, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their OTCAS application early in the cycle.

2. Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation from professionals to OTCAS ( The Office of Admissions will only accept letters of recommendation received directly from OTCAS. It is preferred that one of the submitted letters is written by an occupational therapist who has supervised or mentored the applicant or a professional who can speak to the applicant's motivation, experiences in occupational therapy, or readiness for entering the Occupational Therapy Program. The second letter can be written by either a college professor who actually taught the student or a pre-health advisor who knows the applicant well. The applicant should refer to the OTCAS application instructions for specific guidelines and requirements for submitting letters of recommendation.

3. Completed Applications

The Office of Admissions will send letters verifying receipt of OTCAS applications with all required materials to all applications who meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement of 3.00. The letters will also include instructions on checking the status of the required application materials online. Applicants are responsible for tracking the receipt of their application materials and ensuring the submission of all required documents. Only applicants who submit completed applications with all required application materials will be considered for potential entrance into the Program.

Please note: Applicants are responsible for notifying the Office of Admissions of any changes in their mailing address or email address. All application withdrawal requests must be made in writing via email, fax, or letter to:

Midwestern University
Office of Admissions
555 31st St.
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Fax: 630/971-6086

Interview / Selection Process

Students selected for an interview will be notified of available interview dates and invited by the Office of Admissions to schedule their on-campus interview. A typical interview day involves participation in the following activities, which are coordinated by the Office of Admissions: an interview with two occupational therapy faculty interviewers, lunch with current Midwestern University occupational therapy students, a campus tour, and an opportunity to meet with counselors from the admissions office and the financial aid office.

During each interview session, the interviewers question the applicant about their academic, personal, and professional aspirations and preparedness for admission to the Occupational Therapy Program, and rate prospective students on a standard evaluation form. These evaluations are included in applicant files provided to the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee. The Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee meets approximately one to two weeks after the interviews. The Admissions Committee, which includes the Program Director, makes decisions for action with oversight from the Dean of the College of Health Sciences. The Dean, via the Office of Admissions, notifies applicants in writing of the admission action/decision. Applicants are extended acceptance to the program based on the aggregate qualitative and quantitative data gathered from the application, interview process, and the completion of all published admissions requirements.

The Dean of the College of Health Sciences may recommend for an interview applicants who meet the Program’s minimum requirements for which they are applying (e.g., children of alumni, faculty, or staff). These applicants are not guaranteed admission into a Program and will have their application reviewed similarly to other applicants being considered for acceptance. All admissions decisions are made by the program Admissions Committee.

Matriculation Process

The matriculation process begins after applicants receive notification of their acceptance. To complete the matriculation process, applicants must:

  1. Submit the matriculation agreement and required deposit monies by the date designated in the matriculation agreement. Deposits are applied towards the first quarter's tuition.
  2. Submit official final transcripts from all colleges attended post-high school by the deadline of two weeks (14 days) prior to the first day of classes. Students who are accepted to MWU less than one month prior to the first day of classes will have 30 calendar days from the date of their acceptance to submit all official transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Any special circumstances or requests for exceptions to this policy must be sent to and approved by the Office of the Dean of the college. Students who fail to submit all official final transcripts by the stated deadline may jeopardize their acceptance or continued enrollment in the College.
  3. Submit completed medical files documenting completion of a physical exam, immunizations, tuberculosis and titer blood testing as instructed by the Office of Student Services and detailed in the Student Handbook.
  4. Meet the Technical Standards for the College.
  5. Submit proof of medical and disability insurance coverage. Students may select either a plan offered by an MWU-approved carrier or a comparable plan offered by an outside carrier of their choice, as determined by the Office of Student Services. Insurance must be maintained throughout the entire period of enrollment.
  6. Submit additional documents as requested by the Office of Admissions or College.
  7. Students who are requesting an F-1 visa or who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must prepay tuition and in some cases other mandatory program fees for the first year of their educational program 6 weeks before the first day of the first quarter of each academic year. Furthermore, the student must prepay tuition and in some cases other mandatory program fees for each successive year at the start of each academic year on the University’s stated due date.
  8. Submit a signed Credit Policy Statement.
  9. Authorize and pass the MWU criminal background check and/or fingerprinting background check as required by the specific College/School/Program.
  10. Submit a signed MWU Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy Statement.

Applicants who fail to satisfy these matriculation requirements or who omit or falsify information required on official admission documents automatically forfeit their seat in the program. Any individual accepted for admission to the college/program who does not comply with stated timelines for submission of all required materials receives no further notification from the college regarding the forfeiture of their seat.

Reapplication Process

Students who receive denial or end-of-cycle letters may reapply for the following year's admissions cycle. Before reapplying, however, individuals contemplating reapplication should seek the advice of an admissions counselor. To initiate the reapplication process, prospective students must complete and submit a new application and proceed through the standard application process.


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