- Entry term: Fall (September)
- Application cycle: July to January
- Early application deadline: October 15
- Application deadline: January 15
RUSH University Occupational Therapy Admissions Mission
The Department of Occupational Therapy’s Admissions Committee is committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive student body, embracing the differences that diversity contributes to the growth of our profession and the clients we serve. We seek to matriculate students with a commitment to learning, scholarship, service, and who demonstrate a passion for occupational therapy.
Note: Special consideration will be given to applicants who have the potential to help us achieve our mission. Please ensure all portions of your OTCAS application are completed thoroughly outlining all life experiences.
To be considered for admission into the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program, you need the following:
- Bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university earned prior to matriculation.
- Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale excluding your freshman and sophomore year.
- Letters of recommendation, name and email address of two references acquainted with your academic or professional aptitudes.
- One reference must be from an occupational therapy practitioner, a health care provider or teacher, or a work or volunteer supervisor.
- OTCAS will contact each reference with instructions on how to complete an online evaluation.
- Experience or familiarity with occupational therapy through observation of occupational therapy (at least 20 documented hours). In the instance you are unable to shadow at this time, familiarity with OT should then be demonstrated through submitting documentation of successful completion of the online shadowing experience, plus an additional activity (as suggested below) with accompanying reflection paper. The reflection paper should be no longer than two pages and should articulate how the experience shaped your understanding of occupational therapy. If you choose to complete the online shadowing, upload documentation of completion as well as your reflection paper on OTCAS.
- Online shadowing experience:
Please submit the shadowing experience documentation form found on the online shadowing webpage to OTCAS.
- Additional activities:
- Caretaker experience: Describe a time when you were a caretaker and how that shaped your understanding of occupational therapy.
- Occupation prerequisite: Take a course (six-week minimum) in which you learn a novel, challenging skill (knitting, karate, etc.). Describe the experience and how it shaped your understanding of occupational therapy.
- Video interview: Interview an occupational therapist and write about how the experience shaped your understanding of the profession.
- Attend a professional association event: The American Occupational Therapy Association or the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity host a number of free events or webinars. Attend an event and write a reflection on how it shaped your understanding of the profession.
- Online shadowing experience:
- Participate in an interview with program faculty.
- When invited to interview, you will then be informed that you are required to complete the secondary RUSH Application.
- Please do not complete the secondary application until you have been asked to do so.
- Applicants accepted into the occupational therapy program must complete a RUSH University criminal background check with satisfactory results. A felony conviction has potential negative impacts on a graduate’s eligibility for certification and licensure.
- Applicants accepted in the occupational therapy program must complete the RUSH University required Health and Immunization History documentation and mandatory trainings.
You must complete the following prerequisite courses with a letter grade of C or higher to be considered for admission:
- Human anatomy with lab required (cadaver lab preferred, taken within the last five years)
- Human physiology (lab preferred, taken within the last five years)
- Human growth and development across the life span
- Abnormal psychology
- Sociology or anthropology
Online classes are acceptable.
All courses must be taken from an accredited college or university. Exams testing out of course work and AP course work are not acceptable for prerequisite requirements.
The OTD program requires students to complete all required courses in the RUSH University Department of OT plan of study. We do not allow credit for previous coursework and/or work experience.
Hear from our chair & program director, meet our faculty, learn about our program highlights, and find answers to frequently asked questions about the program.
How to Apply to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program
View a tutorial of the OTCAS application below:
Complete the following steps to apply to the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program:
- Submit an application using the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service.
- You will also need the following ready to submit directly to OTCAS:
- Official transcripts from every U.S. college or university attended. Include international course evaluations for coursework completed outside the United States.
- Letters of recommendation, name and email address of two references acquainted with your academic or professional aptitudes. One reference must be from an occupational therapy practitioner, a health care provider or teacher, or a work or volunteer supervisor. OTCAS will contact each reference with instructions on how to complete an online evaluation.
- Personal statement.
- If your native language is not English, submit Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL scores.
You will be informed if you are required to complete the secondary RUSH application. Do not complete the secondary application until you have been asked to do so.