Occupational Therapy Doctorate Admissions & Deadlines

Rush University Occupational Therapy Admission’s 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.  

Admissions requirements

To be considered for admission into the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program, you need the following:

  1. Bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university earned prior to matriculation
  2. Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale excluding your freshman and sophomore year
  3. GRE scores, taken within the last five years. A recommended minimum combined score (verbal and quantitative portions) of 302 and a recommended minimum score of 4.0 on the analytic portion. Scores below 302 and 4.0 are acceptable if the applicant’s grade point average during the last two years of most recent degree exceeds a 3.0 out of 4.0 scale.
  4. Courses* (with a grade of “C” or higher) completed prior to matriculation with the following content:
    • Human anatomy with lab (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 lifespan
    • Abnormal Psychology
    • Psychology
    • Sociology or anthropology
    • Statistics
  5. Experience or familiarity with occupational therapy through observation of occupational therapy practitioners (at least 40 documented hours in at least two settings). In the instance you are unable to shadow at this time, familiarity with OT can also 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 2 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.
    1. Online Shadowing Experience: Password: LucasQU. Please submit the shadowing experience documentation form found on the online shadowing website created by Dr. Cheryl Lucas to OTCAS.

      Caretaker Experience: Describe a time when you were a caretaker and how that shaped your understanding of occupational therapy.

      Occupation Prerequisite: Take a course (6 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 how the experience shaped your understanding of the profession.

      Attend a professional association event: The American Occupational Therapy Association  or the Collation 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.

  6. Participate in an interview with program faculty.
  7. 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.
  8. Applicants accepted in the occupational therapy program must complete the Rush University required Health and Immunization History documentation.

*All courses must be taken from an accredited college or university. Online classes are acceptable except for anatomy and physiology, which must occur face-to-face. Exams testing out of course work and AP course work are not acceptable for prerequisite requirements. Note: online courses for anatomy and physiology will be accepted for face-to-face courses that were disrupted due to Covid-19.

How to apply

Entry term: Fall (September)
Application cycle: July - December
Early application deadline: Oct. 15
Final application deadline: Dec. 1

Complete the following steps to apply to the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral program:

Submit an application using the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service.

Apply Here

You will also need the following ready to submit directly to OTCAS:

  1. Official transcripts from every U.S. college or university attended. Include international course evaluations for coursework completed outside the United States.
  2. 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.
  3. Personal statement.

Submit official GRE scores, taken within the last five years, to OTCAS. You will need a minimum combined score (verbal and quantitative portions) of 302 and a minimum score of 4.0 on the analytic portion. Please use institution code 7122.

If your native language is not English, submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

You will be informed if you are required to complete the secondary Rush Application. Please do not complete the secondary application until you have been asked to do so.

Note:  Rush University and the OT Program are committed to creating a class environment that mirrors our diverse community and supports access and inclusion among our students.  While all candidates must meet posted minimum admissions criteria, candidates with any of the following factors indicated on their OTCAS application are given additional consideration towards interview and admission to the program, to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis: 

  • Military veterans
  • Persons from an underrepresented minority group in the health care sciences
  • Persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • First person to attend a higher education training program
  • Recommended graduates from the Rush Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program

For more information on program, technology and graduation requirements, click on the Program Details link on the left-hand side of the page.

Admissions Contact 
Phone: (312) 942-1084

Email: chs_admissions@rush.edu

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Attend an information session

Learn more about the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at an on-campus or online information session.