Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

The College of Saint Mary (CSM) Occupational Therapy Program has two admissions pathways. Depending on an applicant’s academic background, an applicant selects either Graduate Admissions Pathway (GAP) or Accelerated Entry Pathway (AEP).

Regardless of a student’s selected pathway, a student may earn the entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) only after a period of study such that the total time to degree--including both pre- professional and professional preparation is at least the equivalent of six (6) full-time academic years.

Graduate Admissions Pathway

A GAP applicant will have a baccalaureate degree or be close to completion of that degree and will meet the entry requirements outlined below. The GAP utilizes the OTCAS system for admissions. While CSM is a women’s college at the undergraduate level, men are welcome to apply for the GAP.

Graduate Admissions Pathway Entry Requirements – completed via OTCAS

  1. A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (on 4.0 scale) is required. For applicants who have college credit more than 5 years old (not including prerequisite coursework) the cumulative GPA will be calculated on the last 60 credit hours the applicant has completed.

  2. A minimum prerequisite course GPA 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) is required. Applicants are more competitive if the prerequisite GPA is higher – more points will be given on the admissions rubric.

  3. A grade of C or better on all prerequisite courses is required.

  4. Successful completion of at least 72 collegiate credit hours prior to application, including the prerequisite courses.

  5. Prerequisite course requirements (21-22 credits)

    • Anatomy and Physiology I & II with labs – 8 credits
    • Statistics – 3 credits
    • Lifespan Developmental (or the equivalent) – 3 credits
    • Abnormal Psychology – 3 credits
    • Medical Terminology – 1 or 2 credits
    • Research Methods – 3 credits.

      No more than nine (9) prerequisite credit hours may remain at time of application. The applicant must complete all prerequisite courses before the start of OTD classes. The applicant must have taken all prerequisite courses within five (5) years prior to application.
  6. Completion of the following recommended coursework provides a competitive advantage to an application:

    • Sociology or Anthropology

    • Ethics

    • Kinesiology

    • Pathophysiology

    • Public Speaking or Oral Communications

    • Global or Cultural Diversity Course

    • Pre-health professions course

  7. Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. An application is more competitive if one letter is from an undergraduate professor and if one letter is from an occupational therapist. If an applicant is a CSM student or CSM graduate, only two (2) letters of recommendation are required.

  8. Each applicant should submit a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for consideration.

    • The resume or CV should document at least 100 hours of time working directly with people, either in paid employment, service, or observation of health care providers (examples: working or volunteering at a day-care facility, rehabilitation tech job, or at a nursing home, or providing respite care, or helping with activities at a high school).

    • The resume or CV should document involvement outside of academics (such as sports, clubs, community, pre-health professions club).

    • The resume or CV should document leadership experiences.

  9. Each applicant must submit a letter of intent as part of the application process.

The OTD Admissions Committee will utilize scoring rubrics and guides on the above criteria to determine the top candidates who then will move on to phase II of the admissions process. This phase involves a Match Day Interview.

Match Day Interview

CSM will offer several interview days from which the applicant can select. Both in-person and virtual Match Day events will be offered multiple times per year.

Each candidate will complete the following activities:

  1. Introduction to CSM's OTD program
  2. Group interactions/activities
  3. Individual interviews with faculty
  4. Lunch with current students and/or faculty as available
  5. Tour of CSM campus including OT lab spaces and graduate housing options

After completion of the Match Day Interview, the OTD Admissions Committee will utilize scoring rubrics and guides to determine a final score for each candidate who completed the entire admission process. The OTD Admissions Committee will then rank candidates and review rankings for admission recommendations. This process will identify applicants for acceptance and for the wait list.

Accelerated Entry Pathway

The OT-AEP is available for an academically qualified candidate to complete her undergraduate studies at CSM while having a distinctive link to the OTD program. The AEP will challenge the qualified student to meet progression benchmarks after each year to prepare for the OTD program while working towards any baccalaureate degree at CSM. CSM will provide an OT faculty academic advisor to guide each student to meet progression benchmarks in addition to the student's academic advisor from their chosen field of study. OT-AEP students could be qualified to join the OTD after successful completion of at least 72 collegiate credit hours but can choose to finish their baccalaureate degree prior to starting the OTD program. While the OT-AEP guarantees neither entrance nor completion of the OTD, students who utilize this pathway will find the mentoring and advising beneficial in preparing for the graduate-level OTD program.

OT-Accelerated Entry Pathway Admissions Requirements

There are two tracks to enter the OT-AEP:

  1. As a high school senior applying to CSM
  2. As a college freshman, sophomore, or junior - either already enrolled at CSM or transferring in to CSM. (See Notes section if applicant is a college senior.)

The requirements and application process for each track are outlined below:

High School Seniors applying to CSM:

  • ACT ≥ 23 and a math sub score ≥ 23 or SAT equivalent.
  • High school cumulative GPA: 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Resume demonstrating participation in high school extra- and co-curricular activities, service, work history, volunteer hours, and/or clinical experiences.

College Students (transfer or established CSM students):

  • Collegiate cumulative GPA: 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Semester GPA: 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale from the college semester completed prior to application.
  • Complete internal application.
  • Submit resume demonstrating participation in collegiate extra-curricular activities, service, work history, volunteer hours, and/or clinical experiences.

CSM Seniors who wish to apply to CSM's OTD program should also complete the internal application and submit their transcripts, two (2) letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a written essay, and a resume to the CSM Graduate OTD Admissions Counselor. Their transcript will be evaluated based on the entry criteria for the Graduate Admissions Pathway described above. This process will remove the need to apply through OTCAS.

Accelerated Entry Pathway Progression Benchmarks

OT-AEP students will meet with the OT academic advisor and/or OT department staff member every semester to review progress with the following benchmarks and expectations.

Required coursework:

  • English
  • Sociology
  • General Psychology
  • Oral Communications
  • Ethics
  • Statistics
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Medical Terminology
  • Research Methods
  • Introduction to Occupational Therapy

Performance expectations:

  • Meet with the OT faculty advisor and/or OT Program staff member at least once per semester.
  • Earn a grade of "C" or higher in all the above coursework.
  • Maintain college cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Perform 100 hours of work or service prior to the start of the OTD program.
  • Develop a resume or CV demonstrating active membership in pre-health student organization or other campus organization and leadership experience.
  • Submit two (2) letters of recommendation from undergraduate instructors or health care providers where clinical experiences were completed.
  • Participate in Match Day Interview event (see above) in the spring prior to starting the OTD program.

Successful completion of all benchmarks and expectations will qualify the student for consideration for admission to the OTD program. The OT Admissions Committee will notify students in writing of their official acceptance into the OTD once all performance expectations have been met. Failure to meet these benchmarks and expectations could lead to the student being delayed in or removed from the OT-AEP.

Once a student is admitted to the OTD program, she/he must complete requirements designated by the program:

Successful completion of occupational therapy courses depends on the ability to think critically and to use the occupational therapy process, which includes communication, motor and interpersonal abilities.

Technological adaptations can be made for some disabilities; however, a student must perform in a safe and reasonably independent manner. It is not acceptable to use a trained intermediary, as a student’s judgment may be influenced by someone else’s observations. (The detailed document can be found on: http://www.csm.edu/sites/default/files/OT_FunctionalExpectations.pdf)

As part of the requirements to attend fieldwork, the following must be completed:

  • Health clearance
  • 10 panel drug screen
  • Proof of flu vaccination
  • Proof of current American Heart Association BLS certification needs to be submitted to the electronic clinical database by all OT students prior to the established due date. Current BLS requirements include Adult, Child, Infant, and AED training with an experiential component. The student will upload a copy of current BLS card to the clinical education database. Failure to maintain current BLS certification for all clinical education assignments will result in the student being disqualified for subsequent clinical placements and may ultimately delay the student’s progression in the program. The OT program will post information on BLS courses on mycsm.edu. *BLS may also be known as CPR for healthcare professionals. Workplace responder courses will not be accepted.
  •  Proof of current personal health insurance
  • Comprehensive background check completed through CSM provided company
    • A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
  • Proof of current, recorded immunizations and/or titer including but not limited to:

    • Hepatitis B (3 shot series and/or positive titer)

    • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) (within 10 years)

    • MMR (2 shot series and/or positive titer)

    • Varicella (2 shot series and/or positive titer)

    • Tuberculin Skin Test (within 1 year and/or site dependent)