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Admission Requirements

We welcome applicants of all abilities/disabilities, religions, marital statuses, familial statuses, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran statuses, national origins, ancestries, races, colors, genetic information, and gender identities and expressions.


Completion of the following prerequisite courses within the past 5 years with a minimum grade of B and a minimum GPA in these prerequisites of 3.0 (based on 4.0).

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (with a laboratory component), 8 credits  
  • Lifespan Human Development, 3 credits     
  • Psychopathology/Abnormal Psychology, 3 credits     
  • Statistics, 3 credits   

NOTE: AP credits are not accepted as fulfillment of prerequisite courses.

Additional Requirements

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree: Students are admitted into the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program after successful completion of a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0).
  • Experience in Occupational Therapy: Complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer, paid work or telehealth experience. These experiences should occur in at least two different occupational therapy practice areas (e.g., children and youth/pediatrics, health and wellness, productive aging/geriatrics, rehabilitation, mental health, work/industry, home care). NOTE: Due to COVID-19, this requirement has been reduced to 8 hours. Applicants with fewer than 8 hours of observation with an occupational therapist can watch approved videos to fulfill experience hours. See OT Video Attestation.  After viewing the videos, upload the signed attestation form to your OTCAS application.
  • Letters of recommendation: Submission of three letters of recommendation (evaluations) attesting to the applicant's academic and professional abilities.
    • Letter #1 - from an occupational therapist (OTR) who was involved in the applicant's occupational therapy experience hours.
    • Letter #2 - from a college-level instructor who instructed them in one or more classes.
    • Letter #3 - from an individual who can attest to the skills, abilities, and professionalism of the applicant.

      Letters of recommendation are submitted through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). NOTE: Due to COVID-19, applicants unable to obtain observation hours with an occupational therapist can submit a letter of recommendation (evaluation) from an individual who provided supervision to them and can attest to their professional abilities and skills.
  • Evidence of graduate level writing skills in response to self-evaluation essay questions. Applicants will submit an essay (personal statement), discussing their strengths, skills, and experiences that will contribute to their success in the OTD Program and their professional goals for becoming an occupational therapist, and submit responses to Pitt-OT essay questions. All essays are submitted through the OTCAS application.
  • Attest to satisfactory performance of the technical standards/essential skills required for successful completion of the OTD curriculum. Students admitted to the OTD program must review the Technical Standards and submit a signed form at the time of matriculation.​ View more on Technical Standards/Essential Skills.

Application Procedures

Application Deadline: Applications must be e-submitted in OTCAS no later than February 1 to be considered for admission. Applicants are encouraged to apply by November 1 as the Admissions Committee begins reviewing and offering admission in November/December. The OTCAS application cycle opens in mid-July. Prerequisite courses must be completed by January 1.

All applicants must:

  • Apply online using the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). To learn more about the application process and to create your account, please visit the OTCAS portal.  
  • Submit three letters of recommendation (evaluations).
  • Provide evidence of graduate level writing skills in responses to self-evalutation essay questions.
  • See below for additional requirements for internationally educated students. 

Additional Information

Admission to the OTD Program is only available on a full-time basis. The OTD Program begins in August (fall term) each year. Official transcripts must be sent directly to OTCAS. OTCAS does not accept paper recommendations. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically through the OTCAS system. Applications are reviewed when all materials, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, have been received and verified by OTCAS. OTCAS uses a verification process that can take several weeks. OTCAS will verify your documents before releasing them to the University of Pittsburgh. Applicants should confirm their status as verified with OTCAS. The Department of Occupational Therapy begins reviewing complete and verified applications and offering admission in November for the program starting the following August. 

For questions about the receipt, processing, and verification of your application, please contact OTCAS Customer Service at 617-612-2860,

International Students

In addition to the above, internationally educated students will be required to provide:

Academic Credential Evaluation:

  • Applicants who have completed the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree or higher at an institution outside of the United States are required to provide an official third-party course-by-course evaluation of those academic credentials verifying Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. The evaluation is an application requirement.
  • Upon admission official transcripts of all original language academic records for all post-secondary educational endeavors are required. If original documents are issued in a language other than English, certified English translations must also be submitted. A final transcript or diploma showing completion of the undergraduate degree must be submitted prior to starting all SHRS graduate programs.
  • The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) requires credential evaluations from one of the companies listed below. SHRS neither endorses nor recommends any company over another. Electronic submission is preferred.
  • International applicants are not required to submit an evaluation for degrees earned in the United States. Applicants who have attended an English Canadian institution should contact the SHRS Admissions Office.

Verification of English Language Proficiency:

  • International graduate applicants must possess proficiency in English at a level that enables them to succeed in graduate-level studies. Applications will not be processed until the required test results are submitted, or eligibility for an exemption has been verified. Only original official test scores received directly from test administration agencies are accepted. Electronic submission is preferred. Copies of test results are not acceptable.
  • Request official English Language Proficiency test scores be sent to the University of Pittsburgh from one of the following options. Minimum scores accepted and instructions for sending official test scores follow:

Verification is required unless the following apply:

  • The applicant is a citizen of a country whose official language is English.
  • The applicant has completed a degree program at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.
  • The applicant is not a citizen of a country whose official language is English but has completed a degree program at an institution outside of the U.S. where the language of instruction is English and where the official national language of the country in which the institution is located is English.
  • Additional requirements for international applicants

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who already have a baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy and are interested in obtaining a master’s degree should apply to the Master of Science (MS) Program in Occupational Therapy.