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Is Pitt’s OT program ranked?

Pitt's OTD program is one of the top ranked programs in the country. According to the most recent rankings by the U.S. News & World Report, the University of Pittsburgh’s OTD program is ranked 1st in the nation. It is also the 1st ranked program in Pennsylvania.

When should I apply?

The Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS) opens in mid-July each year. We encourage applicants to apply early in the application cycle as we begin reviewing complete applications and offering admission in November – applications are complete when all materials, including letters of recommendation, have been received and verified by OTCAS. We typically have a waitlist by the end of January.


What should I know about your Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) prerequisite?

We require at least 8 credits of A & P. We require A & P coursework that includes a “hands-on” laboratory component. Separate Anatomy and Physiology courses are acceptable. We do not recommend online coursework.

Do you have suggestions on how I can obtain experience hours in occupational therapy?

Our admission criteria includes a minimum of 12 hours of volunteer or paid work experience in two different occupational therapy practice areas (e.g., pediatrics, geriatrics, medical rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation, home healthcare, school system). We encourage applicants to call the main number of facilities convenient to where they live to request to speak to the Department of Occupational Therapy. Once connected with the Department, ask to speak with the person who coordinates their students and volunteers and share that you are planning to apply to Pitt’s OT program. Departments are accustomed to receiving requests for experience hours. Although our admission criteria includes a minimum of 12 hours, we recommend spending as much time as possible with an occupational therapist. The more time spent with an occupational therapist typically results in a stronger recommendation and better preparation for our program.

Can I schedule a visit to the Department and meet with an Occupational Therapy Representative?

Please join us for a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Information Session. It is a great opportunity to meet with one of our faculty members who will provide information about the program and admission requirements, and answer your questions. Go to OTD Information Sessions for a list of upcoming sessions. 

Are interviews a required part of the application process?

No, an interview is not part of our application process. We encourage you to attend at least one of the SHRS Open Houses and/or an Information Session – we have one during the fall term and one during the spring term. Attending an Open House will provide you with an opportunity to meet and speak with faculty and current OT students. Go to OTD Information Sessions for the dates and times for upcoming Information Sessions and Open Houses.

How are applications reviewed?

While cumulative and prerequisite GPAs are very important, equally important are the applicants response to essay questions and their letters of recommendations (one must be from an occupational therapist and one from a college-level instructor). The Admissions Committee looks strongly at the applicant’s aptitude for being successful in a graduate program, degree of endorsement from occupational therapy professionals, and breadth/depth of experiences, especially those reflecting leadership.

What is the profile of a successful applicant?

Applicants accepted to Pitt’s OT program typically have a cumulative and prereq GPAs of at least 3.5. They have over 12 hours of volunteer or paid work experience in occupational therapy, very strong references, solid writing skills based on high-quality responses to essay questions, and convey a passion for the profession.

When does the OTD program start?

Classes typically begin the 2nd to last Monday in August (fall term) every year.

How long is the OTD program?

Our OTD program is a 32 month, full-time program (8 terms). Coursework begins in the end of August (fall term) each year and students graduate 32 months later in April.

What is the Pitt Guaranteed Admissions Program?

If you are planning to attend Pitt for your undergraduate studies and are applying for entry as a 1st year student, check “Pre-Occupational Therapy” on your application to be eligible for the Guaranteed Admission for the OTD program. Then fulfill the Guaranteed Admission criteria for Occupational Therapy during your undergraduate studies at Pitt and you will receive admission to the OTD program. Click here for the guidelines for guarantee consideration.

Is financial aid available? Do you offer student assistant positions?

You can obtain information on financial aid from Pitt’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Most of our students are receiving some type of financial assistance, primarily through loans. Our Department does not have student assistant positions available for OTD students. However, we do inform students of employment opportunities they can pursue. Additionally, we provide students with a list of financial resources – mainly scholarships external to the University – they can choose to pursue. Most scholarship eligibility requirements include matriculation into an OT program or having completed the first year of a program.

How can I get information on housing?

For information on housing, please visit Pitt’s Off-Campus Living web site.