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Which degree is required to enter the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO) program?

The MSPO program accepts students from all backgrounds. While the majority of students have degrees in the Health Sciences field, this is not required for acceptance. We look for well-rounded candidates who have completed all pre- requisites and more importantly 250+ observation hours.

How many students are accepted each year?

24 students are accepted each fall.

When does the application process begin?

Students may begin applying in July, with the application portal closing on December 31st of each year. Application review will begin immediately in January, with acceptances finalized by April 1.

When should I apply?

The majority of students apply during the fall of their senior year. Some students choose to take a gap year and obtain observation hours during this time. These students should then apply during the fall of said gap year.

Does this program require a supplemental application?

Our application process is through the Orthotics and Prosthetics Centralized Application Service (OPCAS). All students create an account and complete the online OPCAS application. After submitting your application be sure to monitor for verification status. Only verified applicants will be made an offer of admission.

Can I substitute a pre-requisite for a different class?

Any course substitutions must be reviewed and approved by the Program Director. Please send all questions regarding course substitutions to the Paige Altman, Education and Training Manager for RST (

Do I really need 250 observation hours?

Yes, we recommend students have at least 250 observation hours. The experience helps the student enter the program with a better idea of the field, as well as the hand skills and fabrication basics to ensure a smooth transition from student to clinician. If you plan to apply to the program with less than 250 hours, please state when you plan to earn the remaining hours on your OPCAS application.

How do I set-up observation hours with a clinic?

Find a clinic in your area and call them. State your need to earn these observation hours and see what they can offer. Be persistent! If you truly want to be part of this field, you must work your way up! If you need assistance finding a clinic in your area, visit

When will I hear back regarding my status (accepted/declined)?

Applications are reviewed as early as October. Applicants can expect to hear an update regarding their status no later than March 1. All communication regarding your application will be emailed to the address on file with OPCAS. While the program appreciates your eagerness regarding your acceptance status, repeatedly emailing or calling program representatives will not accelerate this process.

Can I enroll in this program part-time?

No, accepted students must be enrolled full-time for five consecutive semesters, or 22 months.

Are scholarships or financial aid available?

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers many yearly scholarships. External prosthetics and orthotics organizations also offer scholarships. It is up to the interested candidate to seek out these opportunities and apply. Financial aid is also available. Feel free to review our Scholarships and Aid link or the financial aid information is available from Pitt’s financial aid page.

Is housing available?

Yes, the University of Pittsburgh is now offering apartment-style living for graduate and professional students through Housing Services. Check out The Residences on Bigelow. Graduate students who are interested in applying for an apartment lease should complete Panther Central’s online form. Please note that the main area of study for onsite RST students is Bakery Square so while these apartments are still very conveniently located it is a 15-minute walk to our MSPO facilities.

Here is the approximate travel time from the Residences on Bigelow to Bakery Square: 

Walk —50 minutes

Bus — 25 minutes

Car —15 minutes (depending on the traffic likely more at peak times)

Please note that the main area of study for onsite RST students is Bakery Square so while these apartments are still very conveniently located it is more than a 15-minute walk to our MSPO facilities.

Do students have to take any classes on main campus?

Yes, several night classes are taken on the main campus in Oakland.

Are distance-learning courses offered?

Only two courses are currently offered online for this program. This is important to note if you have a scholarship that requires all in-person work. The rest of the courses require in-person synchronous attendance. If you are interested in a career in assistive technology working with end-users, you may want to consider our Master of Rehabilitation Technology program. This program is offered online, offers flexible instruction, can be completed part- or full-time, and has several funding opportunities.

Does the University help me earn a Residency after graduation?

Prosthetics and Orthotics jobs are in-demand! Currently we have a 100% residency placement rate.

Does the program assist with board certification?

Our program is structured to fit NCOPE’s board exam requirements. The program’s comprehensive exam is scheduled during your fourth term and is set up in a style similar to that of your board exams. Passing this exam is a mandatory graduation requirement.