Frequently Asked Questions

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  • March 1 for January admission. Please note classes do not start in the fall. Classes begin in January, which provides applicants time to finish any outstanding pre-requisites and to save money for future fieldwork expenses.
  • You will send original transcripts to OTCAS for verification as well as have your references sent to OTCAS. GRE scores should be sent to UTHSC.

You can fax, email, or mail them
Attn: Kalon Owens Jones
Occupational Therapy 621
930 Madison Ave
Memphis Tn 38163

Email to see if there are still openings. With a small graduate class size averaging 30 and the market demand for occupational therapists at the highest level in ten years, it is expected to fill.

  • Overall GPA
  • Science GPA
  • GRE plus Writing Assessment
  • Admission Essay
  • Previous Experience/Job Shadowing

Applicants should have a 3.0 to apply. Students with a strong (above 40%) GRE score and below a 3.0 GPA may also be considered.
The graduate student will need a foundation in general knowledge and evidence of critical writing and thinking skills. We look very carefully at your essay for evidence of knowledge and motivation for the field and mastery of writing skills. Related work or volunteer experience and observations in OT programs act in your favor and help you to be more certain that you are making the right choice. Good preprofessional evaluations give you an edge. Extracurricular activities also help you, especially if they are related to health care or if they demonstrate leadership. We take a holistic approach to admissions, it is not solely based on academic performance, however academic success is an important factor as you must maintain a 3.0 to stay in the OT program.

To be competitive you will need a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; to be considered, a 2.5. Since some universities calculate GPA differently, check with enrollment services once your transcripts have been received, if your GPA is in question. You will be expected to maintain a “B” average once you are in the program.

No. Applicants with a degree are encouraged to apply. All applicants must complete the 90 hours of prerequisites regardless of whether or not they have a degree.

No. However, you must submit a proposed course plan and demonstrate how the remaining requirements will be accomplished by the Jan. 1 matriculation date.

No, pre-requisites need to be fulfilled before you begin the program in January. Contact your local universities and community colleges for prerequisites course offerings. See our website for equivalency tables or contact the OT department with questions.

No. UTHSC OT program only offers the graduate program.

No. However, you are encouraged to email a faculty member with your questions. Since the curriculum is very intense, it is extremely important that the graduate candidate is fully committed to the level of academic excellence expected. You can also visit our yearly open house. Please visit the College of Allied Health Science page for more information on open houses.

At least 40 hours in two settings. What is important is that the graduate candidate has visited a variety of settings and observed occupational therapists who work with children and adults representing different age groups. Occupational therapists are MOST often employed outside of hospitals-in schools, private practice, or in the community. To demonstrate a commanding knowledge of the profession in the essay, it is strongly advised that the applicant spend as much time as needed to reflect.

Everyone must file an application to be considered for admission to the program.

Priority is given to Tennessee residents; however, your chances for admission might still be very good. Please indicate if one of your parents is an alumnus.

You need to contact the Office of Enrollment Services for that information. Their telephone 
number is (901) 448-5560.

COTA’s are strongly urged to apply, however, evidence of meeting the 90 hours of prerequisite courses is required.

It depends. Each applicant’s transcript must be reviewed and a determination made. Course descriptions may be requested.

No. The only exceptions would be if you wish to work for a time as a COTA or if you wish to have it as a fall-back plan. To do that plus get all the prerequisites for our program probably would take you three years. The best reason for completing a COTA program is that you have chosen that as your career. Certain individuals who are COTAs do decide to return to school to become OTRs, but that is the exception rather that the rule. Like volunteer experience, work experience as a COTA or PTA may give you a slight edge in admission, but you will have to weigh for yourself the costs and benefits of taking this route.

Yes, our objective is to ensure that once admitted to this program, you will be able to complete it. You need to be sure that you have a very solid foundation. Higher-level science courses may be substituted; however, only if they were taken within the last 5 years.

It will be a disadvantage for you, although it won’t eliminate you from consideration if the majority of your science grades, especially the most recent ones, are excellent. Repeated course grades are averaged, not dropped.

Yes, especially elective courses in Anatomy, Kinesiology, comparative vertebrate and human physiology. Even if you have A’s and B’s in your required science courses, you could benefit from additional coursework. If you have all C’s in your science courses, you definitely should take additional science coursework. The advanced science courses at the UT Health Science Center are difficult. Students must have a very strong background to be successful in completing these courses.

Higher-level biology courses may substitute if the lab requirement is met.

Yes, experience in science laboratories is very important in preparing students for the gross anatomy laboratory experience in the OT Curriculum

Check with your advisor. You need general chemistry and a physics course that includes mechanics. You can take Applied Kinesology in lieu of physics but you need 4 hours with a lab.

No. Students need an understanding of development from conception to death. Discuss with your advisor the possibility of other departments, such as education, offering this course. If there is a question, you may submit a copy of the course syllabus with your application. You may also take the psychology sequence, which is two courses in some institutions.

Remember that not more than four semester credits in activity-based courses may be accepted for transfer. Also, remember this is your chance for a liberal arts education. Take courses that are of interest to you. That’s the meaning of ‘elective’. Nothing will be wasted if you decide to become an occupational therapist. An engineering course could assist in the development of technology. You may own your own private practice one day, so business courses would come in handy. If you have a penchant for languages, remember occupational therapists work all over the globe. Spanish speaking individuals, in any career, will be in great demand. So, enjoy the freedom to choose electives while you can.

No. At this time we only have a full-time program.

“No” is the best advice we can give you. This is a very demanding program. Although we cannot prohibit your working while in school, most students find it difficult if not impossible to do so. With a vigorous course load the correlation between working and success in the program is extremely low.

The Office of Financial Aid is very helpful in identifying alternative resources. That office may be contacted at (901) 448-5568. Scholarships are also awarded to students once they have entered the program. Visit:

Yes. Room and board are not covered in tuition costs for either the three Level I (two weeks) or the three Level II (nine months). The student must secure and pay all room and board and travel expenses. Some fieldwork settings offer stipends or student lodging, but that is the exception. One three-month fieldwork outside of the Memphis area is strongly encouraged.

No, UTHSC does not provide housing on campus. You must find other arrangements in the city of Memphis.

Occupational therapist are in high demand. Most students have offers before they graduate.

This varies according to setting or geographic area. The most recent graduates’ salaries were between 60K and 70K. Experienced therapists are generally much higher.