Requirements and Involvement for Occupational Therapy

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Pre-requisite course requirements vary widely by individual school. You should determine specific requirements for programs of choice using the AOTA Find a School Page. We encourage you to begin researching individual program requirements as early as possible. If you are a resident of a particular state, you should start with those public institutions. 

The summary below is a list of the most common pre-occupational therapy requirements.

Course Amount Required for Schools
Anatomy and Physiology 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes
Statistics 1 course Yes
Anthropology 1 - 2 courses commonly including:
Introduction to Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Psychology 2 - 4 courses commonly including:
Life Span Development
Abnormal Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Psychology of Learning
Psychology of Aging
Sociology 1 - 2 courses Many
Medical Terminology 1 course Many
Introductory Biology 1 lecture, 1 lab Some
Introductory Physics 1 lecture, 1 lab Some
Writing / English Composition 2 courses Few
Public Speaking / Communication 1 course Few

Dependent upon your academic home at UVA (College or School), specific course options to fulfill these requirements vary.

Self Assessment

Utilize the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment to keep track of your progress.

AP Credit

Programs vary on whether they accept Advanced Placement (AP) credit as completion of a prerequisite requirement.

  • You should complete lab courses for science coursework if UVA did not award lab credit for your AP science coursework.
  • Many programs that accept AP credit require you to supplement that credit by completing an equal number of hours in the same discipline at the university level.
  • Some students choose to retake science coursework they received AP credit for to prepare them for upper level coursework, as well as for entrance exams.

Dual Enrollment

Provided you earn a C or better in your dual enrollment coursework, you can receive credit for the purpose of health professional program admission requirements. We encourage you to complete upper level coursework in the science disciplines to supplement your dual enrollment credit.

Extracurricular Activities

Student Organizations

Getting involved in a student organization is a great way to network with peers who have similar interests, access resources such as programs, speakers, and shadowing opportunities, as well as gain leadership and teamwork skills. Whether you select an organization specifically related to occupational therapy or not, we encourage you to review these organizations and find a place to engage!

  • Kinesiology Club
  • Camp Kesum at UVA
  • 4S: Students Supporting Solider pSychology

Find additional health-related UVA student organizations on the clinical opportunities page.

*Although these organizations have members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in their activities and affairs, these organizations are not a part of or an agency of the University. They are separate and independent organizations, which are responsible for and manage their own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise, or control these organizations and is not responsible for the organizations' contracts, acts, or omissions.

Opportunities for Engagement

Engagement in the field of occupational therapy will not only help you continue to explore and confirm your interest in the profession, but also demonstrate a commitment to serving others. Additionally, some occupational therapy programs require 40-60 observation hours in at least two different clinical settings which often need to be under supervision of a licensed occupational therapist. We encourage you to review the sampling of opportunities below, as well as self-initiate opportunities of your own!

Find additional health-related opportunities for engagement on the clinical opportunities page.

More to Explore

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