Admission Requirements & Deadlines

Admission requirements, deadlines, and procedures for the Towson University Professional Occupational Therapy MS Program are updated on an annual basis. Applicants are required to follow the guidelines posted on the department website and on the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) as of the opening date for applications: July 18 each year. Requirements are subject to change at any point prior to the application opening.

ADMISSION CRITERIA

Applicants must satisfy each of these criteria to be considered for admission to the program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to understand the admission criteria and review their application materials for completeness. Neither OTCAS nor TU will notify applicants of incomplete applications.

Please review the content of this page carefully. If you have additional questions, please review our Frequently Asked Questions page or reach out via phone or email.

Undergraduate Degree by August 1

You must provide official transcripts through OTCAS proving that you have earned an undergraduate degree or are enrolled to earn an undergraduate degree by August 1 of the year you anticipate starting the program. Applicants who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at the time of application must provide additional proof that the bachelor’s degree was awarded by August 1.

3.25+ Last-60-Credit GPA

You must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate and graduate course work. This GPA is calculated by counting back from the most recent undergraduate semester. The only post-bacc coursework that extends this calculation are courses taken at the upper level (3- or 400 level) or graduate level.

Prerequisite Completion

You must have completed at least 6 of the 10 prerequisite courses, one of which must be Human Anatomy & Physiology I, with the required grade by the application deadline. Transcripts must be verified through OTCAS by the verification cutoff for coursework to be considered. Remaining prerequisites must be completed by the end of the Summer term prior to beginning the program.

With the exception of Physics, all prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of ‘B’ or higher; Physics must be completed with a grade of ‘C’ or higher. All prerequisite coursework must be taken through an accredited institution and appear on an official transcript with a letter grade.

Applicants who are unsure if their coursework will satisfy our prerequisites are highly encouraged to submit a Professional Master’s Program Prescreening Worksheet [PDF] prior to applying. Instructions for completing and submitting the form are included in the PDF.

Prerequisite Courses

These 10 courses must be completed with the required grade prior to program entry:

Human Anatomy & Physiology I
and Human Anatomy & Physiology II
Both A&P I and II must include an in-person lab and must have been completed within five calendar years of the application deadline. A two-course sequence studying human cell biology; histology; skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems; and cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine, and reproductive systems. May be split as Human Anatomy and human Physiology. TU Equivalent: BIOL 221+221L and BIOL 222+222L

English Composition
An introductory course with a primary focus on expository writing. Common course titles include College Writing, Introduction to Writing, and College Composition/Rhetoric. TU Equivalent: ENGL 102

Introduction to Psychology
An introductory course that surveys the field. Topics courses do not qualify. TU Equivalent: PSYC 101

Introduction to Sociology
An introductory course that surveys the field. Anthropology, Social Psychology, and topics courses do not qualify. TU Equivalent: SOCI 101

Abnormal Psychology
A topics course studying disordered personal reactions to life. Also commonly titled Psychopathology. TU Equivalent: PSYC 361

Human Development
A topics course studying research and theories related to development throughout the life span: conception to old age/death. Also commonly titled Developmental psychology. May be satisfied by one or a combination of courses. TU Equivalent: PSYC 203

Basic Statistics
A statistics-focused course that covers descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency). Major-specific courses are often acceptable. TU Equivalent: MATH 231, MATH 237, PSYC 212, or ECON 205

Medical Terminology
An introductory course designed to increase familiarity with medical terms used in the health care setting. May be taken for one or more credits. TU Equivalent: FMST 140 or KNES 215

Physics
A general, introductory course that includes the study of mechanics (Newton’s Laws). Must include an in-person lab. May be non calculus-based. TU Equivalent: PHYS 202 or PHYS 211

Three References (Evaluations)

You must coordinate to have three appropriate references complete the competency rating through OTCAS. References are directed to the OTCAS rating system via email and are asked to rate your competence is 10 professional areas.

Required References

  1. Human Service Hours (Observation Hours) Reference: One reference must be a supervisor from one of your Human Service Hour experience.
  2. Professional Reference: One reference must be an individual whom you have worked for or with in a professional setting.
  3. Academic or Professional Reference: One reference must be a current or previous instructor or an additional individual whom you have worked for or with in a professional setting.

Reference Guidelines

Consider these additional guidelines while selecting references:

  • All Human Service experiences are considered professional
  • Family members, personal friends, and religious mentors may not serve as references
  • References must rate at least six of the 10 competencies for the reference to be used; it is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with references and determine if they were able to meet this minimum
  • References must submit their ratings through OTCAS; letters submitted by the applicant will not be reviewed

Personal Statement

You must write and submit an original personal statement reflecting on Occupational Therapy as your career choice and in relation to your personal and professional goals. Your personal statement should address the following questions:

  • Why have you selected Occupational Therapy as a career?
  • How will a degree in Occupational Therapy relate to your immediate and long-term professional goals?
  • How will your personal, educational, and professional background help you achieve your goals?

The personal statement is an important part of your application and provides you with an opportunity to clearly and effectively express your ideas.

Personal Statement Guidelines

  • Thorough Reflection: Ensure you have thoroughly reflected on the posed questions and have provided a meaningful, clear, full response
  • Two Double-spaced Pages: Your personal statement must be no longer than two double-spaced pages
  • High Quality, Original Writing: Ensure your personal statement displays high academic-quality writing skills and is your own original work.

60 Human Service Hours (Observation Hours)

Human Service Hours (Observation Hours) should be used to explore the different settings and populations you will encounter while studying and practicing OT. You must complete and provide documentation of 60 Human Service Hours from at least three types of qualifying experiences.

Human Service Hour Experience Criteria

Your Human Service Hour experiences must meet all of these criteria to qualify toward your application requirements:

  • Direct Interaction: Each experience must involve direct interaction with one or more individuals with disabilities, illness, or other disadvantages. Strictly administrative experiences do not qualify.
  • Minimum of Three 10+ Hour Experiences: You must complete and document at least three types of qualifying experiences and each experience must total at least 10 hours. Instructions to define experiences are below. Experiences can be completed as volunteer or paid positions.
  • Completed within Two Years: Your hours must have been completed within two calendar years of the application deadline.
  • Supporting Documentation: You must include documentation, signed by your supervisor, supporting the hours completed. Common forms of documentation include a brief letter or a log of hours. Supporting documentation must include:
  • the setting you worked in,
  • the population you worked with,
  • the number of hours completed,
  • the date range the hours were completed within,
  • and the supervisor’s name, role, and contact information.
  • List of Experiences in OTCAS: In the Towson-Specific Questions section of OTCAS, you must LIST your Human Service Activity experiences as follows: Setting/Location, Population, Total Hours, Date Range, Supervisor
    Example: Hospital, Adult Inpatient, 10 hours, May 2016, Jane Doe OTR/L

The department reserves the right to contact Human Service Hour supervisors to confirm the validity of experiences.

Defining Human Service Hour Experiences

Each experience is defined by the setting and population. Your experiences must follow these setting and population rules to meet the three experience minimum:

  • A setting or population may only be used twice
  • Identical experiences (the same setting and population) only count once toward the three-experience minimum once. The hours from identical experiences may count toward the total as long as each experience meets all posted criteria.

Example:

Setting Population hours dates notes
In Home Elder Care 6 May 2017 Not enough hours
Hospital Adult Inpatient 10 Sept. 2016 The two
Hopsital + Adult Inpatient
experiences count as one
of three minimum types
Hospital Adult Inpatient 12 Nov. 2016
Hospital Pediatric Outpatient 22 Mar. 2017  
Camp Child with Autism 60 Summer 2016  

Resume

You must submit a current resume in the Documents section of OTCAS. Relevant work history will be considered in the selection process; applicants may be asked for permission to contact current or prior employers.

Submission of OTCAS Application by December 31

A complete application must be submitted through OTCAS by December 31. We will only include materials verified by February 1 in our review. It can take as many as 4-6 weeks for OTCAS to verify transcripts; therefore, it will be necessary to submit materials as early as possible. We have established our OTCAS Submission deadline of December 31 to assist applicants in meeting the Feb 1 verification cutoff.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to complete and submit the TU application in OTCAS. OTCAS will notify applicants when their application is successfully submitted and verified, which also means that TU has access to the application materials. TU will not send additional verification.

Interview

After our initial review of applicants, top candidates will be invited to participate in an on-campus interview between late February and early March. The department will use the combined results of the interview and OTCAS application materials to make final admission decisions.