Established in 1941, Eastern Michigan University’s Occupational Therapy Program has a long-standing tradition of excellence, providing competent and caring professionals to the local community and throughout the State of Michigan and across the nation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts that occupational therapists’ employment will grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This prediction is based on the overall population growth and the increasing demand for services for those aged 75 years and older who require occupational therapy services to improve their quality of life. Also, emerging practice areas for occupational therapists in driver rehabilitation and fall prevention continue to develop. Occupational therapists are employed in diverse settings, including but not limited to: hospitals, schools, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, home health care, and in areas of prevention and wellness. Occupational Therapy was rated the 13th best job overall by U.S. News and World Report (2019) 100 Best Jobs and Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America 2019 identified occupational therapy as #4.
There are two routes of entry to the occupational therapy degree. Student applicants are integrated into one cohort once admitted into the program. Please carefully review the tracks below to identify which option fits you.
Option 1 - Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
This option is available to applicants with an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university or appropriate international institution is required. Candidates may apply while their degree is in progress, but degree completion, demonstrated by transcript evaluation, is necessary before starting the Occupational Therapy Program. This track culminates with a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT degree). Please see the Graduate Catalog for more information.
Option 2 - Combined Occupational Therapy (COT)
The Combined Occupational Therapy (COT) track is often referred to as the 3+2 program. The COT track is designed for undergraduate students who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. This track culminates with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree. To be eligible to apply as a COT student:
- Before starting the OT program in January, the student must complete a minimum of 90 Undergraduate credit hours. If the student submits an application to OTCAS with less than 90 credit hours, they will need to include a plan for completing the 90 credit hours before the start of the winter semester (January). A student is not eligible to begin the program until after completing the 90 undergraduate credit hours.
- Before starting the program in January, students must complete all general education courses. General education courses can be completed in the fall semester as applications are under review.
- Applicants who are not already admitted to EMU will need to complete an undergraduate application as an undergraduate student. The applicant must also meet with a general academic advisor to identify how previous coursework will transfer to EMU and determine the remaining general education coursework that may be needed. Failure to follow this direction results in a denied application.
Please see “Program Admission” below for more information regarding this program.
Our students will:
- Be leaders and innovators, responsive to the changing health care needs of our diverse society.
- Use occupation as the central focus of their practice.
- Become competent and ethical professionals who use theory and research to guide their clinical practice.
- Develop the skills to serve consumers through the roles of clinician, collaborator, coach, educator, and advocate.
- Value promotion of social justice through service to the community
Many of our occupational therapy students take advantage of engaging in the community and classroom through organizations such as the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and Pi Theta. Students develop clinical and critical thinking skills through part- and full-time fieldwork during five semesters in the program. They have opportunities for interprofessional education with programs within and outside of the University.
Information/Group Advising Sessions for Occupational Therapy Intent Students
Information/group advising sessions and the online webinar provide an introduction to the EMU Occupational Therapy Program’s application process.
All interested applicants are strongly encouraged to view the webinar or attend a scheduled Advising Session.
The EMU Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.
The Combined Occupational Therapy (COT) requires a two-phase admission process. A student cannot apply to EMU as a combined occupational therapy student until all requirements are met, reviewed by the occupational therapy faculty, and a program admission invitation is extended. Carefully review the criteria below to identify how you could apply to EMU to complete pre-admission coursework before submitting your application.
The admission process has three components:
(Due by 11:59 pm on June 10, 2020)
Applicants are assessed on a comprehensive assessment and interview of selected applicants, including the following criteria:
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 from the last 60 semester/90 quarter units of coursework at the application time. It is the expectation that the average successful applicant has a GPA much higher than 3.0.
- Completion of all pre-admission coursework with a grade of “B-” or better. (See Pre-admission Coursework)
- Due to challenges resulting from COVID-19, the GRE requirement will not be required for the 2020-2021 application cycle. Previous requirements include completing the GRE revised General Test, or GRE General Test, within three years of application. Applicants can not substitute the GRE with a different test. The test must be taken in enough time to ensure that scores are received by the June 10th application deadline. EMU OTCAS GRE Code is 4442. There is no minimum GRE score necessary to be considered for admission. However, on average, admitted students earned a combined score of over 300 on the quantitative/verbal exam and 4.0 on the writing. For additional information regarding the GRE, including registration and accommodations, please visit www.ets.org.
- Three references. Students must submit at least three references to OTCAS. We recommend applicants obtain references from individuals who can provide information about an applicant’s abilities, interpersonal skills, and qualities in the classroom, workplace, and community that would make them a good fit for EMU’s occupational therapy program.
- Observation/Volunteer Experience. Previous requirements include a minimum of 20 total hours of volunteering or observation with occupational therapists in at least two different settings that must be completed in the three years before the application deadline. However, any healthcare and educational organizations have closed or limited student training to protect patients, professional staff and control the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, for the 2020-2021 application cycle, 20 total observation/volunteer experience hours are not required. In place of the requirement, an applicant without the observation/volunteer 20 hours of experience needs to watch this video through AOTA and document this viewing under the Observation Hours section of OTCAS. Students can also include observation/volunteer experience in the OTACAS application to meet this requirement area.
- Submission of supporting information. The supporting information section on OTCAS provides an opportunity to include previous and current life experiences, including employment, volunteerism, extra-curricular, leadership, internship, research, honors, awards, achievements, licenses, and certification experiences.
- Interview. After a review of OTCAS applications, program faculty will contact selected applicants for an online interview. Additional information regarding the interview process can be found above.
Additional Program Information for Admitted Students
Program of Study
- Occupational therapy advising for occupational therapy-intent students is performed by the OT intent advisor or the College of Health and Human Services Advising Center. All applicants should attend a group advising session with the OT intent advisor to discuss admission requirements. Upon acceptance into the occupational therapy program, students are assigned a faculty advisor.
Scholarships - The Occupational Therapy program offers a number of scholarships to students who are admitted to the program. Information is annually distributed from the OT program to students who are currently enrolled in the occupational therapy program. There are also a number of University scholarships available to students. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for information.
Fieldwork - All occupational therapy students must complete two Level II Fieldwork experiences within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program. Students have the right to request part-time or full-time fieldwork. Students who desire part-time fieldwork must make this request in writing to the fieldwork coordinator prior to placement arrangement.
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) - The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT) administers the national certification examination for occupational therapists in the United States. Upon successful completion of the academic and fieldwork requirements, graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist, administered by the NBCOT. After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). All students must pass the NBCOT certification examination to practice in the profession of occupational therapy. In addition to passing the NBCOT certification examination, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. Character background information is reviewed by NBCOT to determine a person’s ability to sit for the examination. If you have any potential impediments, such as a felony charge or conviction, charges of malpractice or willful intentional misconduct, we strongly recommend that you contact NBCOT at www.nbcot.org to determine your eligibility to sit for the national examination. Contact Information: NBCOT | 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100 | Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150 | 301.990.7979
Undergraduate Degree -
The requirements listed below will appear on a student’s undergraduate transcript.
For the undergraduate portion of this program, students must earn a minimum total of 124 credits at the 100-level or above.
Major Requirements: 59-60 hours
Students in this major are exempt from the requirement that undergraduate students take no more than fifteen credit hours (15) in 500-level courses.
Pre-Admission Coursework: 28-29 hours
The following courses are to be completed prior to beginning Occupational Therapy coursework and count toward the total credit hours required for this major.
Occupational Therapy Core: 31 hours
The following courses are taken during the student’s professional year one. Admission to the Occupational Therapy program is required prior to beginning these courses.
This major does not require a minor.
Graduate Degree -
The requirements listed below will appear on a student’s graduate transcript.
Graduate School Admission
If accepted to the program, students will process a Graduate School Application before enrolling in 600-level coursework (students are responsible for any deadlines related to financial aid).
- Meet the Graduate School Admission Requirements (see Graduate Admissions)
- Submit a Graduate School Application (emich.edu/graduate/apply). Transcripts submitted with OTCAS application are not shared with the Graduate School.
- Pay $45 application fee.
Degree Requirements: 40 hours
The following courses are taken during the student’s professional year two
Combined Program Total: 164 hours
Critical Graduation Information
The following are minimum requirements for all bachelor’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some majors and minors require more than the minimum in one or more of the areas below; students are urged to consult the online catalog for the requirements of their particular programs.
- Earn a minimum total of 124 credits at the 100-level and above. Courses with numbers below 100 will not be counted toward this degree requirement. At most 8 credit hours of physical education (PEGN) activity courses will be counted toward this requirement.
- Meet the requirements of the General Education program (see information below).
- Complete a Writing Intensive (GEWI) Course in your major.
- Earn a minimum of 60 credits from a four-year college or university; courses taken at community colleges cannot be used to meet this requirement. (Some formal program-to-program articulation agreements modify this requirement. See specific agreements for details.)
- Earn a minimum of 30 credits from courses taken at EMU.
- Complete 10 of the last 30 hours for the degree from courses taken at EMU.
- Have a minimum of 30 unique credit hours in their major and 20 unique credit hours in their minor for a total of at least 50 unique credit hours between them. Some majors that require 50 or more hours themselves do not require a minor; students should check requirements of the selected major in the undergraduate catalog to see if a minor is required.
- Earn no more than 60 credit hours in one subject area (prefix). Credits in excess of the 60 maximum will not be counted toward the minimum of 124 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.
- Earn the minimum number of credits in 300-level and above courses in each major and minor as specified below - these credits must be earned in distinct courses; that is, no course can be used to fulfill this requirement in more than one major or minor.
- Earn a minimum of 6 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each minor
- Earn a minimum of 9 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that requires a minor.
- Earn a minimum of 15 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that does not require a minor
- Transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken at colleges and universities that are accredited by one of the recognized regional accrediting bodies only if the courses are college-level (equated to 100-level or above at EMU) and the student earned a “C” (or 2.0 on a 4 point scale) or better. Transfer credit may be awarded on a case-by-case basis for college-level courses in which a “C” (2.0) or better was earned at institutions outside the U.S. or at non-accredited U.S. institutions; individual departments/schools conduct the internal review of such courses within EMU, and additional documentation may be required. Please note: EMU awards only credit for transferred courses; grades are not used in the calculation of an EMU GPA.
- Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at EMU in order to graduate. In addition, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be reached in each major and minor. Only courses taken at EMU and those applied to a student’s major or minor will be used in the calculation of their major and minor cumulative GPAs. (Note: some programs may require a higher GPA - check with your program advisor.)
General Education Requirements EMU’s General Education Program requires students to choose from a menu of approved courses in several different areas; do not assume that other courses in the same department or with similar names will fulfill these requirements. A detailed description of General Education requirements is available in the General Education section of the catalog.
Students who transferred to EMU may have modified general education requirements based on Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) or articulation agreements; consult your academic advisor for additional information.