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 17.5 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This prediction is based on the overall population growth and the increasing demand for services for older adults, persons with chronic diseases, and children and adults with autism. 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 areas of prevention and wellness. Occupational Therapy was rated in the top 50 best jobs overall by U.S. News and World Report (2022).
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 “Program Admission” below 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 Occupational Therapy Combined [BS + MOT] 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), Pi Theta, and the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD). 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 video series introduce EMU Occupational Therapy Program’s application process.
All interested applicants are strongly encouraged to view the online video series 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 Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) requires a two-phase admission process. A student cannot apply to EMU as an occupational therapy graduate student until the 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 four components:
(Due by 11:59 pm on June 10, 2023
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)
- 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. A minimum of 20 total observation hours of volunteering or observation with an Occupational Therapist or Occupational Therapy Assistant, in at least two different settings, must be completed in the three years before the application deadline. Applicants who complete OCTH 100 or OCTH 201 at Eastern Michigan University will be recognized as having completed the observation requirement for the application.
- 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 certifications, and personal statement.
- 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.
Andrea Zakrajsek, OTD, MS, OTRL, FNAP, Occupational Therapy Program Director, 359 Marshall, 734.487.3220
Sharon Holt, MHS, OTRL, 260 Rackham, 734.487.3398
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. 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 | One Bank Street Suite 300 | Gaithersburg, MD 20878 | 301.990.7979
Degree Requirements: 71 hours
Students must earn a minimum grade of “B-” in each course.
Critical Graduation Information
Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.
Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.
In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.
The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.
- A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
- No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.
- Residency Requirement:
- For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
- For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
- Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
- Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
- Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
- The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
- Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.