Occupational Therapy

Admission and Advising


Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Once the program obtains candidacy status from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (expected August 2019), students will be accepted once per year into the lock-step Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program.  We plan to offer the OTD Program beginning Fall 2020.  Admission to the program will be limited to 45 students each year. Applications will be available electronically through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS) on or around August 1 of the year prior to admission. All applications, transcripts, and GRE scores must be submitted electronically through OTCAS no later than October 1st of the year prior to admission.We have extended the application deadline for the OTD Program to October 15, 2020 for Fall 2021 admissions.


 Students must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  2. GRE Writing Test score of 3.5 or higher. Test scores taken within 5 years will be accepted.
  3. An overall grade-point average of at least 3.0 or a score at the 50th percentile or above in each area of the GRE.
  4. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in prerequisite courses, with at least two of the natural science prerequisites, and at least 4 of the 8 required courses (or their equivalent) completed prior to the application deadline. A minimum grade of C or higher must be obtained for all prerequisite courses.*

Non-native English speakers must demonstrate proof of English-language proficiency. See Admission to the College of Graduate Studies for applicable policies and procedures.


  • While the CSU OTD Program requires that students receive letter grades for prerequisite courses, we will accept P/F or S/U grades for courses taken Spring 2020 when the university offering such courses allowed these alternative grading options due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • HOWEVER, students may only apply the P/F or S/U option to ONE of the required science prerequisites
  • Students who are planning to apply to other OT Programs should check with those other programs to see if they will accept P/F or S/U before choosing these alternative grading options.  
  • The CSU OTD Program is waiving the GRE writing requirement for those applying for Fall 2021 Admissions. Applicants may still use the GRE score to qualify for admissions into the program if their overall GPA is below a 3.0.
  • We encourage students to contact the OTD Program Director at b.ekelman@csuohio.edu if they have any questions.



  • Students must submit an application to the OTD Program through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Process (OTCAS). Applications are due no later than October 1 of the year prior to admission.
  • Click here to begin application to the CSU OTD Program. (OTCAS will be available to accept new applications in August 2019).
  • All transcripts, application fees, the program application (including the program specific essay), official GRE Test scores and other documents required to apply are submitted directly to OTCAS.
  • Students who are accepted into the Program will be asked to apply to the Cleveland State University College of Graduate Studies.
  • Students must complete all 8 required prerequisite courses (or their equivalent) with a grade of C or better by the end of the summer semester of the year of application.  
  • At the time of application (October 1 of the year prior to admission) students must have at a minimum 4 of the required prerequisites completed and 2 of those 4 must be science prerequisites.
  • Fifteen students who have graduated or are scheduled to graduate from the pre-occupational therapy track of the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Program at Cleveland State University before the Fall start date of the OTD Program will be selected competitively prior to acceptance of all other applicants.


Pathology (HSC 381, if taken at Cleveland State). Introduction to medical diagnosis and treatment, covering basic concepts and nomenclature of pathology, major diseases of body systems, epidemiology, biopsychosocial concepts, pharmacology, infectious disease, cellular injury, tissue repair, neoplasia, genetic disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, nervous system disorders, and psychiatric disorders.

Physiology with lab (HSC 422 and HSC 450 or BIO 422 and BIO 423, if taken at Cleveland State). Human or vertebrate physiology is recommended.

Human Anatomy (HSC 475 and HSC 457, if taken at Cleveland State). Human cadaver dissection or prosection is recommended.

Neurosciences with lab (HSC 476 and 478, if taken at Cleveland State). Study of structure and function of human central and peripheral nervous systems, including vascular components and special senses.

Lifespan (PSY 223, if taken at Cleveland State). Examination of human development from infancy to old age.

Abnormal Psychology (PSY 345, if taken at Cleveland State). Survey of major psychological disorders and their classification, etiology, and management.

Social Science Statistics (PSY 317 or Math 147 and 347 if taken at Cleveland State). Content should include measures of central tendency, correlations, t-tests, analysis of variance, nonparametric statistics, application of descriptive and inferential statistics to analysis and interpretation of data in the social sciences, and hypothesis testing.

Medical Terminology (HSC 203, if taken at Cleveland State). Evidence of completion of medical terminology course or self-study.

Although not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that applicants volunteer and/or work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist in at least two areas of practice.


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) curriculum will consist of 103 credits, including 56 credits in the core area, 8 credits of level I experiences which includes service learning, 14 credits of Level II Fieldwork, 6 credits of electives, 1 credit for competency examination and preparation, and 18 credits of doctoral capstone. The doctoral capstone is comprised of 3 preparatory seminar courses, the doctoral experience and the doctoral project. The doctoral experience and doctoral project are completed after completion of all Fieldwork and the competency examination. The 33-month, 8-term program begins fall semester. A part-time option is available for students who wish to complete the program in 4 years.

Students are required to select two elective courses as part of the required OTD academic course work. These courses are meant to provide students with in-depth knowledge in areas relevant to practice and their doctoral capstone.

Once accepted into the OTD Program, students who have previously taken graduate courses at CSU or at universities other than CSU can petition to have the courses accepted to meet the OTD elective requirement, if the credits have been “earned at an accredited graduate college or university and not utilized to fulfill a requirement for any other degree”.  Additionally, these credits must carry a letter grade of a B or higher, and all elective credits must be within the six-year statute of limitations imposed by the CSU Graduate College.  The student should submit the petition with the necessary supporting documents to his/her OTD faculty advisor.  In addition, the student should indicate how prior course work provides students with in-depth knowledge that will be relevant to practice and their doctoral capstone.  The OTD Program does not accept any 400 level courses for transfer as graduate electives. 

After approval of the petition for previously completed elective course(s), the student must complete a Graduate Credit Transfer Form and submit this to his/her faculty advisor.  The form will be sent to the Dean of the Graduate College for final approval.  Credits awarded in transfer are not recorded on a transcript until the student has completed 12 hours of graduate (500–800 level) course work at Cleveland State University and has achieved a grade point average of 3.00 or better.  

To allow for continuity of academic and clinical learning, the students shall complete the program, including fieldwork and doctoral experience and project, within 14 semesters of the start of classes unless they have written permission from the program director to extend the timeline.
When applying for the NBCOT Certification Examination and applying for Ohio (or other state) licensure following graduation, graduates will be asked questions related to the topic of felonies, among other issues, and will need to submit BCI and FBI background check results.  If you have a felony record, this may negatively affect your ability to become certified and licensed to practice occupational therapy.  Additionally, during the program students will be required to get background checks and drug screen.  It is in the student’s best interest to have any misdemeanors sealed or expunged before beginning the MOT Program, as these infractions can limit or restrict the ability to attend certain clinical sites.  Prospective students are encouraged to contact NBCOT and the Ohio OT Licensure Board for more information.

The CSU OT Program has developed a power point slide show detailing the preparation and application process for admission. Please open this presentation with Power Point, using the option that allows viewing of the notes accompanying each slide.

File Welcome to OTD Advising 2019.pptx

The OT Program strongly encourages all interested students to schedule an appointment with an OT advisor. At this appointment, transcripts can be reviewed and individual questions can be asked. It is particularly important to make sure prerequisite courses taken at other universities contain the appropriate content. This will improve student eligibility to apply to the program.

Due to COVID-19, advising appointments will be held by phone appointment or by email.  Please request an appointment through Appointment Plus (see button below).

Students Interested in Undergraduate Degrees at CSU

If you are a current CSU student or are a student considering an undergraduate degree at CSU, you may be interested in pre-occupational therapy (pre-OT) track for the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree.  The OT Program reserves 15 slots each year for students who pursue the pre-OT track at CSU and meet the minimum requirements for admission.
If you are interested in learning more about the pre-OT track, please schedule an advising appointment with either University Academic Advising or the College of Sciences and Health Professions Advising Center  based on your specific advising needs.  The OT Program advisors cannot provide guidance on undergraduate degrees. 

Prerequisite Course Requirements

Eight courses (or their equivalents), described above, are required for eligibility for admission to the OT Program.  Please refer to our Equivalency Chart Course Equiv Ohio 2019.xlsx   & Course Equiv NonOhio 2019.xlsx for a list of accepted prerequisite courses that may be taken at other Ohio schools.  If your school is not listed on the chart, you should see an OT advisor for approval of your course(s).  You will need to provide a catalog course description.
Social Media

The CSU OT Advising  has a Facebook page.  We encourage you to ‘Like’ us to help you stay connected to any news or updates that may occur in the program.  This page offers an opportunity to ask questions about the program, advising, admissions, etc., privately or publicly.