How to Apply
To apply to Boston University’s Entry-Level OTD program, please submit an application through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). All credentials and application materials are processed through OTCAS (not Boston University), except for official TOEFL scores (if applicable). To begin, follow these steps:
- Review our application requirements below
- Familiarize yourself with the instructions in the OTCAS Applicant Help Center
- Begin your OTCAS application
For assistance with application-related questions, contact OTCAS customer service by email at email@example.com, by phone at 617-612-2860, or via online chat. For all other questions about the Entry-Level OTD program, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For study beginning in September 2021, please submit your application by:
- September 15, 2020 (Non-binding Early Decision) – Complete applications received by this date will be considered for our first round of interviews in late fall and will receive their admissions decision in December.
- December 7, 2020 (Regular Decision) – Complete applications received by this date will be considered for our second round of interviews in late winter and will receive their admissions decision in March.
All application materials must be received by OTCAS by midnight Eastern Time on the admission deadline. To ensure application materials arrive on time, we strongly encourage you to submit all documents several weeks before the deadline.
In addition to submitting an online application through OTCAS, the following items are required to be considered for admission to the Entry-Level OTD program:
Applicants should send all official transcripts directly to OTCAS (not Boston University) by following these instructions. We strongly encourage you to submit all transcripts in advance of the application deadline, as OTCAS requires several weeks to verify transcripts.
We require a formal course-by-course evaluation of all foreign transcripts by a third-party verification organization such as World Education Services (WES). Foreign transcript evaluations should be sent directly to OTCAS (not Boston University) by following these instructions.
All students admitted to the Entry-Level OTD program must complete a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution prior to matriculation. The program does not require a particular undergraduate major, and we encourage applicants with a diversity of backgrounds. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in undergraduate coursework is required. Prerequisite courses taken after completion of a baccalaureate degree are not counted toward the GPA.
Standardized Test Scores
GRE scores are not required for admission to the Entry-Level OTD program. Any GRE scores received by the program will not be considered by the admissions committee.
For international students whose first language is not English, official TOEFL scores are required unless you have completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution where the primary language of instruction is English. TOEFL scores should be submitted electronically through ETS to Boston University (not OTCAS) using the institutional code 3087. Students who are most competitive for admission will have a composite score of at least 90-100 and minimum scores of 20 in each section.
Letters of Recommendation
Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. We recommend the following guidelines for letters of recommendation. However, it is most important that persons providing recommendations know you well so that they can provide specific examples of your strengths and accomplishments.
- One letter should be from a person who can address your intellectual and academic abilities.
- One letter should be from a supervisor in professional or other work capacity who can address work performance, service commitment, or other areas of your background that may be pertinent.
- The third letter may be from any category.
Letters of recommendation must be submitted through OTCAS by following these instructions.
OTCAS requires all applicants to submit a personal statement that addresses the following prompt:
- Explain why you selected occupational therapy as a career and how an Occupational Therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals.
In addition, Boston University requires applicants to submit two (2) short-answer essays. Each essay should be limited to 400 words and submitted through the OTCAS application when prompted. The essay questions are provided below:
- The Boston University EL-OTD program prepares students to become leaders in occupational therapy and agents of change to promote best practice. Being an agent of change can take many forms. Describe a time in your life when you were an agent of change within a community, group or family unit. Reflect on what you learned about yourself from this experience.
- The Boston University EL-OTD program strives to prepare emerging clinicians who demonstrate critical consciousness and advocate for access, diversity, inclusion, equity, belongingness, pluralism, and social justice. Reflect on what this statement means to you given your unique life experiences.
The following coursework at the college level must be completed prior to matriculation. A minimum grade of “B-“ is required (however, please review our new pass/fail policy for Spring 2020 grades at the bottom of this section). Please note the following:
- At the time of application, prerequisites may be in progress or pending (e.g., planning to take in the summer), but must be completed before starting the OTD program in September. In these cases, applicants would be accepted conditionally to Boston University.
- All courses must be completed within seven years of matriculation into the OTD program (otherwise, include a letter explaining how you have kept up-to-date on course materials).
- Courses taken to fulfill prerequisites may be taken at any accredited university or college (including community colleges and accredited online programs) and must have a minimum of 3 credit hours.
If you have any questions on whether a course you have taken (or plan to take) will fulfill a particular requirement, we encourage you to contact the Boston University OT Office in writing at OT@bu.edu and include an email attachment of the course description from the appropriate college catalog (please allow at least two business weeks for decision). If a preapproval or waiver is granted by the Entry-level OTD Admissions Committee, be sure to keep written confirmation for your records.
All transcripts for prerequisites that you have taken or are currently taking should be sent directly to OTCAS. Any questions related to the submission of transcripts should be directed to OTCAS at email@example.com or 617-612-2860. Please be sure to also complete the required Boston University Program Materials section as listed on OTCAS.
- Human Anatomy: One course with a laboratory section.
- Note: When anatomy and physiology are taken as a combined survey course, a full complete sequence of two semesters (A&P I and II) must be taken to fulfill the two distinct Human Anatomy and Human Physiology prerequisites.
- Human Anatomy should be completed by the end of the Spring semester prior to matriculation into the OTD program (so that accepted students are prepared to complete the Gross Human Anatomy prereq in the summer).
- Human Physiology: One course (lab section optional).
- Gross Human Anatomy: Students accepted to the Boston University OTD program are required to complete a special BU gross anatomy course during the Summer before matriculation. This special gross anatomy course is offered via the web by the Boston University Dept of Occupational Therapy and was specifically designed by one of our faculty for OT students in preparation for their upcoming occupational therapy assessment and intervention coursework. Students must demonstrate competency in this course by earning a minimum grade of 75.
- After students have formally accepted admission into the Boston University OTD program, detailed information about course requirements and how to enroll for the special BU Gross Human Anatomy online course will be sent to students in late-May.
- The online Gross Human Anatomy course will open on June 1. Students may work at their own pace, though the final module exam must be completed by the first week of August.
- There is no tuition charge for this online course. Students will be asked to purchase textbooks (required) and anatomical models (recommended).
- Statistics: One course, to include descriptive and inferential statistics, correlation, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and introduction to regression analysis. A course in research design is also acceptable if it covers the relevant statistics.
- Abnormal Psychology: One course. Courses titled Psychopathology or Psychology of Deviance may also be acceptable.
- Developmental Psychology: One course. Courses titled Lifespan Development, Child Development, or Child Psychology may also be acceptable. Content on child development must be included in the course, and the course must address theories of development.
Pass/Fail Policy for Spring 2020 grades: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that many colleges/universities moved to a pass/fail or credit/no credit system of grading for Spring 2020. Please know that we will accept prerequisite coursework taken and completed during Spring 2020 in which a student received a “pass” or “credit” grade designation. We will not accept coursework for Spring 2020 coursework graded “fail” or “no credit.”
Recommended Observation Hours
Boston University highly recommends that applicants understand the depth and breadth of Occupational Therapy. Applicants can arrange an observation by contacting the Department of Occupational Therapy at a local facility.
We recommend observation experiences in at least two different service delivery settings (e.g., school, early intervention program, skilled nursing facility, community health center). Although health care experiences are not part of the official admissions criteria, and we do not seek a minimum number of hours, they do provide a basis for choosing to pursue occupational therapy. Letters of verification are not required.
Highly qualified candidates are invited to Boston University for an interview. Candidates will meet individually with two members of the OT faculty. On-campus interviewees will have an opportunity to meet with student ambassadors, tour Sargent College, and speak with faculty/potential mentor for the doctoral experiential component. On-campus interviews are preferred, but Skype interviews are available for applicants unable to travel to Boston.
NOTE: All applicants should familiarize themselves with this additional information:
- Technical Standards and Technology Competency
- For more information regarding state licensing requirements, please visit the State Authorization & Distance Education website.