Pre-Occupational Therapy

Pre-Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a health care profession using purposeful activity (occupation) as a means of preventing, reducing, or overcoming physical, social, and emotional challenges in people of all ages. The occupational therapist utilizes practical activities to encourage the recovering patient's involvement in meaningful daily living. An occupational therapist works with individuals whose participation in life has been impaired by physical injury or illness, developmental or learning disabilities, psychological or emotional problems or the aging process. The occupational therapist carefully evaluates each person to determine physical and/or mental strengths and weaknesses. In conjunction with other health professionals, the occupational therapist develops a goal-oriented program using purposeful activities and adaptive equipment to correct identified problems, and to decrease limitations, build strengths, and ensure that life will be meaningful and productive.

Academic Expectations

Specific admission requirements vary per occupational therapy school. You should consult with schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements. A list of UNL courses that will fulfill the prerequisites for Creighton University's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is available by downloading the program checklist above. These courses may also fulfill requirements of other occupational therapy programs.

Suggested academic preparation:

  • Bachelor's degree- A bachelor's degree is required for many, but not all, master's- and doctoral- level programs in occupational therapy. All occupational therapy programs will require specific prerequisite courses to be taken at the undergraduate level.
  • Competitive academic record- Strong GPAs are essential.
  • Major in anything- All UNL majors are great options.
  • There are some programs that combine bachelor's level work in occupational therapy with the advanced degree (for example, the College of St. Mary).

We recommend you meet with an Explore Center advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework.


Pre-Health students

Professional Degrees

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Students can enter the profession of occupational therapy either by earning a master's or doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Master's degree programs prepare students to provide occupational therapy services for a wide range of clients.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

The doctoral degree also prepares students to begin a career in occupational therapy. Doctoral programs require a bachelor's degree for admission into the graduate program. A doctoral program offers additional semesters of coursework in clinical practice skills, evidence-based practice, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.


Pre-Health students

Entrance Exam

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE exam is required by some schools. Please check with specific occupational therapy programs to find out if the exam is required for admission. Information on the GRE can be found at the GRE website.

Application Information

Centralized Application Service- OTCAS

Most occupational therapy programs require students to apply through the centralized application service – OTCAS. Information on OTCAS can be found at the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service website. A list of programs that participate in OTCAS can be found on the website -  check for participating programs. Admission to occupational therapy programs is based on grade point average, letters of recommendation, knowledge of the occupational therapy profession, service, and leadership experience. Interviews are often required.


Explore this Career

Explore this career by shadowing an occupational therapist and by utilizing any of the following resources.