Important general information

Students interested in the pre-occupational therapy advising track must obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete the necessary prerequisites for the occupational therapy doctorate program. Students interested in occupational therapy should consult with a pre-professional health adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the program and/or school to which they hope to apply.

Declaration of the pre-occupational therapy advising track through the Office of Pre-Professional Health Advising does not constitute admission to the occupational therapy doctorate program in VCU’s College of Health Professions. Students must apply separately to the occupational therapy program/school of their choice at the appropriate time.

Students with an interest in preparing for the occupational therapy doctorate program must declare an academic major and should declare and maintain their pre-occupational therapy advising track. Students do not earn a pre-occupational therapy degree. Students unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Those in the pre-occupational therapy advising track are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them. To declare a pre-occupational therapy advising track, see the pre-professional health advising blog.

Prerequisites for the VCU occupational therapy doctorate program

Students intending to enroll in the VCU occupational therapy doctorate program must complete a bachelor’s degree before entering, as well as declaring and maintaining their pre-occupational therapy advising track. It is recommended that applicants select a challenging course load of science and math courses each semester to ensure adequate preparation for the academic rigor of the occupational therapy program.

Students need to complete the prerequisite courses and the Graduate Record Exam before becoming eligible to start the occupational therapy program in the College of Health Professions at VCU.

In addition to completing the required courses, applicants must also demonstrate evidence of a minimum of 30 observation hours under the supervision of a licensed O.T. practitioner, an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant, prior to the time of application.

Prerequisite courses required for the VCU occupational therapy doctorate program

Students must complete human anatomy (including the lab) as well as human physiology and the human physiology laboratory. A minimum grade of B is a requirement for these prerequisite courses. An introductory-level biology course is a prerequisite for anatomy and physiology at VCU.

Statistics is a prerequisite course. The course should cover the following topics: descriptive statistics, t-test, chi-square, analysis of variance, linear regression and correlational analysis.  

A total of 15 social science credits are needed. Psychology of the abnormal, lifespan developmental psychology and at least one sociology or anthropology course is required. The additional six social science credits must be taken within the psychology, sociology or anthropology departments. Introductory courses are acceptable to fulfill the social science prerequisites.  

Anatomy, physiology, statistics, developmental psychology and abnormal psychology should be taken within seven years of enrollment in the program. 

A medical terminology course and a kinesiology course are recommended but not required.

Prerequisites for the VCU Occupational Therapy Doctorate program

CourseTitleHours
VCU courses 1
ANTH 103Introduction to Anthropology3
or SOCY 101 Introduction to Sociology
BIOL 205Basic Human Anatomy (includes lab)4
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
4
PSYC 304Life Span Developmental Psychology3
PSYC 407Psychology of the Abnormal3
STAT 314Applications of Statistics 2,34
Social sciences electives (from PSYC, ANTH and/or SOCY)3-6
Total Hours24-27
1

Note that some courses require prerequisites to the listed required courses and have been added to the “additional recommended prerequisite courses” list below. 

2

Depending on the math placement test results, students may need to complete MATH 151MATH 200 or MATH 201 and STAT 212 before enrolling in STAT 314.

3

VCU psychology majors can take PSYC 214 in place of STAT 314 (STAT 210 is a prerequisite for PSYC 214).

Additional recommended prerequisites for occupational therapy schools nationwide

Occupational therapy programs across the U.S. have different prerequisites for admission. The list below shows courses required by various schools beyond the courses listed above for the VCU occupational therapy program requirements. Students should discuss career plans with their pre-professional health adviser for additional guidance.    

CourseTitleHours
BIOL 101
BIOZ 101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
BIOL 151
BIOZ 151
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory I
4
HPEX 250Medical Terminology1-3
PHYS 201General Physics I4
PHIL 201Introduction to Ethics3
SPCH 121Effective Speech3
or SPCH 321 Speech for Business and the Professions

Students should also consult with their pre-professional health advisers to discuss an individual plan of study in parallel with their academic majors.