What is Pre-Occupational Therapy?         

Pre-Occupational Therapy (pre-OT) is not a major and does not lead to a degree from NDSU. Students preparing for Occupational Therapy should choose a major they enjoy that allows a student to complete the necessary pre-requisite courses to prepare for admission to a professional graduate progam. Beginning 2027, a Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy will be the entry-level education requirement to practice.

What do Occupational Therapists do?

Occupational therapists, sometimes referred to as simply OTs, are healthcare professionals who help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. They work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling condition.

What type of education is required?                      

Occupational Therapy programs require approximately two years of undergraduate coursework.

What should I major in at NDSU, if I want to go to occupational therapy school?

Please be aware that pre-OT is not a major.  Students typically complete the prerequisites (with grades with a grade of C or higher) and transfer to an occupational therapy program at a school of their interest.

Coursework required for most schools*

  • Three semesters of Psychology- PSYC 111 (Introduction to Psychology), PSYC 250 (Developmental Psychology), PSYC 270 (Abnormal Psychology)
  • Two semesters of Human Anatomy & Physiology- BIOL 220/L, BIOL 221/L
  • One semester of Biology- BIO 150/L
  • One semester of Chemistry- CHEM 121/L
  • Three semesters of English - ENGL 110, ENGL 120 and upper division writing course (ENGL 324)
  • Public Speaking - COMM 110
  • Statistics- STAT 330
  • Humanities or Fine arts

* Although this coursework will meet the requirements for some schools, students should research the prerequisites of the schools to which they hope to apply.

What do Occupational Therapy schools look for in applicants?

  • Cumulative GPA
  • True interest in profession as demonstrated by shadowing or volunteering in the field
  • Service-related experiences in people-oriented environments
  • Letters of recommendation.


Applicants should consider volunteering at a local hospital or clinic to gain practical experience in occupational therapy. Applicants must have experience working or volunteering with people who have mental, physical, or developmental disabilities to demonstrate their interest in and understanding of the field. Observation or work in at least two different types of OT settings is recommended. One experience should be extensive (at least 40 hours) with an occupational therapist. Three letters of recommendation, at least one from an occupational therapist, are required. A well-rounded sampling of extra-curricular activities or work experiences, both related and unrelated to medicine, will help broaden an applicant's knowledge and development.

Pre-OT students are encouraged to participate in student organizations at NDSU such as the American Medical Student Association and Allied Health (AMSA). These organizations are run by students with similar career goals and provide an opportunity for others to discuss career plans and gather details about the professions they are interested in.

The Application Process

Students who wish to make application to an occupational therapy program should do so through the website of the respective program. OTCAS is a centralized application service designed to facilitate the application process for the participating OT programs and prospective students. This online application will allow you to create a single application that you can send to one or more of the OT programs participating in the Service.


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