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Grand Valley State University    
2018-2019 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Jul 22, 2019
2018-2019 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Health Professions  section in this catalog.


Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Programs (MSOT)

The occupational therapy (OT) traditional program is a two-year graduate curriculum leading to an entry-level Master of Science degree. The occupational therapy hybrid program is a three-year graduate curriculum that also leads to an entry-level Master of Science degree. Both programs contain the same content, but the traditional program is intended for those students who can take 15 to 16 credits per semester and is totally in-seat, while the hybrid program is intended for students who wish to maintain full-time employment throughout the curriculum and take a reduced credit load of seven to 11 credits per semester.

The occupational therapy graduate curriculum is built around the science of occupation as the core knowledge base, which is predicated upon the assumption that occupational therapists must operate from a common base of knowledge, skills, values, and philosophy. The curriculum is designed to produce professional practitioners and socially conscious citizens who appreciate the unique perspective of individuals and the cultures that influence them, value a democratic perspective of health care and social services delivery, and apply problem-solving, critical thinking, and lifelong learning toward meeting the needs of society.

Incoming freshmen interested in occupational therapy should begin by selecting an undergraduate major in their first year. Suggested majors include allied health sciences, biology, behavioral neuroscience, psychology, or sociology. Although these degrees provide a well-rounded background, any undergraduate major may be selected as long as the required occupational therapy prerequisite courses are completed along with the undergraduate degree before beginning the professional program. Once a selection of major has been made, students should work with the academic advisor from that department and with an occupational therapy program advisor to ensure that all major requirements are completed, along with the required prerequisite courses. All of these required prerequisite courses must be taken for a letter grade. Students may apply for admittance to the occupational therapy programs during the year in which they attain senior status. All students accepted into the occupational therapy programs must have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning prior to the beginning of the master’s program coursework.

Admission to the occupational therapy graduate programs is competitive. Maximum traditional class size is 40; the maximum class size for the hybrid program is 20. For the traditional program, the candidates are ranked on a total score basis and our top 40 candidates (minus early admits from GVSU, CMU, U of M, and Hope and deferrals) are sent a letter offering them seats in the program. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one for one in rank order if any of the original 40 candidates decline admission. For the hybrid program, candidates are also ranked on a total score basis and the top 20 candidates are sent a letter offering seats in the program. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one for one in rank order if any of the original 20 candidates decline admission.

Admission decisions will be made in the first and second semesters of the calendar year. Once enrolled in one of the occupational therapy programs, students will take professional courses in individual and group interventions, clinical reasoning, occupational therapy theory and practice, advanced professional issues, and research.

All courses taken with the occupational therapy program must be taken for an earned letter grade, excluding fieldwork and research courses, unless otherwise specified by the occupational therapy department chair. Degree requirements include a final research project or thesis, three level I fieldwork assignments (60 to 80 hours each), and two full-time level II fieldwork assignments (480 hours each). The level II fieldwork assignments may be local or they may be in other areas of the country. It is important to note that level II fieldwork assignments must be completed within 24 months of completion of the didactic curriculum. Part-time level II fieldwork assignments are available if circumstances warrant.

MSOT Candidate Information

A new class enters each year in late August. The traditional program admits 40 students per year. The hybrid program admits 20 students per year. By the application deadline, all candidates must have completed at least nine credit hours of the prerequisite requirements (the elective and statistics course do not count toward this total) and at least 50 hours of volunteer experience with a licensed OTR.

The application deadline is January 15 of the year you will be starting the program. There are two phases to the admission process. 

Phase I includes a review of the following:

  • Prerequisite GPA
  • GPA in last 60 credit hours earned
  • Achievement Profile form (minimum score of 8.0)
  • Two recommendation forms (one from a professor or employer if degree is already completed and one from an OT you have volunteered with)
  • Documentation of OT Experience form(s)

Phase II includes the following:

  • An individual interview with a faculty member
  • A 1½-hour writing exercise

All eligible candidates will be invited to take part in the interview and writing exercise. Phase II is typically conducted in late February to mid-March; all candidates are notified of the admission decisions by late March or early April.  


Many students who are admitted to the program are psychology majors. However, we have students who have degrees in behavioral sciences, health sciences, sociology, social work, anthropology, therapeutic recreation, and kinesiology. These are all excellent degrees that provide a solid background for occupational therapy. As long as the prerequisite courses are completed, the undergraduate degree may be in any field. We have had students with business, art, and information technology degrees, to name a few others.


The Prerequisite GPA Calculation Form details the prerequisite course requirements for the program and allows you to document your progress. 

If you have any questions regarding the prerequisites, you may contact the College of Health Professions (CHP) Student Services office at The OT program Admissions Committee must approve any prerequisite not posted on or The OT program accepts prerequisite courses that have been taken at accredited community colleges and/or universities. All non-GVSU prerequisite courses not found in either of these guides should be first reviewed by a Student Services advisor; a member of the OT program Admissions Committee may be consulted to ensure the course meets admissions standards. It is better to ask questions and have the prerequisite course reviewed/approved prior to your enrollment in the course. This will avoid potential barriers in the admission process.

Some of the prerequisites might be available through Michigan Colleges Online at

Course Equivalencies

Courses that fulfill GVSU’s OT prerequisites for all Michigan four-year colleges/universities are located on the OT webpage under Prospective Students. 

Course equivalencies for all Michigan four-year colleges/universities and community colleges can be found on the GVSU Registrar’s at webpage; click on Additional Resources; click on Course Equivalencies:

Once you get to the webpage:

  • Select a college or university
  • Use “CTRL F” to locate specific course equivalency
  • This will bring you to the GVSU course (right side) and equivalent from designated school (left side)

GPA Requirements

At a minimum, each candidate must have at least a 3.0 GPA average in the last 60 hours of coursework completed prior to the application. Additionally, each candidate must have at least a 3.0 GPA average in the prerequisite coursework with no individual course below a C. If a student elects to repeat a course, the program will use the higher grade of the two courses in the prerequisite GPA calculation. The program does not consider courses that have been repeated more than once. The OT program Admissions Committee will not review applications with GPA scores lower than 3.0 in either category.

Five-year Prerequisite Requirement

Note: All prerequisites must have been completed within five years of the year of application. 

Competitive GPA

To be most competitive for admission, a candidate should have a prerequisite GPA in the 3.6-3.8 range and a last-60-hour GPA in the 3.6-3.8 range. It is very difficult to gain admission to the program with a last-60-hour GPA and prerequisite GPA of between 3.0-3.3.

Grades account for approximately 30 percent of the total consideration for admission to the program. The GVSU admissions process looks at multiple factors besides grades for admission.

Application Process to the MSOT Programs

A candidate can only apply to one program, either the traditional or hybrid program, each year and must indicate either the traditional or hybrid program on the graduate application. Maximum class size for the traditional program is 40 and for the hybrid program is 20. 

Admission to either program within the occupational science and therapy department first requires completion of the Grand Valley State University graduate application, regardless of previous college attended. Candidates must complete all prerequisite courses and earn a bachelor’s degree prior to entering the program. There will be no waivers or exceptions to this policy.

Completed applications should be submitted by January 15 for both traditional and hybrid programs. All paper application forms and supplemental application materials should be mailed to the Admissions Office, 1 Campus Dr., Allendale, MI 49401. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that all application materials are received and processed by Admissions by the January 15 deadline.

International student applicants should be able to communicate effectively in English and submit the following materials:

  • Original or certified original transcripts
  • Written TOEFL score minimum of 550; Minimum IELTS score of 6.5
  • Official transcript credential evaluation (e.g., WES, ECE)

For further details, please read:

  • Candidate Information Sheet
  • GVSU Department of Occupational Science and Therapy technical standards to ensure they are capable of meeting the requirements of the program prior to applying
  • Admissions Policy 

Application Process

The GVSU Admissions Office must receive the following documents for your application to be complete. Applicant must:

  1. Complete The Graduate School application online.
  2. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended through the fall semester prior to January 15 deadline. Students are responsible for sending official transcripts at the end of each semester for proof of completion of prerequisites and if admitted to the program, to demonstrate progress toward or completion of a bachelor’s degree.
  3. Submit two recommendation forms within your online graduate application; One must be from an OTR and one must be from a professor or an employer if your degree is already completed
  4. Complete the Prerequisite GPA Calculation form
    1. At least nine credit hours of prerequisites must be completed at the time of application. The elective and the statistics course are not included in this requirement. Each individual prerequisite course must be completed with a grade of C or better.
    2. GPA scores for the prerequisite courses and for the last 60 hours must both be at or above 3.0
    3. A plan for completion of prerequisites that are not fulfilled at the time of application must also be included in the Prerequisite GPA Calculation form.
    4. Mail the Prerequisite GPA Calculation Form​ and all supplemental materials to the Admissions Office, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401.
  5. Complete the Achievement Profile Form detailing student accomplishments that reflect the core values of the program. 
    1. Mail the Achievement Profile Form​ and all supplemental materials to the Admissions Office, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401
  6. Complete the Documentation of OT Experience Form detailing minimum of 50 hours under the supervision of an occupational therapist. All hours must be included. A minimum of 50 hours must be completed for an application to be considered complete. Volunteer hours accrued outside the United States will only account for a maximum of 25 of the required 50 hours.  
    1. Mail the Documentation of OT Experience Form and all supplemental materials to the Admissions Office, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401

After the application deadline, the OT Admissions Committee will meet to review all completed applications. The top 60 for the traditional program and the top 40 for the hybrid program will be invited to the next step of the application process.

Next Step

  1. An interview and an onsite writing sample
  2. Candidates are ranked on a total score basis
  3. Traditional Program: The top 40 candidates (minus early admits from Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, and Hope College) are sent a letter offering them seats in the program. Candidates are asked to provide a written reply within a two week deadline. The balance of candidates are considered alternates for admission and are ranked according to total score. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one-for-one in rank order if any of the original 40 candidates declines admission.
  4. Hybrid Program: The top 20 candidates (minus early admits from Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, and Hope College) are sent a letter offering them seats in the program. They are asked to provide a written reply within a two week deadline. The balance of candidates are considered alternates for admission and are ranked according to total score. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one-for-one in rank order if any of the original 20 candidates declines admission.
  5. Candidates who are not selected are informed once each cohort is filled and are welcome to request a meeting with a member of the OT Admissions Committee to discuss their application. This advising session is recorded and placed in the candidate’s program file for future reference.
  6. Candidates who are not selected may reapply the following year.

Prerequisite Courses 

Prerequisite Course Name

GVSU Course Equivalent

Anatomy and Physiology Sequence A or

BMS 208 AND BMS 290


Anatomy and Physiology Sequence B

BMS 250 AND BMS 251


MOV 300


PSY 303

Lifespan Developmental Psychology

PSY 364

One of the following:

Foundations of Behavioral Neuroscience






PSY 330


PSY 431


BMS 427

Intro to Statistics

STA 215

One elective from psychology, sociology, anthropology, public health, or related field (200-level or higher)


MSOT Degree Requirements

Completion of 81 to 82 credits in the professional curriculum is required for the master’s degree in occupational therapy. General graduate academic policies can be found in the Grand Valley State University Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog. General university degree requirements are in the Academic Regulations section of the catalog and the requirements for undergraduate majors are in the Academic Programs section.

Because the occupational therapy program prepares students to practice in a variety of settings, the department assumes the responsibility to assure the public that our students have met high standards of professional behavior, academic achievement, and consistent evidence of response to consumer needs. Criminal background checks and drug screens may be required prior to participation in certain clinical experiences. The cost of this evaluation is the responsibility of the student.

The program requires that students attain a minimum of 84 percent competency in each course. This requirement is reflected in each course syllabus across the professional curriculum.

Sample Curriculum for Traditional Program

Traditional Program

Fall I

Winter I

Spring/Summer I

Fall II

Winter II

Spring/Summer II


Sample Curriculum for Hybrid Delivery Model
Fall I Winter I Spring/Summer I
OST 502     3 credits OST 503           3 credits IPE 507    2 credits
OST 551     3 credits OST 505           3 credits OST 555   3 credits
OST 552    3 credits OST 553           2 credits PA 535      3 credits
  STA 610           3 credits  
TOTAL: 9 credits TOTAL: 11 credits TOTAL: 8 credits


Fall II Winter II Spring/Summer II
OST 557         2 credits OST 558/559     4 credits OST 571/572     6 credits
OST 561/562  5 credits OST 564            2 credits OST 573            1 credits
OST 563         1 credits OST 565            3 credits OST 568           1 credits
Total: 8 credits Total:  9 credits Total: 8 credits


Fall III Winter III Spring/Summer III
OST 651/652     6 credits OST 660 (FW)     9 credits OST 661 (FW)     9 credits
OST 653           1 credit   OST 698              1 credit
OST 693/695   2/3 credits    
Total: 9/10 credits Total:  9 credits Total: 10 credits
    Total Credits: 81 to 82 credits


Occupational Therapy Traditional and Hybrid Programs

Research Sequence

  • OST 557
  • OST 564 - Prerequisite: OST 557
  • OST 568 - Prerequisite: OST 564
  • OST 693 or OST 695 - Prerequisite: OST 568 and STA 610


Core Content Sequence

  • OST 551
  • OST 561 - Prerequisites: OST 551 and 502; Corequisites: OST 652 and 653
  • OST 571 - Prerequisite: OST 561; Corequisites: OST 572 and 573
  • OST 651 - Prerequisite: OST 571; Corequisites: OST 652 and 653


  • OST 552
  • OST 562 - Prerequisites: 552 and 502; Corequisites: OST 561 and 563
  • OST 572 - Prerequisite: 562; Corequisites: 571 and 573
  • OST 652 - Prerequisite: 572; Corequisites: 651 and 653


  • OST 551 and 552
  • OST 558 - Prerequisite: OST 551; Corequisite: OST 559
  • OST 559 - Prerequisite: OST 552; Corequisite: OST 558


  • OST 553
  • OST 563 - Prerequisite: 553; Corequisites: 561 and 562
  • OST 573 - Prerequisite: 563; Corequisites: 571 and 572
  • OST 653 - Prerequisite: 573; Corequisites: 651 and 652
  • OST 660 - Prerequisite: OST 558, 559, 651, 652, 653, either 693 or 695


  • OST 661 - Prerequisite: OST 660

Occupational Science and Therapy Program Description

Click here for the program description.