Occupational Therapy

Entry-Level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD)

The entry-Level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) is designed for students with a Bachelor's or Master's degree who want to become licensed occupational therapists.

See Also: SHP Bulletin and Student Handbook

Admissions Requirements

Application Opens: July 18
Program Application Deadline: October 15

To be considered for admission to the Entry-Level Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program, applicants must present official documentation of the following student competencies:

  • Admissions Criteria
    • Bachelor's degree in any area of study from an accredited college/university at the time of matriculation into the OTD program
    • Prerequisite courses completed by the Spring semester before you start the OTD program in the fall. You will not be able to take prerequisite courses during the summer semester
    • At least one (1) Anatomy & Physiology course completed before being accepted to the program
    • Documentation of at least 20 clock hours of observation, volunteer or paid experience in one or more occupational therapy settings prior to the time of application. The applicant must independently locate volunteer settings
    • Three (3) professional recommendations. At least one of these recommendations must be from a supervisor (either an OTR or COTA) during your observation, volunteer or work setting
  • Prerequisite Courses

    Total Credit Hours: 26

    OTD applicants must complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better.

    Prerequisites do not need to be completed by the application deadline. However, if accepted they must be completed by spring semester of the year of enrollment. No prerequisites are offered on the UTMB campus.

    These are the prerequisite courses required of OTD applicants:

    Abnormal Psychology3
    Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab8
    Human Movement or Physics *3
    Lifespan Human Development3
    Neurological Basis for Human Behavior **3
    Statistics or Research Design/Methods3
    Behavioral Sciences ***3


    * Human Movement or Physics - Analysis of Movement, Biomechanics, or Anatomical Kinesiology

    ** Neurological Basis for Human Behavior - Physiology Psychology, Behavioral Neurosciences, Biopsychology, Brain and Behavior, Neuroanatomy, Neurobiology, Neurophysiology, or Neuroscience

    *** Behavioral Sciences - Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Anthropology, or Introduction to Psychology

  • GPA - Grade Point Average
    • Cumulative Minimum: 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
    • Prerequisite Minimum: 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Transcripts
    • Applicants must arrange for OTCAS to receive a sealed official transcript directly from EVERY regionally accredited U.S. institution they have attended. OTCAS does not accept student-issued transcripts or faxed copies. OTCAS considers all application files "incomplete" and does not begin transcript verification until the correct fee and all expected U.S. transcripts are received.
    • OTCAS verifies the authenticity of transcripts by asking the following questions:
      • Does the postmark location on the envelope match the location of the institution?
      • Does the envelope have a pre-printed return address versus no return address or one that is handwritten?
      • Does it appear the envelope was previously opened and resealed?
      • Does the transcript include a raised seal or a seal consistent with transcripts from this institution?
      • Is the transcript printed on security paper?
      • Does the transcript look like other transcripts from the same institution?
      • If not, did the transcript include a letter from the registrar explaining any deviations (out of standard paper, transitioning to new record keeping software, etc)?
      • Are there any misspellings, suspicious formatting, or marks on the transcript?
    • OTCAS will contact the applicant and the institution register regarding any suspicious transcripts.
    • Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the OTCAS transcript request form for every regionally accredited U.S. institution attended. The applicant's name, OTCAS ID number, and the name of the college/university attended automatically appear on the bar-coded form.
    • Applicants should verify they are submitting the correct transcript request form to the appropriate college or university. This bar-coded form helps OTCAS to properly match the applicant's official transcripts to the appropriate OTCAS application. Applicants should advise the Registrar's Office to enclose the OTCAS Transcript Request Form with the official sealed transcript and mail it directly to OTCAS. OTCAS accepts transcripts that arrive without the form. If the applicant's current name differs from the name listed on the transcript, the applicant is instructed to include both names on the transcript request form.
    • OTCAS instructs applicants to arrange for OTCAS to receive all official transcripts by the earliest application deadline date set by their designated programs. OTCAS does not enforce transcript deadlines. The service accepts transcripts received after the institutional deadline has passed.
  • References
    • Evaluators must submit ONLY electronic references directly to OTCAS. Paper references are not accepted.
    • Applicants may enter up to five (5) evaluator names on the OTCAS application.
    • Applicants should alert evaluators to watch for an automated email from OTCAS with the subject "OTCAS Reference Request". Some email filters may interpret OTCAS emails as "spam" and automatically delete or route them to a "junk" or "spam" folder. If the evaluator is unresponsive, then the applicant can delete the particular evaluator from the Reference section and request a new reference by entering a new evaluator on the application.
    • If one or more of the applicant's evaluators is unresponsive or declines an invitation to submit a letter of reference, the applicant may edit the list of evaluators on the OTCAS application before or after it is e-submitted to OTCAS. Applicants cannot make edits to an evaluator's information once the reference is received.
  • Fees
    • The guiding principle for establishing the OTCAS application fees is to cover the operational and administrative expenses associated with the CAS and to minimize the financial burden on applicants.
    • Fees are subject to change:
      • Base fee for one OTCAS application: $125
      • For each additional OTCAS designation: $45
      • UTMB Supplemental Application Fee: $40
      • UTMB Non-Refundable Enrollment Fee (if accepted): $200 to be credited to first semester enrollment
    • Applicants are encouraged to pay the application fee on-line by credit card as part of the OTCAS Web application. OTCAS accepts VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards. OTCAS accepts credit card payments via the on-line application only, and not by mail, phone or fax. Some applicants may choose, however, to mail a money order payment. Applicants who pay by mail are instructed to use the "OTCAS Payment Form" to facilitate the matching of the payment to the correct OTCAS ID. OTCAS does not begin to verify the application until the correct application fee amount is received.
  • Course Equivalencies for Texas Colleges and Universities

Application Process

  1. Create an account and follow directions listed at the OTCAS website once it opens in mid-July. For more information, visit the OTCAS Applicant Help Center.
  2. Complete and submit your OTCAS application by October 15.
    Note: Your application will be considered incomplete if there is missing information, transcripts and/or documentation by the published deadlines, and will not be processed because of the volume of applications received.
  3. Submit all official transcripts from each college and university that you have attended directly to OTCAS.
  4. Pay appropriate fees to OTCAS (varies).
  5. After your OTCAS application is in the verified status, OTCAS will submit your application to UTMB and then UTMB will send an email to the applicant with the link for the supplemental application ($40).
  6. UTMB Enrollment Services will process your prerequisites and submit your application to the department for admission review. Once received, applicants will be given a UTMB ID number to access MyStar.
  7. Top candidates will be invited for an individual interview, a group interview, and meet with current OT students at the UTMB campus. No telephone or Skype interviews will be offered. Applicants must attend in person.


The entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program includes both didactic and clinical courses totaling 114 credit hours of coursework over a period of 3 years. Level I Fieldwork is embedded in the first 2 years with Fieldwork Practicums. Level II Fieldwork follows successful completion of all didactic courses with the capstone experience at the end of the 3rd year.

All fieldwork education and doctoral capstone must be completed within 24 months of completion of academic coursework.

  • Program Curriculum

COVID-19 Updates for New Applicants

We have received a number of emails/messages from our applicants and admitted students regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We want you to know we are thinking about you during this time. The University of Texas Medical Branch, School of Health Professions wants to help support our future students impacted by the outbreak.

Please continue to monitor the Occupational Therapy web page for additional updates as they become available.

To see UTMB School of Health Professions latest announcements please feel free to visit our SHP COVID-19 web page for updates.

For University-wide updates on UTMB's COVID-19 information, please visit the UTMB COVID-19 web page.


We will continue accepting student application materials for the Entry-Level Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) up to the official application deadline - October 15.

As soon as you are able to send your documents, please do so.

We are here to help you as you work through the admissions and application process. Please let us know if you have any questions via email at ot.admissions@utmb.edu.

Observation Hours

We understand that fulfilling all parts of the application process may be difficult at this time, so we will remain as flexible as possible with the understanding that you may not be able to fully complete observation hours at this time. Should you not be able to complete the requirement of documentation of at least 20 clock hours of observation, volunteer or paid experience in one or more occupational therapy settings prior to the application deadline date your application will still be accepted for review.

If an applicant is invited to interview and remain unable to complete the required observation hours, applicants will be asked to prepare and provide a short 800-word essay detailing your research on the Occupational Therapy profession and why you would be a good fit for our program.

Recommendation Letters

It is understood that without the observation hours it may be difficult to obtain a letter of recommendation from an OT practitioner. In this case, a third letter of recommendation from another source will be accepted.

Site managed by the School of Health Professions • Last Updated: 15-NOV-2022