Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists work with patients with physical, developmmental or emotional challenges, and help them develop, improve and rediscover skills needed for everyday living and working.

OTs use familiar tasks to improve strength, coordination and independence while helping individuals adapt their homes and routines for success. 

Contact Health Professions Advising

Pre-Occupational Therapy Advising Guide

While there is no "pre-occupational therapy major" at the College of Charleston, the following guide - in addition to consultation with your advisor - can help prepare you for your application and potential admission to an occupational therapy program.
  • Undergraduate Preparation/Prerequisites

    Each occupational therapy school establishes its own set of prerequisites. The following lists common prerequisite courses for admission into OT school. Make sure to check with the OT programs that you are most interested in applying to for complete undergraduate requirements.

    • General Biology with labs (8 semester hours)
    • Anatomy and Physiology (8 semester hours)
    • Physics (3 semester hours)
    • Statistics (3 semester hours)
    • Psychology - Lifespan Human Development (3 semester hours)
    • Abnormal Psychology (3 semester hours)
    • Sociology/Anthropology (3 semester hours)
    • Highly Recommended 
      • Medical Terminology
      • CPR Certification


    Most OT schools require at least 30 occupational therapy observation hours with a licensed occcupational therapist. Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) requires 15 hours. Always check the schools you are most interested in applying to for the most current requirements.

    View Catalog Course Descriptions
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

    The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized examination required by most U.S. Physical Therapy Schools.

    The test covers basic mathematics and reading comprehension skills and is designed measure your general academic ability including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, quantitative reasoning and communication skills.

    The GRE consists of five sections.

    • Analytical Writing (One section)
    • Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)
    • Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)
    Learn More on the GRE
  • Timeline

    First Year

    • Declare your major. Identify yourself as a pre-health profession student on the major declaration form.
    • Make an appointment/get to know your advisors. Discuss your academic game plan. Check in regularly to discuss your academic progress.
    • Begin taking your basic science courses. 
    • Join a student organization (Occupational and Physical Therapy Alliance (OPTA)
    • Start OT Observing/Shadowing, 

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue with your sequence of courses.
    • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (shadowing, service, volunteer). Consider leadership positions in these groups.
    • Visit your professors during office hours (You will need letters of recommendation).
    • Visit Health Professions Advising to begin assessing competitiveness.
    • Identify the OT programs that you want to apply to. 

    Junior Year

    • Talk to your advisor about competitiveness.
    • Register for the GRE (Fall). Don't miss the deadlines!
    • Study and take the GRE (Spring/Summer).
    • Identify three to four individuals to write letters of recommendation (Spring).
    • Complete and submit your application OTCAS (Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service) (Spring/Summer). 
    • Continue engaging in activities. 

    Senior Year

    • Meet with your advisor.
    • Get a degree audit and apply for graduation.
    • Ensure your application materials are organized and submitted within the deadlines (earlier is always better).
    • Prepare for interviews (if applicable).
    • Explore sources for financial aid.
    • Send updated transcripts directly to the schools to which you applied (Spring).
    • Discuss alternative plans with your advisor if necessary.
    • Finish your degree requirements and graduate.