Graduate Program Director: Dr. Rachelle Dorne
Phone: (540) 568-2399
About the Program
The Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) is a full-time program designed to prepare students for professional entry-level practice with clients across the lifespan in current and emerging practice settings. The Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, Md 20814- 3449. ACOTE's telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.
One cohort of 24 students is admitted each year. Classes typically begin in June. The program is 2.5 years long, with 2 years of coursework complemented by Level I fieldwork and followed by six months of full-time Level II fieldwork. Successful completion of 79 graduate credits and all associated program and university responsibilities will fulfill the requirements to earn the M.O.T. degree.
Students are admitted once a year each summer. The admission process is very competitive, and the program receives more qualified applicants that can be accepted in any given year. Completion of required prerequisite courses and/or meeting the minimum GPA requirements does NOT guarantee admission to the Occupational Therapy Program.
For an overview of the MOT admissions requirements, application processes and the program, we recommend that applicants attend a virtual information session. The schedule and location for information sessions are described on the Attend an Information Session page.
Check for updates to the Master of Occupational Therapy program website for current information.
To be considered for admission to the OT program, all prospective students must:
- Earn a bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited university by May 31. Note: Applicants may be enrolled in or plan to complete prerequisite courses at the time of application, however, applicants may have no more than 3 outstanding prerequisite courses in the spring prior to their desired matriculation. All prerequisites must be completed by May 31 of the year of matriculation.
- Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
- Meet all prerequisite course requirements with a grade of "C" (2.0) or higher in the courses noted below. For the anatomy and physiology course(s), the grade earned must be at least a grade of "B-" (2.7 on a 4-point scale).
- Submit all application materials electronically by the program's deadline.
- Complete and submit verification of at least forty (40) observation hours with supervision by an occupational therapist.
- Complete and submit a video essay addressing program-specific questions.
- Demonstrate proficiency communicating (verbal and written) in English. If the applicant completed course work internationally, they must submit and official copy of the TOEFL or IELTS verification. Please see the International Admissions website for details.
- Demonstrate the ability to perform the essential functions required of occupational therapists that are listed in the program technical standards. Should an applicant have questions prior to applying, they should contact the occupational therapy program directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Occupational Therapy program does not require a criminal record background check for admission. However, to assure that students are safe and trustworthy in fieldwork and practice, the program mandates that all admitted students complete an initial Virginia criminal history record check and drug screen no later than October 1 of the first year in the program. Updates may be required for participation at specific fieldwork settings.
Additionally, students and applicants should be advised that regulatory boards such as the NBCOT or state licensing boards require criminal record background checks as part of the credentialing process. It is highly recommended that applicants with any reported offenses complete an early determination character review through the NBCOT. Please go to www.nbcot.org for additional information.
The application process has three separate parts: (1) The JMU Graduate School, (2) Application through OTCAS and submission of the video essay and (3) submission of final transcripts.
Application to The JMU Graduate School, OTCAS and submission of the video essay must be submitted by December 1st to be considered for admission.
Part One: Application and admission to the JMU Graduate School
All applicants must submit an application and fee to and be admitted to the JMU Graduate School. For information about this application process, see The Graduate School.
After completing the Graduate School application, download the document and save it as a PDF file.
Applicants do NOT need to submit letters of recommendations or transcripts with the Graduate School application.
Part Two: Application to the OT program
All applicants must also apply to the OT program through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) by December 1. For consideration by the OT program, the online application must be verified by OTCAS by January 15.
A complete and verified OTCAS application contains all required information including the uploaded JMU Graduate School application, transcripts, volunteer hours, and evaluations. In OTCAS, applicants will be required to submit requests for three evaluations from individuals with whom they have had contact for sustained period of time, such as university professors, employers/supervisors, health care professionals, and others. These requests will require the email address of the person who will be completing the reference. Recommendation from friends or family members are highly discouraged.
Applicants must upload the following in the "Documents" section in OTCAS for JMU:
Applicants must email the JMU video essay to the OT program at email@example.com by December 1.
Part Three: Submission of unofficial transcripts, for those still enrolled in prerequisites
By January 15, applicants with outstanding prerequisites should submit the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Unofficial transcripts with updated completed fall prerequisite course grades
- Unofficial transcripts showing proof of spring enrollment in any outstanding prerequisites
Applicants should be familiar with the tuition and fees and cost of living associated with attending graduate school. In-state and out-of-state costs differ and are subject to change. For additional information contact the JMU Graduate School and Financial Aid Office.
Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree by May 31. The following courses must be completed within 7 years of the program start date at a regionally accredited college/university level. Completion of high school AP courses does not count toward prerequisites.
- Recommended Research Methods course that includes qualitative and quantitative designs [JMU equivalent HTH 408]
- Applicants may be enrolled in a maximum of three prerequisite courses during the spring semester prior to the start of the Occupational Therapy program. The courses must be completed by the end of spring semester.
- The transfer guide for all Virginia Community College System Equivalents [VCCS] courses that will transfer into JMU can be found at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar/transfer/index.shtml
JMU Course Equivalents**
Human Physiology w/Lab* and Human Anatomy w/Lab* or Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, with Labs
Including human models:
BIO 270 + L - Human Physiology + Lab 
BIO 290 + L - Human Anatomy + Lab 
Social Sciences and Humanities
(may include sociology, anthropology, and/or philosophy)
Any two of the following:
ANTH 195 - Cultural Anthropology
PHIL 150 - Ethical Reasoning
SOCI 140 - Individual in Society
SOCI 110 - Social Issues in a Global Context
Biomechanics or Physics
(inclusion of a lab is preferred)
Any of the following:
HTH 441 - Rehabilitative Biomechanics  or
KIN 306 + L - Human Biomechanics + Lab  or
KIN 407 - Rehab Biomechanics  or
PHYS 140 + L - College Physics + Lab 
(4 is preferred)
Either of the following:
HTH 320 - Statistical Methods for Health Science Research
MATH 220 - Elementary Statistics
[must cover the lifespan of a human from birth to death. Students may have to take more than one course to complete this prerequisite]
PSYC 160 - Life Span Human Development 
PSYC 250 - Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
[college credit course]
HTH 210 - Medical Terminology
*Human Physiology & Anatomy must be completed with a minimum grade of "B-" or higher, and applicants must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all other coursework. A grade of C- does not meet this criterion.
**JMU course numbers and prefixes are listed for reference purposes.
For additional information, contact the Occupational Therapy program office at OTProgram@jmu.edu.
Application Evaluation Criteria
Candidates are evaluated by a thorough review of their application.
- Academic preparation (overall GPA, prerequisite GPA)
- Personal statement (in OTCAS)
- Video essay (see program website for details)
- Completing or exceeding observation hours
- Knowledge of the occupational therapy profession
- Knowledge of and interest in the JMU OT program
If you are offered admission to the OT program, you will need to send original transcripts to the JMU Graduate School prior to beginning classes.
The mission of the Occupational Therapy program is to provide a well-rounded educational experience to students that will prepare them to effectively practice in a variety of service areas within today's health and human service arena. Each graduate will:
- Possess a thorough understanding of the occupation.
- Be able to articulate and demonstrate the theoretical and practical application of occupational therapy.
- Be comfortable and competent working with individuals in a variety of practice settings.
- Be committed to continuous professional growth and the evolution and validation of the profession as human needs change.
- Be able to systematically locate and evaluate available evidence-based literature to formulate assessment and intervention decisions to guide professional practice.
Faculty participating in the program contribute through service and education locally, nationally, and internationally. They maintain high standards of professional knowledge while offering quality education to students.
Occupational therapists work with individuals whose ability to participate in the occupations of life is disrupted or unable to develop due to injury, disease, developmental difficulties or environmental factors. Occupational therapy is a profession formally founded in 1917 with occupation collectively referred to the various activities people engage in throughout their day within their cultural contexts to meet the demands of their environments. Based on the centuries-old belief that there is health in doing, active client-centered participation is both the focus of the profession and its main avenue of intervention.
Occupational therapists work in hospitals (inpatient and outpatient programs), rehabilitation centers, early intervention programs, schools, mental health programs, home health care agencies, industrial medicine/rehabilitation programs, skilled nursing facilities, private practices, correctional facilities, shelters, community-based programs, and at colleges or universities as faculty.
In order to protect vulnerable clients, students will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination or immunity to certain conditions. Many sites require proof of health insurance.
Students will need to complete CPR [American Heart Association] training prior to starting Level I fieldwork and must keep active credentials. Students may be required to obtain malpractice insurance for some sites.
Academic Standards: Satisfactory progress for graduate students enrolled in the occupational therapy program is defined as earning a grade of "B" or 3.0 in all courses. Students who earn a grade of "C" will be referred to the OT program Academic Review Committee. The Graduate School policies also apply.
Adherence to Professional & Ethical Codes of Conduct: As is the case within any professional program, students admitted into the Occupational Therapy program must agree to abide by and uphold professional and ethical codes of conduct. These include the JMU Honor Code and the NBCOT Code of Conduct.
Scheduling: The Occupational Therapy program is carefully designed as a full-time curriculum. The curriculum must be taken in the sequence and semester assigned. Exceptions are extremely rare and are made at the discretion of the OT program Academic Review Committee.
Fieldworks: These are assigned at the discretion of the academic fieldwork coordinator. Students are responsible for additional costs such as transportation and site requirements. Two types of academic fieldwork are completed in the Occupational Therapy Program:
- Level I fieldworks are experiences designed to introduce students to fieldwork, provide opportunities to apply knowledge to practice settings, and help students understand needs of clients (ACOTE, 2018). There are three Level I experiences embedded within the curriculum.
- Level II fieldworks are full time, twelve-week experiences. These experiences are designed to prepare students to be entry-level generalist occupational therapists (ACOTE, 2018).
Students should be advised that successful completion of the OT program does not equate to becoming credentialed as an occupational therapist. To become credentialed as an Occupational Therapist, graduates must be eligible to take the NBCOT exam and meet all criteria for obtaining license in their state of jurisdiction.
Effective December 6, 2013, the Occupational Therapy program was granted full accreditation for a period of ten years (2012/13- 2022/23) by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
ACOTE c/o AOTA
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20824-3449
Phone: (301) 652-2682
Occupational therapists must uphold professional codes of conduct. See the AOTA Code of Ethics.
With full ACOTE accreditation, graduates of the program may be eligible to register to take the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Students should be advised that NBCOT has instituted a formal background check procedure. Go to https://www.nbcot.org/ for additional information.
Satisfactory performance on this exam allows the graduate to become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). This credential is required to apply for licensure at the state level.
Students are advised to check the licensing requirements for OT practice for each state in which you wish to practice. The licensing and regulatory authority in Virginia is the Virginia Board of Medicine-Department of Health Professions.
Prior criminal charges as well as certain issues related to the Code of Conduct and background checks may affect the graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or attain state licensure. Go to NBCOT Professional Conduct for additional information.
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
One Bank Street, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Phone: (301) 990-7979
Virginia Board of Medicine
Occupational Therapy Advisory Board
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, Virginia 23233-1463
Phone: (804) 367-4600