May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Occupational Therapy, M.O.T.

Graduate Program Director: Rachelle Dorne
Phone: (540) 568-2399

About the Program

The Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) program is full-time and designed to prepare students for professional entry-level practice with clients across the lifespan in current and emerging practice settings.

The program anticipates admitting one cohort of 24 students each year. Classes typically begin in early June after orientation. The program is two and a half years long, with two years of coursework including Level I fieldworks. Completion of the comprehensive competency exam is followed by six months of full-time Level II fieldwork, culminating in the 2.5 years of the program. Successful completion of 79 graduate credits and all associated program and university responsibilities will fulfill the requirements to earn the M.O.T. degree.

The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.


This program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please refer to the JMU Professional Licensure Program Status by Jurisdiction Index to determine if this JMU program meets the educational requirements specified by the associated licensing or certification agency in the state or territory in which you are located and other states and territories. Requirements vary by state and are subject to change. The information provided is current as of the review date indicated in the table.

Admission Requirements

One cohort begins classes each year in the summer. The admission process is competitive and the program receives more qualified applicants than 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 MOT program. The program does not accept transfer of credits from other occupational therapy programs.

The MOT program offers two decision options for applicants: early (fall) and regular (spring) decisions. Information about those options and instructions for applying to the MOT program are available on the Admissions Overview webpage.

Check for updates to the Master of Occupational Therapy program website for current information.

To be considered for admission to the MOT program, all prospective students must:

  • Meet all JMU Graduate School requirements.
  • Submit all application materials electronically by the program’s deadline.
  • Demonstrate proficiency communicating (verbal and written) in English. If the applicant completed course work internationally, they must submit an official copy of the TOEFL or IELTS verification. Please see the International Admissions website for details.
  • Submit all final college or university transcripts to the JMU Graduate School at time of enrollment.
  • Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited university and complete all prerequisites by May 31.
  • Demonstrate a history of strong academic performance. The program gives preference to applicants with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
  • Complete the anatomy and physiology course(s), or separate anatomy and physiology courses with a minimum grade of “B-” (2.7 on a 4-point scale). All other prerequisite courses must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” (2.0).
  • Complete and submit verification of at least 20 shadowing hours under the suerpvision by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant; or complete verification of at least 10 shawdowing hours that are combined with an online observation experience, with rationale provided.
  • Complete a video essay up to 4 minutes long addressing program-specific questions and submit to the JMU program. 
  • Perform the essential functions required of occupational therapists that are listed in the MOT Program Technical Standards. Should an applicant have questions prior to applying, they should contact the occupational therapy program directly at
  • Have a portable computer or tablet with a keyboard, a web-camera, microphone, wireless card and consistent access to a stable internet connection. Experience with word processing and presentation software (e.g., Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Google Docs or Slides) is highly recommended.
  • Please see the MOT Admission Requirements webpage for more details about the above requirements. 

The JMU MOT program is a graduate-level, clinical program. Based on Code of Virginia § 23.1-407.1, the James Madison University Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program will not deny admission to any applicant solely on the basis of criminal history. However, for any applicant who has been admitted, but not yet enrolled, the MOT program may inquire about the applicant’s criminal history. The MOT Program may subsequently withdraw an offer of admission to anyone who James Madison University determines “to have a criminal history that poses a threat to the institution’s community.” Therefore, a criminal background and sexual offender check must be completed for everyone who has been offered admission to the JMU MOT program. These checks must be completed prior to enrollment. 

Additional criminal background and sexual offender checks will be required later in the program, just prior to the start of Level I fieldwork. The student must comply with these additional checks to remain in good standing within the program and before clinical placements occur. The cost of these background checks will be the sole responsibility of the student. Additionally, the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy conducts a background check on individuals applying to take the board examination. This is called an Early Determination Review.

Application Process

For a live interactive presentation of the MOT admissions requirements, application processes and the program, we recommend that applicants attend a virtual information session. The schedule and other details for registering 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.

The entire application, including the four parts listed below must be completed by December 1st to be considered for admission to the MOT program.

Part One: Application to the JMU Graduate School

All applicants must submit an application and fee to the JMU Graduate School. For information about this application process, see The Graduate School.

After completing the Graduate School application, applicants must download the document and save it as a PDF file. Applicants should not submit letters of recommendation, transcripts or other documents in the Graduate School application.

Part Two: Application to the MOT program in OTCAS

All applicants must completed an application to the MOT program through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) by December 1. OTCAS includes the personal statement and evaluations for all programs. In OTCAS, applicants will be required to submit requests for evaluations from individuals with whom they have had contact for a sustained period of time. The program requires three evaluations from individuals such as university professors, employers or supervisors, or health care professionals who have observed you working or volunteering in a practice environment. Recommendations from occupational therapists and/or occupational therapy assistants are encouraged. Recommendations from friends or family members are highly discouraged. For consideration by the MOT program, the online application must be verified by OTCAS by January 10.

The MOT programs requires applicants to upload the following additional information in the Program “Documents” section in OTCAS for JMU: the PDF of the JMU Graduate School application, unofficial transcripts, and forms verifying completion of occupational therapy practice shadowing hours. Applicants may upload course descriptions when the title of the course does not clearly indicate the course content for prerequisites.

For more information, please see MOT Admission.

Part Three: Submit a video essay to the MOT program.

Applicants must submit a link to a brief (four minutes or less) video essay in YouTube by email to the MOT program at by December 1. See How to Apply for details about submission of the video essay.

Part Four: Finalize the application

By January 10, applicants with remaining prerequisites should email the following to

  • Unofficial transcripts with updated completed fall prerequisite course grades
  • Unofficial transcripts showing proof of spring enrollment in any remaining prerequisites
  • Applicants should be familiar with the tuition, fees and cost of living for attending the MOT program at JMU. For information about program costs, see Program Costs and Tuition. For additional information about graduate assistantships, contact the JMU Graduate School and Financial Aid Office.

Prerequisite Courses and Related Policies

Applicants must earn an undergraduate degree by May 31 prior to the start of the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program. No prerequisite courses may be taken during the program. All prerequisite courses must be completed within 7 years of the program start date at a regionally accredited college/university level. The program does not accept high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses, courses taken through the College Level Examination Program, completion of departmental or school examinations, or experiential learning (i.e., work experience) as meeting the prerequisite requirements.
  • Applicants may be enrolled in a maximum of three prerequisite courses during the spring semester prior to the start of the MOT program. The courses must be completed by the end of spring semester prior to enrollment in teh MOT program.
  • The transfer guide for all Virginia Community College System Equivalents [VCCS] courses that will transfer into JMU can be found at
  • Check for updates to the MOT program website for current information.

Prerequisite Courses

JMU Course Equivalents**

Required Credits

Human Physiology* and Human Anatomy w/Lab* or Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, with Labs

Must include human models:

BIO 270 + L - Human Physiology + Lab [4]

BIO 290 + L - Human Anatomy + Lab [4]

3-4 credits for each course

7-8 credits total

Social Sciences and Humanities

(may include courses in sociology, social psychology, anthropology, diversity, ethics 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

3 credits for each course

6 credits total

Biomechanics or Physics

(inclusion of a lab is preferred)

Any one of the following:

HTH 441 - Rehabilitative Biomechanics [3] or

KIN 306 + L - Human Biomechanics + Lab [4] or

KIN 407 - Rehab Biomechanics [3] or

PHYS 140 + L - College Physics + Lab [4]

3-4 credits total

(4 is preferred)


Either one of the following:

HTH 320 - Statistical Methods for Health Science Research

MATH 220 - Elementary Statistics

3 credits

Lifespan Development

[must cover the lifespan of a human from birth to death. Students may complete more than one course to complete this prerequisite]

PSYC 160 - Life Span Human Development [3]

3-6 credits total

Abnormal Psychology

PSYC 250 - Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

3 credits

Medical Terminology

[college credit course]

HTH 210 - Medical Terminology

1-3 credits


*Human Physiology & Anatomy courses and Anatomy courses must be completed with a minimum grade of “B-.” Applicants must earn a minimum grade of “C” in all other coursework. A grade of “C-” does not meet this requirement. The program will accept online (virtual) labs for anatomy – and anatomy and physiology – courses completed from Spring 2020 through Spring semester 2022, that otherwise meet our requirements. Anatomy labs taken after Spring 2022 must be in person.

**JMU course numbers and prefixes are only listed as examples for references purposes. Applicants from other colleges or universitis may check the JMU undergraduate catalog to see JMU course descriptions to help them determine the fit of their courses with the program requirements.

For additional information, contact the Occupational Therapy program office at

Application Evaluation Criteria

Candidate applications are evaluated through a holistic process that includes academic and non-academic factors. The following sources are considered:

  • Evidence of academic preparation (overall GPA, prerequisite GPA)
  • Personal statement (in OTCAS) that demonstrates the applicants’ communication skills and analysis of how they will contribute to OT and JMU
  • Video essay (see program website for details) that supportds their understanding of occupational therapy and the JMU program.
  • Evaluations supporting the applicants’ future success in the OT program
  • Completed verification of shadowing hours of in-person occupational therapy practice. If virtual hours are used to supplement in-person shadowing, additional documentation must be uploaded. See program website for details.
  • Fit with the program mission and goals

If you are offered admission to the MOT program, you must send all final official college or university transcripts to the JMU Graduate School by May 31.


Through engaged learning, advocacy, competency-focused education, community partnerships and scholarship, graduates of JMU’s MOT program promote health and well-being through the therapeutic use of occupations and the transformation of environmental factors. Each graduate will:

  • Demonstrate the distinct value of occupation to promote health, wellness and quality of life with people, groups and populations. 

  • Employ competent professional skills and knowledge for practice in current and emerging settings throughout the lifespan.

  • Exemplify professional attitudes and behaviors indicative of the Occupational Therapy Core Values and the Code of Conduct. 

  • Articulate theory, data and evidence in professional reasoning to communicate the value of occupational therapy services to various stakeholders and professionals. 

  • Advocate and serve regionally to promote health, equity, sustainable change and increased capacity for resilience.

  • Engage with national and international professional literature for evidence-based practice, lifelong learning and scholarly endeavors. 

Occupational therapists work collaboratively with persons, groups and populations whose ability or access to participate in meaningful occupations is disrupted or delayed 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 contexts to grow, thrive, develop identity, fulfill roles and give lives purpose. Based on the centuries-old belief that there is health in doing, active client-centered engagement in occupation 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, government agencies, industries and at colleges or universities as faculty.

Program Policies

To protect the community, incoming JMU students are required to submit proof of vaccinations for certain conditions. For further information, visit the University Health Center—Incoming Students webpage. The program maintains additional requirements for students to comply with placement contracts.

Students must complete CPR [American Heart Association] training prior to starting Level I fieldwork and maintain active credentials. Students are required to obtain malpractice insurance for some sites. Additional documentation requirements are shared with admitted students during program orientation.

Academic Standards: Satisfactory progress for graduate students enrolled in the occupational therapy program is defined as earning a minimum 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: Students admitted into the MOT program must abide by and uphold professional and ethical codes of conduct. These include the JMU Honor Code and the NBCOT Code of Conduct.

Scheduling: The MOT curriculum is designed for full-time enrollment in person, on campus. The courses must be taken in the sequence and semester assigned. Exceptions are rare and are made at the discretion of the OT Program Director.

Experiential Learning and Fieldworks: Experiential learning occurs through formal and informal engagement in the community associated with course requirements, fieldworks and volunteer experiences that help to build competence and confidence for future work as an occupational therapy practitioner.

Fieldworks are assigned at the discretion of the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Students are responsible for additional costs that may be required such as transportation, housing, uniforms and other site-specific requirements. Many fieldwork placements require proof of health insurance.

Two types of fieldwork are completed in the OT 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 fieldworks 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). Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of didactic course work.
  • It is imperative to understand that if a background or sexual offender check reveals a criminal history, it is possible that the student may not be able to be placed at certain fieldwork sites. The program will do its best to place the student at alternative sites; however, it is possible that program completion would be in jeopardy if all fieldwork cannot be completed.

Accreditation and Certification

The occupational therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’S telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is

Occupational therapy students and practitioners must uphold professional codes of conduct. See the AOTA Code of Ethics.

Graduates of this ACOTE-accredited program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination or attain state licensure. For more information, please visit NBCOT Character Review and NBCOT Professional Conduct.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
One Bank Street, Suite 300
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Phone: (301) 990-7979

Students are advised to check the licensing requirements for each state in which they wish to practice. The licensing and regulatory authority in Virginia is the Virginia Board of Medicine-Department of Health Professions. For more information about licensure, please visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website.

Virginia Board of Medicine
Occupational Therapy Advisory Board
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, Virginia 23233-1463
Phone: (804) 367-4600

Curriculum Overview

Total: 8 Credit Hours

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 14 Credit Hours

Total: 6 Credit Hours

Total: 12 Credit Hours

Total: 10 Credit Hours

Total: 7 Credit Hours

Fall: Year Three

Total: 9 Credit Hours


Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of didactic course work.

Total: 79 Credit Hours