Admissions requirements


An earned Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or other Bachelors degree from an accredited college or university.  We accept students from a wide range of studies.  All fields of study are considered appropriate and equal in the admissions process. 


A minimum overall grade-point average in all college courses of 3.0 based on a 4.0 system for recent graduates and a 2.7 overall GPA for applicants whose undergraduate degree was earned five or more years prior. The mean overall GPA for the last class was a 3.59.  Applications with GPAs lower than 3.0 will not be considered (2.7 for those with degree earned 5 years prior).


A minimum grade-point average in prerequisite courses of 3.25 without rounding. However, the mean prerequisite GPA for the last class was a 3.83


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) - Official scores sent by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to OTCAS using the VCU OT Designated Institution Code of 1219Applications with less than the minimum score of a 4.0 (54/56 percentile) on the Analytical Writing Subtest will not be considered.  The highest scores from Verbal and Quantitative are combined, and the highest Analytical Writing score is taken.


VCU Supplemental Information Application and payment of the required application fee. Complete the required information only, which is marked with a red asterisk. There is no need to submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement, or transcripts as part of the VCU Graduate School application. These are submitted through OTCAS.


An OTCAS application including these items:



A personal statement that addresses:



Why you are selecting OT as a career



How an entry level doctoral degree in OT relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals



How your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals



A Value-Added Essay (on the OTCAS VCU Homepage)

Evidence of the minimum of 30 observation hours under the supervision of a licensed OTR or COTA, in a minimum of one setting. OTCAS data fields request specific information about the supervising OTR or COTA, including facility name and address, supervisor name, address, telephone number, email, OT license number and state of license.  Please keep personal records of this information.  This information is subject to verification by VCU.



Three letters of recommendation are required.  A recommendation from an occupational therapist is preferred, but is not essential. Applicants should only ask OT practitioners for a letter if the practitioner knows the applicant sufficiently well to complete the reference fully. Other appropriate references are former college or university professors, academic advisors, employers and other healthcare providers. No personal references will be accepted. Your references will receive an invitation from OTCAS to complete an online rating form that specifically addresses the applicant's motivation, integrity, ability to work well with others, commitment and cultural sensitivity, in addition to commenting on the 10 qualities listed on the rating scale.  All letters of reference go directly to OTCAS.


Eight prerequisite courses (26 semester credit hours) for VCU selected

    PLEASE NOTE: Prerequisite course credit for advanced placement courses or other learning or work experiences are not accepted for prerequisite credit. Additionally, once admitted to the program, students must enroll in all courses in the program. The program does not offer credit for prior courses, work or any other life experience to replace any content of the entry level OTD program.


Criminal Background Checks (CBC), Drug Screenings, and Credit Checks:

VCU policy does not permit students to undergo criminal background checks, drug screenings, credit checks or the like as a condition of acceptance or enrollment. However, many of the clinical affiliates with which the University contracts to provide clinical experiences do require criminal background checks, health screenings and drug screens as a condition of allowing students to participate in the clinical experience. Clinical experiences of Level I and Level II fieldwork are an integral part of the EL-OTD academic program. Some affiliates may also require credit checks, Department of Motor Vehicles records check, review of professional disciplinary records, registry searches of certain types of sex offenders and/or verification of legal residency. Students need to be aware that they are responsible for the expense of these required checks, which can cost students around $100, and may need to be done up to four or five times over the course of the program.

Students assigned to a clinical rotation or internship at a clinical facility are personally responsible for completing the required checks and screenings and assuring that results are obtained by the facility that asks for them. Students also will be required to bear the costs of such tests. It will be the decision of the clinical affiliate whether the student will be allowed to participate in the clinical activities. Virginia Commonwealth University does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of a criminal background check, drug screen or other check, maintaining the records of results, or delivering them to clinical sites. Students may not request to be assigned only to those sites that do not require such checks. Students who refuse to undergo a criminal background check or drug screen or other required check may not be able to be placed at another facility and consequently may not be able to complete program requirements and graduate. The University will make reasonable efforts to place all enrolled students in clinical training. It will be the decision of the clinical Fieldwork setting (school, community agency or healthcare or medical facility) whether the student will be allowed to participate in fieldwork should there be positive criminal or sex offender results. Factors involved in the final decision may include, but are not limited to:


the nature, circumstances, and frequency of any reported offense(s)


The length of time since the offense(s)


available information that addresses efforts at rehabilitation and


the accuracy and disclosure of the information provided by the student.


Virginia Commonwealth University does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of requested items, maintaining records of results, or delivering these results to fieldwork sites.

The rationale for performing criminal background checks:


to foster patient safety and well being.


to bolster the continuing trust of the public in the occupational therapy profession.


to minimize the liability of affiliated clinical/fieldwork facilities.

As many facilities require that these checks be done within a limited time prior to starting the association with the student, students may be required to undergo these expenses multiple times over the course of the three year curriculum.

Students are also reminded that the occupational therapy licensing board National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) may deny the individual the opportunity to sit for an examination if an applicant has a criminal history or is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or other serious crime. Successful completion of the EL-OTD at VCU does not guarantee licensure, the opportunity to sit for a licensure examination, certification or employment in the relevant heath care occupation.