Pre-Occupational Therapy

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, “occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.”  To gain employment as an occupational therapist, a Master’s Degree in OT is required.  It is important to note that admission to Occupational Therapy graduate programs is very competitive and is not based solely on completion of a series of classes.

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What is Pre-Occupational Therapy?

Pre-OT is not a major but a program of study designed to expose students to the courses at the undergraduate level needed before application to these master’s degree programs.  MA degree programs in OT do not require a particular undergraduate major.  Instead, they require a bachelor’s degree and have a list of specific courses in psychology, science, and math that must be completed prior to application.

So what should I major in?

Although you can major in virtually any field as long as you take the required classes for application, we believe that psychology is uniquely suited to prepare you for the academic demands of a graduate program in Occupational Therapy.  A number of psychology courses are required by different graduate OT programs throughout the region, including Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Child Psychology, Life-Span Development, and Statistics.  As your career goal is to work directly with people, psychology, which is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, is an outstanding choice.

Why Maryville University?

We have outstanding faculty in both the psychology and science and mathematics programs that will challenge you to achieve your full potential.  Upon graduation, you will have a strong academic background to support your application to graduate programs.

The following courses are part of our psychology major for students interested in Occupational Therapy. They represent the pre-requisite courses required for most Master’s programs in Occupational Therapy.  It is important to work with the Pre-OT advisor, Dr. Peter Green, as you complete your psychology degree.  As pre-requisites can change at any institution offering a MA in Occupational Therapy, it is also vital that interested students verify these courses at institutions to which they plan on applying.

PSYC 101 – General Psychology
PSYC 254 – Human Development through the Lifespan
PSYC 311 – Child Psychology
PSYC 321 – Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 341 – Understanding Statistical Inference
PHIL 325 – Ethics: Values and Decisions
SOC 101 – Introduction to Sociology
MATH 117 – College Algebra
BIOL 101 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 102 – Human Anatomy and Physiology II
BIOL 117 – General Biology I or BIOL 103 – Introduction to Biology
CHEM 103 – General Chemistry I  or CHEM 101 – Survey of Chemistry
PHYS 103 – General Physics
HEPR 108 – Medical Terminology


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