Occupational Therapy

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Welcome to the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at SMU!

Established in 1994, the graduate program in Occupational Therapy graduated its first class in August, 1996. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in occupational therapy and often progress rapidly to leadership positions in the field. The program offers a rigorous education in both the basic sciences and in occupation-based practice. Occupational therapists must learn to participate collaboratively with other health care professionals. For this reason, core courses are shared with students in the physical therapy programs. Learning to communicate with other health care providers is important in preparation of building teamwork.

  • Faculty to student ratio is 1:9.
  • Master of occupational therapy students at SMU are enrolled in an intensive human anatomy course with cadavers.
  • The majority of program faculty continue to practice in the field, have diverse backgrounds, have numerous publications and have presented nationally and internationally.
  • Samuel Merritt University is located in Oakland, California, close to San Francisco, Berkeley and the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma.
  • All students participate in three clinics that provide free OT services to individuals in the community.
  • Clinicians and employers in the field consistently rate graduates of the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at Samuel Merritt University as outstanding contributors to their professional staff.

Pass Rate
The total number of graduates who passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination as first-time new graduate test takers for 2011–2013 was 91 out of 100, which is a pass rate of 91% (of 100 test takers, 91 passed on the first attempt).  During the three year period, the program had 102 graduates.  For our most recent year, 2013, the pass rate for first time test takers was 94% (of 32 test takers, 30 passed on the first attempt). The total number of graduates for 2013 was 37.  The website for all OT program pass rates is located at: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Additional Links

Contact Information
Please review this website for details regarding admission to the MOT program at Samuel Merritt University. If you have specific questions about prerequisites or applying for admission, please contact us and we will be happy to help you. The Admission Counselor who works most closely with the MOT program is:

Elizabeth Mayo, Admission Counselor

Application Deadline
The postmark application deadline is October 1st. Applications may be filed beginning two months prior to the application deadline, keeping in mind that it is to your advantage to include as many available grades as possible with the application for admission. For example, with the postmark deadline of October 1st for fall entry, you should wait to submit an application until your summer grades are available. After the deadline, applications may be accepted on a space available basis. Contact the Office of Admission for further information once the deadline has passed.


Jaime Lutat, Class of 2011


Reflecting back on my education and experiences at Samuel Merritt University, I am confident that I chose the right program that challenged me to grow and provided me with a strong foundation of skills. Specifically, The Master of Occupational Therapy program helped me develop a strong scientific background with an intensive focus and hands-on approach in Anatomy and Kinesiology. I also gained invaluable skills and experiences working with clients in the community under the supervision of skilled professors. Having the opportunity to treat clients for up to 12 weeks allowed me to apply the concepts learned in class and develop strong documentation skills. As I complete my last level II Fieldwork, I feel confident in knowing that I can tackle any obstacle that comes my way and grateful to have the opportunity to apply my skills to improve the lives of others through such a rewarding profession.