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Occupational Therapy Admission Requirements

Learn more about the MOT program!

Spring 2014 Information Session

You are warmly invited to an evening program to learn more about the Master in Occupational Therapy (MOT) program at Samuel Merritt University.

Spring 2014 Information Session

Thursday, April 17, 2014

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Medical Office Building, Room 4002

3100 Telegraph Avenue

Oakland, CA 94609

Seating is limited! To reserve your space, please send an email to Rosa Alvarado, Admission Counselor at  by April 11, 2014. 

For more information about this event please click here.


Virtual Drop-Ins Now Available - Join  MOT online chat room

We are pleased to offer virtual drop ins to prospective MOT students.  You are welcome to virtually “drop in” and ask quick, general questions of an Admission Counselor.  This is entirely online.  Dates and times are:

March 2014

  • March 19  12-1pm
  • March 27   3-4pm

April 2014

  • April 8  12-1pm
  • April 23  3-4pm

May 2014

  • May 8  12-1pm
  • May 21  3-4pm

June 2014

  • June 10  12-1pm
  • June 18   3-4pm

Please note that all times are Pacific Standard Time (California time zone).

Please click here for more information about the VIRTUAL DROP INS.  After you have reviewed the general chat information and are ready to start the chat (see dates and time above), click here to join the chat


Admission Statistics about all of SMU programs be found here


The MOT is an entry-level master's degree designed for someone who has already earned a baccalaureate with a major in any area. To be considered for an inter­view for the MOT program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Baccalaureate from a regionally accredited institution must be completed by the end of the spring term prior to entry
  • Completion of all prerequisites as specified from a regionally accredited institution
  • Suggested minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester units
  • Suggested minimum science GPA of 3.0
  • Foreign medical graduates and students educated abroad may apply for admission. Regardless of previous professional training and academic degrees earned, Samuel Merritt's MOT curriculum must be completed in its entirety. All foreign academic transcripts must be evaluated by a U.S. evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES) for degree, course content, semester unit equivalencies, and science and cumulative GPAs prior to the application deadline. Information on NACES may be found at
  • The need for the TOEFL will be assessed based on information provided by the applicant on the application for admission. If required, a score of 100 (Internet Based Test) must be achieved and official score results must be provided.
  • Evidence of 40 to 70 hours (minimum) work or volunteer experience demonstrating an understanding of the occupational therapist's role and maturity in career choice.
  • Three letters of reference are required. The first should be from a person who has known you in an academic or professional setting. The second letter must be from an occupational therapist who has supervised you as a paid or volunteer worker in an active clinical setting. The third letter may be from an academic, professional, or clinical source. All letters are to be submitted as part of the application found on the OTCAS website. Note: If the recommendation from the occupational therapist is not available at the time of the application deadline, it must be submitted prior to or at the point of interview.


Results from the GRE exam are not required for admission into the MOT program. GRE scores even if included in the application, will not be considered by the Department in its final decision.


Prerequisites must be completed with a grade of "C-" or higher. The unit value is based on semester units. Unless otherwise specified, all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring term prior to the start of the program. Additionally, it is recommended that no more than 2-3 prerequisites be in progress during the spring. The Department strong prefers that all prerquisites are completed by the fall term. Preferential admission will be given to applicants who have completed all academic prerequisites at the time of the interview.

Course Units

English Composition/Critical Thinking

Any two English writing course maybe used to meet this requirement. Univeristy writing courses used to meet writing/English general education requirement for bachelor degree is also acceptable.


General Psychology

General of introductory course in psychology is acceptable.


Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal of personality psychology course is acceptable.


Developmental Psychology

Lifespan psychology course is preferred. Course work in child, adolescent, or adult psychology may also be used to satisfy this requirement.



Introductory statistics/quantititative method course offered by any department is acceptable.


Social Science Elective I & II

Any 2 courses in sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, psychology, or cultural studies are acceptable. For psychology courses- courses already required for admission cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.


General Biology

Any biology course is acceptable, lab is not required. Anatomy and physiology cannot be used to meet this requirement. Note: Course must be completed at the time of application.



Introductory or conceptual course is acceptable, lab is not required. Note: Course must be completed no later than the end of fall term of application year.


Human Anatomy

Introductory course is acceptable, no lab required. The first course of a combined anatomy & physiology course series can be used to satisfy this requirement. Note: Course is highly recommended, but not required. Preference will be given to applicant who have completed this course at the time of application.


Human Physiology

Introductory course is acceptable, no lab required. The second course of a combined anatomy & physiology course series can be used to satisfy this requirement. Note: Course is highly recommended, but not required. Preference will be given to applicant who have completed this course at the time of application.


3 Dimensional skill/craft

Course work in a 3 dimensional medium such as: woodworking, sculpture, ceramics, sewing, beading, crocheting, knitting, or metal work can be used to meet this requirement.  In lieu of a college/university course, submission of a portfolio can be used to satisfy this requirement.  Note: The following skills/crafts are not acceptable: painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, playing an instrument, and other two dimensional areas.


Public Speaking

Any speech course is acceptable. Note: Course is highly recommended, but not required.


To learn more about our prerequisites, please click here.

 Students who may want to test out of a course for college credit or find courses that are offered online, please click here for a list of those options.

To be considered for an interview, the following items must be sent to and verified by OTCAS:

  • Copies of all college transcripts (regardless if the coursework is relevant to prerequisites/ admission criteria)
  • Completed goal statement
  • Completed volunteer hours
  • Letters of reference: Three letters are required. One must come from an occupational therapist who supervised you as a paid or volunteer worker in an active clinical setting. The other letters must be from someone who can judge your academic skills and character. Please refer to the instructions provided by OTCAS regarding submission of transcripts and letters of reference.

The application deadline is October 1.  Applications may be filed as early as the first day the OTCAS portal is open for the application cycle up to deadline date.  The OTCAS portal will open in mid July for the 2015 admission cycle. 

NOTE: It takes up to three weeks for OTCAS to verify your application. Your application will not be accessible to SMU until the OTCAS verification process is completed. It is recommended that applicants submit the OTCAS application by September 15th in order to ensure SMU's  timely recipt of the verified application by the established deadline.  

Additionally, it is to your advantage to include as many available grades as possible with the application for admission. GPA calculations are based only on final grades available at the time of application submission. We will not recalculate GPAs to include coursework listed as planned or in progress for the fall term.

Applications may be accepted on a space available basis after the deadline. Contact the Office of Admission for further information once the deadline has passed to determine if we will accept a late application.


Submission of an application via the OT Central Application System (OTCAS) is required for consideration of admission into the program. The OTCAS website may be accessed at   We have prepared an application guide to assist you in submitting the strongest application possible via the OTCAS service. Click here to view it.

Please submit the applications and all requested materials at least three weeks prio to the application deadline to allow adequate time for processing.

To learn more about the application and admission processing timeline please click here.

Note: Applicants who choose to submit a portfolio to serve as verification of completion of the 3D skill/craft requirement must send it directly to the Office of Admission. Please mail portfolio to:

Attention: MOT Admission Counselor
Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Ave, Suite 1000
Oakland, CA 94609

Please visit the OTCAS website: submit your application. You will be charged a fee based on how many schools you select and that fee is paid to the OTCAS service.  You will need to provide contact information for three references on this application.

Some frequently asked questions that has been created about OTCAS can be found on the AOTA website by clicking FAQ .


An on-campus interview is required; phone or web interviews are not acceptable.

A maximum of 150 applicants will be interviewed each year for the program. Not all candidates who meet minimum qualifications will be granted an interview. Interviews are generally held on two Saturdays in mid-January and are held on the Oakland campus.

 Please click here for a list of our frequently asked questions.


Students who have compeleted their degrees outside of the United States will have to have their degrees evaluated for United States baccalaureate equivalency, also known as a course-by-course/comprehensive evaluation. Please click here for a list of international transcript evaluation agencies.


Thank you very much for your interest in our program. Our MOT Admission Counselor, Rosa Alvarado would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have, conduct a prerequisite transcript evaluation, or meet with you to further explore your interest in our program. She may be reached at 510-869-1571 or by email