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Preparation for the study of occupational therapy

Important general information

Students interested in the pre-occupational therapy advising track must complete the necessary prerequisites for the occupational therapy graduate program (a total minimum of 90 credit hours). Many students earn a baccalaureate degree before entering the program. Students interested in occupational therapy should consult with a pre-health academic adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the program and/or school to which they hope to apply.

Admission to and completion of the pre-occupational therapy program does not constitute admission to VCU’s occupational therapy graduate program in the School of Allied Health Professions. Students must apply separately to the occupational therapy program/school of their choice at the appropriate time.

Students with an interest in preparing for the occupational therapy graduate program should declare an academic major while also indicating a pre-occupational therapy advising track. Students do not earn a pre-occupational therapy degree. Students unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Students in the pre-occupational therapy advising track are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them.

Prerequisites for the occupational therapy graduate program
Students intending to enroll in the occupational therapy graduate program must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours before entering, as well as declaring pre-occupational therapy as an advising track. It is recommended that applicants select a challenging course load of science and math courses each semester to ensure adequate preparation for the academic rigor of the occupational therapy program.

Students need to complete the prerequisite science courses and the Graduate Record Exam before being eligible to start the occupational therapy program in the School of Allied Health Professions at VCU.

In addition to completing the required courses, applicants must also demonstrate evidence of a minimum of 60 observation hours under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist (in two settings, one with adults and one with children).

Science and non-science courses required for the occupational therapy graduate program
Students must complete human anatomy (includes the lab) as well as human physiology and the human physiology laboratory. An introductory level biology course is a prerequisite for anatomy and physiology at VCU.

The non-science prerequisites for the occupational therapy program are: English composition, statistics, introduction to psychology and social science courses (must include abnormal psychology and developmental psychology, as well as additional courses in the psychology, sociology or anthropology disciplines).

Students are required to have a basic level of computer competence, the ability to use a personal computer for word processing, email, online bibliographic searches and Internet list-serve discussions. It is also helpful for students to be familiar with presentation and spreadsheet software. A medical terminology course is recommended but not required.

Additional information for the VCU occupational therapy graduate program
Students enter the graduate program in occupational therapy in early summer. The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to admission for students entering in the summer semester. If VCU awarded you college credits for your Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams and it is listed on your transcript, these credits will be accepted.

For the following courses, no more than seven years must have lapsed from the course completion to the date of enrollment in the entry-level professional master’s degree program in occupational therapy: anatomy, physiology, statistics, developmental psychology and abnormal psychology.

Prerequisites for the occupational therapy program

Prerequisite VCU Courses Credits
Note that some courses may act as prerequisites to subsequent required courses.  
   
BIOL 101 Biological Concepts or BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I or BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II* 3
BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts Laboratory or BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I or BIOZ 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I (choose the lab corresponding to the biology course above) 1
BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy (includes lab) 4
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
PHIZ206 Human Physiology Laboratory 1
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology (required to take upper level PSYC courses) 4
PSYC 304 Life Span Developmental Psychology 3
PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics** 3
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Social sciences electives (from PSYC, ANTH and/or SOCY) 9
Additional electives to total 90 credits 47
   
Total minimum requirement 90

*Students need placement into MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics and CHEM 101 General Chemistry I in order to enroll in BIOL 151 and/or BIOL 152.
**Depending on the math placement test results, students may need to complete MATH 141 Algebra with Applications before enrolling in STAT 210.

Sample curriculum outline Credits
   
Fall semester, freshman year  
BIOL 101 Biological Concepts or BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I or BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II 3
BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts Laboratory or BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I or BIOZ 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I (choose the lab corresponding to the biology course above) 1
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology 3
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
Electives or major requirements 5
Total 15
   
Spring semester, freshman year  
BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy 4
PSYC 304 Life Span Developmental Psychology 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
Electives or major requirements 2
Total 15
   
Fall semester, sophomore year  
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
PHIZ 206 Human Physiology lab 1
PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Electives or major requirements 5
Total 15
   
Spring semester, sophomore year  
Electives or major requirements 12
Social sciences electives (from PSYC, ANTH and/or SOCY) 3
Total 15
   
Fall semester, junior year  
Electives or major requirements 12
Social sciences electives (from PSYC, ANTH and/or SOCY) 3
Total 15
   
Spring semester, junior year  
Electives or major requirements 12
Social sciences electives (from PSYC, ANTH and/or SOCY) 3
Total 15
   
Total minimum requirement (for admission to occupational therapy program) 90
 

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Last update: 10/11/2013

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