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Pre-Professional Programs - Occupational Therapy

Adviser: Manuel Campos, Don Fischer, David Mitchell

Occupational therapy employs "occupation" or purposeful activity to help people of all ages with physical, developmental, or emotional dysfunctions and assists people to prevent, lessen, or overcome disabilities.

Occupational therapists direct the patient's participation in selected tasks to restore, reinforce, or enhance performance and learning of those skills and functions essential for daily activities. Working cooperatively with other members of the health team, occupational therapists help patients improve their basic motor skills, reasoning, and functional abilities, while utilizing purposeful activity in a variety of settings to reduce physical and psychosocial disability.


View a PDF of courses at CSB/SJU that count as prerequisites for the following schools:

  • University of Minnesota
  • Saint Catherine's University
  • University of North Dakota
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
  • Concordia University Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of South Dakota 

Additional Requirements:

University of Minnesota (Twin Cities and Rochester)

GPA: At least 3.0 with no single grade lower than a C.

Tests: GRE required.

Experience: Min. 20 hrs of OT observation in at least two areas OR completion of Orientation to Occupational Therapy course.

Written Statements:

OTCAS Personal Statement: Your personal essay should address why you selected OT as a career and how an Occupational Therapy degree relates to your immediate and long term goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you to achieve your goals.

Diversity Statement: The growing diversity of the nation's population underscores the need to prepare future therapists, educators and researchers who represent this diverse population. The Program in OT seeks to admit and educate a diverse student body to enrich the students' educational experience and prepare them to meet the needs of a multicultural society. Student characteristics that will enhance diversity in the program and the field include (but are not limited to) race, ethnicity, rural geographic background, first generation college graduate, underrepresented sex, economic disadvantage and disability. Addressing the characteristics outlined above, describe the ways you will contribute to the student experience in the OT curriculum and the profession by your diversity of life experiences.


  • Additional OT observation experience, above that which is required.
  • Work, volunteer or observation experience in health or education related fields (e.g. physical therapy, special education, speech pathology, long term care, home health).
  • Research opportunities outside of the classroom. 

St. Catherine University

GPA: 3.2 or higher with no grade lower than a C (one retake available).

Tests: GRE required.

Experience: Two volunteer and/or work experiences in OT or other healthcare settings that had to have been at least 25 hrs each.

Required: Official Transcript

University of North Dakota

GPA: 2.75 or higher with no grade lower than a C.

Tests: None

Experience: 60 hours of observation, of which 45 hours must be with a professional occupational therapist or certified occupational therapy assistant and should be distributed over the three required areas (Psychosocial, Physical Dysfunction, Pediatric).

College of St. Scholastica

Recommended: Courses in physics, abnormal psychology and pathophysiology.

GPA: Minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPA of 3.0 with no grade lower than a C in prerequisite courses.

Tests: GRE

Experience: A minimum of two observations: 20-hours at each of two separate facilities, completed within two years prior to application, with a Registered and/or Licensed Occupational Therapist.

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

 GPA: 3.0 minimum


Experience: Applicants must complete a minimum of 20 hours of job shadowing with an occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). These 20 hours must be completed in two different facilities that serve different populations. For example, completing the two experiences at a nursing home and an adult hospital is acceptable. Using an elementary school and a pediatric hospital for the two experiences is unacceptable as the populations are identical - children.

Personal Potential Index (PPI):

Three to five individuals complete evaluations with ETS in order to create the applicant's PPI - an evaluation of personal attributes critical to success in graduate school. Letters of reference sent to the program on previously available reference documents will no longer be accepted.


Inclusion of a professional resume with application packet is required. Items applicants may want to note in their resume are awards, collegiate extracurricular participation, honors, scholarships, study abroad experiences, volunteering, college work experience, etc.

Concordia University Wisconsin

GPA: 3.0 minimum with 3.0 in prerequisite courses.


Experience: 40 hrs of job shadowing.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

GPA: 3.0 with a 3.0 in prerequisite courses.

Tests: GRE required


  • Three letters of recommendation: two from academic sources and one from a clinical/health-related source using the "Graduate Applicant Reference Form."
  • A current resume (a summary of your education, employment, continuing education, professional activities, leadership, service, experiences with diversity and disability, and membership, etc.).
  • Reasons statements: Students must submit statements of intent with regards to their academic and professional goals, reflecting on the diverse background and/or experiences they bring to the program that they believe are important to supporting their future contributions as occupational therapists. The statement will be reviewed for content and quality of writing. 

University of South Dakota

Recommended: A course in physics and a course in orientation to occupational therapy.

GPA: Overall, pre-requisite and science GPA of 3.0 or better with no single grade lower than a C in prerequisite courses.

Tests: GRE required

Experience: They do not require a specific amount of hours but say that having ample experience in occupational therapy or a related area of medicine is important.

Meet some of our students

Our students are highly sought after because of the strong liberal arts education that CSB/SJU provides and because of our strong science programs.