Admissions for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program

-Apply to OTCAS (GRE code 1989) with additional application components to the ECU Graduate School
-Application process open from July, 2024 until the DEADLINE of October 15, 2024

Students interested in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program should review this website about the MSOT program and all of the pages related to admissions prior to emailing questions. A wealth of information is located here for your convenience.

Information Sessions

Informational sessions including tours of the department are held at various time throughout the year. To register, please complete the online registration which includes your name and email address, and the number of people attending.

If you are unable to attend one of the informational sessions, you may schedule an individual appointment.
Information Session Dates, Times, and Delivery Formats
  • [REGISTER] Wednesday, July 17, 10:00:11:15am (In-Person)
  • [REGISTER] Tuesday, August 20, 2:00-3:15pm (Virtual)
  • [REGISTER] Friday, September 20, 11:00am-12:15pm (In-Person)

Directions to Occupational Therapy Department (PDF)


Application Requirements

In order to be eligible for acceptance into East Carolina University (ECU)’s MSOT program, the following requirements must be met.

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional association or evidence that a baccalaureate degree will be conferred before the start of the program in the fall. We welcome a baccalaureate degree from any discipline, as long as the prerequisite courses are completed as required.
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from undergraduate work is required, but a 3.5 or above will be competitive for admission consideration.
  3. Satisfactory scores on the verbal and quantitative test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (code 1989). * To be considered a competitive applicant, it is recommended that GRE scores should be at least the 50th percentile on ALL sections of the GRE. Specifically, both Quantitative and Verbal scores should be 151 or above and writing should be 3.5 or above.
  4. Non-native speakers must submit an acceptable score on one of the language tests approved by the Graduate School or evidence of at least 1 year of college/university study in the United States.
  5. Applicants may apply before completing all prerequisites; however, at least 4 of the anatomy/physiology credits must be completed prior to the October 15 deadline. It is also recommended 15 of the 25 required prerequisite credits be completed by October 15.
    • Prerequisites may be taken at any university or college. ALL prerequisites must be completed before you begin the program.
    • Students must receive B- (2.7) or better to be considered passing these prerequisite credits. Competitive students submit applications with prerequisite grades higher than the minimum in most of the courses.
    • Due to the circumstances facing universities in the recent semesters as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, pass/fail grading options are being offered at many schools. Applicants to the MSOT program at ECU should opt for letter grading of all pre-requisite courses whenever it is available. A grade of B- or better will continue to be required for pre-requisite courses.
Course Equivalencies

This chart is provided for your convenience. It lists equivalencies between ECU courses and popular universities from which a student may apply. Please note that universities change their course offerings on a regular basis and the courses included here may or may not still be accurate. It is your responsibility to check with your institution to see which equivalent courses are available to you.

The list provided here is not exhaustive. We accept courses taken at community colleges and universities as long as they are accredited. If you cannot take a course at your institution, you may need to seek the equivalent offering at a local community college or explore other options. We accept online prerequisites for all courses but strongly recommend taking anatomy and physiology coursework face-to-face.

All prerequisite courses must be completed with a B- or above prior to beginning the MSOT program. Four credits of anatomy and physiology are required at time of application.

PrerequisitesSemester HoursECUUNC-CHNC StateAppalachian StateUNC-W
*Human Anatomy with Lab4BIOL 2140 and 2141a. BIOL 252 and 252L or

b. EXSS 175 and 275L
BIO 240ES 2040BIO 240 or EXS 216
*Human Physiology with Lab4BIOL 2150 and 2151a. BIOL 253 and 253L or

b. EXSS 276 and 376
BIO 245ES 2050BIO 241 or EXS 217
*Statistics – must cover both descriptive and inferential statistics This course cannot be fulfilled with AP credit.3MATH 2228, 2283, BIOS 1500 or PSYC 2101PSYC 210 or STOR 151 or STOR 155PSY 240 and 241, or ST 311PSY 3100, STT 1810, or 2810PSY 225, STT 210, or 215
Developmental Psychology/Lifespan Development – must cover birth-to-death (cannot be a motor development course)3PSYC 3206a. ANTH 318 or

PSYC 250 and 502
PSY 376PSY 2210PSY 223
*Abnormal Psychology3PSYC 3375PSYC 245PSY 470PSY 2212PSY 247
Reasoning course
such as logic, ethics, or critical thinking (often comes from a philosophy department)
3PHIL 1500, 1175, 1180, or 2275PHIL 101, 105, 134, 140, 160, 163, 165, or 170PHI 205, 210, 221, 250, 325, REL 200, or 210PHL 1000, 2000, or HCM 4930PAR 101, 103, 110, 115, or 215
Introduction to Sociology OR Introduction to Anthropology OR Introduction to Cultural Anthropology3SOCI 2110, ANTH 1000, or ANTH 2200SOCI 101, 111, 112, ANTH 101, or 102ANT 251, 252, SOC 202, or 203ANT 1415, 2215, or SOC 1000ANT 105, 206, or SOC 105
Medical Terminology
or demonstrated proficiency in medical terminology by passing an exam with ECU OT
1-3HIMA 3000 or ATEP 2800CLAS 126CLA 115NUT 4552 or 4553ATR 470
* These courses must be completed within five (5) years prior to beginning the MSOT program.

How Do I Apply to the MSOT Program?

Applications must be submitted to OTCAS as well as the ECU Graduate School. The application checklist describes four application steps: (1) Prepare, (2) Complete Virtual Interview, (3) Complete OTCAS Application, and (4)  Apply to ECU Graduate School.

Applications to OTCAS must include all of the following items, submitted through OTCAS (

  • Transcripts: Must be submitted from ALL attended colleges and universities.
  • Prerequisite Catalog Course Descriptions: Applicants will compile a list of all prerequisite courses taken, number of semester hours, and term/year taken.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (code 1989): Quantitative, verbal, and writing scores (highest overall for each section will be used)
  • Essay: Applicants will be asked to respond in writing to an essay prompt within the application. This is in addition to the personal statement required by OTCAS.
  • Reference Letters: Although OTCAS requires three letters, two will be reviewed for admission. One letter should address the applicant’s academic and/or work performance. The other letter should address character/personality traits such as ethics, teamwork, initiative, communication, critical thinking, reliability, and/or interpersonal skills.
  • Recorded Video Interview: This interview will require access to a device with an internet connection and a camera/video recording feature with microphone.
  • Resume: Maximum of 2-page resume. A template will not be provided. Please follow the provided outline below for the important experiences to be highlighted.
    • Education
    • Work and/or volunteer experience, including dates and primary responsibilities in positions
    • Significant shadowing experiences in health care and/or occupational therapy, including dates and hours, if appropriate
    • Awards and/or honors
    • Leadership activities and/or organization memberships
    • Research experience with descriptions on experiences, interests, readiness (e.g., use of spreadsheets, SPSS/SAS, use of statistics)

Application Timeline

Entry-Level MSOT Application Due October 15, 2024

July – Students may begin submitting applications to OTCAS and East Caroline University Graduate School.

October 15 – Deadline for complete applications. All GRE scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation must also be received by this date. Any application that is incomplete will not be reviewed.

December – Two different decisions will go out:

  1. Students who have been eliminated from further review will be notified by email.
  2. Students who will be invited to in-person interview will be notified by email.

Mid-December to Mid-January – On-campus interview will occur for those invited.

February – Notifications will be sent by email regarding acceptance, waitlist, or denial.

*All students accepting offers will be required to pay a $500 deposit within seven days of notification to secure a position in the occupational therapy program.

Frequently Asked Questions for Admissions

What are the differences between the entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs?
All students are initially accepted into the MSOT program, with the program goal of developing exceptional occupational therapists, primarily in the clinical role.
Didactic and experiential coursework in the 24-month MSOT program is focused on gaining knowledge and demonstrating proficiency in clinical skills across the lifespan and across types of conditions. All students are engaged in evidence-based scholarship, and skills in clinical reasoning and professionalism will be facilitated and demonstrated through a variety of instructional methods.

MSOT students who pursue the OTD will build on the skills demonstrated during the primary phase of the program, as they engage in an additional year of education. In addition to excellence in clinical skills, OTD students will advance their scholarly outcomes through additional learning opportunities in research, leadership, and advocacy skills through coursework and the capstone experience. The four primary areas of the community-focused capstone experience are clinical practice, research, education, and/or program development. The OTD experiences will include consideration of appropriate community-based involvement.

Where do I find the information on the application processes that are required?
For the OTCAS, go to the OTCAS website. For the East Carolina University (ECU) Graduate School application, go to the Graduate School website. You can find application information through the “Apply” button under the “Admissions” tab.

How many students are accepted into the programs?
Currently the Department of Occupational Therapy is accepting up to 26 MSOT students per academic year.

What should be in the reference letters submitted through the MSOT application?
Although OTCAS requires three letters, two will be reviewed for admission. Please see the “How Do I Apply” page for specific details as to what the references should address in their letters. It is typical that references are written by former professors, undergraduate advisors, employers, or occupational therapists.

Are volunteer or shadowing hours required?
Volunteer or shadowing hours are not required. However, the ECU occupational therapy programs strongly encourage volunteer experience to help demonstrate commitment to the community and leadership skills. In addition, shadowing is important because it will help you understand if this is a career that is suited to your personality, knowledge, and abilities. Volunteering can be done with any organization or group, but shadowing with occupational therapists will assist you in understanding the various roles of occupational therapists, the types of settings that employ occupational therapists, and many diagnoses that require occupational therapy services. This information can be included on your resume.

Do you admit students before the application deadline?
MSOT applications may be submitted beginning July. We do not do rolling or early admissions. All applicants are reviewed together after the application deadline.

What happens after the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee receives my application?
Please see Application Timeline for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

When do I find out about the Admission Committee’s decision?
Please see Application Timeline for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

Is the essay important for my MSOT application?
The essays are one measure of the MSOT application and give the applicant an opportunity to highlight his or her special abilities, skills, talents, and experiences. The answers should reflect genuine impressions about you as an individual and future professional. This is a very important component of the application and should be taken seriously by the applicant.

Are there quotas in your programs for in-state students? Out-of-state students?
All qualified, interested applicants are considered for admission, regardless of the state of residence.

What type of GPA is required for admission?
The occupational therapy programs requires a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. Please see Application Requirements for more information or review the Admitted Student Profile for the average GPA of the incoming class.

What GRE scores are required?
The Admissions Committee reviews verbal, quantitative, and writing scores on the GRE. A limited number of GRE fee waivers are available through the ECU Graduate School. If you are interested in this waiver, please e-mail Additionally, ETS offers a GRE Fee Reduction program for individuals with demonstrated financial need, for those who are unemployed, and for national programs that work with underrepresented groups. For more information, please see Please see Application Requirements for recommended scores or review the Admitted Student Profile for the average scores of the incoming class.

What type of degree is required for the entry-level master’s program?
All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution. ANY undergraduate degree is acceptable. Please see the Admitted Student Profile for a display of degrees from MSOT students in the program.

Do the prerequisite courses have to be completed prior to starting the MSOT program?
Yes, absolutely all prerequisite courses must be completed with, at minimum, a B- (2.7) prior to starting the program. The exception is the medical terminology course requirement, which can be completed by passing an exam, but the exam must be completed before the start of the first semester with a passing grade. You may apply to the program while completing the prerequisites, but at least 4 of the anatomy/physiology prerequisites must be completed by the October deadline and it is recommended that 15 of the 25 credits are completed before the October deadline.

What if I think a course I have taken meets one of your MSOT prerequisites, but I am not sure?
Please see Application Requirements for a chart of prerequisite courses from common institutions. Email the course description or syllabus for any course that is not taken at ECU to the Department of Occupational Therapy Director of Admissions or Admissions Coordinator for advice at

Can I work and go to school at the same time?
The curriculum is very demanding and requires a student to devote a great deal of time to completing course assignments. It is not recommended that students be employed outside of the university while enrolled in the program. External work can place you in a state of conflict with classmates when completing group work, which is a large part of many courses. However, some graduate assistantship positions are available throughout the university and within the department, which are designed for students who need to earn additional funds. At the end of the curriculum, students will be working full time (40+ hrs) on a fieldwork assignment for six months and will find it very difficult to maintain employment. We encourage applicants to plan accordingly.

How long are the full-time programs?
The entry-level MSOT program is 24 months, including summer. The last 6 months of the 24 months are spent in the field completing Fieldwork II. The entry-level OTD program is 34 months, including summer.

Do you have any scholarships available? How do I apply for these?
Information on scholarships is available through the ECUAWard Portal and available for students currently enrolled in the program.

Can I transfer into your program from another university?
At this time, ECU MSOT program does NOT accept credits from OT students transferring from another school’s OT program. These students are encouraged to apply to ECU MSOT program with the post-baccalaureate applicants.

Does the program offer specialization in any areas of practice?
The accrediting body ACOTE has standards that require an entry level program prepare students as a generalist. Thus our occupational therapy programs are designed to prepare graduates for practice in all settings. Occupational therapists should anticipate working with a variety of individuals of all ages and should be competent in all types of practice. The programs focus on teaching clinical reasoning skills and evidence-based practice a therapist can use when approaching novel situations. Through the selected research projects , students can enhance their knowledge and experience in a particular area of practice.

What are the types of fieldwork required?
There is a 1 week supervised fieldwork experience, 40 hours, during each of first Spring and Summer Semesters. Once all academic course work has been successfully completed, MSOT students will complete two separate full-time supervised 12 week internships in a variety of settings and during the last Spring and Summer semesters. Once all academic didactic course work has been successfully completed. OTD students will complete two separate full-time supervised 12 week internships in a variety of settings and during the last Summer and Fall semesters.

Do I have to have an area of research interest?
Research is required for completion of the program and is considered an integral part of a good graduate curriculum. However, a beginning graduate student may not have ideas for research that they would like to pursue. The faculty members have developed a process to share their interests, to encourage students to explore interest areas, and to learn the research process in progressive steps. All students will have completed a project in which they have an expressed interest upon graduation. Past projects can be viewed on the Masters Projects website.

Where will I live?
ECU does not have on-campus graduate housing. However, the allied health campus (where the occupational therapy program and classes are housed) is separate from the primary campus. There are several affordable apartment complexes in very close proximity to our building. Most of these apartment complexes only rent to graduate students and professionals. It is encouraged that students live in close proximity to campus for ease in meeting with peers for group projects and class community opportunities; however, some students do chose to commute on a daily basis.

What is the cost of the program?
Please see Estimating Program Cost.

Admitted Student Profile

Average GPA of Admitted Students
Pre-Requisite GPA3.74
Undergraduate GPA3.79
3.75 GPA for undergraduate GPA 2022. 3.75 GPA pre-requisite GPA 2022
Average GRE Scores of Admitted Students
Verbal Reasoning153.2
Quantitative Reasoning151.5
Analytical Writing4.3
Verbal Reasoning score: 153. Quantitative Reasoning score: 150. Analytical Writing score: 4.11
Popular Majors of Admitted Students
Health Services Management4%
Social Work4%
Recreational Therapy4%
Professional Writing2%
Allied Health Sciences2%
Rehabilitation Science2%
Child Development2%
Environmental Science2%
Elementary Education2%
Occupational Science2%
Public Health2%
Popular Majors OT Students graphic