Occupational Therapy

Admission and Advising

October 15 Deadline


Admission to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program is limited to 45 students each year. Applications are available electronically through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS) on or around August 1 of the year prior to admission. All applications, transcripts, and GRE scores (if used in place of the overall 3.0 GPA requirement) must be submitted electronically through OTCAS no later than October 1st of the year prior to admission.

Occupational therapists treat individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Our goal is to admit academically qualified students who embrace, respect, and represent individual differences. Our students should be able to interact effectively with those from diverse backgrounds, as represented in our local Cleveland community.

We encourage persons to apply who are Certified OT Assistants, veterans, dependents of veterans, and/or who qualify as meeting one or more of the economic or environmental Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) indicators identified on the OTCAS application.  Examples of HRSA indicators are that the applicant is economically disadvantaged, a first generation college student, a participant of an academic enrichment program funded by the Health Careers Opportunity Program, or their primary language is not English.

Although not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that applicants volunteer and/or work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist in at least two areas of practice prior to enrollment in our program. 


Students must have: 

  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. 

  2. An overall grade-point average of at least 3.0 or a score at the 50th percentile or above in each area of the 
GRE. Test scores taken within 5 years will be accepted.
A minimum GPA of 3.0 in prerequisite courses, with at least two of the natural science prerequisites, and at least 4 of the 8 required courses (or their equivalent) completed prior to the application deadline. A minimum grade of C or higher must be obtained for all prerequisite courses.*

Non-native English speakers must demonstrate proof of English-language proficiency. See Admission to the College of Graduate Studies for applicable policies and procedures.

*For Fall 2023 admissions, the program will accept applications from students who have completed only ONE of the science prerequisites by October 1, 2023 (instead of requiring 2 sciences). A minimum of 4 of the prerequisites do need to be completed by the application deadline. All prerequisites must be completed prior to beginning the program.

We encourage students to contact the OTD Interim Program Director, Robin Chilton at r.chilton@csuohio.edu if they have any questions.


  • Students must submit an application to the OTD Program through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Process (OTCAS). Applications are due no later than October 1 of the year prior to admission.
  • Click here  to begin application to the CSU OTD Program. (OTCAS will be available to accept new applications in July 2023).
  • All transcripts, application fees, the program application (including the program specific essay), official GRE Test scores and other documents required to apply are submitted directly to OTCAS. 
  • Once students are accepted into the OTD Program, the College of Graduate Studies will then consider the student's application for final approval of admission to Cleveland State University.
  • Students must complete all 8 required prerequisite courses (or their equivalent) with a grade of C or better by the end of the summer semester of the year of application.  
  • At the time of application (October 1 of the year prior to admission) students must have at a minimum 4 of the required prerequisites completed and 1 of those 4 must be a science prerequisite. 
  • Fifteen students who have graduated or are scheduled to graduate from the pre-occupational therapy track of the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Program at Cleveland State University before the Fall start date of the OTD Program will be selected competitively prior to acceptance of all other applicants. 


Pathology (HSC 381, if taken at Cleveland State). Introduction to medical diagnosis and treatment, covering basic concepts and nomenclature of pathology, major diseases of body systems, epidemiology, biopsychosocial concepts, pharmacology, infectious disease, cellular injury, tissue repair, neoplasia, genetic disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, nervous system disorders, and psychiatric disorders. 

Physiology with lab (HSC 422 and HSC 450 or BIO 422 and BIO 423, or BIO 266/267 and BIO 268/269, if taken at Cleveland State). Human or vertebrate physiology is recommended. 

Human Anatomy (HSC 475 and HSC 457, if taken at Cleveland State). Human cadaver dissection or prosection is recommended. Please note that BIO 266/267 and BIO 268/269 (Anatomy and Physiology I and II) do not satisfy this prerequisite.

Neurosciences with lab (HSC 476 and 478, if taken at Cleveland State). Study of structure and function of human central and peripheral nervous systems, including vascular components and special senses. Please note that a Neuropsychology course does not satisfy this prerequisite.

Lifespan (PSY 223, if taken at Cleveland State). Examination of human development from infancy to old age. 

Abnormal Psychology (PSY 345, if taken at Cleveland State). Survey of major psychological disorders and their classification, etiology, and management. 

Social Science Statistics:  (PSY 317 or STA 347, if taken at Cleveland State). Content should include inferential statistics used in analyzing and interpreting data in the social sciences OR 
Social Science Statistics (PSY 217 or STA 147 or STA 145, if taken at Cleveland State) and Research Methods (HSC 484, if taken at Cleveland State).
  Statistics content should include descriptive statistics in analyzing and interpreting data in the social sciences and rules of probability. Research methods content should include examination of the methods of inquiry in health sciences, including quantitative and qualitative methods for gathering and analyzing data, and critiquing and interpreting research and theory, design, and basic statistics involved in survey and experimental research. 

Medical Terminology (HSC 203, if taken at Cleveland State). Evidence of completion of medical terminology course or self-study.

Although not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that applicants volunteer and/or work under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist in at least two areas of practice. 


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) curriculum will consist of 103 credits, including 56 credits in the core area, 8 credits of level I experiences which includes service learning, 14 credits of Level II Fieldwork, 6 credits of electives, 1 credit for competency examination and preparation, and 18 credits of doctoral capstone. The doctoral capstone is comprised of 3 preparatory seminar courses, the doctoral experience and the doctoral project. The doctoral experience and doctoral project are completed after completion of all Fieldwork and the competency examination. The 33-month, 8-term program begins fall semester. A part-time option is available for students who wish to complete the program in 4 years. 

Students are required to select two elective courses as part of the required OTD academic course work. These courses are meant to provide students with in-depth knowledge in areas relevant to practice and their doctoral capstone. 

Once accepted into the OTD Program, students who have previously taken graduate courses at CSU or at universities other than CSU can petition to have the courses accepted to meet the OTD elective requirement, if the credits have been “earned at an accredited graduate college or university and not utilized to fulfill a requirement for any other degree”.  Additionally, these credits must carry a letter grade of a B or higher, and all elective credits must be within the six-year statute of limitations imposed by the CSU Graduate College.  The student should submit the petition with the necessary supporting documents to his/her OTD faculty advisor.  In addition, the student should indicate how prior course work provides students with in-depth knowledge that will be relevant to practice and their doctoral capstone.  The OTD Program does not accept any 400 level courses for transfer as graduate electives. 

After approval of the petition for previously completed elective course(s), the student must complete a Graduate Credit Transfer Form and submit this to his/her faculty advisor.  The form will be sent to the Dean of the Graduate College for final approval.  Credits awarded in transfer are not recorded on a transcript until the student has completed 12 hours of graduate (500–800 level) course work at Cleveland State University and has achieved a grade point average of 3.00 or better.  

To allow for continuity of academic and clinical learning, the students shall complete the program, including fieldwork and doctoral experience and project, within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program unless they have written permission from the program director to extend the timeline.
When applying for the NBCOT Certification Examination and applying for Ohio (or other state) licensure following graduation, graduates will be asked questions related to the topic of felonies, among other issues, and will need to submit BCI and FBI background check results.  If you have a felony record, this may negatively affect your ability to become certified and licensed to practice occupational therapy.  Additionally, during the program students will be required to get background checks and drug screen.  It is in the student’s best interest to have any misdemeanors sealed or expunged before beginning the OTD Program, as these infractions can limit or restrict the ability to attend certain clinical sites.  Prospective students are encouraged to contact NBCOT and the Ohio OT Licensure Board for more information.


The OTD Program uses Blackboard Learn as a supplement for most of its classes.  A small percentage of courses are offered online or using a flipped classroom format using Blackboard Learn or Zoom.  Students should refer to the ELearning Technical Requirements to make sure their computers are compatible with these technical requirements.  While the OTD program does not require that students purchase a laptop, we strongly encourage you to do so.  Students who are unable to purchase a laptop may obtain a loaner laptop through Mobile Campus or use CSU’s Computer Labs.   Students entering the OTD Program should also familiarize themselves with Blackboard Learn,  and we recommend they register for a self-paced online Blackboard Orientation Course.


The CSU OT Program has developed a power point slide show detailing the preparation and application process for admission. Please open this presentation with Power Point, using the option that allows viewing of the notes accompanying each slide.

Website Welcome to OTD Advising 2023

The OT Program strongly encourages all interested students to schedule an appointment with an OT advisor. At this appointment, transcripts can be reviewed and individual questions can be asked. It is particularly important to make sure prerequisite courses taken at other universities contain the appropriate content. This will improve student eligibility to apply to the program.

Please schedule your appointment by clicking the blue button below.  All appointments will be completed by phone call.  After booking your appointment,  please send a copy of your (unofficial) transcripts, if available, to Robin Chilton at r.chilton@csuohio.edu.

Schedule appointment

Students Interested in Undergraduate Degrees at CSU
If you are a current CSU student or are a student considering an undergraduate degree at CSU, you may be interested in pre-occupational therapy (pre-OT) track for the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree.  The OT Program reserves 15 slots each year for students who pursue the pre-OT track at CSU and meet the minimum requirements for admission.
If you are interested in learning more about the pre-OT track, please schedule an advising appointment with either University Academic Advising or the College of Health based on your specific advising needs.  The OT Program advisors cannot provide guidance on undergraduate degrees. 
Prerequisite Course Requirements

Eight courses (or their equivalents), described above, are required for eligibility for admission to the OT Program.  Please refer to our Equivalency Chart File Course Equiv Ohio 2022.xlsxFile Course Equiv NonOhio 2022.xlsxfor a list of accepted prerequisite courses that may be taken at other Ohio schools.  If your school is not listed on the chart, you should see an OT advisor for approval of your course(s).  You will need to provide a catalog course description.
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