Before You Apply

Start planning now

It’s never too early to start planning.

Early preparation is the key to a smooth (and successful!) application and admission process. In the last few years, the number of applicants to our program has grown dramatically. We’re limited by space and resources.

Give yourself the best chance of joining us by doing your research and putting your best application forward.


As a part of your application you should identify which faculty member is a strong match to your area of interest and practice. We recommend you find an advisor by browsing our faculty profiles to find out more about their individual interests and how to contact them.

If you’re a current MS student , don’t worry about selecting a faculty advisor—you’ll do that in the second year of the MS program. The P- OTD program director will be your advisor during the first year.

Know your deadlines

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply! Start early and give yourself plenty of time to collect all your materials.

Applications are accepted twice a year. If we receive yours after the deadline, it will be considered for the following semester’s admission cycle unless there are extenuating circumstances warranting an exception. P-OTD cohorts begin in August or January.


Applications for Spring are due November 1 (domestic applicants only).


Applications for Fall are due March 1.


Check your requirements

If you’re already an occupational therapist—with either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree—you’re able to apply directly to the OTD program.

If you are current UIC MS student, you can apply and co-enroll in the MS and P- OTD programs.

Admission criteria

  • Proof of certification or eligibility for certification in occupational therapy in the U.S., or have an occupational therapy degree from a WFOT approved program outside of the United States.
    • This will be waived if you’re applying to co-enroll in the MS and P-OTD programs. You must complete Fieldwork II and all MS course work in order to continue on in the P-OTD program.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 semester hours earned that lead to a either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If your GPA is below 3.0 but you have strengths in other areas, you may still be considered.
  • GRE General Test with a recommended minimum score of 150 on the verbal and quantitative sections. Scores below 150 are acceptable if your GPA is sufficiently high to demonstrate academic potential. There is no minimum score for the writing section.

International Students: If English isn’t your native language, you might need to take an English proficiency test. Check out the International Requirements to see if this applies to you. We require a minimum score for the internet-based TOEFL of 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21.

Prepare your documents

When you apply, you’ll need to submit your transcripts, curriculum vitae, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Get started on those now! Refer to the Applying page for all the specifics.

The application process is paperless. Please don’t mail any materials unless told to do so. Documents that you upload must be in PDF format, no larger than 5 MB in size. “Portfolio” PDFs and secured PDFs which require a password are not compatible with our system.

International Students: You might have a few extra things you need to provide. Read through the International Requirements page to make sure you have everything you need.

Have your test scores sent in advance

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for all applicants. Scores should be sent directly from Education Testing Service to UIC. If you have taken the GRE within the past five years, you must request that scores be sent from ETS to UIC. Institution Code: R1851.

International Students: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores must be submitted to UIC directly from ETS. Paper score reports will not be accepted.

Think about funding

We have a limited number of graduate and research assistantships are available to our P-OTD students. These positions provide a small stipend and a partial waiver of tuition and fees for the period of the assistantship, and require ten hours per week of work. Assistantships are competitive, and qualifications vary depending on the specific needs of the position. Students are notified when positions are available, then apply directly to the faculty member who has an available position.

There are also scholarship options for our enrolled students. Every fall and spring semester, we award about seven endowed scholarships, with the average award being $2000. The scholarships are for academic achievement as well as financial need.