Before You Apply

Admissions for the MS in OT program have been suspended as we are preparing for the launch of the entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) degree program.

UIC is transitioning to an entry-level OTD degree program in fall 2022. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) has granted UIC’s entry-level OTD program Candidacy Status. The first admission cycle is open for the entry-level OTD program, which is two years and 9 months in length, with enrollment starting in August 2022.


MS Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree completed by the time of entry into the program (or Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 semester hours earned that lead to either a bachelor’s or master’s degree
    • You’re also expected to have a 3.0 GPA for your prerequisite coursework. If you have either a 60 hour GPA or a prerequisite GPA below 3.0, you may be considered for admission if you have strengths in other areas. Students with a GPA below 2.75 aren’t typically admitted.
  • Prerequisite Courses (listed below)
  • GRE General Test
  • OT observation or volunteer work
  • CPR certification

International Students: If English isn’t your native language, you must take an English proficiency test. Check out the International Requirements to see if this applies to you, then read through the International Students section of the Applying page for more information about the minimum scores we accept.


You must complete six courses with a grade of C or above before enrolling in the program. These courses do not need to be completed at the time of application. All courses must be the equivalent of at least 3 semester hours unless otherwise noted.

  • Introduction to anthropology, sociology, or social psychology: One course.
  • Psychology: Two courses – either child psychology or child development and abnormal psychology. Human/lifespan development is accepted to meet the child development requirement if it’s a semester-long course and has at least half of the hours spent on child development.
  • Statistics: One course. Research methods will not be adequate. It must be a statistics course and can be completed in a department of psychology, sociology, statistics, math or similar department.
  • Human anatomy: One course, with 30 hours of human cadaver lab study required*. Minimum 4 semester hours.
  • Human physiology: One course with lab, covering all structures and functions of the body.
  • Medical terminology: Although not required, it is recommended that students complete a course. Alternatively, students are expected to complete a self-study computerized course in medical terminology upon acceptance.

If the course was completed more than 3 years prior to beginning occupational therapy coursework, it’s highly recommended that you review a current text prior to enrollment so you have up-to-date knowledge. If it was completed more than 8 years ago, we recommend that you retake the course or complete an intensive self-study prior to enrollment.

While we prefer to see students take courses at a four year school, we won’t penalize you if you take them at a community college, since that’s often the best option available. Most online courses are acceptable if they’re completed at a regionally accredited college or university, and if they meet other stated requirements such as number of credits.

We don’t accept AP credit to meet prerequisite requirements.

*Students who cannot obtain an in-person or human anatomy online dissection laboratory experience of 30 hours with emphasis on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems prior to enrollment at UIC will be required to enroll in an OT-specific in-person cadaver lab or online anatomy dissection lab  at UIC in the fall of the first year of occupational therapy coursework.  This is the only prerequisite that can be completed after enrollment.  Applicants who get a grade of “C+ or below” in anatomy or who have had their anatomy course more than three years ago will be required to take the UIC anatomy lab.  Acceptance of online or in-person anatomy lab courses will be determined on a case-by-case basis upon admission.

Observation experiences

We don’t require a minimum number of volunteer hours, but we strongly recommend that you have at least 50 hours of experience with an occupational therapist prior to application. This should ideally occur in at least two different practice settings (e.g. hospital and community settings).

Completing a larger number of hours and in varied settings does result in your application being evaluated more favorably by the admissions committee, but it doesn’t guarantee admission. It’s a good idea to keep a log of your hours, activities and reactions, and refer to it when you apply.  You can use our template to help keep track of your hours to add your experiences on your application.

Health documentation, CPR certification and drug screen/background check requirements

Occupational therapy students will interact with many patients and clients during clinical training and fieldwork. For the protection of students, as well as patients and clients, vaccinations for specific communicable diseases, or blood titers verifying immunity, are required upon enrollment.

To begin course-related clinical experiences and fieldwork, individuals must satisfy drug screening and background checks for history of criminal offenses; results may affect a student’s ability to participate in clinical and fieldwork experiences.

Although not required at the time of application, you must be certified upon enrollment and maintain certification until graduation.  Students must obtain and maintain BLS (Basic Life Support) for Healthcare Professionals/Providers Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification in CPR, AED and airway obstruction for adults, child and infants.  The CPR class must be 100% classroom taught, meaning students are with a CPR instructor for their entire learning experience. Classes held entirely online or blended classes (part online and part in-person) will not satisfy this requirement.

Prepare your documents

When you apply, you’ll need to submit your transcripts, personal statement, UIC-specific personal essay 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 will 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: 1851.

International Students: If your native language isn’t English, you must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to UIC directly from ETS. UIC’s Institutional Code is 1851. Paper score reports will not be accepted.

Think about funding

See what funding options are available to you.

Most of our students rely on student loans, available through the Office of Financial Aid.  There are scholarship options for our enrolled students. We don’t provide recruitment or merit scholarships to applicants—we reserve our scholarships for the students who enroll in our program. Every fall and spring semester, we award about 16 endowed scholarships total, with the average award being $1800. The scholarships are for academic achievement as well as financial need.

One to three graduate hourly positions are available annually for our MS students. These positions pay about $25 per hour, and require a variable number of hours per week (usually eight to twelve). In addition to these positions in our department, other positions are frequently available through other departments and offices on campus.

Assistantships and the accompanying waiver of part of the tuition and fees are primarily reserved for doctoral students, both PhD and OTD (OT clinical doctorate) students. However, if possible, we reserve one or two one semester assistantships for our top applicants. Availability of these positions is variable because these positions are created as new grants get funded.

Maria Larson


Do you have questions about the requirements that we haven’t answered? We can help.

You can contact Maria Larson at: