MSOT Admission Policies

To be considered for admission into the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program, applicants are required to:

  • Complete an application and speak with an admissions representative
  • Submit an official transcript of record demonstrating admissions criteria has been met:
    • Earned a bachelor-level degree at an institution of higher education accredited by an accreditation agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    • Transcripts for degrees awarded by foreign schools must be translated (if the transcript is not in English) and evaluated for equivalency to those awarded by accredited institutions in the United States (at applicant’s expense) before the applicant can be admitted.
    • Meet the prerequisite course requirements with a grade of C or higher, equivalent to 3 semester credits or 4.5 quarter credits, and completed within five years of the date of enrollment:^
      • Human Anatomy (with laboratory)^^
      • Physiology
      • Introduction to Statistics
      • One course in Anthropology or Sociology
      • Abnormal Psychology
      • Lifespan or Developmental Psychology
  • A minimum of thirty (30) hours of documented volunteer experience or observation in an occupational therapy-related or other health care setting.  At least sixteen (16) of the thirty (30) total hours must be in direct observation of an occupational therapist Registered/Licensed (OTR/L) in a practice setting.
    • This criterion is waived for applicants who are certified occupational therapy assistants.
    • Due to COVID-19, if the applicant is not able to complete the onsite observation hours, the university will accommodate this by allowing the applicant to complete the required hours by requesting the ICE Supplemental Videos Review assignment form from the Admissions department.
  • An application essay to be submitted as a writing sample.  The content of the application essay will be specified during the application process.
  • Successful completion of an interview with the Program Director or designee.  Applicants will also be required to successfully complete a writing sample following the interview.
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members, therapists, and employers.

^For Applicants Bridging from Other Healthcare and Human Services Fields: Some time limits on prerequisites may be waived if applicants have been continually employed or licensed/certified in certain healthcare or human services fields (OTA, PTA, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Athletic Trainer, etc.) since completion of the undergraduate program. Applicants will need to provide documentation for admission to the MSOT program.

^^ If Human Anatomy and Physiology are taken as a combined course, they must be taken for two consecutive terms and must have a laboratory course in each term.

Applicants with Criminal Convictions

Applicants to the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program are required to complete a background check form and pay the background check fee seven days prior to the start of classes.

As part of an overall employment policy many clinical facilities will not permit student occupational therapists (or employees/volunteers) in the facility who have or who acquire certain felony or misdemeanor convictions. Stanbridge University cannot admit MSOT applicants who cannot attain the mandated 960 level 2 fieldwork hours. Accordingly, applicants for admission with a felony conviction will not be granted admission to the university. Certain types of convictions, regardless of whether a felony or misdemeanor, will result in denial of admission. These types of convictions include some drug/substance abuse offenses, violent crimes and offenses requiring mandatory reporting, such as elder abuse or child abuse.

Applicants with misdemeanor convictions, other than those listed above, may be asked to provide additional information regarding the conviction in order for university administration to make a decision on admission based on the type, age, and gravity of the offense. Students who acquire certain types of felony or misdemeanor convictions during their program may be dismissed.

Some fieldwork facilities require background checks for all employees, volunteers and students working in the facility, independent of the required felony questions on the NBCOT application and the Live Scan for state regulatory boards. Students will be required to submit their personal information for a background check in order to attend fieldwork sessions at these facilities.

Since Stanbridge University has no input in the decision of the facility to accept a student or not, and since the university cannot predict how all facilities will decide upon a less than favorable result of a background check, the university cannot offer any definitive answer as to the possible barring of a student from a fieldwork facility. As some types of experience are limited to a single facility, a student could potentially be prevented from completing his or her education if the facility denies the fieldwork experience to the student.

Failure to disclose a previous conviction is typically viewed as seriously as the conviction itself, if not more so.

In addition to the background check for fieldwork facilities, a second background check of California Department of Justice and FBI records must be completed prior to licensure. This background check is not satisfied by the preadmission check.

More advanced background checks, such as Live Scan, may be required for some fieldwork placements.

Multiple background checks/Live Scans may be required for certain fieldwork settings at the student’s expense.

Graduates of the MSOT program must pass the certification exam administered by the National Board for the Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) in order to work as an occupational therapist. Applicants must be aware that felony convictions and other character issues could disqualify them from taking the NBCOT exam, as well as from receiving individual state licenses. The NBCOT describes the nature of the questions asked on exam candidate applications as follows:

Individuals applying for the NBCOT Certification Examination for OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST REGISTERED OTR® (OTR) must answer each of the following questions on the examination application:

  1. Have you ever been charged with or convicted of a felony? (NOTE: Applicants must answer affirmatively if records, charges, or convictions have been pardoned, expunged, released or sealed.)
  2. Have you ever had any professional license, registration, or certification revoked, suspended or subject to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board?
  3. Have you ever been found by any court, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness, or willful or intentional misconduct which resulted in harm to another?
  4. Have you ever been suspended and/or expelled from a college or university?

For more information regarding this and other certification questions or to obtain an Early Determination Review prior to starting your program, please contact the NBCO Credentialing Services at:

12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100,
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877.
Phone: (301) 990-7979.

Individual state regulatory boards that issue licenses for the practice of occupational therapy must be contacted individually to inquire about certification questions or restrictions.