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James Madison University
Admission to the Program > Entry-Level Masters (MOT)

Admission: Entry-Level Masters of Occupational Therapy Program (MOT)

Thank you for your interest in our Occupational Therapy Program!  James Madison University’s Masters of Occupational Therapy Program begins with a summer session each year in early June. 

This program is offered for students who are interested in becoming occupational therapists (OTR). This program is designed for students who have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to the MOT Program’s June start date. Applicants must also submit proof that they have successfully completed all admission requirements as noted.

The deadline for application materials is December 1.

Application Process


  1. Students applying for the Graduate level MOT Program must complete the online applications by using the how to apply button on the James Madison University Graduate School homepage. You will be asked to upload your personal statement, unofficial transcripts and also complete the Prerequisite Course Checklist as part of the application. Only students applying to the Occupational Studies (undergraduate) need to send a paper application form directly to the Occupational Therapy office. All MOT applicants should use the online form from the Graduate School.
  2. Request your GRE scores to be sent to the Graduate School using code 5392
  3. The following items should be mailed directly to the OT Office:
    1. Reference Forms (3)
    2. Observation Verification Form(s) 

Mailing address:
James Madison University
Department of Health Sciences – Occupational Therapy Program
235 Martin Luther King Jr Way, , MSC 4301
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Forms must be received no later than end of business day on December 1st.

James Madison University does not use the OTCAS system at this time.

Eligibility for Admission into the MOT Program


Admission requirements for JMU’s Occupational Therapy Program were designed to reflect the combination of academic and non-academic factors that ensure candidates can meet the essential requirements of the academic program required for graduation and prepare the student for entry into the occupational therapy profession. The admission process is competitive. It is likely that not all qualified applicants will be admitted.

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  • Baccalaureate Degree

    Students must complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.  All baccalaureate degree requirements must be completed prior to enrolling in the MOT Program. The MOT Program begins in early June. 
    Students may earn a degree in any major provided they have completed the prerequisite courses.

    Applicants may apply during their senior year of study.  Applicants enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at the time of application will be accepted on a conditional basis provided they submit official transcripts verifying completion of their degree and prerequisite courses with earned grades meeting the grade/ GPA criteria stated below prior to enrolling in summer courses.

  • Grade Point Average

    Applicants must earn a cumulative college-level grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher on a scale where A = 4.0.

    Grade point average (GPA) will be determined by factoring in all courses taken at accredited colleges/universities and submitted for review. 

    If an applicant has completed a graduate degree, the admissions committee will use the graduate GPA in lieu of the undergraduate GPA. 

Prerequisite Courses


Please review the prerequisite courses carefully.

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  • Prerequisite Course GPA and Grade Requirements

    Applicants must have earned a prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher on a scale where A = 4.0.

    Additionally, applicants must earn a grade of “C” (2.0) or better in each prerequisite course. A grade of  “C-“does not meet this criteria.

  • Incomplete Prerequisites

    At the time of application, applicants are allowed to be taking prerequisite courses.

  • Fall Courses

    Applicants enrolled in prerequisite courses during the fall term should submit documentation (unofficial transcript) of final grades upon completion of the semester.  

  • Spring Courses

    Please review this section carefully. 

    Students may enroll in up to three prerequisite courses during the spring semester prior to enrollment in the OT Program.

    Example: If you apply in December 2016 for admission into the MOT Program starting summer 2017, you should be enrolled in no more than three prerequisites during the spring 2017 semester.

    Please note that  during the spring semester, an applicant may be enrolled in either Anatomy or Physiology but not both as stand-alone classes;

    Example: JMU offers anatomy (BIO 290) and physiology (BIO 270) as separate classes.  A student may be enrolled in either BIO 270 or BIO 290 during the spring 2017 but not both BIO 270 and BIO 290.

     It is acceptable to complete a second semester of a combined Anatomy/Physiology course.

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

    All applicants must take the GRE.

    GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative & Writing) must be sent electronically to James Madison University’s Graduate School using code 5392.

    Applicants should take the GRE’s on or prior to November 15th to ensure scores are received on time.

  • Observation Experiences

    Potential applicants should be considerate regarding the requests they make of the occupational therapists when completing their observation experiences. OT Practitioners often supervise observation hours as a service to the applicant and the OT Profession. 
    At the time of application, applicants must submit documentation verifying a minimum of 40 hours of observation of occupational therapy services.  

    Since JMU’s graduate program prepares students to become occupational therapists (OTR) it is important that applicants gain a full appreciation of the occupational therapist’s role. As such, verification of OT observation hours should be signed off by an Occupational Therapist (OTR). It is likely that applicants complete some observations with Certified  Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA).

    Occupational therapy has a broad scope of practice and all entry-level OT education prepares students for general practice. It is desirable for applicants to have an understanding of the diversity of OT Practice. As such, preference is given to applicants who submit verification that they completed observation hours in at least two different settings.  

    If a student completes observation hours at a facility and observers more than one OT practitioner, it is acceptable to have one main reviewer as long as there has been communication amongst the reviewers.  Documentation may be completed by multiple reviewers. Please communicate with the sites where you observe about their needs and preferences.

    Please use the forms from our website and ask the OT to use the numerical rating system. While it is acceptable to add a supporting letter in addition to the form, letters are not sufficient in lieu of the form.

    OT Observation hours must be sent directly to the OT Program office.

  • References

    In addition to Observation Verification forms, all applicants must submit three reference forms.

    Applicants often have questions about who to have be a reference for them.  It is helpful for the admissions committee to hear from people who can speak about your potential to be successful as a student and as a future professional. The committee recommends the following; 

    • Someone who can effectively address your academic potential such as a faculty member or course instructor
    • Someone who can address your work/interpersonal skills such as an employer/volunteer supervisor
    • One from an additional person who meets either criteria.

    References from close family members or people you know exclusively in a friendship/social capacity are typically not acceptable.

Personal Statement & Resume


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  • Personal Statement

    • Students should use the writing prompts on the instructions from the Graduate School Website to direct them as they write their personal statement.
    • Grammar, mechanics and formatting are important.  This is your opportunity to present yourself to the admissions committee, you want to make a strong first impression.
    • Please paginate your document, double space your statement and use an adequate size font; (e.g. Times New Roman 12pt.)
    • Keep this document to 1,500 words or less.
    • Uploading instructions are included as part of the Graduate School application
  • Resume

    Students are encouraged to mail a current resume to the OT Program. 

    Attention: OT Program Office
    235 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
    MSC 4301
    Harrisonburg, VA 22807

  • Background Checks

    Students in professional programs complete level I & II fieldwork affiliations in various practice settings with real people.  Occupational Therapists have a duty to protect and serve clients and the public good and as such are subjected to criminal background checks and drug screens. Should an applicant have questions about this process he/she should contact the Admissions Committee at  JMUOTadmissions@jmu.edu .

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