Application Information and Criteria for Acceptance


The Department of Occupational Therapy uses the OTCAS (The Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy) for submission of applications to the Master of Science in OT Program. Certain application information is submitted to OTCAS and other information is sent directly to the Occupational Therapy department.  Additionally, applicants must apply to SJSU's Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) via Cal State Apply. For Fall 2021 program, applications will become available October 1st.

NOTE: Your college/university official transcripts will be evaluated by Graduate Studies (GAPE) as a condition of acceptance to the University. If your degree program was conducted in a language other than English, you will also need to take an English proficiency exam such as the TOEFL or the IELTS. Go to this website for more information. You may also want to contact Jessica Hernandez at (408) 924-2406 if you have any questions about your Graduate Studies & Admissions application.

note flag iconNOTE:  OTCAS will go live on July 15, 2020 for everyone to begin the applicaton process. 

If you want to reapply for the next cycle, please contact the Graduate Assistant.

A.  Items to be completed through OTCAS:

1. Application/Personal Statement (Please limit your personal statement to 500 words or 1 page only.)

2. Official Transcripts for all coursework

3. Letters of Recommendation

Note: The Letter of Recommendation Forms CANNOT be completed by the same individual who completes the "Evaluation Form for Volunteer Experience”. At least one of the letters must come from someone who can speak of your academic abilities.

Please follow instructions on OTCAS

B.  Items to be submitted directly to the Department of Occupational Therapy at SJSU:

1. First page of OTCAS Application (page 1) with Personal Information, etc.

2. Copy of the General Essay from OTCAS application. You may customize the essay if you wish.

3. Unofficial  copy of GRE scores - Please note:  GRE Scores cannot be sent to the department from the testing site.  Scores sent to SJSU go to the University (GAPE), not to the department.  You must mail a copy of the scores directly to the department.

4. Sealed Volunteer Evaluation Forms and Right of Access to Volunteer Evaluation forms

Note: Beginning with the October 2016 application period we will NO LONGER accept the MAT.  Students wishing to apply to the program must take the GRE.

C.  Items to be submitted to GAPE

Application to the University through GAPE is a separate process from application to the OT Program.  Items required and sent to GAPE do not come to the department.

1. Submission of the online application to San Jose State University Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) - the application form is available at Cal State Apply.

2. Official transcripts for all college level work (both 2 year and 4 year) leading up to the completion of the Bachelor Degree. Send one copy to Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) and one copy to OTCAS.

3. Official transcripts for all prerequisite courses taken after the completion of the Bachelor's degree. One copy of those transcripts should be sent to OTCAS and Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations(GAPE).


All of the following criteria are equally important in the selection process. If any one area is below the minimum requirement, your application will not be considered for selection. Please do not apply unless your materials meet the program's minimum requirements. Please do not apply until you have all of the required application materials. Exceptional performance in the following areas will improve chances of selection.

1. GPA - minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units is required. A 3.2 or higher is recommended.

2. GRE - A minimum GRE verbal score of 153 is required  and an Analytical Writing score of 4.5 is desired (a minimum score of 4.0 is required). A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) combined minimum Quantitative and Verbal score of 297 is required

image of the word 'important' Important update on GRE for Applicants for 2020-2021! 
It is important to note that starting on April 2nd, the GRE can be taken at home by going online here.  There is a human proctor who will monitor each test taker via video camera to ensure that all testing procedures are being adhered to.  Although at this time we are still requiring the GRE as a part of our application packet, we will waive the minimum score requirements on the Verbal, Writing and total (Verbal and Quantitative) sections for the 2020-2021 application period. The scores of 153 (Verbal) and 4.0 (Writing) are still preferred, however they will not be required and we will consider applications that did not meet this criterion.
As always, the GRE scores and the GPA in the last 60 units of coursework will be scored together in the matrix used in the application review process. 

NOTE: Have an official copy of the GRE sent to Graduate Studies Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) department (SJSU code 4687), and mail an unofficial copy to the Department of Occupational Therapy.

3. Application and Personal Statement (submitted through OTCAS).

4. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
To be submitted through OTCAS attesting to academic ability, work performance record and personal attributes necessary for graduate study. Please refer to OTCAS website.
NOTE: Letter of Recommendation Forms cannot be completed by the same individual who completes the "Evaluation Form for Volunteer Experience”. At least one of the letters must come from someone who can speak of your academic abilities. You will not need to upload the Right of Access form onto OTCAS for your 3 letters of recommendation, despite the title of the university document. You will be submitting a digital version of the Right of Access form when you complete your referee's information on OTCAS.

5. Volunteer Experience
Minimum of 80 hours volunteer experience or paid work experience in at least 2 different types of healthcare, education, or social service settings; 60 of the hours must be completed under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Applicants are also required to complete a minimum of 20 hours at a community agency under the supervision of a community agency supervisor (i.e., teacher, administrator, nurse, social worker, etc.) in addition to completing the 60 hours under the supervision of an OT/L. Examples of community agencies include schools, churches, health care agencies, social-service groups, adult day centers, advocacy groups, community mental health agencies, services for the developmentally disabled, and homeless shelters just to name a few. Hours must be verified by the supervisor on the Evaluation Form for Volunteer Experience [pdf] and submitted at the time of application (available on the Department of Occupational Therapy website).  At least 40 of the 80 hours must be completed by the time you apply. We require at least 20 hours to be completed under each OT/L so that we know the OT/L and/or supervisor knows you well enough to fill the form out for you. Do not ask an OT/L to fill out a volunteer form for anything under 20 hours.

note flag iconDuring this time of shelter in place, we realize that it is very difficult to complete volunteer hours. Therefore, for the 2020-2021 application period, we will not require that you complete all 40 of the 80 required hours at the time that you submit your application. However, we do expect that volunteer hours will be completed by the time of admission to the program. If it becomes apparent that this will not be possible by the start of classes, we will provide further direction. Please submit any hours that you have completed with the volunteer form filled out by the supervisor with your application. This is very important.
(**There are still many community service locations needing volunteers where you can complete the 20 hours of community volunteer work to meet that requirement.)

Please note: Applicants must also download the Right of Access to Volunteer Evaluation form [pdf] form, one copy per referee (person completing the Volunteer Experience form), fill it out and sign it, deliver it to each referee, and instruct him or her that it must accompany the Evaluation for Volunteer Experience form. You will not need to upload the Right of Access form onto OTCAS for your 3 letters of recommendation, despite the tile of the university document.
Note: Please provide information regarding your observation hours with an OTR/L on OTCAS AND please submit the completed, signed, and sealed Volunteer Evaluation Form, along with the Right of Access to the Letter of Recommendation Form, directly to the Occupational Therapy Department at SJSU. If you complete community service hours in addition to your occupational therapy observation hours, please do NOT enter this information into OTCAS.

6. Prerequisite Courses  
All of the required prerequisite courses must be completed with a "B" or better. All prerequisite courses must be completed before enrolling in the program. At least 4 of the 8 courses must be complete by the time the application is submitted.

No advanced placement, transfer of credit, credit for experiential learning, or work experience credits are accepted as a substitute for courses in the curriculum.

Mail the completed Forms to the Occupational Therapy Department:

Department of Occupational Therapy
Attn:  Master of Science in OT Program
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0059

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