Information and Criteria for Acceptance - OTD program

Application Information

When applying to the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program, applicants must supply information to 3 different locations:

  • OTCAS
  • The Occupational Therapy Department and
  • Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation (GAPE).

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 Spring 2023 program, applications will be accepted beginnng June 1st. You may apply to OTCAS beginning July 21, 2022.

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. Visit the Testing Requirements page 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.

Application Process

Download the Application Checklist [pdf]


Please visit our Forms page to find all of the application resources. 

Criteria For Acceptance

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 

A 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 preferred and an Analytical Writing score of 4.5 is desired (a minimum score of 4.0 is acceptable). A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) combined minimum Quantitative and Verbal score of 297 is preferred


      GRE  Information

      Scores of 153 (Verbal) and 4.0 (Writing) are highly preferred; however
      they are not required and we will consider applications with scores lower
      than these.
      As always, the GRE scores will continue to be scored in the matrix
      during the application review process.


NOTE: An official copy of the GRE must be sent to Graduate Studies Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) department (SJSU code 4687). You must also include an unofficial copy in your application packet which is sent to the Department of Occupational Therapy.

3. Application and Personal Statement

Application - submitted through OTCAS and Personal Statement - submitted to the Department.

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 (professor or teacher) 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 submit 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 preferably 2 different types of healthcare, education, or social service settings; 60 of the hours must be completed under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist (OT/L). We require at least 20 hours to be completed under each OT/L so that we know the OT/L 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. Please be sure that the occupational therapist completes the volunteer evaluation form. We cannot accept forms completed by other professionals or office staff. Applicants are also required to complete a minimum of 20 hours at a community agency under the supervision of a community agency supervisor in addition to completing the 60 hours under the supervision of an OT/L. Examples of community agencies include churches, health care agencies, social-service groups, adult day centers, advocacy groups, community mental health agencies, services for the developmentally disabled, food banks 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.


Applicants must also download the Right of Access to Volunteer Evaluation form [pdf], one copy per referee (person completing the Volunteer Experience form), fill it out and sign it, deliver it to each referee, and instruct them 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. Please do NOT include community hours on 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 entering 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.

Mailing Information

Mail the completed forms to the Occupational Therapy Department

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

Online Application to the University via Cal State Apply