I've heard that Occupational Therapists will have to have a Doctoral degree in order to practice. Is this true?

No! There was a mandate issued that said the entry-level doctorate was going to be the only degree accredited as of July 2027. This mandate was reversed on April 4, 2019 when the Representative Assembly of the American Occupational Therapy Association voted to keep both the Master's and Doctorate entry level degree options. The ruling means that a master's degree allows an individual to sit for the NBCOT certification exam, and become a registered occupational therapist.

When is the admission deadline?
February 1st for Summer admission. The program starts late May.

Can I apply for the fall semester?
No, we only offer admission in the summer.

How do I apply for an assistantship?
Applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship are required to send two additional letters of recommendation and choose 'Yes' on the online application under the assistantship piece.

How many applicants apply and how many do you accept each year?
We typically accept 8-10 students out of 80-90 applicants.

Do you require observation hours?
No, but we do feel that observing a licensed OTR/L is an amazing experience and can help you learn what types of populations and settings you may want to work in.

Does one area of the application weigh heavily than the others?
Applications are viewed as an entire package.

What if my GPA is below a 3.0?
If your cumulative GPA is below our minimum of 3.0 you will not be eligible to receive a graduate assistantship in the first term if you are accepted. You may still apply, but please keep in mind that we are a very competitive program. Having below a 3.0 can also impact your much financial aid package. For more information, contact us at otgrad@ithaca.edu.

Am I required to submit a GRE score?
Yes, official GRE scores must be received by the admission deadline (code: 2325)

What is the average GRE score?
Average scores of our accepted students are 152 verbal; 150 quantitative; 4.0 writing.

What is the average GPA?
The average GPA of our accepted students is a 3.6.

Do I need to have a B.S. in occupational science, health science, or another specific major to be accepted?
No, the program is designed for individuals who have received a bachelor’s degree in another area of study and are interested in pursuing a career in occupational therapy. We have had students come in with some of the following majors:

  • Psychology
  • Marketing Communications
  • Recreation & Leisure
  • Ceramic Engineering
  • Philosophy
  • Art
  • Physical Therapy
  • Sport Management
  • Public Health
  • Nutrition
  • Animal and Vet Sciences
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Exercise Science
  • Biology

Can I apply while my prerequisite courses are "in progress"?
Yes. You may take up to 3 prerequisite courses during the application process, but they must be done before the start of classes in May.

Acceptance to the program is contingent upon you receiving a grade of C or higher in prereq courses. So, throughout the application process we will communicate with you to obtain proof of enrollment, a midterm grade (if you have one by the deadline) and a final, official transcript by the time classes start in the summer. Mark the course as "in-progress" on the Prerequisite Evaluation Form. If you did not receive one, e-mail otgrad@ithaca.edu

What happens if I retake a prerequisite course?
We will accept the best grade of any duplicate courses.

If I started and/or completed a master’s or higher degree, can the GRE requirement be waived?
No. All students are required to submit the same material.

I am an international student. Are there additional materials I need to send?
Please see the Office of Admission International Students webpage.

Where do I send my application materials?
All materials need to be sent directly to the Office of Admission at the following address:

Ithaca College
Office of Admission
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

Where do I go to apply?

Once I apply, how do I know you have received my documents?
Through the online application checklist.

What if I am not sure if a course will be accepted as a prerequisite?
E-mail the course description and/or syllabus to the HSHP graduate administrative assistant at otgrad@ithaca.edu.

When will I be notified if I am accepted?
We try our best to turn around acceptance notifications as soon as possible. We aim for two to three weeks after the submission deadline, but it may take longer. We typically notify candidates who receive a graduate assistantship a week after the acceptance notice is sent out.

Program Info

Are there opportunities for research?
Yes, faculty and students engage in a variety of scholarly activities and research, individually and in collaboration. In the graduate year, occupational therapy students select either a thesis, or a group research option to complete their degrees. In addition, students may engage in individual projects or assist faculty in their research activities. Ithaca College is committed to providing our graduate students with the skills necessary to understand and assist in the generation of new knowledge about the nature of human occupation and the practice of occupational therapy. Several projects have been submitted for publication or presentation at state and national conferences.

When is fieldwork?
Second summer – 3 month fieldwork
Third summer – 3 month fieldwork and 2 month fieldwork

Do I get to choose my fieldwork location?
Students do have the opportunity to browse a database and select fieldwork sites based on their preference, but the site is not guaranteed.

When do PEL students choose the fieldwork sites?
First summer semester.

Is the graduate assistantship for the full duration of the program?
No, assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis for a one-year time period (fall and spring) but it is possible to re-apply for the assistantship the following year if there is adequate funding.

How much assistantship money is awarded?
This amount varies. Please contact otgrad@ithaca.edu for specific award information.

What do graduate assistants do?
Graduate assistants support faculty members by engaging in one or more of the following tasks: doing research in support of faculty scholarship and/or class preparation, assisting in undergraduate classroom/laboratory activities and review of students' assignments, maintaining hours in technology lab to assist students in technology-based assignments, maintaining open laboratory sessions for student projects, coordinating administrative projects and program activities.

When does the program start?
Classes begin in mid-May.

Are there opportunities for hands-on learning before I go on my fieldwork?
Ithaca College has many unique opportunities for students to experience occupational therapy practice while engaged in academics. Our students work beside registered therapists at the on-campus OT/PT Clinic, the Center for Life Skills (an interdisciplinary program for individuals with chronic neurological deficits), and partake in community service at the Ithaca Free Clinic

Is there an option for night/weekend study or part-time study?


Email otgrad@ithaca.edu to:

  • Schedule a visit on-campus to meet with a graduate program representative (include trip dates and a phone number)
  • Receive prerequisite coursework approval (include course description and/or syllabus)

To confirm that your application materials were received, please view your checklist or contact admission@ithaca.edu.

Office of Admission
Phone: 607-274-3124 or 1-800-429-4274

PEL Graduate Administrative Assistant

Other resources: