Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I find the Graduate School's application form that is required?

Go to the Graduate School website: You can find application information through the "Apply" button.

How many students are accepted into the program?

Currently the Occupational Therapy Department is accepting up to 26 students per academic year.

What should be in the reference letters submitted through the application?

You need TWO reference letters. Please see the OT application for specific details as to what the references should address in their letters. It is typical that references are written by former professors, undergraduate advisors, employers, or occupational therapists.

Are Volunteer or Shadowing Hours Required?

There is not a number of volunteering or shadowing hours that are required. The ECU occupational therapy program strongly encourages volunteer experience to help demonstrate commitment to the community and leadership skills. In addition, shadowing is important because it will help you understand if this is a career that is suited to your personality, knowledge, and abilities. Volunteering can be done with any organization or group, but shadowing with occupational therapists will assist you in understanding the various roles of occupational therapists, the types of settings that employ occupational therapists, and the many diagnoses that require occupational therapy services. This information can be included on your resume.

Do you admit students before the application deadline?

Applications may be submitted beginning approximately July 15th. We do not do rolling or early admissions. All applicants are reviewed together after the application deadline.

What happens after the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee gets my application?

Please see Application Timeline for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

When do I find out about the Admission Committee's decision?

Please see Application Timeline for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

Is the Essay important for my application?

The essays are one measure of the application and gives the applicant an opportunity to highlight his or her special abilities, skills, talents, and experiences. The answers should reflect genuine impressions about you as an individual and future professional. This is a very important component of the application and should be taken seriously by the applicant.

Are there quotas in your program for in-state students? Out-of-state students?

All qualified, interested applicants are considered for admission, regardless of the state of residence.

What type of GPA is required for admission?

The occupational therapy program requires a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. Please see Application Requirements for more information or review the Admitted Student Profile for the average GPA of the incoming class.

What GRE scores are required?

The Admissions Committee requires applicants to receive a competitive score on the required standardized test. The verbal, quantitative, and writing scores are evaluated. Please see Application Requirements for recommended scores or review the Admitted Student Profile for the average scores of the incoming class.

What type of degree is required for the entry-level master's program?

All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year institution. ANY undergraduate degree is acceptable. Please see the Admitted Student Profile for a display of degrees from MSOT students in the program.

How can I take the Exploring Occupational Therapy (OCCT 3000) course?

Applicants are encouraged to take OCCT 3000 to improve their knowledge of the profession. However, it is not required. If you are currently completing your undergraduate degree at another university, you may apply through Undergraduate Admissions as a visiting student. If you have completed a bachelor's degree, you should apply as a non-degree seeking student at OCCT 3000 is offered multiple times a year in an online format.

Do the prerequisite courses have to be completed prior to starting the program?

Yes, absolutely all prerequisite courses must be completed with, at minimum, a B- (2.7) prior to starting the program. The exception is the medical terminology course requirement, which can be completed by passing an exam, but the exam must be completed before the start of the first semester with a passing grade. The Exploring Occupational Therapy (OCCT 3000) class is recommended, but not required. You may apply to the program while completing the prerequisites, but at least 4 of the anatomy/physiology prerequisites must be completed by the November 1 deadline and it is recommended that 15 of the 25 credits are completed before the November 1 deadline.

What if I think a course I have taken meets one of your prerequisites, but I am not sure?

Please see Application Requirements for a chart of prerequisite courses from common institutions. Email the course description or syllabus for any course that is not taken at ECU to the Department of Occupational Therapy Director of Admissions or Admissions Coordinator for advice at

Can I work and go to school at the same time?

The curriculum is very demanding and requires a student to devote a great deal of time to completing course assignments. It is not recommended that students be employed outside of the university while enrolled in the program. External work can place you in a state of conflict with classmates when completing group work, which is a large part of many courses. However, some graduate assistantship positions are available throughout the university and within the department, which are designed for students who need to earn additional funds. At the end of the curriculum, students will be working full time (40+ hrs) on a fieldwork assignment for six months and will find it very difficult to maintain employment. We encourage applicants to plan accordingly.

How long is the full-time program?

The Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree of Science in Occupational Therapy is 27 months, including summer. The last 6 months, of the 27 months, is spent in the field completing Fieldwork II.

Do you have any scholarships available? How do I apply for these?

Information on scholarships is available through the ECUAWard Portal and available for students currently enrolled in the program.

Can I transfer into your program from another university?

At this time, ECU's MSOT program does NOT accept credits from OT students transferring from another school's OT program. These students are encouraged to apply to ECU's MSOT program with the post-baccalaureate applicants.

Does the program offer specialization in any areas of practice?

The accrediting body ACOTE has standards that require an entry level program prepare students as a generalist. Thus our entry-level master's program is designed to prepare graduates for practice in all settings. Occupational therapists should anticipate working with a variety of individuals of all ages and should be competent in all types of practice. The program focuses on teaching clinical reasoning skills and evidence based practice a therapist can use when approaching novel situations. Through the selected master's project or thesis, students can enhance their knowledge and experience in a particular area of practice.

What are the types of fieldwork required?

There is a 1 week supervised fieldwork experience, 40 hours, during each of second Fall and Spring Semesters. Once all academic course work has been successfully completed, students will complete two separate full-time supervised 12 week internships in a variety of settings and during the last Summer and Fall semesters.

Does the program require a thesis to be completed?

No, a student can choose to complete an individual research thesis or a research master's project.

Do I have to have an area of research interest?

Research is required for completion of the program and is considered an integral part of a good graduate curriculum. However, a beginning graduate student may not have ideas for research that they would like to pursue. The faculty members have developed a process to share their interests, to encourage students to explore interest areas, and to learn the research process in progressive steps. All students will have completed a thesis or a project in which they have an expressed interest upon graduation. Past projects can be viewed on the website at:

Where will I live?

East Carolina University does not have on-campus graduate housing. However, the allied health campus (where the occupational therapy program and classes are housed) is separate from the primary campus. There are several affordable apartment complexes in very close proximity to our building. Most of these apartment complexes only rent to graduate students and professionals. It is encouraged that students live in close proximity to campus for ease in meeting with peers for group projects and class community opportunities; however, some students do chose to commute on a daily basis.

What is the cost of the program?

Please see Estimating Program Cost.

Is there a difference between an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)?

The OTD program remains an entry level degree and as such is not an academic terminal degree. The MS in Occupational Therapy is also an entry level degree. There is no advantage one over the other, both degrees require the student to pass the national certification exam from NBCOT and apply for licensure to begin practice. There is no differentiation in the process for taking the exam or licensure application.