Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I find the Graduate School's application form to apply to the master's program in occupational therapy?
Why is the application deadline for the program so early?
Application deadline for the Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree of Science in Occupational Therapy is January 10th. All components of the application must be received by the close of business on January 17. This date gives the Admission Committee time to carefully review applications. It also allows students to plan ahead to start the program as well as give appropriate time for individuals who may be on a waiting list. It is recommended that you begin the application process early. The program begins in fall semester.
How many students are accepted into the program?
Currently the Occupational Therapy Department is accepting up to 26 students per academic year in the Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree of Occupational Therapy.
Does ECU participate in the centralized admission process? I am already applying on that system.
No, the Occupational Therapy Department considered joining the centralized system and decided against participation for several reasons. As part of a state university system, the graduate school application system is standardized and would require the applicant to apply to both the centralized system and ECU's graduate school if the department participated. Our admission requirements also would require applicants to use the system and still send information to our program. Therefore, it will be an easier process and less expensive for the applicant to apply to our Graduate School if interested in our occupational therapy program.
What should be in the reference letters?
You need two reference letters and there are no requirements as to the content of the letters. However, it is typical that someone like an employer or an undergraduate advisor be asked to write the letter. Many of these individuals have written letters before. Ask them to speak to your leadership skills, accomplishments, ethical behavior, job performance, interpersonal skills, attitude, knowledge of occupational therapy or health care, experience with research, or any special abilities or knowledge you have.
What kind of volunteer hours are required?
The ECU occupational therapy program strongly encourages volunteer experience 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 specific visits with occupational therapists will assist you in understanding the various roles of occupational therapists, the types of settings which employ occupational therapists, and the many types of diagnoses which demand occupational therapy services. Volunteering in a variety of settings will give you a broader look at the profession.
Do you admit students before the application deadline? I heard other ECU programs do this.
Applications may be submitted beginning October 1st. We do not do rolling or early admissions. All applicants are reviewed together. Acceptance notices will be sent in early spring.
What happens after the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee gets my application?
The admissions committee reviews the completed applications after January 10th, the deadline. The committee reviews the total applicant pool and recommends the best candidates for admission as well as a waiting list in order of recommendation.
When do I find out about the Admission Committee's decision?
Applicants will be notified by the graduate school of the acceptance decision in early spring.
Is the Goal Statement important for my application?
This goal statement is 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. The goal statement is a very important component of the application and should be taken seriously by the applicant. Please see the information above to ensure the guidelines of the goal statement are followed.
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. The average cumulative GPA for the incoming students is around 3.5.
What GRE scores are required?
Admission requires applicants to receive a competitive score on the required standardized test. The verbal, quantitative, and writing scores are evaluated. Past accepted students have had a composite (qualitative and verbal) average of 307 and writing score of 4.0.
Do I need a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy to apply to the entry-level master's program?
No, a degree in occupational therapy is NOT required for the Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy.
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. Recommended majors: Health Services Management, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Child Development and Family Relations, Rehabilitation Studies, Biology, Recreation Therapy, Exercise Science, etc.
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 of occupational therapy. 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 www.ecu.edu/gradschool. OCCT 3000 is offered multiple times a year through face-to-face or online formats.
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 C (not a C-) 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 class is recommended but not required. You may apply to the program while completing the prerequisites, but 18 of the 25 credits must be completed before the closing date of the application cycle.
What if I think a course I have taken meets one of your prerequisites, but I am not sure?
Email the course description or syllabus for any course that is not taken at ECU to the department of occupational therapy Director of Admissions for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do you only offer a master's program and not a bachelor's program as well?
All occupational therapy programs converted to master's degree by 2007. There are no longer any programs at the undergraduate level. East Carolina University began transitioned to the master's level in 2002 and since then, has actively evaluated and improved the curriculum to be an effective and exciting degree program.
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 student be employed outside of the university while enrolled in the program. However, some graduate assistantship positions are available throughout the university as well as 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 on a fieldwork assignment for three 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 either the graduate school or through the occupational therapy department. If money is available, four $10,000 research scholar award scholarships are granted to thesis students. This is paid over two years. Students have an opportunity to apply; an application is sent when they are accepted into the program.
Can I transfer into your program from another university?
At this time, ECU's MS in OT program does not accept credits from OT students transferring from another school's OT program. These students are encouraged to apply to ECU's OT program with the post baccalaureate applicants.
Does the program offer specialization in any areas of practice?
The entry-level master's program is designed to prepare graduates for practice in all practice 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 novice experiences. Through the selected master's project or thesis, a student can specialize in a particular area of practice.
What are the types of fieldwork required?
Two fieldwork experiences are required: Level I and Level II. Level I Fieldwork consists of a one week (40 hours) in two different settings. These are completed during the fall and spring of the second year. The Level II Fieldwork experiences are two 12-week full time supervised work experiences in a variety of settings.
Does the program require a thesis to be completed?
No, a student can choose to complete an individual thesis or a research master's project.
Do I have to have an area of research interest?
Research is a part of a good graduate curriculum and also required for completion of an occupational therapy degree program. However, a beginning graduate student may not have any ideas of what they would like to pursue. The faculty members will share their interests and we have developed a process to encourage students to explore interest areas and learn the research process in progressive steps. All students graduate completing a thesis or a project in which they have an expressed interest. These can be viewed on the website at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/ot/mastersprojects.cfm.