College of Allied Health Sciences
Department of Occupational Therapy

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you switch to OTCAS?
Due to the number of applications we receive annually, this system is designed to manage the large amount of applications and it provides up-to-date information for the applicant regarding completion of the application. It also provides a way to communicate with groups of applicants by email regarding status of the application process.

Where do I find the Graduate School's application form that is required for the Supplemental Application?
Go to the Graduate School website: You can find application information through "Find Your Program" or "Admissions Information."

Why is the application deadline for the program so early?
Application deadline for the completed OTCAS for the Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree of Science in Occupational Therapy is November 1. All components of the application must be received by OTCAS by this date, thus allowing OTCAS a month to VERIFY all necessary components of the application. Because the selection of the next class is a very complex process involving many application components, an early deadline is necessary to allow adequate time for application review and decisions to be made so that students can make informed decisions.

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 OTCAS?
You need TWO reference letters with 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 describe 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 volunteering opportunities visits 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.  Volunteering in a variety of settings will give you a broader look at the profession. A great place to identify these is on the Resume which is part of Phase 2 and through answering essay and electronic interview questions.

Do you admit students before the application deadline? I heard other ECU programs do this.
Applications may be submitted beginning approximately July 17th. 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 the "Application Timeline" webpage for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

When do I find out about the Admission Committee's decision?
Please see the "Application Timeline" webpage for an approximate breakdown of the application timeline.

Is the Essay important for my application (Part of Phase Two Supplemental 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. 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.  Please see the "Requirements for Application" page for more information.

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 the "Requirements for Application" page for recommended scores.

Do I need a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy/Occupational Science 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. ANY undergraduate degree is acceptable.

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 15 of the 25 credits must be completed before the November 1 OTCAS application deadline.

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 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. 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 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 either the graduate school or through the occupational therapy department.  If money is available, four $10,000 Clinical Research Scholar Award scholarships are granted to thesis students. This is paid over two years. An application is sent to new students when they are accepted into 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 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?
Two fieldwork experiences are required: Level I and Level II. Level I Fieldwork consists of one week (40 hours) in two or more settings. The Level II Fieldwork experiences are two 12-week full-time supervised work experiences in a variety of settings and occur 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 groups 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 the Program Cost."