Pre-Occupational Therapy

Formation for Doctor of Occupational Therapy

See more in the Course Catalog.

  • Eva Pecha

    Eva Pecha ’19

    1st year Occupational Therapy student at Texas Woman’s University

    Benedictine College helped me succeed in my occupational therapy masters program by teaching me how to be inquisitive and an active learner. Thanks to the wonderful biology professors at Benedictine and their constant encouragement, I was able to follow my dream of becoming an occupational therapist!”

  • Liliana Pokropski '21

    Liliana Pokropski ‘21

    Occupational Therapy doctoral student at Widener University

    "My educational focus of Psychology and Biology at Benedictine College has helped me lay a strong foundation to build my doctorate career in Occupational Therapy. The small classroom experience Benedictine College offers enabled me to develop strong relationships with my peers and professors who challenged me inside and outside of the classroom.”

What is Pre-Occupational Therapy?

The term “Pre-OT” refers to a course of study intended to prepare students for a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program. A student can be any major and still be Pre-OT, but will be most successful in a major he or she is passionate about. However, there are common prerequisite courses required or recommended by OTD programs. In addition, most OTD programs require a student to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and the majority of OTD programs require a certain number of observation hours with a licensed occupational therapist.

Rigorous Liberal Arts Formation

Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs are academically intensive, requiring a heavy load of memorization and the comprehension of complex scientific information. Furthermore, becoming an occupational therapist necessitates the ability to critically analyze, process, apply, and communicate the learned information. A mixture of science classes and liberal arts classes will give a strong base for success in an OTD program.

Benedictine College offers a variety of rigorous courses both in the sciences and liberal arts that will provide not only the prerequisites needed, but also the liberal arts framework that helps with critical analysis as well as both written and oral communication.

Best Pre-Occupational Therapy Majors

There are common prerequisite courses you have to take to be admitted to occupational therapy school, and several majors will allow you to take these prerequisite courses within the major. These majors are academically rigorous, preparing you for the demands of occupational therapy school. Some examples of preparatory majors for occupational therapists are Psychology, Exercise Science, or Biology. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), these are also the most common majors among matriculated occupational therapy students.

Outside the Classroom

Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs expect students to not only have a strong academic record, but also have a strong record of leadership and service outside of the classroom. Students should seek out service opportunities both at the college and in the broader community that demonstrate a desire to help others with compassion and empathy. Furthermore, students should demonstrate the ability to be a leader in different environments, establishing a clear intrapersonal maturity. Benedictine College has numerous opportunities to be involved in student organizations, academic groups, and community service projects both at home and abroad.

Strong Student-Faculty Relationships

Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs expect students to have strong letters of evaluations, vouching for the student’s academic aptitude and overall motivation. Depending on the program, it is required or recommended that at least one of these letters comes from a college professor under which the student has studied. At Benedictine College, because of small class sizes and professor-guided service and research opportunities, students have numerous opportunities to interact one-on-one with professors. This builds relationships that will not only help with recommendation letter writing, but will provide sustainable professional relationships that will provide a basis of community learning during a student’s undergraduate career and beyond.


Martha Z. Carletti, Ph.D.
Director of Advising for Pre-Medical Healthcare Professions
Associate Professor of Biology
Contact by Email

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STRONGLY Recommended
CHEM-1200/1201General Chemistry 1 with lab
THEO-3940Christian Bioethics
PYSC-1000General Psychology
PSYC-3901Abnormal Psychology
PSYC-2631Developmental Psychology I
PSYC-2641Developmental Psychology II
BIOL-1121General Biology 1 with lab
  1. Engage Intellectually
    1. Display a curiosity in learning different subjects
    2. Strive to both learn and retain information
  2. Familiarize Yourself with the Healthcare Field
    1. Observe at least two liscensed occupational therapists at different clinical facilities
    2. Obtain experience and important skills for future individual mentorship
    3. Gain at minimum 60 observation hours. Vital for acceptance into OTD programs
  3. Perform Volunteer and Service Work
    1. Engage the community
    2. Show empathy and understanding of others
    3. Broaden appreciation of diverse backgrounds and experiences
  4. Reflect on the Journey
    1. Recognize strengths and weaknesses
    2. Seek opportunities to improve
  • Rockhurst University
  • Creighton University
  • University of Missouri
  • Texas Woman’s University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of South Dakota
  • Widener University

For more information on preparing for Occupational Therapy School see:

American Occupational Therapy Association

Be sure to take advantage of the post-graduate support and guidance provided by the Benedictine College Student Success Center.