University of Wisconsin-La Crosse |

Occupational Therapy (MS)

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  • Admission requirements

     Application Deadline for Summer 2017 Start - Friday, January 6, 2017

    The program will utilize a new reference form for the 2016-17 application cycle (Summer 2017 start) as the Personal Potential Index (PPI) is no longer offered or required.

    It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy Program that all students who desire admission to the program must meet the requirements and complete the admission process by the posted deadlines.  All applications will be carefully reviewed, adhering to the procedure detailed below.  All applicants, regardless of professional or academic background, must meet the following requirements for admission:

    • Degree:
      All students must earn a Bachelor's degree prior to entering the OT Program.  Students may complete their BA or BS while applying, but they must complete their degree prior to matriculating in our program.  Accepted students completing a Bachelor's degree will need to submit a final transcript demonstrating the issuance of their degree.  The program neither requires not recommends the degree be earned in any particular major.  Students enrolled in the Psychology-OT Dual Degree Program are exempt from the degree requirement.
    • Prerequisite Coursework:
      All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning the program.  Students may apply with outstanding prereq courses so long as they demonstrate a plan to complete those courses before matriculating in our program.  For further information on prerequisite course requirements please visit Prerequisite Coursework
    • GPA:  
      A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all undergraduate studies is required.  Applicants not meeting the cumulative GPA requirement may request a waiver of the minimum GPA requirement.  Please contact the program via email for further waiver information.
    • Graduate Review Exam (GRE):  
      The program does NOT require GRE results.  Submitted GRE results will not be considered as they are not required.
    • Program Application:
      Submission of the program's application is required for admission.  Among the items included in the application are academic history, prereq course progress and personal narratives.  Applicants are required to include with their application payment for the program's $50 application fee.  The Program Application will be available beginning in September and remain available through the January 6 application deadline.
    • Job Shadow / Observation Experience:
      Beginning with the 2014-2015 application cycle (those students beginning the program in the summer of 2015) job shadowing is no longer an application requirement. Job shadowing has been eliminated as clinical sites are becoming more difficult to find for job shadowing (particularly in cities with occupational therapy programs).  The strongest application portfolios demonstrate a candidate who is well rounded, has a strong academic background, experience working with people, and a commitment to the profession.  Volunteer and job shadowing can be used as one way to strengthen an applicant’s portfolio as a method of gaining experience working with people.  Job shadow forms will no longer be used. Applicants are encouraged to document their experiences within the narrative or within their resume.
    • Letters of Reference:
      The program requires applicants submit three references by the application deadline.  Only references submitted via the program's Reference Form will be accepted.  Further information is provided at Reference Information

      Beginning with the 2016-17 application cycle (Summer 2017 start) the program will no longer utilize the Personal Potential Service (PPI) as ETS has discontinued the PPI service.

    • Resume:
      Inclusion of a professional resume with application packet is required.  Items applicants may want to note in their resume are awards, collegiate extracurricular participation, honors, scholarships, study abroad experiences, volunteering, college work experience, etc.
    • Graduate School:
      In addition to applying to the program, applicants must also apply to the UWL Graduate School.  The required online application is available at UW System Application beginning in early September.
    • Official Transcripts:
      Applicants must also submit official transcripts for all college coursework attempted.  All transcripts should be sent to the Graduate Admissions, not the OT Program.  Please direct transcripts to:
      UW-L Graduate Admissions
      1725 State St
      142 Cleary
      La Crosse, WI 54601

      Applicants are encouraged to submit their transcripts well in advance of the application deadline.  Failure to receive all transcripts by the application deadline will result in an incomplete file and the applicant will not be considered.  Questions regarding transcripts should be addressed to
    The program accepts applications once annually.  Incoming students will begin courses in late May.  We admit for neither a fall nor spring start.  Summer 2016 courses will begin on Monday, May 23.

    • Early September - The online application to the UWL Graduate School opens.  Applicants encouraged to begin sending transcripts.
    • September 1 - OT Program activates Program Application link on the website and begins accepting applications.
    • December 1 - Recommended Deadline:  Applicants are encouraged to submit all evaluations to ETS by Dec. 1 as this ensures completed PPI Reports will arrive in the OT office by the program's January 2 application deadline.
    • January 6 - Application Deadline.  All application materials must be submitted in order to be considered for admission.
    • Late February / Early March - Applicants notified of their admission.  Applicants receive one of three decisions:
      • Invitation to join the program.
      • Applicant is an alternate for admission and may receive an offer should an accepted applicant decline the program's offer.
      • Applicant will not be invited to join the program.
    • Late May - New OT students begin courses and participate in orientation activities.

     The committee considers several criteria when reviewing applications for admission.  Included below are the criteria considered and some suggestions to consider when completing your application.

    GPA (Cumulative and Prerequisite): 

    It is recommended that students make academic success a priority.  The minimum cumulative GPA for admission into the Occupational Therapy Program is 3.00.  A high GPA is reflective of a strong application.  Particular emphasis on prerequisite and science coursework is suggested as the program considers academic performance in these courses in addition to cumulative GPA.

    Personal Characteristics: 

    The following items will be reviewed:

    • Narrative portion of the program application
    • References
    • Resume 

    When preparing these items applicants should emphasize the following characteristics:

    • Knowledge and Creativity
      Demonstrates a broad understanding of occupational therapy and is curious about the field.  Individual is intelligent and displays creativity.
    • Communication Skills
      Writes in a clear, organized and logical manner with precision and style that is also interesting and well organized.
    • Teamwork
      Demonstrates the ability to work well in group settings in a way that is friendly and supports the efforts of others.  Provide constructive feedback to team members in a helpful manner.
    • Resilience
      Demonstrates the ability to work extremely hard and under stressful conditions.  Overcomes challenges and setbacks.  Accepts feedback without getting defensive.
    • Planning and Organization
      Demonstrates the ability to organize work and time effectively while meeting deadlines.  Sets realistic goals and makes plans to accomplish them.
    • Ethics and Integrity
      Demonstrates sincerity, honesty, is trustworthy and maintains high ethical standards.

    Exceptional Achievement:

    Please include your resume in your mailing.  Items you may want to note in your resume include: awards, collegiate extracurricular participation, honors, scholarships, study abroad experiences, volunteering, work experiences, etc.

    Admissions data for previous application cycles is provided at Admissions Data

    Transfer Credits:

    Transfer credits from other Occupational Therapy (OT) programs are not accepted.  Due to the tight sequencing and integration of the curriculum we do not accept didactic or clinical credits from other institutions.  All students, regardless of their prior background and education, must complete the entire OT curriculum at UWL.

    Advanced Placement:

    The program does not grant advanced placement to any student.  If accepted, these students are required to complete the entire curriculum, regardless of background, education and experience.

     For International Applicants, complete applications are due in the Office of International Education by December 1.

    In addition to the Occupational Therapy program application and the university application the following items are required:

    International Applicants must use the university application materials issued by the UWL Office of International Education. The occupational therapy application materials, the university application materials, and the items listed above should be submitted to:

    University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
    Office of International Education (International Admissions)
    143 Cleary Center
    1725 State Street
    La Crosse WI 54601 USA