Admission requirements

The program has adopted several changes for the 2018-19 application cycle, including OTCAS and the GRE.

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:

  • OTCAS Application:
    The program participates in the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).  OTCAS is scheduled to open on July 18.  Applicants must submit all required application materials to OTCAS by the program's December 14 application deadline such that CASPA considers the application "Complete".  The application does not need to be "Verified"; merely "Complete" on December 14.  To learn more about OTCAS please visit - OTCAS
  • Supplemental Application / Program Application Fee:
    The program does not require a supplemental application, however, applicants are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee to the program.  Please include a completed copy of the following form with payment OT Program Application Fee Form.  Submission instructions are provided on the form.  The form does not need to be uploaded to OTCAS.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Grade Point Average (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):
    Submission of Graduate Review Exam (GRE) scores directly from ETS is required of all applicants - without exception.  The program requires applicants take the general exam and submit their score request with ETS by the application deadline.  The program's OTCAS GRE code is 4109.  This code will result in ETS electronically forwarding test results directly to OTCAS for inclusion with the applicant's OTCAS record. 
    No minimum score is required. 
  • Letters of Reference:
    The program requires applicants submit three references to OTCAS by the application deadline.
  • Narratives:
    All required narratives are included in the OTCAS application.  In addition to the mandatory narrative required of all OTCAS applicants, the UWL OT Program has included several other narratives.  These become available once the applicant selects UWL in OTCAS.

The program accepts applications once annually.  Incoming students will begin courses in late May.  We admit for neither a fall nor spring start.  Summer 2018 courses will begin on Monday, May 21.

  • Mid July - OTCAS opens.
  • December 14 - Application Deadline.  All application materials must be received by OTCAS in  order to be considered for admission.  GRE score submissions must also be submitted.
  • 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 included in the OTCAS application will be reviewed:

  • Narrative responses
  • References
  • Experiences (employment, volunteering, etc.)

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:

Items that may be considered 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