MOT Admission Requirements

For consideration for Admission to the MOT Program applicants must successfully complete the following academic requirements.

COVID-19 Updates on Prerequisite Policies 7-27-2020:

Applicants are strongly encouraged to take prerequisite courses on a graded basis, whenever possible; however, we realize that some universities may not give students a letter-grade option in spring semester.  Universities also vary in the requirements for earning passing grades under their Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail (CR/NC or P/F) policies.

Because of the rapid evolution of and responses of universities to COVID-19, we will accept CR or P grades for prerequisite courses taken in spring through summer semesters in 2020 if applicants met the criterion for a grade of C (not C-) in those prerequisite courses.

For confirmation, we ask applicants who completed prerequisite courses with a CR/NC or P/F during spring or summer semesters to upload a screenshot showing their final grade (either point total or letter grade) from the electronic grade book in their learning management system (e.g., Canvas, Blackboard) for those prerequisite courses to the OTCAS JMU program-specific document section.  Cross-platform instructions on how to convert image files such as JPG and PNG to PDF can be found on the following web page:

For 2020, we will accept online (virtual) labs for anatomy-- and anatomy and physiology--courses that otherwise meet our requirements.

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Academic Requirements

Baccalaureate Degree

  • Earn a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning prior to enrolling in the MOT Program.  A degree in any major is acceptable, provided the applicant has completed all prerequisite courses.
  • Earn an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or higher. For applicants who have completed a graduate degree, the admissions committee will use their graduate GPA in lieu of their undergraduate GPA.
  • Application may be made during an applicants’ senior year of a baccalaureate program or following graduation.

Prerequisite Courses

Please review the prerequisite courses carefully.

Prerequisite Courses JMU Course Equivalents Required Credits
Human Physiology w/Lab* and
Human Anatomy w/Lab* or
Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II, with Labs
(Labs should use human models and not be virtual labs)
Including human models:
BIO 270 + L - Human Physiology + Lab [4]
BIO 290 + L - Human Anatomy + Lab [4]
Social Sciences and Humanities
(may include sociology, anthropology, and/or philosophy)
Any two of the following:
ANTH 195 - Cultural Anthropology
PHIL 150 - Ethical Reasoning
SOCI 140 - Individual in Society
SOCI 110 - Social Issues in a Global Context
Biomechanics or Physics
(inclusion of a lab is preferred)
Any of the following:
HTH 441 - Rehabilitative Biomechanics [3] or
KIN 306 + L - Human Biomechanics + Lab [4] or
KIN 407 - Rehab Biomechanics [3] or
PHYS 140 + L - College Physics + Lab [4]
(4 is preferred)
Statistics Either of the following:
HTH 320 - Statistical Methods for Health Science Research
MATH 220 - Elementary Statistics
Lifespan Development
(must cover the lifespan of a human from birth to death. Students may have to take more than one course to complete this prerequisite)
PSYC 160 - Life Span Human Development [3] 3-6
Abnormal Psychology PSYC 250 - Introduction to Abnormal Psychology 3
Medical Terminology college
(credit course)
HTH 210 - Medical Terminology 1-3

Policies Regarding Prerequisites

Timing of Prerequisites

  • Prerequisites must have been completed within seven years of enrolling in the MOT Program (June enrollment).
  • Completion of prerequisites
    • All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrolling in the JMU MOT Program (summer session).
    • Applicants are encouraged to complete as many prerequisite courses as possible prior to applying to the program.
    • Applicants may have no more than three remaining prerequisites completed in the Spring semester to be considered for admission. Should an applicant be taking prerequisites at the time of application, additional transcripts must be submitted to verify grades and enrollment in courses.
    • Completion of two out of three science prerequisites (anatomy, physiology, physics or biomechanics) by the end of the 2020 Fall Term is preferred.
  • For Early Admission
    • All prerequisites must be complete (i.e., with grades posted in their transcripts) for applicants applying for early admission

Grade Requirements: Successful completion of prerequisite courses is required. This is defined as:

  • Earning a prerequisite course GPA at or above a 3.0 (B) AND
  • Earning grades of “C” (2.0) or higher in each individual prerequisite course with the exception of anatomy and physiology as noted below.
    • For Anatomy and Physiology courses (taken either separately or together) applicants must earn at least a grade of “B-” (2.7 on a 4.0 scale) in each course
  • The average prerequisite GPA for the most recently admitted cohort was a 3.7 on 4.0 scale

Institutional Requirements

  • All courses must be completed in institutions that are recognized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and accredited by a regional accrediting body.
  • The following will NOT be accepted by the JMU MOT Program as prerequisite coursework.
    • Courses taken in high school
    • Courses taken via College Level Examination Program (CLEP) programs
    • Courses taken by departmental and school examinations for credit
    • Experience instead of prerequisite coursework

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

  • As of January 1, 2019, the James Madison University MOT Program no longer requires completion of the GRE by applicants.

Non-Academic Requirements

Observation Experiences

Before students make the 2.5-year commitment to an occupational therapy graduate program, it is important that they understand what OT is, what we do, and the various practice settings in which we practice. While it is difficult to learn about practice just by reading webpages, this page on the American Occupational Therapy Association website is informative. In addition to face-to-face experiences in healthcare settings, applicants may find it also helpful to watch videos about OT, talk with occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and listen to students. We also offer virtual information sessions.

Because of the social distancing guidelines that were put in place in many healthcare and community service settings this spring, we understand that applicants to the 2020-2021 admission cycle may have limited opportunities to actually observe occupational therapy practice. 

In response to these challenging circumstances, we have made the following changes to observation requirements for applicants in the 2020-2021 academic year:

Applicants are encouraged to complete 40 observation hours in at least two different practice settings, but we will accept observation hours in only one setting. Applicants may observe either occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants. We are using the system in OTCAS to verify those hours and we are not requiring completion of the JMU Observation Verification form.  For applicants unable to complete 20 or more in-person observation hours due to the unique circumstances posed by COVID-19, a virtual shadowing tool is now available, through the generosity of Dr. Cheryl Lucas, OTD Program Director at Quinnipiac College. The tool is Welcome to the Occupational Therapy Online Shadowing Experience. After clicking the link above, students will be asked for the password, which is LucasQU. The virtual shadowing tool features 6 interesting modules with videos and questions that instruct applicants about occupational therapy terminology and practice areas across the lifespan. The estimated time to complete all 6 modules is 10 hours. At the end of the experience, a completion of a survey is requested by Dr. Lucas.

Applicants should answer all questions within each module on a Microsoft Word document to affirm their completion of the virtual shadowing hours and upload their completed answers to the OTCAS JMU Documents section labeled “Other”, in addition to their JMU Graduate Application. For more information, please contact our program at


  • See How to Apply for details about submission of references.
  • Re-applicants are strongly encouraged to get new references.

Personal Statement

  • Applicants submit their personal statement through the My Application component of OTCAS.
  • See How to Apply for details about submission of personal statement.

Resume (Related Experience)

  • Applicants should enter their experiences into OTCAS within the My Application section.   
  • See How to Apply for details about submission of experiences. No separate resume is required.

Background Checks and Drug Screening

While James Madison University does not require criminal background checks and drug screenings as admission requirements, these are required to progress in the program as fieldwork sites require documentation verifying completion of these to ensure the safety of their clients.

For further information, please contact the Admissions Committee at

Additionally, in order to become credentialed as an Occupational Therapist, individuals must comply with Occupational Therapy regulatory body standards. This includes requirements from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and their OT regulatory board.