Please review the specific information about program prerequisites on the PDF document that is linked here ; the information below is only a summaryUse the linked document to evaluate your own coursework relative to those prerequisites. We do not need to conduct a transcript review prior to your application to the program. Ensuring that your coursework meets the criteria outlined in the attached guide will prepare you to apply from the standpoint of coursework. If you would like to check on whether or not a particular course will "count" for one of the prerequisites, please complete the form attached here, and email the form to osinfo@med.unc.eduwith the subject line "Prerequisite Check." Please allow up to 2 weeks for a response from the Admissions Committee. 

There are 8 total prerequisite courses. Four of these are fixed (core body of knowledge). Three are in categories that allow flexibility in the specific coursework that satisfies the prerequisite (flexible prerequisites). These 7 courses may be taken at accredited universities, colleges or community colleges. Online courses will be accepted from accredited institutions if the course credit is equivalent to that of a typical on-site course. The final prerequisite is an occupation course, which does not have to be taken for credit, but must meet specific criteria.

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (2 semesters, and including a lab)
  • Statistics
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Development and Behavior
  • Social Institutions & Systems
  • Modes of Reasoning
  • Occupation (see more information below and on the document linked above)

Timing and Waivers: The 4 fixed prerequisites and the 3 flexible prerequisites MUST have been taken within the 5 years prior to application to the program. The only potential exceptions are for those who work in fields focused on a specific area AND who have taken the coursework in the past (for example, mental health professionals may not have to retake abnormal psychology). Applicants requesting a waiver of the 5-year rule should document their justification using the form attached here. and send it via email to, subject line "Waiver Request," prior to the application deadline. The Admissions Committee will review waiver requests four times a year, at the end of March, May, August, and October.


NOTE: The occupation prerequisite must have been taken in the past three (3) years and must be completed prior to application. One of the essays in the application is a reflection on this learning experience, and you must be able to complete that essay and submit it with your application.

The intent of the occupation prerequisite is to expose you to a situation in which you attempt something that is a novel challenge and that has an outcome, either a product (something you’ve created) or performance. We ask you to participate in this prerequisite to reflect on the types of learning processes that may be experienced by our clients during occupational therapy. The occupation prerequisite does NOT have to be taken for credit. However, it must have the following characteristics:

  1. new learning/challenge (not something you already do or know how to do)
  2. formal (structured) learning context, but does not have to be a "for credit" course
  3. at least once a week for a minimum of 6 weeks
  4. social context (other learners present in person, i.e., no online courses)
  5. results in a product or performance
  6. learners must be active (not just recipients of information)
  7. course content is not designed to be used to benefit, teach or communicate with others (such as foreign languages, sign language, coaching, therapeutic recreation methods, etc).

Examples of possible occupation prerequisites include classes in dance, theater, visual arts, sewing, photography, ceramics, manual arts (welding, plumbing, etc.), sports/recreation (tennis, scuba diving), woodworking, creative writing, etc. For more information about the Occupation Prerequisite, please refer to page 3 of the document linked here.