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Applicants should have:

  • An understanding of the discipline of occupational science
  • A strong academic background
  • A desire to contribute to the knowledge and research regarding human occupation, and;
  • The goal of an academic or applied research career

Applications to the Occupational Science PhD Program must be submitted via the UNC Graduate School. To begin the review process, a complete application must be submitted including all supporting materials and a paid application fee. We suggest reviewing the OS admissions information found below along with the information found on the Graduate School website before starting your application.

Admissions Timeline

Recommended deadline: December 15 (to be considered for graduate school funding)

Final deadline: April 15

The admission committee will begin reviewing applications in December. Applications are reviewed twice a year: December and April. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you via email with an invitation for an in-person or video conference interview. Interviews will be begin to be scheduled in early January and will continue through April. Following each interview, the committee will determine if the applicant will be recommended for admissions. The UNC Graduate School will send an official offer via email with more information about next steps.

Tips for applying:

Before writing your academic and personal statements, prospective applicants will benefit from reading the publications of the faculty as well as literature from occupational science journals. The PhD Program Coordinator can provide assistance with locating these resources. Contact with the Program Coordinator regarding interest in the program is encouraged prior to applying to ensure a good fit.

Please note that doctoral students in Occupational Science are admitted to the Graduate School, not the UNC School of Medicine.

Required Application Materials

In addition to the materials required by the Graduate School, the division requires the following:

Academic Statement

Describes the applicant’s understanding or/and interest in occupational science. The statement should include reference to constructs/concepts/ideas in occupational science that are of importance to the applicant and how this relates to potential research plans. Additionally, the statement should demonstrate how the applicant’s interests are aligned with the program’s philosophy and offerings. Scholarly citations should be included in the statement. The statement should be no more than 3 double spaced pages.

Personal Statement

Describes how the applicant’s background, identities, and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated his/her/their decision to pursue a graduate degree in occupational science.  This should convey of the journey that has led to the applicant’s decision to seek a graduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We are interested in learning about how the applicant’s background, identities, and experiences would add to our program’s interest in diversity and occupational justice. This statement may be an essay (no more than 2-3 double-spaced pages) or other creative statement.

Sample of Academic/Scholarly Work (Optional)

No more than 10-15 pages that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to write clearly, to conduct original research, or to set forth a critical interpretation or argument.

The Graduate Record Exam is not required.

For additional information, please see information provided by the Graduate School: https://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/degreeprograms/