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UPDATE June 2020: The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has created significant interruptions in daily life and the need for social distancing, a move to remote coursework for most schools, and increased stress and workload for all of those working in health care situations, including OTs. We recognize that this situation may affect the ability of prospective students to complete as many hours of OT observation as planned, to continue work, volunteering, and extracurricular activities that would go on their resumes, and/or to access and complete an activity that meets the occupation prerequisite. Therefore, we have established the following changes to the application requirements:

  • GRE scores will not be required for applications submitted in December of 2020. It is likely that this change in testing requirements will be permanent (i.e., will extend beyond this year).
  • Modifications have been made to the criteria for the Occupation Prerequisite. Please see the “Prerequisites” page for more information.
  • During the application review process, we will take into account the effect of the pandemic on opportunities to do OT observations/shadowing and to do volunteer and/or paid work. Applicants should still submit documentation of observation hours and their resumes, but the criteria for review of these items will be loosened for this year.
  • We are waiving the requirement to submit a letter of recommendation from an OT or OT Assistant for this application cycle (ending December 2020). You still must submit 3 letters of recommendation. One of them may be from an OT/OTA, but that will not be taken into account in the application review process. That is, having a letter of recommendation from an OT or OTA will not improve your chances of being offered admission to the UNC OT program.
  • Because the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted opportunities to use observations and volunteering as ways for prospective applicants to find out more about the depth and breadth of OT practice, we have identified some learning opportunities that may be helpful in that regard. If you participate in any of these online learning activities specific to OT practice, you may list them on your OT observations chart that is submitted with your application.

    Please note, however, that by listing these learning opportunities the UNC OT program is not necessarily endorsing the content of these activities. We also are not requiring any of these activities or implying that participating in them will improve your chances of being offered admission to the UNC OT program or any other OT program. There is a cost associated with each of the events listed below, but that cost varies.

AOTA Virtual Conference 2020 Events: You can sign up for one or more presentations, rather than having to register for an entire conference. The member price for each is about $20, and the non-member price is about $25.
North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association Virtual Fall Conference: This conference will be held online starting Friday, October 2 and ending on Sunday, October 4. If the schedule and registration information are not yet posted on the website linked here, just keep checking back!
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists: WFOT is not holding a conference this year (these are held every 4 years; the next one will be in March 2022 in Paris, France) but has information and links about other OT-related courses and conferences going on globally. Most of these have significant cost involved, but you may find it interesting to look anyway.


Supplemental Application Materials:

Applicants to the MS program in occupational therapy will, in addition to the standard graduate school application, be directed within the online process to complete forms specific to the program. The following information is provided to clarify those requirements:

  2. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE Each applicant will be prompted to write an admissions essay (approxiately two pages; 800 words) according to the guidelines provided on the application. This document should be uploaded through the electronic application system in the Statement of Purpose section.
  3. REFLECTIVE STATEMENT The reflective statement gives prospective students an opportunity to reflect on their experiences in the occupation prerequisite course. This statement should be uploaded as Additional Document #1 in the Supplemental Documents section.
  4. RESUME Each applicant is requested to upload a one to two page personal resume highlighting academic, work, and volunteer achievements to date. (Each applicant will be required to upload a resume AND fill in the Work & Volunteer Experience section on the application.) This document should be uploaded in the resume section of the application.
  5. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION Each applicant is required to provide the names and contact information for three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation (in the recommendations section of the application). References may be past supervisors, teachers, or others who can comment on the applicant’s professional characteristics. Each reference will receive an email generated by the application system with instructions explaining how and where to upload his/her letter of recommendation.
  6. EXPERIENCE WITH OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Each applicant is expected to have gained exposure to the profession of occupational therapy through clinical observations, site visits, and conversations with practicing occupational therapists. The division does not require a specific number of observation hours; instead, the emphasis is on understanding the breadth of the profession and the different types of practice settings (medical, educational, community-based) and populations served (based on age, diagnosis, situation, etc). Applicants are asked to complete the chart linked here. This document should be uploaded as additional document #2 in the supplemental documents section. Experiences in areas of human service that do not include occupational therapy are not to be included in this section, but are welcomed on the resume.
  7. EXTRA ACTIVITIES/SPECIAL RECOGNITION: This additional document allows the applicant to provide information that is relevant to the desire to study occupational therapy, but does not fit into other categories. Please feel free to provide information regarding special skills or achievements, life circumstances that have influenced you toward a career in occupational therapy, and commendations or awards you have received, either within or beyond academic realms. This information should not exceed one typed page and should be uploaded as additional document #3 in the supplemental documents section.

Please note: Consult the Graduate School website for Statement of Purpose and Reflective Statement Prompts. To find this, select Graduate Degrees and Programs and then Occupational Therapy from the drop down menu.