Admissions to the Occupational Therapy, M.S. will be suspended as of summer 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

The MS–OT program is a two-year professional program designed to prepare students for practice. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE—4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814). At the master's level, two years of didactic classroom learning is followed by 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork experiences in a variety of settings. This program meets the requirements for OTR certification set by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

The occupational therapy program resides in the Department of Kinesiology and offers two graduate professional programs, an entry-level master of science (MS–OT) and a post-professional doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) for therapists with earned Masters degrees. Occupational therapists interested in pursuing advanced research training may also apply to the M.S./Ph.D. in Kinesiology–Occupational Science Track. The purpose of the graduate programs is to prepare clinicians, researchers, and teachers who possess a solid foundation in both the theoretical and applied aspects of the disciplines of occupational therapy and science.

Admissions to the Occupational Therapy, M.S. will be suspended as of summer 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

Fall Deadline The program does not admit in the fall.
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline November 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 0

Applicants for all graduate programs must complete a UW–Madison Graduate School application.

M.S. in Occupational Therapy (Professional)

Admission to the entry-level professional program in occupational therapy requires:

  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited school of higher education by the start of the program
  • Transcripts from each college, university, or technical college attended showing work completed and in progress
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Documentation of paid or volunteer experience in at least two different settings serving persons across the lifespan with physical, behavioral or mental health disabilities
  • Direct observation of Registered Occupational Therapists, or Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, providing services is highly recommended
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement responding to prompts provided on the graduate application 
  • At least a "C" or better in the following prerequisite courses or their equivalent:
PREREQUISITE COURSES (UW-Madison or comparable) *
Lifespan Development 1 (one of the following): 13
Development of the Young Child
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
Child Development
Lifespan Development 2:3
Development from Adolescence to Old Age
Abnormal Psychology:3
Abnormal Psychology
Basic Statistics for Psychology
Anatomy & Physiology: 26-8
Human Anatomy
Human Anatomy Laboratory
Physiology (with Lab)

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial assistance, sometimes available to graduate students in occupational therapy, consists of scholarships, fellowships, and teaching, project or research assistant positions. Financial assistance is limited; opportunities vary by program and from year to year.  Students who are considering applying for financial support should see the OT Program Tuition, Scholarship & Financial Aid webpage for further information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 61 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (31 credits out of 61 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires students maintain a graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for courses numbered 300 and above (excluding research) to receive a degree. Conditions for probationary status may require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations No formal examination specific to the M.S. is required. Curricular requirements (all didactic courses) must be passed, in conformity with GPA and grad requirements.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

ANATOMY 622 Human Anatomy-Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy6
OCC THER 610 Professional Skills I: Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy2
OCC THER 611 Professional Skills II: Communication & Interpersonal Skills in OT2
OCC THER 612 Professional Skills III: Organization and Management in OT Practice3
OCC THER 613 Professional Skills IV: Community-based OT Practice2
OCC THER 620 Occupational-based Theory and Practice2
OCC THER 621 Assessment of Occupational Participation3
OCC THER 622 Infant and Childhood Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 623 Adolescent and Young Adult Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 624 Middle and Late Adulthood Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 625 Level-I Fieldwork: Infants and Children1
OCC THER 626 Level-I Fieldwork: Adolescents and Young Adults1
OCC THER 627 Level-I Fieldwork: Middle and Late Adulthood1
OCC THER 629 Medical Lectures for Occupational Therapy2
OCC THER 640 Applied Neuroanatomy for Allied Health Professionals3
OCC THER 662 Level II Fieldwork A6
OCC THER 664 Level II Fieldwork B6
OCC THER 671 Scientific Inquiry in OT I: Evidence-Based Practice.2
OCC THER 672 Scientific Inquiry in Occupational Therapy II: Research Design and Methods2
OCC THER 673 Scientific Inquiry in OT III: Data Collection and Analysis.3
OCC THER 674 Scientific Inquiry in OT IV: Scientific Writing for Publication2

The MS–OT has a prescribed curriculum of 61 credits, with potential for electives.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of graduate course work from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of course work numbered 300 or above taken in UW–Madison University Special student status. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. See Probation on the Graduate School website.


All students must have an assigned advisor to meet UW information management needs, and accordingly, and of its own volition, the department assigns an advisor to each student. Assigned advisors in the M. S. in Occupational Therapy (MS–OT) program are graduate research or clinical faculty. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master's degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of coursework.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. (Foundational Knowledge) Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, psychological and contextual substrates of human occupation in typical and nontypical development.
  2. (Foundational Knowledge) Discuss the role of personal and environmental factors on involvement in daily activities and community participation.
  3. (Foundational Knowledge) Critically examine and apply theories associated with the science of human occupation and models of interprofessional practice to service delivery.
  4. (Foundational Knowledge) Demonstrate knowledge of one's own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address the needs of clients and populations served.
  5. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Articulate current problems facing the profession of occupational therapy in an interprofessional context with respect to theory, knowledge and practice.
  6. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Identify and critique current knowledge, theories and evidence to inform practice.
  7. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Demonstrate necessary skills for designing a scholarly proposal that includes a research question, relevant literature, samples, design, measurement and data analysis.
  8. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Participate in scholarly activities that evaluate professional practice, service delivery, and/or professional issues.
  9. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Appropriately assess clients' participation in daily life activities and employ an interprofessional approach to determining clients' needs within the context of family and society.
  10. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Identify factors within the environment that influence participation in home and community life.
  11. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Plan for discharge in collaboration with the client and family and terminate occupational therapy when appropriate.
  12. (Professional Conduct) Articulate the values of the occupational therapy profession.
  13. (Professional Conduct) Work with individuals of other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.
  14. (Professional Conduct) Describe the varied roles of the occupational therapist as practitioner, educator, researcher, and entrepreneur,
  15. (Professional Conduct) Establish appropriate therapeutic relationships with individuals, groups, organizations and systems,
  16. (Professional Conduct) Use effective interpersonal communication and demonstrate effective and culturally sensitive group communication.
  17. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate use of safety precautions with the client during the process of practice.
  18. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate knowledge of legal and ethical issues related to care in health, education, and community settings.

Graduate Faculty: Professors Benedict (OT Program Coordinator), Edwards; Associate Professor Larson; Assistant Professors Ausderau, Pickett, Travers. Links to faculty webpages, instructors and program staff are listed here.


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education

Accreditation status: Accreditation. Next accreditation review: 2017–2018


National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2016 100% not available
2015 100% not available
2014 100% not available

Note: The table shows pass rates on the national certification exam. Licenses are awarded at the state level.