Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson College of Health Professions
Department of Occupational Therapy

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is a graduate degree program for students with a Bachelor’s degree in a field other than occupational therapy and have completed prerequisite coursework (29 credits) at a regionally accredited institution. Students are awarded a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy upon successful completion of the program.

Our department partners with the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Applications to this program are sent to and processed by OTCAS. We also require a TJU supplemental application to be completed after OTCAS submission.

Note: We communicate with applicants via email, so please provide a valid email address and adjust your email settings to allow mail from

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Jefferson University

Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University Integration

On September 9, 2016, leadership from Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University signed an agreement approved by both Boards of Trustees to combine the two institutions. On July 1, 2017, the integration was made official with the announcement of the combined institution, Jefferson University.

The current program offerings at Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University will remain for fall 2018. Applicants, who are interesting in applying to both M.S. in Occupational Therapy programs for fall 2018, will apply to both programs in OTCAS. 

Applicants, who are accepted into Thomas Jefferson University’s M.S. in Occupational Therapy programs for fall 2018, would enroll in and complete the existing ACOTE accredited program. 

Applicants who are interested in learning more about the integated University can do so by visiting our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

Application Deadlines

Application Open Date: July 18, 2017 (OTCAS for Fall 2018)
Application Deadline: Rolling Admission to February 1, 2018

To be considered complete and eligible for review, an OTCAS application must be verified and all applicable documents (test scores, letter of recommendations, etc.) must be submitted in the directed manner and received by the program deadline date. Verified applicants will be sent the Thomas Jefferson University Supplemental Application by email after our office downloads your OTCAS application. 

Please note that the OTCAS verification process can take 4-6 weeks. It is important to keep this information in mind when determining if you will meet the deadline.

Decisions are granted on a rolling basis throughout the cycle until the class is filled. The OTCAS opens in July. We highly encourage applicants to apply well in advance of the application deadline. We will contact academically eligible applicants via e-mail to schedule an admission interview (provided space is still available). Decisions include: Offer of Admission, Denied Admission, Hold for Grades and Waitlist.


Prerequisites must be completed by the time the student enters Thomas Jefferson University. You do not need to have all of your prerequisites completed before you apply, but the majority should be completed before an admissions decision can be made. Prerequisite courses for the program are measured on the semester credit scale; courses taken on the quarter credit scale will be converted to the semester credit scale. You may also earn credits through standardized tests, including the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Advanced Placement (AP). Earned credits through standardized tests are subject to approval.

Prerequisite Worksheet (PDF)
Transfer Equivalency Guide

Questions about Prerequisites can be directed to:

1-877-JEFF-247 or 215-503-8890

OT Observation Hours

Thomas Jefferson University’s OT Department requires students to observe OTs in at least two settings, for a minimum of 50 hours. Jefferson does not have a specific form required to log OT observation hours; please complete the observation hours section of OTCAS to document your observation hours.  

Degree & GPA

Students must complete their Bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution before the start date of the program. A 3.0 overall and 3.0 prerequisite GPA are highly recommended. 


29 semester credits from specific course areas.

All science courses (A&P I and II with Lab) must be completed within 10 years of application to Jefferson in an on-campus format. Non-science courses can be completed in an on-campus or online format. Courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or above to be eligible for transfer. A grade of “C-“ or below will not be eligible for transfer. While a grade of a “C” is required for a course to be eligible to transfer, admission to the program is competitive and we prefer to see a grade of “B” or better for admission. You may also earn credits through standardized tests, such as AP & CLEP, pending department approval.

Anatomy & Physiology I *
Anatomy & Physiology II *
Statistics 3
Abnormal Psychology 3
Developmental or Lifespan Psychology 3
Cultural Anthropology** 3
Sociology 3
English/Writing 3
English/Writing 3

* 8 credits of A&P I and II or 4 credits of Human Anatomy and 4 credits of Human Physiology required. Labs must be included. 

** If a student’s institution does not offer Cultural Anthropology, a course that covers multiple cultures and/or ethnicities from a broad perspective based in anthropology or the social sciences will be accepted. We encourage students to contact the Admissions Office to confirm their course will meet the prerequisite requirement. 

Technical Standards Required For Occupational Therapy Student Performance in Classroom, Laboratory and Fieldwork/Residency (for OTD) Settings

Students participating in the Occupational Therapy Programs at Thomas Jefferson University must have essential skills to perform successfully as a student. These requirements apply to classroom, laboratory and clinical/fieldwork/residency envi­ronments. Students must be able to perform the following with or without rea­sonable accommodation:

Student must possess sufficient COGNITIVE skills to:

  1. Acquire, process, retain and apply knowledge through a variety of instruc­tional methods such as written materials, oral delivery, visual demonstra­tions, laboratory experiences, clinical experiences and independent learn­ing.
  2. Complete reading assignments, search and analyze professional literature, and apply information gained to guide practice; learn, retain and use infor­mation from texts, journals, documentation and other written sources.
  3. Process (measure, calculate, analyze, synthesize and evaluate) large amounts of complex information; apply theoretical concepts to practice activities and perform clinical problem-solving in a logical and timely man­ner.
  4. Apply mathematical and basic statistical skills.
  5. Perceive and understand three-dimensional relationships and spatial rela­tionships necessary for education and practice-related tasks such as moving in a variety of environments, designing treatment equipment and fabricating splints.
  6. Participate equitably in cooperative group learning activities; actively par­ticipate in class discussions and as a member of a team.
  7. Orally present information to groups of people.
  8. Maintain attention for 2-4 hours; tolerate days when classes may last 8-10 hours.
  9. Take and pass tests/quizzes in a variety of formats.
  10. Complete written assignments and produce written documentation in stan­dard and organized English.
  11. Apply knowledge and judgment required to demonstrate ethical reasoning and behavior.
  12. Apply safety knowledge and judgment to a variety of situations.
  13. Comply with fieldwork site rules and regulations.
  14. Demonstrate problem-solving skills and judgment necessary to modify eval­uation or intervention methods when necessary to address the specific needs of client (behavioral, cultural, etc.), in order to maximize client per­formance.
  15. Apply clinical reasoning and judgment necessary for interpretation of eval­uation data and development of treatment plans.
  16. Identify and select occupations that are goal directed and motivate and challenge clients.
  17. Demonstrate judgment necessary to establish priorities and develop and use strategies. 


  1. Demonstrate positive interpersonal skills including, but not limited to, coop­eration, flexibility, tact, sympathy and confidence.
  2. Demonstrate respect for diversity, including but not limited to, socio-cultural, socioeconomic, and spiritual and lifestyle choices.
  3. Collaborate with classmates, clients, family members, significant others and team members.
  4. Function successfully in supervisory and instructor-student relationships; change and adjust behavior and performance in the classroom, laboratory or clinic on the basis of instructor feedback.
  5. Communicate in the English language effectively and clearly in oral and written forms, using proper spelling, punctuation and grammar to explain procedures and teach skills.
  6. Use language appropriate to the recipient, with faculty, peers, clients and other health professionals from different social and cultural backgrounds to obtain information from clients, peers, faculty, supervisors and other profes­sionals.
  7. Use communication skills needed to practice safely.
  8. Use therapeutic communication skills such as attending and active listening during therapeutic interactions; and motivating and facilitating client behav­iors in order to maximize client performance.
  9. Communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally; elicit and describe factual information and perceive information derived from verbal and non­verbal communication and social cues.
  10. Be appropriately assertive as required to speak in class, initiate and guide the therapy process, establish limits as needed for the safety of self and clients and establish professional identity within complex systems.
  11. Utilize the computer for communication and class assignments.
  12. Exhibit professional demeanor including appropriate language and dress, and acceptance of responsibility for conduct.
  13. Demonstrate organizational and time management skills and ability to pri­oritize activities effectively as needed to attend class and fulfill class require­ments.
  14. Exhibit flexibility and adapt to changing environments and expectations.
  15. Cope with stresses encountered in the intensive educational process as well as clinical practice environments.
  16. Demonstrate consistent work behaviors including initiative, preparedness, dependability, punctual attendance and work site maintenance.
  17. Tolerate working in environments where there is exposure to disability, ill­ness, pain and death.
  18. Observe persons and scenarios and elicit relevant information for use in assessment and intervention.
  19. Plan, guide and implement both individual and group interventions.
  20. Maintain ethical standards including honesty, integrity and confidentiality at all times.
  21. Produce the required volume of work in the expected time frame. 

Student must possess sufficient PHYSICAL AND SENSORY (SENSORIMOTOR) skills to:

  1. Tolerate sitting for up to 2 hours at a time, over an 8-10 hour period. 
  2. Tolerate periods of physical activity for up to 8-10 hours per day. 
  3. Demonstrate coordination, equilibrium and sensory functioning required to manipulate parts of, or whole bodies of, simulated and real clients for pur­poses of evaluation and treatment.
  4. Demonstrate mobility and ability to move within environments adequately to access and maneuver within locations and destinations including class­room, laboratory and clinical settings.
  5. Demonstrate sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, eye/hand coordination, strength and integrated function of the senses of vision, hear­ing, tactile sense, vestibular (movement sense) and proprioception (sense of muscles and joints) to manipulate and use common occupational therapy equipment, devices, materials and supplies, and demonstrate competency in the use of these objects within assessment and treatment procedures commonly used in occupational therapy practice.
  6. Demonstrate motor skill capacities with sufficient levels of strength, endurance and fine and gross motor coordination to safely, accurately and effectively engage in a wide variety of therapeutic techniques, activities and occupations used in the occupational therapy assessment and intervention process including the ability to lift and move objects, adequate manual dex­terity, arm and hand function needed to use tools and perform other manip­ulative activities, use of limbs and trunk in bending, twisting, squatting, kneeling, reaching, pushing, pulling, holding, extending and rotating.
  7. Tolerate physical contact with others; tolerate manipulation of his/her own body by peers or instructors for instructional purposes.
  8. Demonstrate sufficiently high degree of coordination of motor skills and vig­ilance to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately, includ­ing performance of CPR.
  9. Travel to fieldwork site. 

Fieldwork and Residency/Experiential Placement:

Fieldwork placements are not available in all states, and state availability for fieldwork placement and residency is subject to change.

Application Requirements

OTCAS Application

Create an account in OTCAS through the applicant portal and follow the directions to complete the application.

Supplemental Application & Fee

The supplemental application will be emailed to all verified applicants beginning in early October.

Once we receive your OTCAS application, we will send you an e-mail containing a supplemental application and a login ID (you will receive a second, separate email with your PIN). Complete the application according to the e-mailed instructions.

You must include your OTCAS ID number and the date you completed the OTCAS application on the supplemental application.

A $25 supplemental application fee must be paid with a credit card.

Official Transcripts

Submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended to OTCAS using the Transcript Request Form. Send official transcripts to OTCAS at:

PO Box 9120
Watertown, MA 02471

If your coursework was completed outside of the United States, you must submit a course-by-course evaluation from one of the following foreign evaluation agencies:


Include your CV or resume on the OTCAS application in the "Extracurricular Activities, Honors, Work Experience and Licenses" section.

Test Scores

The GRE or MAT examination is required for admission.

Students can submit official GRE scores directly to OTCAS. Official MAT scores must be sent directly to Thomas Jefferson University.

  • GRE Designated Institution (DI) Code: 7438
  • MAT Code: 9910

GRE or MAT scores are not required for students who have already earned a conferred Master's degree.

Highly competitive applicants score within the 50th percentile or above in each section of the GRE and overall on the MAT.

GRE/MAT test scores must be taken within 5 years of the program start date.

Personal Statement/Essay

Complete the essay found on the OTCAS application. Your personal essay should address why you selected Occupational Therapy as a career and how an OT degree relates to your immediate and long term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational and professional background will help you to achieve your goals.

Recommendation Letters

Two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application. Students should submit the two letters of recommendation to OTCAS. Letters can be written by a: professor, academic administrator, professional or volunteer supervisor or manager. One professional or volunteer letter and one academic letter are preferred. Letters from family, friends or co-workers will not be accepted.

Applicants will need to enter the name, title, and email address of the individuals writing the recommendations in the “Evaluation” section of the online application. Your recommenders will received an email from OTCAS with a recommendation form they will complete online.

Volunteer/Work Experience

Submit documentation of all volunteer or work experience in OTCAS, include experiences both within and outside of healthcare. 

International Students

Please see our additional information for applying as an International Student.

English Language Proficiency

TOEFL Requirements

Send official TOEFL scores (if applicable) to:

Thomas Jefferson University
130 South 9th Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19107
TOEFL code = 2903

Drug, Criminal Background & Child Abuse Clearances

All students who are offered admission are required to have a criminal background check and child abuse clearance.  Some clinical sites may require health professions and pharmacy students to be fingerprinted and/or undergo a drug test. The Office of Admissions will provide you with the appropriate information to complete these requirements, as needed.

Clinical rotation and fieldwork sites that require a criminal background check, child abuse clearance and/or fingerprinting may deny a student’s participation in the clinical experience, rotation or fieldwork because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction or a record of child abuse. Clinical sites may also deny participation in clinical experiences for other reasons, such as failure of a required drug test, or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance. As participation in clinical experiences, rotations or fieldwork is a required part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation, denial of participation by a clinical site may result in delay of graduation or the inability to graduate from the Program.

Regardless of whether or not a student graduates from Thomas Jefferson University, individuals who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be denied certification or licensure as a health professional. Information regarding individual eligibility may be obtained from the appropriate credentialing bodies.

Potential students considering entering (or who have already entered) an occupational therapy educational program can utilize NBCOT’s Early Determination Review Process to determine his/her eligibility if they are concerned of an issue in their background that may prevent them from being eligible to sit for the certification exam.

Admissions Contacts

General Questions

Phone: 1-877-JEFF-247 (1-877-533-3247)

Program-Specific Questions