Entry-level OTD Admissions

Thank you for your interest in graduate study at Baylor University. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants apply to the program through the OTCAS application system.

The Baylor University Doctor of Occupational Therapy program embraces diversity and takes a holistic approach to admitting qualified applicants to the program. A holistic approach to admissions means that we view the entire student application packet before making a decision regarding admission to the program. The holistic admission process is driven by the University’s mission and vision to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community in order to promote achievement of educational and institutional level goals.

We know that recent events may have impacted your academic portfolio and we are taking that into consideration when reviewing application materials. We encourage all students who are interested in our unique hybrid, accelerated model to schedule a time to discuss your specific questions and qualifications with our Admissions Program Manager. We can provide guidance on options for continuing in the application process and what accommodations may be made regarding the admissions criteria given your individual circumstances.

Application Deadline:  November 1, 2022


Admission Criteria: 

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Admission may be granted pending completion of the degree.
  • Complete pre-requisite courses: 
    • "B-" or above in each course is preferred. 
    • Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or greater on a 4.00 scale.
    • It is strongly recommended that an applicant completes 19 credits of pre-requisite course work prior to submitting an application. All pre-requisite course work must be complete before starting the program.
    • If a pre-requisite course is repeated, the credit hours assigned to the course may be counted only once in fulfilling the required number of hours. The pre-requisite GPA will be determined using the highest course grade achieved; however, both grades will be calculated into the cumulative GPA.
  • If cumulative GPA is less than 2.75 on a 4.00 scale, an applicant may still be eligible for admission if a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater has been achieved over the last 60 semester or 90 quarter hour credits of coursework.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the last five years.
  • 30 observation hours recommended.
  • In consideration of accommodation for COVID 19 Pass/Fail grades will be accepted for the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters.
  • Provide three references.  It is preferred that one of your recommendations be from a licensed occupational therapy practitioner. Applicants arrange for references to be submitted electronically through OTCAS. Each evaluator providing a reference will be contacted using an email address provided in OTCAS by the applicant.
  • Complete an approved Background Check and Drug Screening prior to matriculation.
  • Complete an admission interview. Applicants are invited for interviews based on a holistic evaluation of their application and supporting materials.
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency through completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam for applicants for whom English is not their first language or those who have completed a degree and pre-requisite courses outside of the United States.
  • Demonstrate the ability to fulfill the Technical Standards for admission.


  • All courses within the professional didactic and clinical curriculum are required for completion of the OTD degree program.
  • Baylor does not grant advanced placement credit for experiential learning, or transfer credits from other programs or institutions.

Pre-requisite Courses

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits, lab required)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits lab required)
  • Kinesiology, Biomechanics or Physics (3 credits)
  • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • Human Development (lifespan) (3 credits)
  • Social Sciences (200-level) (6 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit)

We can help you understand the application processes and prerequisites. For specific questions about your application, reach out to OTD@baylor.edu.  If you are a Baylor student check out the resources provided here.

Application Procedures

When applying for admission, Baylor receives applications exclusively through the Occupational Therapist Central Application Service (OTCAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  Application instructions can be found at OTCAS.  Information about the Baylor University OTD Program can be found here.

Applying for Admission

The Baylor University Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is currently accepting applications for the Class of 2024, to begin coursework in January of 2023. It is strongly encouraged that all applicants thoroughly review the instructions for submitting an application through OTCAS as available for download through the OTCAS website before applying to the Baylor University Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.

Supporting Materials

All of the following materials must be submitted through OTCAS:

  • Official Transcripts: Applicants must arrange for OTCAS to receive an official transcript from each college and university from which you earned a degree (bachelor’s or higher) in the United States and Canada.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Applicants must arrange for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send official GRE scores through OTCAS using the code designated specifically for the occupational therapy program. The OTCAS Program Code for the Baylor University Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is 4686.
  • References: Applicants must arrange for references to submitted electronically through OTCAS. Each evaluator providing a reference will be contacted using an email address provided in OTCAS by the applicant.
  • CV/Resume
  • Writing Sample:  Applicant must provide a carefully written 5-paragraph essay describing one treatment activity observed during an occupational therapy observation. Describe the purpose of the activity and the client’s response. Sample is scored for writing mechanics and content.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): If English is not an applicant’s first (primary) language, official TOEFL scores must be submitted to Admissions@onlineotd.baylor.edu.
Application Review

The OTD Admissions Committee and faculty will review all completed applications (i.e., application and all supporting materials received) in the order of receipt. Applicants are evaluated based on the following items:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Pre-requisite GPA
  • GRE verbal percentile rank
  • GRE quantitative percentile rank
  • References
  • Writing Sample

Other factors considered, but not required:

  • Relevant work experience
  • Observation Hours
  • Prior military experience

The OTD admissions committee will use this evaluative process to ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all applicants. The OTD admissions committee will grant admission interviews by invitation only.

Interview Process

The OTD Admissions Coordinator will contact selected applicants and provide further instructions for completing the interview process. All interviews are conducted using a video-based platform called Kira. Students record and upload their responses to a series of standardized interview questions for review by program faculty and the Admissions Committee. Students must have a computer with webcam and internet service to complete this interview.

Selection Process

The OTD admissions committee and faculty will accept students into the program based on a holistic evaluation of their application, supporting documents, and interview. All applicants will be notified by email and/or mail regarding final selection decisions.

Application Deadlines

The program has two application windows for the Class of 2024 beginning in January 2023:

  • January 15, 2022 - June 10, 2022
  • July 21, 2022 – November 1, 2022

For questions related to admission to the program, please contact OTD Admissions at OTD@baylor.edu.

Technical Standards & Accommodations

Occupational therapy is a mentally, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Throughout the OTD curriculum, students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are necessary for a successful career as an occupational therapist. Technical standards reflect those abilities that an occupational therapist must possess for safe and effective clinical practice. Prospective and current students must meet the following technical requirements with or without reasonable accommodation for admission, progression, and graduation in the OTD program.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. However, if you will need to seek support services from the Baylor University Office of Access and Learning Accommodation on the basis of diagnosed disability, you will need to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This documentation needs to be recent, preferably within the last three years. For more information about services at Baylor, visit the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation website.

General Abilities

The student must demonstrate the alertness and endurance to attend hybrid-based classes 30 hours or more each week, including active participation in combinations of lectures, discussion, lab, and fieldwork/clinical activities. Preparation for class typically requires an additional 20-30 hours per week. The curriculum requires scheduled immersion lab experiences in Texas over the course of several 8-hour days. During the immersion lab experiences students must be active participants prepared for all sessions. They are required to participate as patients, therapist, and observers with a variety of people representing different physical attributes, gender, age, abilities and disabilities, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds to simulate the diversity expected in the practice setting. Participation in lab experiences may require exposure of body parts and palpation of body structures by faculty, students, and supervisors of both sexes in preparation for professional practice. Fieldwork/clinical experiences often require 40 hours or more per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the facility and the fieldwork educator’s schedule. 

The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.

Observational Skills

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, somatic sensations, and the use of common sense. Candidates must have visual perception which includes depth and acuity. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory-dissected prosections, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine a patient's condition. Students must observe patients accurately and obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. A student must observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals. Appropriate visual field, acuity, and scanning for safety factors is required for emergency situations. The student must have adequate functional tactile sensations (i.e., feel vibrations, detect temperatures, feel differences in surface characteristics) and proprioceptive abilities necessary to perceive and synthesize inputs during patient/client evaluation/assessments, interventions, and interactions. Auditory capacity to receive instructions and to evaluate and provide interventions for patients/clients, involving abilities to hear normal speaking levels, faint body sounds, and auditory alarms must be present as well as olfactory abilities to detect odors and smoke. 

Communication Skills

Occupational therapy students must write, speak, hear, and observe in order to elicit information, examine, educate, and provide interventions, describe changes in mood, activity, posture, and perceive non-verbal communication. Communication includes speech (verbal and non-verbal), language, reading, writing and computer literacy. Students must communicate effectively, sensitively, and convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients to obtain information regarding mood and activities and perceive non-verbal communications. Occupational Therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. Students must complete forms and documentation according to directions in a timely manner. Communication also includes articulation and speaking with volume which is understandable to the listener and/or audience whether in a one-to-one, small group, or large group setting. Sensitivity in communication regardless of lifestyle, age, gender, ethnic/racial, religious/spiritual background, educational level, socioeconomic status, physical, cognitive, emotional disabilities. Communication requires the student to uphold privacy and confidentiality policies.

Interpersonal Skills

The student is expected to have emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment and complete assessment and intervention activities with clients. The student must establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. The student is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress. Concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities for the occupational therapy student.

Motor/Psycho-motor Skills

Occupational therapy students must have motor function and strength to execute movements required to assess and provide interventions with patients in a therapeutically effective and safe manner. Students must possess motor function to elicit information from the patient examination. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as positioning large or immobile patients for engagement in therapeutic activities, patient mobility with use of therapeutic aids and orthotics, provision of balance stability and guarding of falls during transferring of patients, performing manual mobilization techniques, and setting up/moving equipment. Students must have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency treatment to patients. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch, vision, vestibular, and proprioception senses. Students must be able to provide interventions to patients through a variety of mobility to include rolling, crawling, standing, walking, sitting.

The student must have the capacity to: sit for long periods, stand and maintain balance for up to 6-8 hours per day in classroom/fieldwork/clinical settings, walk or mobilize self through environment independently, occasionally climb stairs or navigate uneven terrain, twist/bend/squat, carry equipment and supplies, reach above shoulders and to floor, lift/support 25 lbs., exertion of push-pull forces of a minimum of 25 lbs., coordination of verbal, manual, and gross-motor activities, move from place to place and position to position with safe speed, strength, coordination, and endurance for handling equipment and classmates or patients/clients, frequently use hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills, pinch/pick-up objects with both hands, grasp small objects with hands/fingers, twist with hands, write with a pen or pencil, manipulate computer touch screens and keyboards. 

Intellectual-Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Analysis Skills

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion including ‘on the spot’ situations and under pressure situations. Students must be able to synthesize knowledge from multiple sources and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient's history, physical examination, and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating treatment and plans with increasing complexity throughout the academic program is essential. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Students must use computers for searching, recording, storing, retrieving, and communicating information. The student must adhere to safety precautions and demonstrate self-reflection and the ability to apply feedback in order to develop proactive strategies for growth and development.  Students must identify subtle cues of mood, temperament, and gestures provided by others. 

Behavior/Social Attributes and Professional Skills

Occupational therapy students must have appropriate social skills for forming and maintaining mature and culturally sensitive relationships with a variety of people. Students must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, to exercise good judgment, and to promptly complete responsibilities. Students must tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their professional education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior and the ability to work as a team/group member. Students will be required to deal appropriately with situations involving pain, grief, death, stress, communicable diseases, blood and body fluids, and toxic substances. Compassion, respect, courtesy, integrity, interpersonal skills, motivation, and concern for others are examples of qualities expected of occupational therapy students. Students must demonstrate the ability and willingness to modify behavior after receiving performance feedback. Students must maintain personal appearance and personal hygiene guidelines appropriate for the classroom, fieldwork, and doctoral capstone facilities.

Health Information

Health Insurance

Baylor University requires all domestic graduate students to hold health insurance.  For more information regarding health insurance opportunities, visit the Graduate Student Health Insurance website.  


Prior to entering the OTD Program, the student must submit health provider proof of a health examination and updated information on immunizations.

Specific related requirements include proof of:

  • Current BLS for Healthcare Providers certification (must include a live/hands-on component; fully online certifications will not be accepted)
  • Satisfactory and current physical examination
  • 2-Step Tuberculosis (TB) testing within the last 12 months (positive results will require the student to receive a chest x-ray and further evaluation)
  • Hepatitis B vaccine series (3 doses) OR immunity by titer
  • MMR vaccine (2 doses) OR immunity by titer
  • Influenza vaccine (required annually to be given during influenza season: October through May)
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, & Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine within the last 10 years OR Exempt Status from a physician
  • Polio vaccine series (3 doses) OR date of the last booster
  • Varicella vaccine series (2 doses) OR immunity by titer
  • Blood-borne pathogen orientation course
  • HIPAA training course

Before entering the fieldwork and capstone phase (year 2) of the program, the student must again update the immunization and health certificate and provide proof of the following:

  • Current BLS for Healthcare Providers certification/renewal (must include a live/hands-on component; fully online certifications will not be accepted)
  • Updated annual Tuberculosis (TB) testing
  • Influenza vaccine (required annually to be given during influenza season: October through May)

For more information about immunization of Health Care Workers, click here.

The OTD program is not currently requiring the COVID vaccination. However, large numbers of health care facilities are requiring a COVID vaccination, and we expect that OTD students unwilling to get vaccinated will NOT be able to complete the fieldwork and/or capstone requirements necessary to complete the program. We strongly encourage vaccination for all students prior to entering the program to protect the health and safety of students and faculty during lab immersions, while minimizing the risk of delaying/disrupting education due to illness or quarantine.

For more information about immunization of Health Care Workers, click here.

Technical Requirements

  • Students are required to have a laptop computer and a mobile device that meet the following minimum specifications.  Students are required to bring their laptop computer and mobile device to the onsite OTD Program Orientation. 
  • Laptop Computer. Laptop computer, with Windows or iOS operating system, is acceptable with the minimum requirements: 
  • Mobile Device. Android and Apple products are acceptable and must have mobile broadband capabilities. Microsoft products such as Surface, Surface Pro, and Lumia devices are NOT acceptable as multiple software applications required for the program are not currently compatible with Windows operating systems.  Please see below for example product: 
    • Android - Example products include phones and tablets from Acer, ASUS, Google, HTC, and Samsung. Android operating system version 6.0 or newer required. 
    • Apple - Example products include the iPhone and iPad of various generations. Apple operating system version 9.0 or newer required.
  • Internet Access and Capabilities:
    • Students must have regular and reliable access to a broadband (DSL, cable, or satellite) internet connection. We recommend a minimum 15 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload speed.  You can test your current internet speeds at http://www.speedtest.net/. A dial-up modem will not be able to handle the multimedia format of an online course. 
    • Mobile broadband capability for the mobile device is suggested to provide an internet connection when a local wireless network is not available. 
  • Software:
    • Google Chrome is the recommended web browser and is required when taking online examinations.  Other web browsers that are compatible with Canvas are found at https://guides.instructure.com/m/67952/l/720329-which-browsers-does-canvas-support.
    • Microsoft Office 365 is required.  If you do not currently own a version of Microsoft Office, you can access a subscription for free at https://www.baylor.edu/its/index.php?id=871490 by using your Baylor University BearID. 
    • All assessments, with the exception of certain lab exams, contributing to >5% of the final course grade will be administered via a secure-testing computer software. Students will download and register secure-testing software to their personal laptop computers during the onsite orientation. Tablets and mobile devices cannot be used for computer-based testing. 
    • If additional software or digital content is required for a course, it will be stated in the course syllabus to allow plenty of time to purchase it.  A variety of mobile device applications are required for use throughout the program. 
Application Deadline

The program has two application windows for the Class of 2024 beginning in January 2023:

  • January 15, 2022 - June 10, 2022
  • July 21, 2022 - November 1, 2022