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Master of Occupational Therapy FAQ

What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapists work in numerous settings with people of all ages. Their primary goal is to restore individuals to the highest level of independent functioning.

What is the difference between an occupational therapist and a physical therapist?

A significant portion of the OT curriculum focuses on psychosocial and cognitive issues as a part of treatment. These areas, as well as physical dysfunction are addressed by occupational therapists through the use of purposeful activity. Occupational therapists treat individuals with physical and psychosocial dysfunction. Physical therapists focus on exercise as a treatment modality and treat physical dysfunction.

How is the new healthcare management issue affecting the OT profession?

The health care system is in a constant state of change. All health care professionals are in the process of adapting to meet the changes in the health care delivery system, the market needs, and the incorporation of new technology. Due to this constant change, it is hard to predict the effect on occupational therapy at any one given point.

What is the salary for an OT?

The salary for starting occupational therapists varies from region to region in the United States. The most current information can be obtained at

Do you accept out-of-state residents? How can I establish residency?

The University of Mississippi is a state-supported school and preference is given to residents of Mississippi. The Office of Student Records and Registrar determines the status of residency.

Is financial aid available?

The Student Financial Aid Office can supply information only after an individual is accepted into the occupational therapy program. Their telephone number is (601) 984-1117. Other sources may be identified through the American Occupational Therapy Association or the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

How many are accepted each year into your program?

Currently, the Department of Occupational Therapy accepts students one time a year. Available resources and market demand determine the number accepted.

How many applicants receive an interview?

The Admissions Committee of the Department of Occupational Therapy determines the exact number of individuals who are offered an interview. Historically, this has been approximately twice the number of available admission slots.

Is there a waiting list?

No, students who are not accepted for admittance during one enrollment year must submit a new application for any other enrollment year. This includes all forms, documentation and transcripts.

Can I apply to more than one program on the medical center campus?

Students are encouraged to apply to multiple programs. Each admissions process is a separate activity.

What is the average GPA accepted into the program?

The average GPA is usually over 3.5. This is based on an average which means there are lower and higher GPAs, however, the range usually is from 3.00 to 4.00.

Does it help to be a COTA when I apply?

Preference is not given to anyone with an associate, baccalaureate or masters degree. Everyone is evaluated based on the prerequisites and their GPAs.

Does it help to get my pre-requisites from a senior college, preferably Ole Miss?

The Department of Occupational Therapy does not distinguish between where the courses are taken. The common number system of the Community Colleges and the Institutions of Higher Learning assures that the content is the same in the courses.

What can I do to improve my chances of being accepted?

Maintaining a high GPA and exploring as many facets of occupational therapy as possible will help initial ranking and performance on the interview. A record of observations and/or volunteer experiences in a variety of occupational therapy practice settings, excellent writing and good interpersonal skills are equally emphasized.

Where do I go to observe? Who sets it up?

Observation must be done with either an occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant. It is up to the individual applicant to set up his or her own observation hours. The documentation forms are found in the online application or via a link on the application page. Observation forms must be signed and received by the registrars’ office by the application deadline.

Do I have to observe eight hours in the same facility?

The observation requirement is a minimum of 24 documented hours from at least two occupational therapy clinical departments or practices within the calendar year preceding the application deadline.  This could be 4 hours in 6 settings, 8 hours in 3 settings or 12 hours in 2 settings, etc.

Do you require a degree before applying to the OT program?


Do you require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for admission?


If I have already graduated from college, can I go back to a junior college to take my prerequisites?


I only lack one course in the summer. Can I take it simultaneously with my OT courses if I am accepted?

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the program.

How do I find out if my courses transfer?

The Office of Student Records and Registrar determines the courses that can be transferred. The telephone number is (601) 984-1080.

Does it matter if I take courses out-of-state?

No, as long as they have been taken at an accredited university or college.

I am in my 50's. Am I too old to apply? Do I have less of a chance to be selected?

The Department of Occupational Therapy at UMMC adheres to the principle of equal educational and employment opportunity without regard to race, sex, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. This policy extends to all programs and activities supported by the Medical Center. Under the provisions of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, UMMC does not discriminate on the basis of age in its educational programs or activities with respect to admissions or employment.

I have a family. May one work while attending the OT program?

The faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy does not recommend that students work while going through the program. The average classroom time is approximately 30 contact hours a week with additional readings and papers required.

When and where may I get an application?

Applications are available online by July 1 of the year preceding enrollment. Application deadlines vary from program to program and are subject to change. All applicants pay a nonrefundable application fee of $25.

Admissions information may be obtained from the Office of Student Records and Registrar, the address is: 

  • Office of Student Records and Registrar 
    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    2500 N. State St.
    Jackson, MS 39216-4505 
    (601) 984-1080

What if I am accepted into the program and decide I want to withdraw after classes start?

Because the curriculum is progressive in nature, students are not allowed to withdraw from a single class without withdrawing from the entire program. When a student becomes interested in withdrawing from the program, the UMMC Bulletin provides details regarding the institution’s withdrawal policy and related tuition refunds. Additionally, withdrawal dates are highlighted on the academic calendar provided on the SHRP web page.