Occupational Therapy, M.S. Admission Requirements

Pre-requisite Courses:

  • One semester of each of the following, each course completed with a grade of a “B” or 3.0 or better:
    • Anatomy & Physiology I with lab (must be completed within the past 5 years)
    • Anatomy & Physiology II with lab (must be completed within the past 5 years)
  • One semester of each of the following; each course completed with a grade of a “B-” or better within the past 10 years. Courses can be taken online.
    • Psychology (3 units)
    • Abnormal Psychology (3 units)
    • Lifespan Development or Developmental Psychology (3 units)
    • Medical Terminology (at least 1 unit).
    • Statistics (in behavioral or social sciences, 3 units)
    • Sociology, Anthropology or Social Psychology (3 units)
    • These courses may be taken at any regionally accredited community, public, or private college or university. Online courses at regionally accredited colleges are also acceptable for psychology, sociology, anthropology, or statistics courses. Anatomy and physiology courses must be taken in face-to-face classroom settings.
  • You may have up to 6 credit hours of prerequisite courses in progress at the time of application to the program. If you are accepted into the program while currently enrolled in one to eight required prerequisite courses, you will be provisionally accepted. The provisional acceptance will be changed to full acceptance once transcripts are received that confirm successful completion of outstanding prerequisite courses that are aligned with the criteria above.
  • A maximum of 6 credit hours of prerequisites can be pending at the time of application, with the exception of A&P I and A&P II.

Grade Point Average (GPA):

  • Applicants must meet a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their most recent 60 semester units of work, including both graduate and undergraduate coursework.
  • Pre-requisite courses may only be repeated once; the second course grade will be used to calculate the average GPA.

Undergraduate Degree:

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university.

Letters of Reference:

  • Three letters of reference (personal or professional) are required. You will be provided with the link on OTCAS.

Personal Statement:

  • Submit an essay answering the three following questions:
    • How has your past work, volunteer, or service experiences prepared you to become an occupational therapist?
    • Explain why you selected occupational therapy as a career and how an Occupational Therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals.
    • How has your faith impacted your decision to pursue occupational therapy?

Work/Volunteer Experience

  • Preference is given to applicants who have prior work and/or volunteer experience in healthcare or educational settings. You will describe applicable work and volunteer experience on the OTCAS.

Critical Thinking Skills

  • Students applying to Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), must take the Casper. Casper is an online, open-response situational judgment test. This video test asks you what you would do in a tough situation, and more importantly, why. This helps determine behavioral tendencies of applicants pursuing people-centered professions like occupational therapy.
  • Go to this link and create an account. You do NOT need to enroll in any test preparation classes outside of Casper as Casper provides practice tests. Once registered, click on date and fees. You will pay a total of $52.00; $40.00 for the test and $12.00 to send the results to Point Loma Nazarene University. Then, select the test labeled “OT-CSP-10101”, U.S. Professional Health Sciences.
  • Note that the last day to take the Casper is April 11, 2023, which is before the closing of PLNU’s applicant cycle on 7/1/23.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Early Determination Review:

  • The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) requires disclosure of all felony convictions. The results of this background check may impact eligibility for certification and licensure. If you are concerned about your eligibility due to past legal or mental health conditions, it is strongly advised to complete the NBCOT® early determination review process. Felony convictions may be resolved by the NBCOT®’s Qualifications Review Committee. For more information, refer to https://nbcot.org.

Criminal Background Checks:

  • Candidates for the MSM-OT degree must meet state professional regulation standards to be licensed to practice occupational therapy. To meet this standard, all candidates accepted for seats in the occupational therapy program must undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and a 12-panel drug screen (DS) prior to full acceptance in the program.
  • Upon provisional acceptance to the MSOT Program, students will be provided information on how to obtain the criminal background screening and drug panel screening.
  • Results must be uploaded to the compliance tracker no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of term one.
  • Failure to comply with these criminal background screenings may result in a delayed start to the following year.
  • CBC and drug-panel findings are reviewed by the OT Program Director (PD). Any negative findings are referred to the OT Admissions Committee for further review.
  • Depending on the nature and severity of the finding, students may be called upon to address these findings via interview or in writing. Based on this review, the Admissions Committee will provide one of the following recommendations:
    • Revocation of acceptance to Point Loma Nazarene University’s Occupational Therapy program.
    • No further action to be taken.
  • In addition, any student convicted of a felony offense while in the program must immediately notify the OT Program PD of the offense. Failure to notify, submission of false information, knowingly making false statements or concealing applicable information will be referred to the Student Progress and Promotions Committee for a recommendation of action to the Chair including Disqualification.

Required Health Records

  • All students accepted provisionally into the PLNU MSOT Program will be provided with health and immunization forms after admittance.
  • Students must provide proof of immunizations, vaccinations, health screenings and health insurance and upload these results into the compliance tracker by June before the fall start.
  • Required Health Records include the following:
    • A copy of the student’s medical health insurance including hospitalization and emergency care (must be kept current while enrolled)
    • Proof of a comprehensive health examination signed by a licensed healthcare provider.
    • Documentation of one dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis Pertussis ( Tdap) within the last ten years regardless of the interval since Td.
    • Proof of Rubeola(Measles) vaccination with live attenuated rubeola or a positive rubeola antibody. *NOTE: All students born after December 31, 1956, must show proof of either two doses of the vaccine administered on or after their first birthday (at least 30 days apart), or serologic proof of immunity (a copy of the laboratory report), or laboratory confirmation of disease and/or evidence of immunity.
    • Proof of negative TB testing: Initial 2 step PPD, Quantiferon test, or chest x-ray if PPD positive (1 step PPD or Quantiferon updated annually)
    •  Proof of vaccination with live attenuated Mumps, only available after 1967, or laboratory confirmation of disease and/or evidence of immunity.
    • Documentation of a complete series of three Hepatitis B (Engerix-B or Recombivax HB) or a 2 dose series of Heplisav-B vaccinations or show serologic proof of immunity to Hepatitis B.
    • Proof of Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccination, a positive titer confirming
    • Immunity or evidence of prior infection, or validated history of disease.
    • Documentation of the flu shot (annually in the fall by December of each year).
    • Proof of the Meningococcal vaccine (signed waiver).
    • Documentation of a lack of exposure to Tuberculosis by Quantiferon Gold blood test. If positive, the student must provide documentation of a negative chest x-ray. Records must be updated before beginning Level II Fieldwork.
    • Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and Booster Shots. Students who choose to not have this vaccination will need to have a COVID-19 test weekly, and may not be able to participate in Community, Level I and/or Level II Fieldwork experiences.
    • Failure to comply with required health documentation by six weeks prior to the start of the first term may result in a lack of full admittance to the Program and a delayed start until the following year.
  • Failure to comply with proof of annual required health requirements may result in disqualification/dismissal from the MSOT program.
  • Clinical entities may require additional testing/immunizations/training (HIPAA, Elder and Childhood Abuse) which must be completed prior to the start of any community, Level I, and/or Level II Fieldwork experiences.
  • All health screenings and training costs are borne by the student.

Required Trainings

  • Current BLS CPR-AED healthcare provider course. Note that you must maintain current certification by the American Heart Association and upload this information. 

  • HIPAA training will be required before engaging in community experiences in term one. Results are to be uploaded into a compliance tracker. 

  • FERPA training will be required by the start of term three, when you will take your pediatric courses. 

  • OSHA Blood borne Pathogen Training:

    • Students must complete a Bloodborne Pathogen certificate regarding current information and regulations about HBV/HIV infection control. This quiz must be completed before Level I Fieldwork experiences and uploaded into Exaat Approve. You will be provided with information about this training after beginning the program.

  • Renewal of these trainings may be required by clinical sites prior to the start of Level II Fieldwork. 

  • The student will pay all training expenses. 

Observation Hours:

  • A minimum of 40 observation hours (virtual or in-person) are required. Documentation of hours should be uploaded to the OTCAS. In lieu of observation hours, however, students may watch videos and write a paper about the OT profession from viewing the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website’s career resources. Refer to below for more details on this second option. 

  • For students submitting proof of knowledge about the OT profession gained from the AOTA website, address the following points in a well-thought out summary that does not exceed three pages. You will send this documentation to the graduate admissions office.

    • What were the OT practice areas discussed in the AOTA career videos?

    • How do current OT practice areas support the original tenets of the OT profession?

    • What surprised you about the OT profession?

    • What practice areas resonated with you and why?

International Students:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), taken within the last 2 years, is required for any applicants for whom English is not their native language. The TOEFL requirement may be waived for applicants with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited US institution. To review your application, we must receive official scores from ETS for the TOEFL. Only the IBT (Internet Based Test) form of the TOEFL will be accepted. We require a total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26 for entry into our program.

PLNU MSOT Mission:

  • The mission of the PLNU Occupational Therapy program is to produce competent and professional graduates who provide evidenced-based and occupation focused interventions that serve others as an expression of faith.

OT Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).

  • The application cycle for each year opens the preceding June 1st and closes the mid-July before the start of the program. Applicants to the MSOT Program must apply online using the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).
  • To learn more about the OTCAS application process and to create your OTCAS account, please visit the OTCAS portal at https://otcas.org. The deadline for having a complete and verified OTCAS application is indicated on the Occupational Therapy program page.
  • All documents related to admission must be uploaded to the OTCAS, except your letters of recommendation, which will be automatically sent to the graduate admissions office.

Notification of Admission

  • Applications must be submitted by the deadline indicated on the Occupational Therapy program page. Students who meet the admission criteria who submit their application earlier, will be contacted to set-up an interview with the MSOT Program Director.
  • Invited individuals have two weeks to accept their invitation and to pay the PLNU admission deposit ($700.00). All applicants will be notified concerning a waitlist once the cohort is filled.

Preferences

  • Point Loma Nazarene University graduates.

OT Student Essential Functions:

Point Loma Nazarene University MSOT program’s student Essential Functions are the aptitudes and abilities required to participate in the program. These essential functions are based on practice guidelines from the American Occupational Therapy Association. Students must demonstrate compliance and ability to follow these essential functions in the classroom, laboratory, and during community and fieldwork clinical experiences.  The use of a surrogate or trained intermediary will not be acceptable in clinical situations because the student’s judgment is then being mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation. In general, additional time will not be granted for timed testing of clinical skills.

Prior to beginning coursework and/or fieldwork, students must identify whether they can complete the essential functions with or without accommodations. If accommodations are needed, please reach out to the PLNU Educational Access Center.

Cognitive Skills Required: Students will need to:

  • Be a self-motivated learner who actively engages and maintains attention to course readings, classroom lectures and labs, for up to 8 hours per day.
  • Process and recall multiple concepts simultaneously during simulated and “real” experiences with clients. 
  • Manage and prioritize demands from multiple courses.
  • Manage time effectively in the clinical setting to meet productivity expectations.
  • Identify, recall, analyze, and solve abstract concepts independently using multiple sources of information.
  • Ensure client safety during lab, community, and fieldwork experiences.
  • Gather needed information from multiple sources and personnel to provide safe, and quality patient care.
  • Reflect and self-evaluate professional, technical, and personal skills that contribute positively to client outcomes.

Motor Skills: Students will need to:

  • Assume and maintain a variety of positions including sitting, standing, and moving from position to position, for long periods of time, which are required for classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.
  • Handle and manipulate various sizes and weights including:
    • Lifting and transferring patients up to 50 lbs
    • Carrying items of at least 50 lbs
    • Guarding patients during functional mobility training on level surfaces/uneven surfaces/ramps/stairs while balancing yourself.
    • Pushing and pulling to provide resistance and to assist in maneuvering patients up to 100 lbs of force.
    • Move quickly from one position to another position.
  • Respond quickly to emergency situations by lifting/pushing/pulling patients, applying force to perform CPR, and assisting with transporting patients.
  • Manipulate objects/equipment/persons of various sizes, shapes, temperatures, smells, and textures during labs and client interventions.

Sensory Skills: Students will need to:

  • Have sufficient (visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory) sensory processing to perceive information provided in the classroom, lab, and during client interventions.
  • Accurately observe (using visual, auditory, tactile, and/or olfactory senses) a client’s medical condition, including the client’s affect.

Auditory Skills: Students will need to:

  • Hear and react to alarms, emergency signals, timers, cries for help, phones, pagers, overhead page.
  • Hear and respond to oral communication.

Vestibular Skills: Students will need to:

  • Monitor one’s own position in space to maintain balance and posture.
  • Tolerate changes in head position during intervention.
  • Tolerate changes in elevation such elevators, escalators.

Communication Skills: Students will need to:

  • Speak and write clearly during all communications with clients, their caregivers, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Communicate effectively through written and electronic media.
  • Adhere to professional standards (APA format) when writing papers.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of self and others during conversations. 
  • Comprehend complex concepts in the literature.
  • Summarize complex information into easy to understand terms.

Emotional Skills: Students will need to:

  • The student must possess emotional stability for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to both didactic studies and client interventions.
  • Accurately perceive changes in other’s emotions and behaviors including facial expressions, moods, and activity level.
  • Maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress and emergency situations.
  • Cope with a variety of clinical situations, which may involve pain, grief, death, communicable diseases, blood and body fluids, and or toxic substances.
  • Display professionalism through appropriate presentation of oneself.
  • Maintain personal well-being to not jeopardize the health and safety of others and self.
  • Demonstrate honesty, integrity, professionalism, and ethical behavior according to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Code of Ethics.
  • Use therapeutic communication, such as clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching in appropriate ways.
  • Advocate for the benefit of your client with other inter-professional team members.
  • Recognize when others do or do not understand his/her written and/or oral communication and modify communication accordingly.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively as a small group member as well as a health team member.
  • Demonstrate sufficient interpersonal skills to relate positively with people across society, including all ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, gender, gender identification, sexual orientations, disabilities and belief systems.
  • Possess compassion and concern for others; interest in and motivation for service and integrity.
  • Accept constructive criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.

Accommodations:

Students with a documented disability may request disability accommodations by contacting the Educational Access Center.

Additional Requirements for Admission to PLNU MSOT Program

Upon conditional acceptance to the MSOT Program at PLNU, applicants must complete the following for full acceptance to the program:

  • Pay a deposit of $700.00 to PLNU to secure your seat.
  • Complete health and immunization requirements listed below:
    • Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening: Candidates for the MSOT degree must meet state professional regulation standards to be licensed to practice occupational therapy.  To meet this standard, all candidates accepted for seats in the occupational therapy program must undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and a 12-panel drug screen (DS) prior to full acceptance in the program.
    • Upon program acceptance, students are given information on how to obtain the criminal background screening and drug panel screening. Students will upload their results into a compliance tracker no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of their first term.
    • Failure to comply with these criminal background screenings may result in a delayed start to the following year.
    • Any negative findings are referred to the OT Admissions Committee for further review.
    • Depending on the nature and severity of the finding, students may be called upon to address these findings via interview or in writing. Based on this review, the Admissions Committee will provide one of the following recommendations: Revocation of acceptance to Point Loma Nazarene University’s Occupational Therapy program or no further action needed.
    • In addition, any student convicted of a felony offense while in the program must immediately notify the OT Program PD of the offense. Failure to notify, submission of false information, knowingly making false statements or concealing applicable information will be referred to the Student Progress and Promotions Committee for a recommendation of action to the Chair including Disqualification.
    • Immunizations/Vaccinations/Health Records/Trainings
      • All students accepted into the PLNU MSOT Program will be provided with a link to health and immunization forms after admittance. 
      • Students must provide proof of immunizations, vaccinations, health screenings and health insurance and upload these results into a compliance tracker no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of their first term. 
      • Required Health Records include the following: 
        • A copy of the student’s medical health insurance including hospitalization and emergency care (must be kept current while enrolled) 
        • Proof of a comprehensive health examination signed by a licensed healthcare provider. 
        • Documentation of one dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis Pertussis (Tdap) within the last ten years regardless of the interval since Td.
        • Proof of Rubeola (Measles) vaccination with live attenuated rubeola or a positive rubeola antibody. *NOTE: All students born after December 31, 1956, must show proof of either two doses of the vaccine administered on or after their first birthday (at least 30 days apart), or serologic proof of immunity (a copy of the laboratory report), or laboratory confirmation of disease and/or evidence of immunity.
        • Proof of negative TB testing: Initial 2 step PPD, QuantiFERON test, or chest x-ray if PPD positive (1 step PPD or QuantiFERON updated annually) 
        •  Proof of vaccination with live attenuated Mumps, only available after 1967, or laboratory confirmation of disease and/or evidence of immunity.
        • Documentation of a complete series of three Hepatitis B (Engerix-B or Recombivax HB) or a 2-dose series of Heplisav-B vaccinations or show serologic proof of immunity to Hepatitis B.
        • Proof of Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccination, a positive titer confirming immunity or evidence of prior infection, or validated history of disease.
        • Documentation of the flu shot (annually in the fall by December of each year).
        • Proof of the Meningococcal vaccine (signed waiver).
        • Documentation of a lack of exposure to Tuberculosis by Quantiferon Gold blood test. If positive, the student must provide documentation of a negative chest x-ray. Records must be updated before beginning Level II Fieldwork. 
        • Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and Booster Shots. Students who choose to not receive this vaccination will need to have a COVID-19 test weekly, and may not be able to participate in Community, Level I and/or Level II Fieldwork experiences. 
    • Failure to comply with required health documentation by six weeks prior to the start of the first term may result in a lack of full admittance to the Program and a delayed start until the following year. 
  • Failure to comply with proof of annual required health requirements may result in disqualification/dismissal from the MSOT program. 
  • Clinical entities may require additional testing/immunizations/training (HIPAA, Elder and Childhood Abuse) which must be completed prior to the start of any community, Level I, and/or Level II Fieldwork experiences. 
  • All health screenings and training costs are borne by the student.

Admissions Assistance

For further guidance on the admissions process, contact the graduate admissions office at gradinfo@pointloma.edu or call (619) 329-6799 or refer to the webpage “frequently asked questions” or FAQs.

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