Occupational Therapy (OT) Scholars

Entrance sign of Point Loma

Point Loma Nazarene's Occupational Therapy (OT) Scholars' program is an exclusive opportunity for freshmen and sophomores to be guaranteed a position in PLNU's Master of Science in OT program upon graduation from specific pre- degree programs offered at PLNU.

The OT Scholars’ program allows students seeking careers as occupational therapists to gain valuable health care course content prior to entrance into the post-baccalaureate OT program. This preparatory education, in conjunction with the OT program's didactic and clinical curriculum, enriches the graduate's expertise and competence. In addition, it allows students the opportunity to complete a degree that positions them for a rewarding health care career should they choose another path and elect not to continue in the graduate OT program upon completion of their bachelor's degree.

Application Requirements

The application requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, weighted or unweighted, as reported on the senior year high school transcripts.
  • Completion of at least three years of high school math and science.
  • Enroll in one of the approved undergraduate majors listed below.
  • Completion and submission of an online OT Scholars’ application. To obtain necessary documents, including a link to send to your references, contact Terra Bowles, Department Assistant, Kinesiology, at tbowles@pointloma.edu.
  • Reference letters can be from high school teachers, coaches, volunteer/church leaders, and/or from PLNU contacts.
  • High school transcripts and for sophomore students, also a PLNU freshman transcript, should be emailed to Terra Bowles, Department Assistant, Kinesiology, at tbowles@pointloma.edu.

Approved Under-Graduate Majors

  • Health and Human Performance (BA; Concentration in Pre-Allied Health)
  • Child and Adolescent Development (BA)
  • Psychology (BA)
  • Sociology (BA)
  • Applied Health Science (BS)


  • Complete the online OT Scholars’ application by December 1st of your freshman or sophomore year.
  • Students must expect to be at PLNU for a minimum of six semesters to apply to this program.
  • Students will be notified of their acceptance to the program by the end of the fall term. 

Requirements to Remain in the Occupational Therapy Scholars’ Program

Once accepted as a OT Scholar, students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment at Point Loma Nazarene University and meet the following requirements:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 through completion of your Bachelor program.
  • Obtain a B (3.) or higher in all required MSOT program prerequisite courses. A minimum grade of a B- will be allowed for anatomy and physiology coursework. 
  • OT Scholars will be required to submit their application to the OT Centralized Application System (OTCAS) by March 31st in the spring of their Senior Year.  A minimum of 40 observation hours (virtual or in-person) of an occupational therapist must be completed by the time of application submission.
  • OT Scholars will attend a PLNU OT interview in the spring/summer of senior year.  Dates will vary.

Required Prerequisite Courses for MSOT Program

  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIO 1030, BIO 1030L, BIO 1040, and BIO 1040L). Alternatively, students may take one semester of anatomy and one semester of physiology. Online and in-person classes accepted. 
  • Introductory Statistics (MTH 2003 or MTH 3063)
    • High School AP statistics course credit may be accepted based on the Program Director/Admission Committee Review
  • Human Development (CHD 1050)
  • Medical Terminology (KIN 2050)
  • Social Psychology (SOC 3020/PSY 3020) OR Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1001)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 3021)

You may have up to 8 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 units of 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.

Additional information about other admission requirements can be found on the PLNU MSOT Program webpage.

One Elective Course from the List Below (Choose a course that is not required for your major)

  • Therapeutic Exercise (KIN 4010)
  • Internship in Kinesiology (KIN 4088)
  • Medical Sociology (SOC 4070)
  • Sociology of Aging (SOC 3016)
  • Race and Ethnicity (SOC 3060)
  • Personality and Adult Development (PSY 3000)
  • Child, Family and Community (CHD 4020)
  • Motor Learning and Motor Development (KIN 3012)

Attend All Required OT Information Sessions

  • Fall of your freshman or sophomore year before applying to the OT Scholars’ Program and ongoing each spring.

Observation Hours

All OT scholar students must complete 40 observation hours of an occupational therapist and/or an occupational therapy assistant by the due date for applying to OTCAS-March 31st. 

Program Admission Requirements

Additional information about other admission requirements can be found on the PLNU MSOT Program webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the OT Scholars’ program offer guaranteed admission into the MSOT program?

Yes. Students who successfully complete the program’s requirements, maintain the required GPA for the duration of their undergraduate studies, complete required observation hours, and complete all other admission requirements are guaranteed placement in the MSOT program.

Does the OT Scholars’ program shorten the length of time I will spend in school?

No. Admission to PLNU’s Master of Science in OT Program Scholars’ Program is contingent upon successful completion of the qualifying bachelor’s degree program from Point Loma Nazarene University. We believe that a traditional, full-length course of undergraduate study remains one of the best preparations for success.

How will my advanced placement credit course transfer?

In keeping with a high level of academic achievement, students who wish to become OT Scholars’ are encouraged to take Advanced Placement and/or advanced credit courses in high school whenever possible. However, no AP or advanced credit will be awarded to incoming OT Scholars’ for any prerequisite OT course. It is in the best interest of every future occupational therapy student to take these courses in college regardless of experience.

When can I become an OT scholar?

Applications are due by December 1st of your freshman or sophomore year. Only first-time freshman or sophomore applicants will be considered for acceptance into the program.

What if I change my major or decide that I do not want to continue to the OT program?

Students may continue on as OT Scholars’ provided, they choose another approved major at PLNU. Remember that there is no penalty for withdrawing from the program but applying to become an OT Scholar is an opportunity that you have only as an incoming freshman or sophomore. If you withdraw from the OT Scholars’ program, you can still apply to the post-baccalaureate OT program through the traditional application process, with no guarantee of admittance.

Can I study abroad as an OT Scholar?

Yes. OT Scholars’ are encouraged to study abroad. OT Scholars’ will work with their undergraduate academic advisor to determine a time that is most optimal for study abroad.

How often is my cumulative GPA checked?

After each spring semester grades are completed.

If I transfer into PLNU, can I still be accepted into the OT Scholars’ Program?

Yes, if you complete six semesters at PLNU, you are eligible to apply for the program.

If I do not maintain the criteria to stay in this program, may I still apply to the PLNU MSOT Program?

Yes, you can apply through traditional application methods after you have completed your undergraduate degree. PLNU alumni will receive extra consideration.

What other benefits do OT Scholars’ enjoy?

Scholars enjoy numerous other program benefits, including:

  • Participation in the Point Loma Pre-Health Student Association (PLPHSA).
  • Attendance at select events hosted by the MSOT Program student organization (SOTA) beginning their junior year at PLNU.