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Pre-Occupational Therapy Program


About the Program

Occupational therapists treat patients who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They may work in offices or in hospitals, or may be embedded in schools, nursing homes, and home health services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapists typically need a graduate degree in occupational therapy. All states require occupational therapists to be licensed.

At Westminster, students on a pre-occupational therapy track will major in Psychology. They will typically apply to graduate-level Occupational Therapy programs between their junior and senior years, allowing for a direct transition following graduation, but some wait until after they graduate to apply in order to further their education and gain more relevant experience. Still others may apply to participate in our Bachelor’s Degree Plus Program that leads to a Westminster degree plus a Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Chatham University.


Typical Admission Requirements for Doctor of Occupational Therapy Programs

  • Anatomy & Physiology I (BIO 335)
  • Anatomy & Physiology II (BIO 336)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 401)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience (NS 341)
  • Experimental Design and Statistics (PSY 201)
  • Lifespan Development (PSY 225)

The following courses are also strongly recommended:

  • Abnormal Child Development (PSY 431)
  • Adulthood and Aging (PSY 291)
  • Organismal Biology and Ecology (BIO 202)
  • Biomedical Ethics (PHI 240)
  • Foundations of Physics I (PHY 141)
  • Principles of Sociology (SOC 101)

Course requirements may vary from one professional program to another, so it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of specifics regarding their schools of interest. Good planning and working closely with academic and health professions advisors are essential to maximize chances of success in the highly competitive Occupational Therapy school application environment.


Extracurricular and Off-Campus Experiences

  • Shadowing a practicing Occupational Therapist
  • Clinical internships
  • Volunteer experience with direct patient contact
  • Research experience in Psychology or Neuroscience
  • Any experience working with children, seniors, and/or individuals with special needs.


For More Information

Please contact the Chair of the Department of Psychology, Dr. Deanne Buffalari.

Deanne BuffalariTennant

Associate Professor/Chair
Deanne BuffalariTennant


Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs


Bachelor’s Degree + Occupational Therapy Degree (3+3 and 4+3 Programs)

In addition to our Pre-Occupational Therapy program, qualified students who want to go on to earn a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) can save time and money through one of two articulation agreements with Chatham University.

Students accepted to the 3+3 program spend three years at Westminster and then three years at Chatham, earning both their bachelor’s degree and their Occupational Therapy doctorate upon the completion of all requirements at the end of just 6 years.

Students accepted to the 4+3 program are guaranteed acceptance into Chatham’s Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (ELOTD) program upon graduation from Westminster if they meet the entry requirements.

 Learn More