Interested in Studying Occupational Therapy?

Enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). 

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.”


What will I study?

The Pre-Healthcare Pathway is not a major; rather, it is a carefully designed plan intended to prepare you to achieve your unique academic and career goals.

Professional program requirements vary widely, especially with regard to advanced biology courses and English requirements. Be sure to check all graduate programs you are considering applying to early during your undergraduate studies for specific prerequisites needed to apply to that school’s program.

Within Gardner-Webb’s pre-professional employment track, you will want to review the Biology major and Exercise Science pre-professional concentration four-year plan if interested in Occupational Therapy.

The most common prerequisite courses include:

  • BIOL 111: General Biology
  • BIOL 203: Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 204: Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIOL 222: Medical Terminology
  • CHEM 111: General Chemistry
  • EXSI 335: Kinesiology or EXSI 347: Sport and Exercise Physiology
  • EXSI 345: Healthcare Ethics
  • MATH 105: Statistics
  • MATH 151: Calculus
  • PHYS 203: General Physics I
  • PHYS 204: General Physics II
  • PSCH 201: General Psychology
  • PSYC 206: Developmental Psychology

Additional information, including descriptions of specific courses and their corresponding credit hours, is available in the Academic Catalog.

Next Steps

Medical School Admissions

  1. Review the AOTA program pages for important accredited Master’s-Level and Doctoral-Level program-specific formats and admissions criteria.
  2. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) at least a semester prior to program deadline.
  3. Submit official transcripts from every college/university attended as required by the OT program. It is important to apply early! Many OT programs have multiple deadline dates (i.e., preferred, priority, or early decision) or operate on a rolling admissions process.


What can I do with this degree?

Gardner-Webb pre-professional students focusing in Occupational Therapy will prepare for a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) or Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (DOT).

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals;
  • customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals; and
  • an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Click here to learn more about occupational therapy.

Ready to take the next step?

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The mentorship and opportunities that I was offered created a foundation for my graduate studies and future career as an occupational therapist that I would not have received anywhere else.
— Charity Byrum, EXSI '15
Overall, the curriculum and experiences I had at GWU helped me feel prepared for graduate school and I am very grateful to be an alumna.
— Lauren Dunn Smith, EXSI '16


median salary for occupational therapists


projected job growth from 2018–2028


work in schools, nursing homes, and home services