Pre-Occupational Therapy Curriculum

To print a copy of this information, click on the link : Preoccupational Therapy Curriculum

The Major

The “preoccupational therapy curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to an occupational therapy program. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area.


OT schools do not require a particular major. Although many pre-OT students at Southern Miss choose a major in the College of Health’s School of Kinesiology (such as Exercise Science or Therapeutic Recreation ), other majors are acceptable including those in the sciences such as Biological Sciences, humanities, social sciences such as psychology, or business. Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they are not accepted into OT school. Whatever major you choose you must take the prerequisite courses for the Occupational Therapy school you wish to attend as well as the courses in your major at USM if you plan to graduate with a B.S. degree and go on to Occupational Therapy School.


Students wishing to pursue Occupational Therapy (OT) in Mississippi apply to the Doctor of  Occupational Therapy program at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, typically after taking the OT prerequisites at a college or university such as at Southern Miss.  The UMMC program in Jackson is transitioning from a Master’s degree program to a Doctoral granting program which will require a B.S. degree as part of their entrance requirements. The UMMC doctoral program has applied for accreditation and they expect that they will be able to accept students into that program in the summer of 2018. The prerequisites for their anticipated doctoral program are given further below. Preference is given to Mississippi residents at UMMC; out of state residents will be considered.


Students who obtain a Master or Doctor of Occupational Therapy from accredited programs are eligible to sit for the licensure exam as part of the requirements of becoming a licensed Occupational Therapist.


Visit the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) web pages for more information about OT schools:

Link to main page:

Link to student resources:  

To find accredited Occupational Therapy programs around the country go to the AOTA “Find a School” site at:   


There are Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Programs at some community colleges.  Students in those programs receive an Associate’s Degree and can sit for the OT Assistant licensure exam. If you do not want an advanced degree, such as a Master’s degree or Doctorate in OT, please consult the AOTA “Find a School” resource for those Assistant’s programs.  An OTA is more limited in practice than the licensed Occupational Therapist with a Master’s or Doctoral degree.

Requirements for Applicants

Each Occupational Therapy program has their own set of requirements. These vary considerably from one school to another.  Please consult the requirements and deadlines of the specific school(s) to which you plan to apply.


The following list of requirements meets only the minimal requirements for admission to the Doctoral of Occupational Therapy program within the School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The UMMC program is waiting on approval from the accrediting organization before it can admit students into the program.


Link to UMMC SHRP:

Link to Doctor of Occupational Therapy at UMMC:


Preference is given to Mississippi residents; out-of-state applicants will be considered only if there are positions available after all qualified Mississippi applicants are accepted.


Course prerequisites for application to UMMC’s Doctor in Occupational Therapy Program.


These courses are all offered at USM. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. For prerequisite courses below no grade lower than a C will be accepted by UMMC’s program. All of the 7 prerequisite courses must be completed before applying to UMMC Doctor of Occupation Therapy Program

  • statistics (elementary, behavioral, or introductory) (1 course; 3 hours)
  • general psychology (1 course; 3 hours)
  • human growth and development or developmental psychology (1 course; 3 hours)
  • anatomy and physiology with laboratories (2 courses; 8 hours)
  • advanced biological or physical science at 300 or above level (1 course; 3-5 hours)
  • physics with lab (1 course; 4 hours)

note: the anatomy and physiology courses can be replaced by one anatomy and one physiology course. The advanced biological or physical science course will have a lower level prerequisite(s). For example, all advanced biological science courses require BSC 110/L and BSC 111/L be taken as prerequisites.


Other requirement for consideration for entrance into the UMMC program.


Students must provide evidence of 24 hours observation in at least two occupational therapy clinical departments at the time of application to UMMC. Observation must be done with either an occupational therapist or a certified occupational therapy assistant. It is up to the individual student to set up his or her own observation hours. The “Verification of Observation Form” is located on the UMMC Doctor of Occupational Therapy website that applicants will have to use in order to certify the number of observation hours. It can be found at:


Students applying to the UMMC program must have their Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores submitted to the program when applying.


If requested, students must have an interview with the admissions committee of the UMMC program.