Related Certificates

The Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology offers a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy that prepares students to become occupational therapists. During the program, students engage in graduate-level instruction embedded in the theory, research, and clinical underpinnings required to become evidence-based occupational therapy practitioners. Students may select a thesis option or project option in pursuing this degree. Students who are interested can choose to combine elective courses from the OT program with other courses on campus to receive the transcript-designated concentration in assistive technology and accessible design and/or ergonomics. (Note: The ergonomics concentration is being revised; admission to the program is temporarily suspended.)

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the occupational therapist certification examination offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA (2682).

All students admitted to the MS in Occupational Therapy degree program will be required to complete a Background Information Disclosure form (HFS64). A background check, which identifies a past criminal record, does not necessarily preclude an individual from pursuing studies in occupational therapy or becoming a successful practitioner. Should there be a discrepancy between the information reported by the student on HFS-64 and the reports issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Family Services, the student will be subject to dismissal from the occupational therapy program and reported to DHFS per HFS 12.20 (1)(c), Wis. Adm. Code.

Graduates of the master’s program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Candidates for the NBCOT Certification Examination will be asked to answer questions related to the topic of felonies when applying for the exam. For further information on these limitations and other certification requirements, contact NBCOT at or The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 (301) 990-7979. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


Applications for the MS OT are handled annually using the OT Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). OTCAS provides a full-service, Web-based application and admissions process for prospective occupational therapy program applicants.

Following are important timelines for the OTCAS application cycle (see OTCAS for specific dates). 

  • Mid July: OTCAS applications cycle opens (see OTCAS for specific dates).
  • Mid January (December 1 if international): Deadline for submission of all application material to OTCAS (see OTCAS for specific dates).

Once recommended for acceptance to UWM’s MS in Occupational Therapy Program, students need to apply to and be accepted by UWM’s Graduate School. However, students may apply to UWM’s Graduate School at any time prior to being recommended for acceptance to the OT Program.

Current UWM Pre-OT Students

Applications for the MS OT are handled annually using the internal Panthera application system. 

Following are important timelines for the Panthera application cycle. 

  • November 30: Deadline for submission of all application material to Panthera. 


The MS in Occupational Therapy Program admits students on the basis of a holistic, competitive application process. Students are accepted into the program once per year in Spring and begin professional coursework in the following Fall.

In addition to Graduate School requirements, applicants must meet these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program.

  1. An undergraduate degree completed by the end of the Spring semester of the year prior to beginning the OT Program, from an accredited institution, with an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. Six prerequisite courses, required to be completed by end of Fall semester of the year prior to beginning the OT Program, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale):
    Human Anatomy 13-4
    Human Physiology 13-4
    Human Development3
    Introduction to Psychology3
    Select one of the following natural science courses:3-5
    Physics 2
    Biology 2
    Chemistry 2
    Psychology 2

    Courses requiring a lab component. 


    Courses with laboratory-based data analysis required.

  3. Completed OTCAS application. (UWM Pre-OT Students should complete the Panthera application.)
  4. Three letters of recommendation: One letter must be from an academic source and one from a clinical/health-related source. The third letter can be either from an academic or clinical / health-related source. All three letters must use the OTCAS form.
  5. Reasons Statement or Personal Essay: This is the same as the OTCAS essay. Address why you selected occupational therapy as a career and how an occupational therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals.
  6. Additional Question: Answer why the Occupational Therapy Program in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a good fit for you. Limit 250 words. 

For all admission and application related questions, please contact

Credits and Courses

The program is a tracked curriculum of 75 credits over 28 months, including a minimum of 24 weeks of full-time fieldwork during the program. OCCTHPY 810 serves as the capstone requirement for the degree. Students will enroll as full time students for each term of study (Summer, Fall, Spring). There is no part-time option for students in the MS in OT program. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and a grade of B- or better in all required courses. Students who do not maintain this will be placed on probation.

Transcript-Designated Concentrations

Through judicious use of electives, students may also choose one of two transcript-designated concentrations. This may require completion of more than the minimum 75 credits.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Graduate School requires that each student have a major professor to advise, supervise, and approve the program of study. Students are assigned faculty advisors in the MS in OT program upon acceptance into the program.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within four years of initial enrollment.