Occupational Therapy

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OTD Admission Requirements for International Students



The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. Graduates of the 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, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

If you completed your pre-OT coursework at an institution outside the United States, or you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you are welcome to apply to our OTD program here at Drake!  We admit qualified international applicants to our OTD program using the same standards as U.S. applicants. 


Who is considered an international applicant?

You are considered an international applicant if you meet one or both of the following criteria:

  • You completed or plan to complete your pre-OT coursework/prerequisites at a college or university outside the United States
  • You are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; you are required to hold a non-resident visa to study in the United States


Admission Requirements

International applicants must meet the same admission requirements as all other OTD applicants.  Our OTD Admission page gives a more detailed list of admission requirements for the OTD program.  Admission requirements for international applicants include

  • Completing at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework (92 credit hours)
  • Completing (or be in the process of completing) prerequisite coursework outlined on our OTD Admission page
  • Earning a minimum iBT TOEFL score of 79 or IELTS score of 6.5 (students who have attended a U.S. college or university, studying in a degree program other than ESL, or have studied in an English-based program abroad, may qualify for an exemption)
  • Earning a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (or the equivalent) on a 4.0 U.S. GPA scale


Application Process

International applicants can apply to the Drake OTD program using the same process as all other OTD applicants.  Our OTD Admission page gives more detailed information about this process.  To apply, you must

  • Submit an application through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS)
  • Complete the required Drake-specific questions within the OTCAS application and submit the required Drake application fee of $70
  • Have an original or certified true copy of all academic records or transcripts in official form submitted directly to Drake University

Drake University's Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program operates on a rolling admission process.  We will interview and admit students until the O1 class is full and a sufficient number of applicants have been identified for the wait list.  We recommend submitting application materials early in order to ensure your application is processed and considered in a timely manner.  Students with strong applications and academic credentials will be invited to complete the second phase of the admission process, which includes a scored on-campus interview and a scored writing assessment.


Transcripts and Academic Records

Please have all official transcripts or academic records from every college or university you have attended outside the U.S. sent directly to Drake University.  Please use the following guidelines to assist you:

  • Transcripts or academic records must be original or certified by the educational institution issuing credit and must be sent in official form
  • Transcripts or academic records must be sent directly to Drake University by the educational institution issuing credit via mail or electronically
  • Any translated records should be an exact translation (not interpretive) and be accompanied by the official, original-language document


Admission Interview

Drake University conducts on-campus and virtual admission interviews for all OTD applicants.  Although the nature and structure of the interview process is ideally completed on Drake's campus, virtual interview options are available to applicants for whom travel is a barrier.  The admission interview is one part of a full day of programming, designed to showcase Drake, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the OTD program to applicants.  Applicants who travel to campus to interview should expect to spend a full day at Drake for this event.


Admitted Students

International students who are admitted to the OTD program will work with staff in our Office of Global Engagement to determine eligibility for and next steps in obtaining appropriate documentation for study in the United States and at Drake.  The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will provide information about the steps to enrollment, which include

  • Tuition deposit
  • Signed technical standards acknowledgement
  • Criminal background check and drug screen
  • Health certification and immunizations
  • Course registration and accessing online student services
  • Proof of CPR certification
  • Proof of health insurance - see our health insurance policy for international students
  • Professional Student Orientation and other important dates


Financial Certificate

All admitted international students must submit documented evidence of financial support for educational expenses.  The Office of Global Engagement will assist you with obtaining the necessary financial certificate for Drake University.  This financial certificate must be signed by you and your sponsor.  This document must also be either countersigned and sealed by your sponsor's bank, or a separate letter or statement may be issued to support the information provided on the certificate.


Questions regarding admission to the OTD program should be directed to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at drakeot@drake.edu.