Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program at Missouri State University. Hopefully the answers listed below will provide some clarity.

Can I major in occupational therapy as an undergraduate? Is it a bachelor’s degree?

No. New occupational therapists must have a master’s or doctoral degree. MSU’s graduate program is an entry-level master’s program. This means we admit students who already have (or are close to getting) their bachelor’s degree and have fulfilled the necessary prerequisites. Review the admission requirements.

What bachelor’s degree should I get if I want to be an occupational therapist?

You can have a bachelor’s degree in just about anything. Backgrounds in health, human development, science, sociology, anthropology, medicine, and psychology are just a few options. Here are some programs of study from the McQueary College of Health and Human Services.

How long is the program?

Seven consecutive semesters (27 months) beginning in the fall semester.

Are there documents for MSU shadowing hours and if so were I can get them?

Yes; this form is located on the admission requirements page. MSU does not require applicants to submit this form as evidence of observation, but many applicants choose to upload their forms in OTCAS as additional documents. The students are asked to record the following information about their shadowing experience directly into OTCAS: The address of the facility where you observed; the contact person's full name, phone number and email; the type of setting you observed in; the number of hours you observed; and the type of observation you participated in.

For observation hours, you may choose to download the Observation Hours Form located on MSU's program website, or you may upload your own record of observation hours. MSU's Observation Hours Form is intended for personal use only; it is OPTIONAL to upload in OTCAS. Do not mail observation forms to MSU.

COVID-19 update

We understand that applicants to the 2020-2021 admission cycle may have limited opportunity to observe occupational therapy practice. Thus, an alternative plan for accruing observation or ‘shadowing’ hours has been developed by the MSU MOT Program. Applicants may accrue the required number of hours using any combination of the following options and must be prepared to provide documentation of content:

  • In-person observations. These are still preferred. Please check with occupational therapy settings frequently for updated student shadowing policies.
  • Virtual shadowing tool: Password: LucasQU Completion of Dr. Cheryl Lucas' six modules is equivalent to 10 hours observation time. Many thanks to Dr. Lucas for making this resource publicly available.
  • Telemedicine options: Inquire if healthcare facilities are utilizing teletherapy visits which students may join remotely for observation.
  • The “ICE Video Library” database: many university libraries have access to this database of recorded therapy sessions. Applicants may watch occupational therapy videos and submit MSU's downloadable observation form ( in their OTCAS application. 1 minute of video watching = 1 minute of observation time
  • Interview: Conduct an interview with an occupational therapy practitioner. Use MSU's downloadable observation form ( to guide questioning. 1 minute of interview = 1 minute of observation time
  • Explore high-quality, open-access videos featuring licensed OTRs or COTAs interacting with clients (no student-created videos). Applicants may watch occupational therapy videos and submit MSU's downloadable observation form (  1 minute of video watching = 1 minute of observation time
  • Submit evidence of activity as an attachment in "Documents"

How many students will be accepted for the incoming class?


Do my prerequisites need to be completed before I apply?

No. Prerequisite courses may be in progress as long as they are completed by the end of the summer semester before Fall admission to the program. Your acceptance is contingent upon successful completion of all prerequisites and maintenance of at least a 3.0 GPA.

How do I know if the courses I took at my home institution are acceptable for your program?

Regarding transfer credit or course equivalency, you need to cross-reference the classes you are taking with our course catalog.

How do I arrange a visit to Missouri State University?

Our Graduate College offers specialized campus tours for prospective graduate students. Schedule your visit using the Graduate College's online form.

What is the interview process like?

Qualified applicants will be invited to an interview. The interview process will include a group activity and interview with OT faculty.

What does your program cost?

Graduate education at Missouri State is an excellent value. You can get tuition, cost, and fee information for the Graduate College here.

May I substitute kinesiology or biomechanics for the physics prerequisite?

No. Occupational therapists use Physical Agent Modalities to treat clients; use of these modalities requires knowledge of ultrasound, electrotherapy, and the biophysical effects of heat and cryotherapy on the body.