Four OT students discussing the layout of a room during a lab exercise


Occupational Therapy Doctorate, OTD

Admissions Process

otcas-logo-2020.pngThe School of Occupational Therapy receives applications for doctoral program admission and all applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy College Application Service (OTCAS). Full application instructions can be found on the Belmont University school page by clicking Participating Programs on the OTCAS site.

Interview Invitations

Only the most academically competitive candidates will be invited for an on-campus interview with faculty members. We host four on-campus interview days each year in September, November, February, and March/April. Qualified candidates are invited to the earliest possible interview day.

Required After Acceptance

All candidates who submit an enrollment deposit must complete pre-matriculation requirements as directed in the months and weeks leading up to the first day of classes. Failure to complete requirements - such as registration, submission of health records, final official transcripts, and other such items - by communicated deadlines will result in withdrawal from the program. In addition, as an accepted student in the OTD program, you will be required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR for infant, child and adult) and first aid training. You will also be required to submit results of a criminal background check. Background check information will be mailed to you in the summer preceding your first semester.

Early Decision

Early Decision is available to applicants whose first and only choice is Belmont University if accepted for admission. The entering class may be filled by candidates who apply during Belmont's Early Decision period. While OTCAS does not offer the Early Decision option, Belmont's School of Occupational Therapy provides this option to candidates who pledge to attend if admitted.

  • Early Decision Application deadline: September 1, 2023 (all transcripts must also be submitted to OTCAS by this date)
  • Interview Day: Late September 2023
  • Decisions Announced: within 1 week after the interview day
  • Reply Date for Accepted Candidates: November 1

Regular Admission

Regular Admission consideration is available on a rolling basis to candidates who submit an OTCAS application by February 1. Candidates who are invited to interview will be considered for any available openings in the entering class or for a place on the wait list for possible future openings. The first interview day for regular admission will be held on a Friday in early-to-mid November with selected candidates who have completed their application by October 1. All other candidates with a completed application will be eligible, on a competitive basis, for an invitation to a mid-January or April interview day.

OTCAS Open and Close Dates

  • July 2023 - Application to the OTD program at Belmont University open through OTCAS for the next fall's entry.
  • February 1, 2024 - OTCAS Application Close Date for Belmont University - deadline for applicants to submit all application materials. The OTCAS application must be complete by this date, including official GRE scores.

OTCAS Academic Update

  • Mid-December - The OTCAS Academic Update opens. You cannot make edits to your coursework section until the AU window is open to you.
  • Mid-January - OTCAS Academic Update priority deadline to submit your updated courses and transcripts to OTCAS. OTCAS will continue to accept updated transcripts after the priority deadline date has passed and through mid-February.
  • Mid-February - The Academic Update closes. You cannot edit your courses after this date. OTCAS will no longer accept AU transcripts. If your AU transcripts will not be available from your college/university's registrar until after February 15, please contact the admissions office to receive instructions on submitting an unofficial grade report directly to Belmont University School of Occupational Therapy. (Do NOT send unofficial transcripts or grade reports to OTCAS).

Prerequisite Completion Deadline

All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed before June 1, 2024. Final degree-conferred official transcripts must be sent to Belmont University Admissions Office soon after this date. Accepted candidates who do not meet this deadline will forfeit their seats in the entering class.

  1. Candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (degree in any field) or be in the senior year of undergraduate study. A completed bachelor's degree and completion of all prerequisites are required by June 1 prior to enrollment, as evidenced by a final official college/university transcript. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
  2. Candidates must achieve a grade of B- or better in each prerequisite course, each of which must have been completed within ten years prior to application.
    • Because of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, a grade of “pass” may be accepted for prerequisite courses taken during this time although a letter grade is preferred if that option was available. Candidates will be required to provide an explanation if they opted into the P/F grading scale for Spring 2020.
    • Advanced Placement (AP) credit is accepted for Statistics.

Required Prerequisites


Human Anatomy & Physiology I with lab


Human Anatomy & Physiology II with lab


Statistics (from a math department or psychology department)


Developmental Psychology (from a psychology department)


Abnormal Psychology


Intro to Sociology OR Intro to Anthropology (no substitutes)



Introductory Physics or Kinesiology


Medical Terminology


Candidates are expected to have no more than two incomplete prerequisites (as verified by OTCAS) to be considered for an interview opportunity. Submitted applications that do not meet this standard will be deferred from consideration until this requirement is fulfilled. All prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring semester (June 1) prior to enrollment. If not completed successfully, the candidate’s admission will be withdrawn.

In addition to the required prerequisites, the following courses are also helpful: advanced writing, public speaking, and computer literacy.
  1. Candidates must complete a personal essay as part of the OTCAS application.
  2. Candidates must demonstrate familiarity with occupational therapy in the form of a minimum of 50 hours of observational, volunteer, and/or work experience in occupational therapy prior to paying an enrollment deposit.
    • Alternative Activities Form: We recognize that many of our applicants have been unable to complete observation experiences as intended due to COVID-19. In light of this, we have created an “Alternative Activities Form” for applicants to demonstrate that they have learned about the profession through a variety of resources. The completed form is due on the enrollment deposit deadline for admitted students and does not need to be submitted at the time of application. You can download the form as a Word or PDF document. Completed forms should be emailed to
  3. Two recommendations are required. At least one of the two recommendations required for application must be from a licensed occupational therapist.
  4. Students need to be aware that felony-related charges and convictions may prevent participation in fieldwork experiences. In addition, a criminal record may prevent the student from taking the NBCOT exam and also from becoming licensed. A student should contact NBCOT if there is a prior criminal record that might interfere with their eligibility to sit for the national exam. National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Housing Guide

Check out the most recent Housing Guide for Belmont Health Science students, based on feedback from current students.

Information Sessions

We will continue offering virtual information sessions in Summer 2023. In the meantime, we encourage you to make an on-campus, phone, or Zoom appointment!

Frequently Asked Questions

Belmont University makes no distinction between in-state and out-of-state students for admission or tuition purposes.

Yes. This OTD program is designed for students who currently hold a baccalaureate (undergraduate) degree or are in the process of earning one in any discipline other than OT. The degree should be conferred no later than June 1 prior to enrolling.

We do not require a specific major to apply for our program, as long as the prerequisites are completed. Common majors include psychology, exercise science, and biology.

Yes, you may. However, no more than 2 prerequisites may remain to be considered for an interview. Additionally, all courses must be complete, and your degree conferred, by June 1.

Applicants must have completed a minimum of 50 hours before an application will be reviewed. The application will remain incomplete until this requirement is met.

If an applicant has been working in a science field since taking prerequisite courses, there may be an exception to the 10-year policy. Exceptions are considered only after an application is submitted and completed. Please contact us if you have questions about your situation.

Informal prerequisite course evaluations are available upon request. Please email PDF copies of your unofficial transcripts to We are unable to comment on your admissibility to the program, but this may give you better insight into your prerequisite completion plans.

We do not typically calculate the average GPA scores. Typically, though, competitive applications to our program will have a 3.5 or higher GPA (both cumulative and prerequisite). Of course, these are just guidelines; however, all candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (both cumulative and prerequisite) to be considered.

The only application we require is the OTCAS application. Nothing supplemental needs to be sent to Belmont.

All materials should be sent to OTCAS; nothing should be sent directly to Belmont. Instructions and addresses for transcripts and recommendations (called "evaluations" on OTCAS) are available on their website after you have created an account.

We require two recommendations. One must be from an OT. The second may be from a person of your choosing such as a professor, employer, another OT, etc. Neither should be from a family member, friend, clergy, etc.

We do not require a specific form, but you will need to input all of your hours into OTCAS, with contact information for verification. So, you should track them in a document that can easily be referenced and uploaded.

A face-to-face interview with a faculty member is a required part of the admission process. The interview days also act as visit days that include a program overview, lab demonstrations, and an opportunity to talk with current students.

We are excited to provide an on-campus interview experience for our applicants and their supporters. In some cases, we are able to offer the opportunity for candidates to complete their individual faculty interviews over Zoom, but we cannot record the rest of our programming.

We're always glad to have visitors, but typically we encourage people to wait until they are invited for an interview before coming to campus, as the interview day includes a much more comprehensive look at the program, interactions with faculty and current students, lab demonstrations, etc. However, if you are in Nashville and would like to stop by, the admissions coordinator will be glad to schedule an appointment to give you a brief tour of the building, Monday through Friday between 9:00-4:00. You can make an in-person appointment with us here!

We admit a class of approximately 60 students per year. A new cohort class begins each fall semester.

The OTD degree is a 3 year, full-time program, with a total of 108-110 semester credit hours. Please visit the full OTD curriculum, where there is also a link to course descriptions.

Class times are typically held Monday through Thursday from 8 or 9 am to 5 or 6 pm but do vary by semester. Students attend fieldwork at clinical sites on Monday, Wednesday and/or Friday.

No. Belmont University School of Occupational Therapy does not accept transfer credit from any other occupational therapy school.

Scholarships are not available. Students typically fund tuition through loans or private sources. All questions concerning financial aid should be directed to our Student Financial Services department. You can reach the Student Financial Services office by phone at 615-460-6403 or online.

Belmont's MSOT program is only available to COTAs or PTAs. However, in comparing other OT programs to Belmont's doctorate, it is important to consider your career goals. While both a masters and a doctorate equip the student for OT practice, the doctorate offers a wider breadth of opportunities, as the doctoral graduate has more research and scholarship training, leadership experience, and offers the ability to teach in the future.

Contact Us

College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Sarah Caylor
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions
(615) 460.6798
Schedule a Call

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