Feb 27, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Occupational Therapy (BS)

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The undergraduate curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Science with a major in Occupational Therapy. As of fall 2015, only incoming freshmen may apply to the five-year bachelor’s to master’s program in occupational therapy. Students may not change their major to occupational therapy once admitted to USC. Students majoring in occupational therapy begin professional study during their junior year. Students can earn a USC master’s degree in occupational therapy with just one additional year instead of the traditional two years, substantially reducing their overall cost of education and preparing them sooner for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy® (NBCOT) examination. Successful completion of the Master of Arts degree, including successful completion of a minimum of 24 full-time weeks of clinical fieldwork, are required for eligibility to sit for the NBCOT examination. Certification from the board and state licensure are required to practice as an occupational therapist. (See Occupational Therapy (MA)  for a description of the MA degree program.)

Admission Criteria and Application Procedures for Incoming Freshmen

See the Undergraduate Admission  section of this catalogue for admission criteria and application procedures for the university.

Program Requirements

A total of 128 units is required for the Bachelor of Science degree. An occupational therapy major cannot count any 300-level OT course toward the BS degree.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program is effective for all students entering USC in fall 2015 or later, or transfer students beginning college elsewhere at that time and subsequently transferring to USC. It requires eight courses in six Core Literacies, plus two courses in Global Perspectives (which may double-count with courses in the Core Literacies) and two courses in writing. See the General Education  for more information.

Required Pre-Professional Courses

Students in the bachelor’s to master’s program are required to meet with their academic adviser within the division once each semester to ensure satisfactory completion of requirements outlined below. Students must successfully complete the pre-professional required courses prior to taking the advanced professional courses.

All pre-professional courses must be completed:

  • Within the last five years
  • With a minimum GPA of 3.0 (pass/fail or grades below a C are not accepted)
  • From an accredited junior college, four-year college or university
  • Either in a classroom setting or online; however, anatomy must be completed in a classroom setting (refer to Course Work Taken Elsewhere)
  • For a total of three semester units each (with the exception of medical terminology, which may be 1 or 2 units)

Required Pre-Professional Courses (USC course numbers are noted)

  • Students who wish to transfer credit for courses taken at another institution must gain university approval:


Four-week intensive courses are offered by the division in human anatomy (OT 260 ) and human physiology (OT 261 ) from mid-May to mid-June (just prior to the start of summer professional courses) for students unable to complete those courses earlier. These courses are also offered fall and spring semesters.

Students may take OT 405 , OT 406 , OT 440  and OT 441  in the junior year, after having completed Human Anatomy and Lifespan Development. Human Physiology must be completed by fall of the junior year. The remaining pre-professional courses must be completed by the start of the senior year.

Required Professional Courses

Enrollment in professional occupational therapy courses is limited to junior and senior occupational therapy majors only.

Additional Requirements

Scholastic Standards

Undergraduate occupational therapy students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) in all required OT courses and successfully complete the Graduate Record Examinations in order to continue into the master’s (MA) program. If an undergraduate student’s OT grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0, or if the cumulative undergraduate GPA falls below 3.0 at the end of the fall semester of the senior year, continuance is not assured.


Students enrolled in the occupational therapy major are required to meet with an academic adviser within the division each semester.

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