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Pre-Occupational Therapy courses

Pre-Occupational Therapy

2024-25 catalog

LISA SZAFRAN, Associate Professor ( Psychology & Neuroscience )
B.A., Nazareth College; M.A. & Ph.D., SUNY at Buffalo

Occupational therapists help patients regain control over important job-related or day-to-day functions that may have been impaired through accident, disease or birth trauma.

Augustana's pre-OT program includes courses in biology, psychology, and sociology. The flexibility of the Pre-OT curriculum allows a student to satisfy entrance requirements to most of the occupational therapy schools in the country, and it prepares students for success both in graduate school and in their career.

Augustana assists pre-occupational therapy students in gaining clinical experience. The clinical experience required for entrance into occupational therapy programs is made available through the college at a variety of clinics in the Quad-Cities area and beyond. Note: Pre-OT is not a major; the student can major in any field; biology, psychology, and/or kinesiology are most common. For more information, contact Pre-OT advisor Dr. Lisa Szafran.

Augustana offers two program options in pre-occupational therapy:

The first option is a four-year B.A. program (nearly any major) at Augustana followed by graduate work in occupational therapy. Students who choose this option may apply to any graduate program in the country. Augustana graduates who have met established criteria have a significant admissions advantage over students from other schools. It is important to check on requirements of graduate programs on a regular basis, as pre-requisites and other application requirements may change.

Clinical occupational therapy experience is often a requirement for admission to a graduate program. Opportunities to gain such experience may be arranged through CORE with local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

The second option is a coordinated degree program in occupational therapy with Washington University in St. Louis. In this program, the student spends three years at Augustana followed by either two years (Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree) or three years (Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy) at Washington University. The student can choose a major in any field, but all graduate program pre-requisites must be met prior to matriculation. The student must complete a Senior Inquiry in the chosen major during the junior year or summer following the junior year.

Prior to attending Washington University, the student must: 1) complete all Augustana general education courses, with the exception of the last 30-credits at the 300+ level; 2) major requirements unless waived by the appropriate department (with the possible exception of BIOL358/Neuroanatomy* for the biology major.) *If the student plans to transfer WU's Neurobiology credits back to Augustana to be applied toward the biology major, then BIOL358 cannot be taken.

It is important to check on requirements of the WU OT graduate program on a regular basis, as pre-requisites and other application requirements may change.

Acceptance into the 3:2 (MS) or 3:3 (OTD) WUOT programs is not guaranteed. It is a highly competitive process, and all applicants are considered based on their merits and achievements. Once enrolled at Washington University, the student transfers as many as 30 appropriate 300-level credits to Augustana to complete remaining requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

Program outline of recommended courses

BIOL 130 Molecules to Cells; Biology majors only; recommended for first or second year

BIOL 251 Anatomy & Physiology I; recommended for second year

BIOL 252 Anatomy & Physiology II; recommended for second year

  • Biology majors should take BIOL 351 Human Anatomy & BIOL 362 Human Physiology instead of BIOL 251/252; recommended for third year

PSYC 100 Intro to Psychology; recommended for first or second year

PSYC 216 Human Development; recommended for first, second or third year

PSYC 240 Statistics; recommended for first, second or third year

PSYC 224 Psychological Disorders; recommended for second year

SOAN 101 Intro to Sociology; recommended for first or second year

RELG 355 Medical Ethics; recommended for third or fourth year

CLAS 290 Greek/Latin for Science; can be taken at any time; Shadowing and internships may be done at any time.

Other relevant courses in biology (e.g., Neuroanatomy - BIOL 358) psychology (any upper-level course); math (e.g., Calculus – MATH160), sociology (any upper-level course), physics, philosophy, speech communication (e.g. Public Speaking-COMM 101), first aid and CPR certification may be required or suggested by specific graduate programs.

Prerequisites for the 3:2 or 3:3 OT program at the Washington University in St. Louis

The OT program with Washington University stipulates that you must have four of the following six prerequisites completed with a grade of B or better by the time of your application:

  • Physiology (e.g., BIOL 251 & 252 Anatomy & Physiology I & II, or BIOL 362 Human Physiology; prerequisites for BIOL 362 = BIOL 130))
  • One upper-level life science course (e.g., BIOL 351 Human Anatomy if not taking BIOL 252))
  • One social science course (e.g., PSYC 100, SOAN 101, economics, political science, anthropology)
  • One statistics course (e.g., PSYC 240),
  • Abnormal Psychology (e.g., PSYC 224)
  • Developmental Psychology (e.g., PSYC 216)

Augustana 3-2 & 3:3 applicants are not guaranteed admission at Washington University. In order to be competitive applicants, they should also have:

  • A cumulative GPA at the end of seven terms of 3.25 or above
  • At least 30 hours of OT-related experience, including at least some time directly shadowing an OT
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from Dr. Szafran as the pre-OT advisor and one from someone who supervised during OT-related experience
  • Demonstration of life experience including work, extracurricular activities, leadership, honors, community service and/or research

Admitted students also are encouraged to get their CPR certifications and take medical terminology (CLAS290) before matriculation to the OT program.