Pre-Occupational Therapy Advising

What is Occupational Therapy?

Life is made up of occupations—meaningful everyday activities. Occupations can include many roles, such as being a student,  a friend, a parent, a spouse, a tennis player, an artist, a cook, or a musician. We don’t think about occupations until we have trouble doing them. Physical, emotional, or other challenges often prevent people from fully participating in the job of living. Occupational therapy incorporates valued occupations into the rehabilitation process (The American Occupational Therapy Association, 2021). 

What do Occupational Therapists do?

Occupational therapists help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapists  help people function in all their environments (e.g., home, work, school, community) and address the physical, psychological, and cognitive aspects of their well-being through engagement in occupation.

Common occupational therapy interventions include

  • helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations
  • helping people recovering from injury to regain skills,
  • providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective and focus on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team (American Occupational Therapy Association,  2021).

Occupational Therapists Work in Diverse Settings

What is Pre-Occupational Therapy at WOU?


The Pre-Occupational Therapy track at WOU is designed to prepare you to apply for a graduate program in Occupational Therapy. Pre-Occupational Therapy is not a bachelor’s degree or certificate; it is a program that includes courses to meet prerequisites for admission to a future professional program in Occupational Therapy.

You are encouraged to apply your coursework towards meeting requirements for a Bachelor of Sciences degree. See the Pre-Occupational Therapy Advisor for recommendations regarding the specific courses you should be taking to meet the prerequisite requirements of the specific Occupational Therapy school you are interested in applying to and for information about specific majors and degree paths.


What should I major in to earn a degree from WOU?

Occupational Therapy programs often accept students from many different majors including Psychology, Biology, Gerontology, Sociology, Exercise Science, etc. Ideally, you should major in an area that you enjoy and earn high grades. Additionally, the major should help you complete prerequisite requirements for the Occupational Therapy graduate programs you are interested in attending. See the Pre-Occupational Therapy Advisor for recommendations about specific majors and degree paths.

Does WOU offer a Degree in Occupational Therapy?

Yes. Beginning in Fall 2024, WOU will be the first occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) program within the Oregon public university system. For details see Doctorate of Occupational Therapy – Graduate Programs (

Where can I find a list of specific classes I need to take to get into an Occupational Therapy program?

The specific courses you will need to get into an Occupational Therapy program will depend on the program(s) you are considering applying to and can be different from institution to institution. Some requirements are updated annually.  Programs may require courses in several areas including

  • Psychology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Statistics
  • Social Sciences including Sociology or Anthropology
  • Humanities & Creative Arts

Additionally, many schools expect applicants to have applied internship experiences observing or working in the field of Occupational Therapy prior to admission.

See the Pre-Occupational Therapy Advisor to determine the specific courses you should be taking to meet the requirements of the specific Occupational Therapy school you are interested in applying to early in your program to prepare accordingly.

If I complete all the Pre-Occupational Therapy courses recommended by my advisor, will I get accepted into an Occupational Therapy Program?

No. Occupational Therapy Programs are highly competitive, and completion of the prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission to any specific program. Most graduate programs consider several factors in admission including completion of prerequisite courses, applied experiences, strong letters of recommendation, high grade point average, personal statement, etc. Working closely with your advisor can help strengthen your application.     

Resources for Students Interested in Occupational Therapy

Considering an OT Career? Here is a great place to start.
Why I chose Occupational Therapy? Students share what attracted them to the OT profession.
FAQ on Occupational Therapy and Career Planning

Questions about Pre-Occupational Therapy

that the website did not cover?




Chehalis Strapp, Pre-Occupational Therapy Advisor

Phone: 503-838-8316