Admissions, Tuition & Financial Aid

How to Apply | Admissions | IT Requirements | Program Costs | Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

Applicants for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program must apply through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy Programs (OTCAS). By submitting an OTCAS application, the applicant certifies to Johnson & Wales University (JWU) that all information on their application and supporting documentation is true, correct, and complete. Note that JWU does not retain all application materials submitted by the applicant.

The OTD Program begins accepting applications for our June enrollment in mid-July of the previous year. Johnson & Wales University enrolls on a rolling admissions basis, with a deadline of March 31.

Admissions Process

  • Our OTCAS cycle begins in mid-July each year, with a deadline of March 31 the following year.
  • JWU will notify you via email when we receive your verified application.
  • OTCAS verified applications are reviewed by the OTD Program Admissions Committee to evaluate applicants' overall qualifications.
  • Qualified applicants will be offered a virtual interview to assess interpersonal and communication skills, as well as overall commitment to the field of occupational therapy.
  • Qualified candidates will be offered acceptance into the program. Candidates that are not offered admission after the interview may be placed on a waitlist.
  • Deferring entrance is not allowed.

Admissions Requirements

  • Apply through the OTCAS system
  • You must have received your bachelor’s degree (or be in the process of attaining it)
  • You must hold a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 from an accredited US institution, as calculated by the OTCAS system
  • Submit a personal statement
  • Submit 3 letters of recommendation


Applicants must complete required prerequisite classes listed below with a grade of “C” or better. Applicants who plan to complete these classes prior to OTD enrollment will still be considered. JWU’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate program does not accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits to fulfill prerequisite courses; the program also does not accept transfer credits or experiential learning credits.

  • Anatomy and Physiology: A complete year course sequence in anatomy (one semester) and physiology (one semester) is required. Students may take a combined anatomy/physiology sequence, but they must take both semesters in order to fulfill the requirement. Labs are required. (8 credit hours)
  • Developmental Psychology: A one-semester psychology course in child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, or lifespan development. (3 credit hours)
  • Abnormal Psychology: A one-semester course in abnormal psychology is required. (3 credit hours)
  • Statistics: A one-semester course in general statistics is required. Business statistics, psychological statistics or biological science statistics courses are accepted. (3 credit hours)
  • Coursework in medical terminology and physics, kinesiology, or biomechanics are recommended but not required.

There is no minimum requirement for shadowing or experience in the field.

Before Matriculation

Applicants must:

  • Obtain a physical exam and provide documented proof of program and university required immunizations as listed in our Graduate Catalog. Program immunization requirements are based on current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for health professionals. Students may also be required to meet the physical examination requirements of fieldwork sites which may have specific requirements in addition to JWU’s requirements.
  • Anticipate a complete background check.

Information Technology Requirements

Students entering the OTD program must have a laptop computer with reliable wireless internet access. Both the program and the university use email as the primary method of communication. Students must also be able to access ulearn, the university's online course management system, for class materials, grades and assignments. Students will be required to log into EXXAT, a cloud-based platform that will help them organize fieldwork and capstone-related materials.

  • Hardware:
    • Windows-based computers: Intel i3, i5 or i7 generation 8 or higher (for Win11 compatibility)
    • Apple-based computerS: MacBook Air early 2015 or higher, MacBook Early 2016 or higher (for Monterey OS support)
  • Operating System:
    • Microsoft Windows 10 or higher
    • MacOS 13.0 or higher
  • RAM: Minimum of 4GB; Recommended 8GB or higher
  • Hard drive: Minimum of 256GB of free hard drive space

Students must have access to and be able to use software that allows them to prepare PowerPoint presentations and Word documents, along with up-to-date virus/malware protection. These are available for free through Office 365 from the university.

Additional information on software available to students and support for its use can be found via JWU IT Support.

2024-25 Program Costs

The OTD program runs a full 36-month span, including summer semester. OTD students are charged as a cohort with tuition and fees remaining the same throughout the program.

1 $43,035 $1,656 $1000 $45,691
2 $43,035 $1,656 $1000 $45,691
3 $43,035 $1,656 $0 $44,691
TOTAL $129,105 $4,698 $2000 $136,073

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is the estimated total amount it will cost a student to attend JWU each year. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus housing (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books & supplies, transportation, personal expenses, and federal loan fees. If applicable, the COA may also include, dependent care, disability expenses, cost of a personal computer, or fees for an applicable eligible study-abroad program.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change annually.
**Students are responsible for travel plus room and board (if applicable) for Level II fieldwork placements.

2024-25 Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

By university policy, all students are required to have health insurance coverage while enrolled at JWU. If a student decides to forgo SHIP, evidence of other comparable health insurance must be provided. Note that the insurance coverage must be of a type accepted in the United States. Learn more about SHIP.

Tuition Refund Policy

Tuition is applicable to all students, including those on approved off-campus programs. Student health insurance, program fees, and room & board are nonrefundable, if applicable. Review the tuition refund policy.

Financial Aid

As an OTD student, upon completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), you may qualify for the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan in the amount of $20,500 annually. You can also apply for the Federal Graduate PLUS loan (credit qualified) for up to the cost of the program in addition to what you may qualify for in the Unsubsidized Loan.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) both offer scholarships for entry-level occupational therapy students. Outside scholarships may also be available through searching online.

For more information on how best to finance your education, contact a financial planner at Student Academic & Financial Services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about JWU’s OTD program? We have answers! And if you don’t find the specific information you’re looking for, our contact info is at the bottom of the page — so don’t hesitate to ask us directly!

Admissions FAQ

Do you offer rolling admissions? Yes, we offer rolling admissions from July until the class fills.

What is the timeline for interviews and application decisions? Interviews for qualified candidates will begin in November, and continue on a monthly basis until the class fills or March, whichever occurs first.

Is a bachelor’s degree required for admissions? Yes, a bachelor’s degree in any field is required prior to matriculation.

May I still have prerequisite courses in progress at time of application? Yes, you may still have prerequisite courses in progress when you apply, but all courses must be completed prior to the program start in June.

How do I know that a course I took fulfills a prerequisite? After your application has been verified by OTCAS, the OTD Admissions Committee may request a course syllabus to determine if a class fulfills a prerequisite.

Is the GRE required? GRE scores are no longer required for admission.

May I take the prerequisite courses at a community college or online? Yes, community college and online course credit from an accredited institution are acceptable.

What is the minimum GPA for the program? The minimum GPA for acceptance into the program is a 3.0, as calculated by the OTCAS system.

Where can I find information on tuition and financial aid? You can find tuition costs above. The JWU Financial Planning Team can be reached here.

Do you accept transfer students or credits? We do not accept transfer students into the program. Transfer credit is accepted only on a limited, individual basis for Level I fieldwork. The program director can provide more information.

Are there any additional costs to the program? JWU utilizes student fees to cover many components of the program including student malpractice insurance, criminal investigation checks, lab items, and a NBCOT Certification preparation course.* Students should anticipate paying for textbooks (online and paper), housing, travel, and health insurance, which is required for fieldwork placement.

Do I need to complete additional steps to participate in my clinical experience? Students must comply with all program requirements as outlined in the student manual. Some facility requirements exceed what is listed, and students will be responsible for meeting these criteria. These may include additional Covid-19 vaccinations, repeat Criminal Background Checks or other nationwide checks, and drug testing.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the admissions process? Contact JWU Graduate Admissions at 401-598-1015 or, or the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at 401-598-1352 or

*Subject to change.