Admissions, Tuition & Financial Aid

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 material submitted by the applicant.

The OTD Program begins accepting applications for our June 2022 enrollment in mid-July, 2021. Johnson & Wales University enrolls on a rolling admissions basis, with a deadline of January 31, 2022. We strongly recommend you apply earlier in the cycle.

Admissions Process

  • Our OTCAS cycle begins mid-July each year, with a deadline of January 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.
  • Admissions interviews may be offered for some applicants.
  • Qualified candidates will be offered acceptance into the program.
  • Candidates that are not offered admission 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
  • 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, psychology 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 immunization as listed in our Graduate Catalog. Program immunizations 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 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.
  • You can find current computer and browser requirements on the JWU Technical Resources webpage. 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 as Office 365 from the university. Additional information on software available to students and support for its use can be found on the JWU IT webpage for students.

2021-2022 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 $41,778 $1,608 $2,000 $87 0 $45,473
2 $41,778 $1,608 $1,000 $87 0 $44,473
3 $41,778 $536 0 $87 0 $42,401
TOTAL $125,334 $3,752 $3,000 $261 0 $132,347

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

2021-22 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 after 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.

A limited number of JWU OTD scholarships, up to $25,000, are available and awarded to selected applicants. No separate application is required for these scholarships.

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

Accreditation Status (August 2021)

The Johnson & Wales University entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Preaccreditation Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, Maryland 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

JWU’s program must complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

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.

Where can I find information on tuition and financial aid? You can find tuition costs here. 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, nor do we accept transfer credits.

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 an NBCOT Certification preparation course.* Students should anticipate paying for textbooks (online and paper), housing, travel, and health insurance, which is required for fieldwork placement.

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.