Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Bachelor of Science
The undergraduate curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Science with a major in occupational therapy. Although professional study begins either during the junior year or in the summer preceding the senior year, students may apply to the major at any time. Successful completion of the Master of Arts degree and successful completion of a minimum of 24 full-time weeks of clinical internships are required for eligibility to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Certification from the board and licensure (most states) are required to practice as an occupational therapist. (See here for a description of the M.A. degree program.)
Admission RequirementsThe major in occupational therapy is a competitive program which requires all interested students to apply directly to the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Students may request admission to the occupational therapy major at the freshman, sophomore or junior level. Applications from undergraduates are reviewed as they are received, either upon admission to USC or during enrollment. Freshmen may apply anytime after being admitted to USC. Sophomores wishing to begin taking classes during their junior year must apply by April 30. Juniors must apply by January 15 for the program beginning the following summer. Students transferring from other institutions need to enter USC no later than the first semester of their junior year. Every effort will be made to notify each applicant of the admission decision as rapidly as possible. Two admission applications are required: one for the USC Undergraduate Admission Office and one for the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. See the Undergraduate Admission section of this catalogue. After admission to USC, students wishing to add or change their major to occupational therapy should contact the division.
Requirements for admission are: 1) an autobiographical statement which demonstrates an exploration and understanding of occupational therapy as a career choice; 2) high school graduates applying to USC and entering freshmen: cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in high school course work; 3) USC undergraduate and transferring students: a. cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate course work, b. plan for completion of all College of Letters, Arts and Sciences general education requirements and foreign language requirements by the beginning of the senior year.
Application ProceduresApplications will be reviewed when the following materials have been received by the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy:
- Completed division application form
- Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (for high school students: official transcripts from all high school course work)
- Autobiographical statement including:
a. Reasons for wanting to enter the profession
b. Understanding of occupational therapy
c. Experience relevant to occupational therapy
d. Summary of skills and accomplishments
- Three letters of recommendation from professors, employers or other professionals, not related to the applicant, sent directly to the division or delivered in a sealed envelope
DeadlinesFreshmen may apply anytime. Sophomores must apply by April 30 to begin the program in the fall of their junior year. Juniors must apply by January 15 and will begin the program with an eight-week summer session prior to their senior year.
Program RequirementsA 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 B.S. degree.
General Education RequirementsThe 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 well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing, diversity and foreign language requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See here and here for more information.
Required Pre-Professional CoursesWe recommend that you meet with an admissions counselor within the division in order to determine course work that could be transferred and substituted for required course work. Before taking the advanced professional courses you must have completed the pre-professional required courses:
- 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)
- Which total three or four 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)
- Enrolled or transferring students who wish to transfer credit for courses taken at another institution must gain university approval:
|OT 260||Human Functional Anatomy for the Occupational Therapist, or|
|EXSC 301L||Human Anatomy||3|
|OT 261||Human Physiology for Occupational Therapists||3|
|PSYC 100||Introduction to Psychology||4|
|PSYC 336L||Developmental Psychology||4|
|PSYC 360||Abnormal Psychology||4|
|SOCI 200||Introduction to Sociology, or|
|ANTH 201||Introduction to Social Anthropology||4|
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 those students who have been unable to complete them earlier. These courses are also offered fall and spring semesters.
Students may take OT 405L, OT 420, OT 440 and OT 441 in the junior year, after having completed Human Anatomy, Introductory Psychology and Developmental Psychology. 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 CoursesEnrollment in professional occupational therapy courses is limited to junior and senior occupational therapy majors only.
|Required Professional Courses||Units|
|OT 405L||Occupational Therapy Skills Theory I||4|
|OT 415||Medical Lectures||4|
|OT 420||Developmental Concepts and Occupation||4|
|OT 440||Foundations of Occupation/Kinesiology||2|
|OT 441||Foundations of Occupation/Neurology||2|
|OT 452L||Occupational Therapy, Theory and Practice/ Physical Disabilities||4|
|OT 453L||Occupational Therapy, Theory and Practice/Psychosocial Dysfunction||4|
|OT 463||Occupational Therapy Skills Theory II||2|
|OT 464||Occupational Therapy Skills Theory III||4|
|OT 465||Advanced Occupational Therapy Theory — Psychosocial||3|
|OT 466L||Advanced Occupational Therapy Theory — Physical Dysfunction||3|
|OT 467||Advanced Occupational Therapy Theory — Pediatrics||3|
|OT 468||Advanced Occupational Therapy Theory — Adolescence, Adulthood, and Aging||3|
|OT 485||Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy||2|
Scholastic StandardsUndergraduate occupational therapy students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) in all required OT courses in order to continue into the master’s (M.A.) 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, the student must apply to be admitted to the M.A. program (continuance is not assured).
AdvisingAdvisement is available through the division.
Minor in Occupational ScienceThe department offers a minor in the dynamic discipline of occupational science. It is one of a select few programs in the world that offers undergraduates the opportunity to explore this field.
Unlike other creatures, humans are innately driven to fill their time with interesting, meaningful activities, which scholars call “occupations.” That is, humans need to be occupied. These occupations have a profound impact on physical and mental health, one’s sense of well-being and the experience of quality of life. Occupational Science seeks to understand the precise nature and function of occupations and the critical effect of daily activity on human beings. Scientists working in the field examine questions such as: what is the relationship between childhood occupations and adult competency and achievement; what constitutes a healthy balance of work, rest and leisure; what factors contribute to a good fit between a particular individual and his or her occupations; as well as many other issues.
The minor in occupational science requires a total of 20 units including a gateway course (OT 250) plus four upper division courses selected from seven course offerings. It is open to all majors at USC. An occupational therapy major cannot count any 300-level OT course toward the B.S. degree.
|Lower Division: Gateway course||Units|
|OT 250||Introduction to Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy||4|
|Upper Division: 4 courses required||Units|
|OT 300||Occupational Expressions of Diverse Identities and Lifestyles||4|
|OT 320||The Nature of Human Occupation: Form, Function, and Meaning||4|
|OT 325||The Brain: Mind, Body and Self||4|
|OT 330||Perspectives on the Daily Life of Families||4|
|OT 333x||Sports Ethics||4|
|OT 350||Disability, Occupations, and the Health Care System||4|
|OT 360||Creating the Self through Narrative: Acts of Life Story Production||4|
|OT 375||The Narrative Structure of Social Action: Narrative, Healing, and Occupation||4|