University Bulletin 2022-23

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Occupational Therapy

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Department of Occupational Therapy Staff (251) 445-9222
Chair Donna A. Wooster, PhD.
Associate Professor Wooster
Assistant Professors Brock, Deacy, O'Connor, Taylor, Thompson, Somerville

Department of Occupational Therapy website

Occupational Therapy is a health care profession devoted to providing skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all aspects of their lives. Occupational therapists work with persons with acute and chronic physical, psychosocial, mental and developmental disabilities. An occupational therapist may aid in the growth and development of premature babies; create a learning environment for physically and mentally challenged children; adapt home environments for persons with stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and other disabilities; or create activities that are designed to restore mental health for persons with emotional, mental, or substance abuse problems. Occupational therapy focuses on "skills for the job of living" which includes all of the necessary skills for individuals to "live life to its fullest" and lead independent and satisfying lives.

The Master of Science degree program in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is an entry-level professional program designed to enable the student to develop advanced critical reasoning skills and to prepare the graduate for professional practice in a variety of settings. Graduates will also have the capability of assuming responsibilities in the areas of administration, program development, consultation and research in occupational therapy.

The program consists of 95 semester hours and is seven consecutive semesters in length. This includes 24 weeks of full-time Level II Fieldwork as required by accreditation standards. Level II Fieldwork is available in a variety of medical and community sites representing a diverse range of learning opportunities for students. All Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 12 months following completion of academic requirements.

The program is designed to accommodate applicants who have a baccalaureate degree in another field.

Accreditation by:

The University of South Alabama Occupational Therapy Program is Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Status is: Currently accredited until 2022

ACOTE Address:

c/o Accreditation Department

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) 

6116 Executive Boulevard Suite 200

Bethesda, MD 20852-4929

Phone: (301) 652-AOTA


Criteria for admission

OT Program

A new class of OT students begins each year in the fall semester. Applications are available in July each year for fall of the following year.  Selected applicants, who meet all academic admission requirements, may be invited for an interview. Students offered admission may choose to guarantee a seat by submitting a matriculation fee (applied toward tuition) or be placed on the alternate list. All students accepted to the program must complete a criminal background check. Admission is contingent on the background check being clear of criminal charges.  Admissions information  is available on the Occupational Therapy Department website with instructions.  

Incoming Fall Term 

The candidate is expected to satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university earned prior to Fall start
  • Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 (A=4.0) overall cumulative GPA.  Minimum 3.0 GPA OT prerequisite courses.

You may not mix/match scores from different exam attempts.  

GRE scores must have been taken within the past 5 years. 

Applicants must have a minimum grade of “B-” in each of the OT prerequisite courses (see list below).

International students must meet the minimum requirements for admission and apply to the University Office of International Services with certified translations of transcripts at least 60 days prior to applying to the occupational therapy program. International coursework must be evaluated by the USA Office of International Services to verify equivalency to USA courses. International applicants must have a TOEFL score = 100 on Internet based tests, OR iTEP Academic = 4.9, OR IELTS = 7.5, OR PTE Academic = 75.  Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution are not required to submit TOEFL results.

Completion of OTCAS Application with all required documents including official transcripts and course verification

Completion of USA Supplemental Application and payment

Observation hours may be required refer to OTCAS instructions.

Prerequisite Courses Required for all applicants
  • Developmental (life span) psychology (PSY 250)
  • Abnormal psychology (PSY 340)
  • Statistics (ST 210)
  • **Anatomy & physiology I (BMD 251)
  • **Anatomy & physiology II (BMD 252)
  • **Kinesiology (biomechanics) preferred / or physics with algebra/trigonometry (KIN 380 or PH 114)

** These prerequisite courses must be taken no more than ten years prior to submitting your application.

AP credit and CLEP scores are not accepted for any of the prerequisite courses.

Selected applicants will be invited for an interview as part of the application process.

In order to be considered for admission to the MSOT program at USA, students should submit to OTCAS

Applications will be reviewed in Fall and Spring terms following OTCAS deadlines

Completed USA OT Supplemental Application which will be uploaded in the documents section;

Pay the $75 non-refundable supplemental application fee and upload the receipt in documents;

Upload required documents (transcripts, etc..) in OTCAS

GRE scores submitted to OTCAS by deadline

Complete the OTCAS application process

Have transcripts verified by OTCAS. Please note that the OTCAS verification process may take 4-6 weeks.

Transcripts submitted must demonstrate completion of a minimum of 4 of the prerequisite  courses at time of application. 

The student must be able to complete the last two prerequisite courses during the semester of application.  (for example, to apply for Fall, you must have 4 completed prerequisite courses with grades on transcripts, and you will complete the last two required courses by December.  If you still have courses to take in the Spring, you can not apply until Spring.)

Additional Requirements
  1. Occupational Therapy is a full-time graduate program that provides scientific evidence and clinical education needed for clinical practice. Course work and clinical fieldwork placements are full-time in nature. Students must be able to manage full-time clinical placements which are scheduled both on weekdays and weekends, between semesters and within semesters, not always following the academic calendar. Students should have the resources to commute to clinical placements that are not local to the Mobile area.
  2. Students matriculating into and within Occupational Therapy will be required to have continuous health coverage and provide documentation of this throughout the program of study. Students are responsible for the cost of this health insurance coverage.
  3. Students matriculating into and within Occupational Therapy will be required to complete background checks, drug screens, immunizations, and specific trainings at various times within the program and clinical fieldwork placements. We are unable to accept students into the clinical programs that are unable to sit for the NBCOT exam or achieve licensure in the US. Students are responsible for the costs of these.
  4. Students may be required to have observation hours depending on COVID-19.
  5. Students will submit documentation of volunteer hours (unpaid) for service that required direct work with individuals with disabilities, See OTCAS for details.
  6. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in an interview as part of the application process.

This will be a rolling application process with deadlines in Fall and Spring.

Admissions Information and Instructions

All applicants who have met the prerequisite requirements and wish to apply to the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at University of South Alabama must complete and/or submit the following items:

  1. OTCAS application completed by due date.
  2. The Supplemental Application must be uploaded to OTCAS by due date.
  3. A $75.00 non-refundable USA OT Dept. application fee with copy of your receipt must be uploaded to the OTCAS application by due date.
  4. GRE scores: All applications must submit official report of GRE scores by due date directly from the testing service to the OTCAS code: 2109. Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections are utilized. GRE scores must have been taken within the past 5 years.
  5. Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent directly to OTCAS and updated upon completion of degree requirements.
  6. The Department of Occupational Therapy will not process any application that is incomplete (for any items noted above) or that is not submitted by the deadline.
  7. Preference MAY BE shown to Alabama residents, however, highly qualified out-of-state applicants whose academics and experiences indicate that they may be a success in both the program and the OT profession will be given the same consideration as residents. Residency and tuition information.
  8. Students accepted to the program must submit completed health and physical forms to include required immunizations for completion of their matriculation package.   Accepted students must also read, sign, and submit the Core Performance Standards document outlining fundamental tasks of which applicants should be capable upon entering the OT program.
  9. Acceptance into the OT program is provisional pending a clear background check, submission of required medical forms, and completion of bachelor’s degree.
  10. Acceptance into the OT program is provisional pending completion of any additional required prerequisite courses with a grade of "B-" or better and submission of required medical forms as supplied in the acceptance packet. Failure to make a grade of "B-" or better in any required prerequisite course will result in a nullification of acceptance into the professional program. **Spring Semester 2020 only, courses listed as Pass in the Pass/Fail grading system or Satisfactory in the Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory grading system will be accepted for prerequisite courses.
  11. Accepted students must submit a $300 matriculation fee with the Statement of Intent to reserve a seat in the class. This fee is non-refundable and is applied to the student’s first semester tuition. Students offered admission may elect not to pay the matriculation fee and be placed on the alternate list. 
More information:

If you have further questions about the application process, please contact the OT Department:

Phone: (251) 445-9222


**PLEASE NOTE: A record of criminal charges, including misdemeanor and felony charges, may result in denial of access to fieldwork sites, inability to sit for the NBCOT board exam, inability to obtain a state license to practice, and/or limit job opportunities.

ACOTE® Accredited Educational Programs

ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Students graduating from an ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage. 

Degrees, Minors, or Certificates

Faculty Listing

Occupational Therapy Faculty
Brock, Catherine W. Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BS, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
OTD, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
Deacy, Robin M. Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BS, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
MS, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
O'Connor, Tracy L. Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BS, Auburn University
MS, Auburn University
BS, Tuskegee University
DOT, University of St Augustin- HS
Shokolenko, Inna N. Occupational Therapy Associate Professor MS, Kiev State Linguistic Univ
PHD, Univ of South Alabama - COM
Somerville, Sue E. Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BS, Mount Mary College
MS, Mount Mary College
DOT, Mount Mary College
Taylor, Candra Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BS, Samford University
MS, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
CERT, Univ of Alabama-Birmingham
MBA, Auburn University
Thompson, Tara J. Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor BGS, Univ of Louisiana at Monroe
MSOT, University of South Alabama
OTD, University of St Augustin- HS
Wooster, Donna M. Occupational Therapy Associate Professor AS, Quinsigamond Community College
BS, Worcester State College
MS, University of Connecticut
PHD, University of South Alabama