B.S./M.S. Frequently Asked Questions

BS/MS Frequently Asked Questions

 1. What is a combined BS/MS program?

The combined BS/MS program at Philadelphia University is designed for academically qualified students who know early on that they want to become occupational therapists. This accelerated program allows students to seamlessly complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in less time than would be required to complete both of these degrees separately. Undergraduate courses and extra-curricular experiences provide students with a foundation to develop the knowledge, values and interpersonal skills needed for success as an occupational therapist.

During the first three years of undergraduate coursework, students complete major requirements for the bachelor degree, including PhilaU’s college studies courses and Occupational Therapy (OT) program prerequisites. Students who meet the graduate OT Program progression criteria can matriculate into the master’s program by enrolling in first year OT graduate coursework during their Year 4 of undergraduate studies. At the end of Year 4, students are awarded the bachelor degree in either Health Sciences or Psychology, and upon completion of graduate OT program requirements, the master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

2. What are my undergraduate degree options in this combined BS/MS degree program?

Philadelphia University offers two tracks in undergraduate disciplines that provide an excellent foundation for a career in healthcare. The BS in Health Sciences and BS in Psychology are designed so that major coursework, college studies and OT Program prerequisites can be completed within the first three years of undergraduate studies. Qualified students matriculate into the graduate program and enroll in OT coursework in Year 4.

3. Who is eligible for the combined BS/MS in Occupational Therapy?

The BS/MS is open to first year students with less than 16 credits. Freshmen applicants who demonstrate the following profile will be considered for admission to the program:

  • Minimum overall high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
  • Minimum combined SAT score of 1000 for Critical Reading and Math, or 22 on the ACT
  • Four years of science -- strongly encouraged

Applicants must fulfill a 60-credit residency requirement prior to entering the professional phase of the BS/MS program.

4. What are the OT program's prerequisite courses?

Students must complete the following prerequisite courses before entering into the OT Program:

M.S. in OT Program Prerequisite Courses

PhilaU Courses

Anatomy and Physiology I

BIOL 201/201L

Anatomy and Physiology II

BIOL 202/202L


PHYS 101

Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences

STAT 220

Human Lifespan Development


Abnormal Psychology


Sociology/Anthropology/Cultural Studies

choose: GDIV-2XX or ADIV-2XX

All of the occupational therapy graduate program's prerequisite courses must be completed at Philadelphia University, unless special permission has been obtained (only courses with grades with B- or higher can be transferred). A minimum B- is required for all prerequisite courses. Only one prerequisite course can be repeated to improve the student's grade. All grades received in the prerequisite courses will be counted toward the overall prerequisite grade point average. Both the Health Sciences and Psychology tracks include these courses within the program of studies.


5. If I am interested in the M.S. in Occupational Therapy, yet do not want a combined BS/MS program, what other options do I have?

Only students accepted into the BS/MS program upon admission are guaranteed a seat in the graduate OT program (as long as academic standards and other progression criteria are maintained). The graduate OT program subscribes to the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS). Students who wish to apply to the OT graduate program after receiving their bachelor degrees will be considered along with external applicants and must apply through OTCAS. Non BS/MS students may complete an undergraduate degree in any major and apply to the M.S. in OT program by going to the OTCAS website at: https//portal.otcas.org. 

6. If I'm not initially accepted into the combined degree program, what course sequence do I follow to be considered for admission to the graduate program in Occupational Therapy?

Interested students should contact the OT Program office to place their names on a waiting list. Potential internal transfer students are eligible to change their majors at one point only, the fall semester of the junior year (Year 3), dependent on BS/MS program seat availability. Students may follow the same curricular sequence as those students accepted into the combined degree program. If seats become available, students will be notified by the Pre-Professional subcommittee of the OT Program Admission's Committee.

7. Once accepted, what are the requirements to maintain my status (also called progression criteria) in the combined BS/MS degree program?

Students who demonstrate the following profile are guaranteed matriculation into the MS in Occupational Therapy Program:

  • Completion of undergraduate major and college studies requirements within three years
  • Overall minimum 3.0 GPA for all college coursework (including transfer courses)
  • Overall minimum 3.0 GPA in OT prerequisites (minimum grades of "B-" or better in all OT Program prerequisite courses; only one course may be repeated to improve the prerequisite GPA; all pre-requisite courses must be completed by end of spring semester, Year 3)
  • Approval of the Pre-Professional subcommittee of the OT Program Admission's Committee

By October 15 of the third year (or equivalent) of undergraduate study, students should:

  • Submit the matriculation documents identified below
  • Submit current resume
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from PhilaU faculty
  • Submit career goals essay describing how you became interested in Occupational Therapy, and the qualities you possess that will enable you to be a successful student in this program, and practitioner in the field (no more than 500 words)

Students who are unable to achieve the standards listed above are not eligible to matriculate into the MS in OT Program. They must change their major to either Health Sciences or Psychology in order to complete the bachelor's degree. Students who wish to reapply to the OT graduate program after receiving their bachelor degree may be advised to repeat specified courses to raise their GPAs and must apply using the OTCAS system described in number 5 above.