Pre-Professional Pathway

Pre-Occupational Therapy

Ready to make a difference helping people from all walks of life participate in everyday activities at work, school, and beyond? Prepare for an engaging career as an occupational therapist through this pre-professional pathway.

OT PT students in clinic

Program Overview

Occupational therapists give their clients unique tools to succeed in everyday activities at home and in social situations. In this client-centered profession, therapists pull from multiple disciplines—including education, medicine, and research—to create personalized recovery plans for their patients.

At Widener, the pre-occupational therapy pathway prepares you for graduate study in occupational therapy. You'll focus on what interests you most with a major in the College of Arts & Sciences, while also developing important skills for your professional career by taking classes in anatomy and physiology, physics, psychology, social science, and statistics.

Through special admissions programs, you'll gain a head start on graduate work through Widener's new Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Program Options

Loading... requirements for the pre-occupational therapy pathway.

Accelerated 3+3 Program

Undergraduates who are admitted to the graduate occupational therapy program after their junior year are considered to be 3+3 students. The courses they take in their senior year count toward both their fourth undergraduate year and their first year of the graduate degree. Applications for the graduate program are completed in the fall of junior year. A baccalaureate degree is conferred upon successful completion of the first year of graduate study. After successfully finishing the graduate program, students earn their doctor of occupational therapy degree.

This option is only available to students majoring in anthropology, fine arts, psychology or sociology. Students wishing to be considered for the 3+3 program must identify their interest by the end of their first undergraduate year.

4+3 Program

The 4+3 option allows students to complete all required courses for their academic major and all pre-requisite courses for the graduate program in four years. It provides a less intense class schedule for students as they finish undergraduate study in the traditional four-year span. Applications for the graduate program are completed in the fall of senior year. Students who complete their undergraduate study at Widener University will be given preference on admission to the graduate program. 

Students in both the 3+3 and 4+3 programs must also provide documentation of at least 20 hours of observation in an occupational therapy facility under a licensed occupational therapist.

Unlike many other universities, Widener provides an advantage in that it allows students to pursue their interest in occupational therapy while at the same time exploring their interests and passions in any of several different majors, including:

Given that occupational therapists must deal with their patients as whole persons and also must understand the institution of healthcare, these majors all prepare students for careers in occupational therapy by emphasizing different knowledge and skills that are needed for practicing occupational therapists.

Regardless of major, all students will take the required science courses needed for success in doctoral study. The coursework in combination with the assistance of a pre-occupational therapy advisor prepares students for graduate study and an ultimate career in occupational therapy.

Program Highlights

As your pathway leads to your graduate education in occupational therapy, you'll engage in dynamic experiential learning methodologies, student-faculty scholarship activities, intentioned personal interactions, facilitated leadership opportunities, and service activities in the culturally diverse local community throughout the curriculum.

Achieve Your Career Goals Faster

Graduate students in Widener's doctor of occupational therapy program can complete the professional, full-time day program in three years. The program only requires 111 credits for degree completion for students starting in the summer semester, giving you a head start on your professional career.

Faculty Mentorship & Interprofessional Learning

At Widener, you won’t just learn from industry experts—you’ll build relationships with them as they support and prepare you for career success. You'll connect interprofessionally across the physical therapy, human sexuality, social work, clinical psychology, and education departments through shared academic and experiential opportunities supporting a holistic approach to client care.

Clinical Experiences

At Widener, you can expect a meaningful education with unique clinical experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student. These include working with diverse and underserved local communities through the student-run community therapy clinic, as well as opportunities to serve and participate in other community-based clinics established by Widener programs in the School of Human Service Professions.

Where You Learn Matters

Widener is located just minutes from Philadelphia on a picturesque campus that features quality classroom and clinical facilities, pairing an exceptional learning environment with access to limitless health care networks and opportunities in the city.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Widener's newly-developed doctoral program will prepare you for work as innovative occupational therapy practitioner. You'll experience interprofessional learning through a foundation of dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and community involvement experiences.

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 24% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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