Pre-Professional Pathway

Pre-Occupational Therapy Program

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.

ACOTE Accreditation

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited 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, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

Program Options

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

Incoming freshmen students admitted into a 3+3 or 4+3 Pre-OT pathway program have a preferred seat in Widener’s Occupational Therapy graduate program. Details of the preferred seat opportunity are provided to admitted Pre-OT students.

Accelerated 3+3 Program

Incoming Freshmen: Courses taken senior year at Widener count towards both fourth undergraduate year and their first year of the graduate degree.

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, visual and performing 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.

Admissions Information

Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

When to Apply​

We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

Key dates to keep in mind:​

  • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
  • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

What to Expect After Applying​

Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

Learn more about the application process

If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

  • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
  • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
  • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
  • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

Learn more about applying as a transfer student

Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

Learn more about applying as an international student

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

When you begin your graduate work at Widener, you'll engage in unique clinical experiences. These will 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.

Clubs & Organizations

Pro-Occupational Therapy majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD), and many more.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

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

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 17% by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Take the Next Steps


Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.

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