Admissions and Technical Standards

Admissions standards

Freshman Admission Criteria

The B.S./M.S. Occupational Therapy Program at Nazareth accepts applicants for full-time study from the freshman year. Students are admitted directly into the program as freshmen and are not required to reapply for admission to the graduate phase of the program.

To apply, complete the application steps. That Admissions Office webpage also includes the deadlines.

To be considered for direct acceptance into the occupational therapy program as a freshman, prospective students must show evidence of good academic performance in high school and a genuine interest in the profession of occupational therapy. O.T. students are required to meet the following criteria:

A high school average of 85% or higher, or a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
Successful completion and demonstrated ability in the following high school courses with a grade of B or higher is recommended:

  • Two years of math
  • One year of biology with a lab
  • A physics course

Current Nazareth students seeking to change major

Students who want to change their major at Nazareth to become an OT major should contact the program director no later than the end of freshman year.

You will be considered on a competitive, space-available basis and would enter the B.S./M.S. program with sophomore or junior status (even if you have more credits) due to the sequence of the OT curriculum.

The requirements to be considered are:

  • Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
  • Minimum grade of C in science courses. A grade of B or higher is preferred.
  • Science courses that are considered for acceptance must have been taken within 5 years of seeking to become an OT major.

Transfer students

Details for students interested in transferring from another college to Nazareth for occupational therapy.

Technical Standards for Admission, Promotion, and Graduation

The Occupational Therapy Program at Nazareth University grants a BS/MS entry-level professional degree in Occupational Therapy. Upon successful completion of the degree, the graduate is prepared to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, which is required for clinical practice as an occupational therapist. 

The Occupational Therapy Program at Nazareth is committed to meeting the needs and interests of the student while at the same time preparing and ensuring that they are ready to perform safe and effective entry-level practice in occupational therapy. This means that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to practice in a variety of environments and be prepared to provide individualized person-centered occupational therapy intervention.

Based upon the knowledge and skills needed for practice, candidates for the occupational therapy degree must possess essential skills to perform all classroom, fieldwork, and experiential learning activities in an accurate, safe, and efficient manner. These skills, defined as technical standards and outlined in this document, ensure a safe and effective learning environment for students, faculty, and clients/families.

If a student is not able to demonstrate the skills and abilities outlined in this document, it is their responsibility to request reasonable accommodations through the Student Accessibility Services, or 585-389-2498. Reasonable accommodation refers to ways in which the University can assist a student in accomplishing tasks necessary for academic success. Student Accessibility Services documentation of the reasonable accommodations is required prior to the implementation of any accommodations. Reasonable accommodation does not mean that a student will be exempt from completing requirements. It means that the University and the OT Program will work with the student with a documented need to determine whether there are strategies which will be of assistance so that students are successful in completing tasks. Confidentiality will be maintained when requests for and provisions of accommodations are made. 

Reasonable accommodations are designed to maintain the integrity of the Occupational Therapy Program curriculum and ensure safety of all clients, students, staff, and faculty.

A signed copy of receipt of the Technical Standards Requirements must be returned to the Occupational Therapy Department office signifying that the standards have been read and that the student is able to comply with them or be prepared to request accommodations through Student Accessibility Services.  Students must meet academic, technical, and professional standards to maintain enrollment in the occupational therapy academic program, either with or without accommodations (please see the OT Student Manual for further details).

Students are encouraged to ask questions regarding the Technical Standards. Any questions regarding this document or the requirements should be directed to the Occupational Therapy Chairperson, Julie Ann Kunisch, OTD, OTR/L: or 585-389-2651.

Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

For the successful completion of degree requirements, the student must meet these minimum essential standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

Communication & Processing Skills

Students will:

  • Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills for papers, presentations, projects, and evaluations according to academic and professional expectations.
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully (using verbal and nonverbal communication) with individuals and groups taking into consideration developmental, cultural, and diverse abilities of others.
  • Demonstrate ability to perceive and respond to communication from others effectively (peers, faculty, clients, children, professionals, families) in a variety of settings.
  • Demonstrate ability to acquire, retain, and apply knowledge using various instructional methods, and ask for clarification when needed.
  • Demonstrate competence in digital and virtual (synchronous and asynchronous) technologies.
  • Prioritize and organize multiple workload responsibilities as required by courses, clinical or fieldwork assignments.
  • Analyze and synthesize information needed to guide clinical decision making.
  • Demonstrate adequate critical analysis to effectively direct the occupational therapy process within reasonable time frames.
  • Apply sound judgment in regards to the safety of self and others and adhere to safety regulations within a variety of settings.

Sensorimotor Skills

Students will:

  • Demonstrate motor skills or other means of mobility to navigate freely and safely in all campus, fieldwork, and experiential learning settings.
  • Demonstrate strength and ability to plan and execute movements required to provide appropriate and safe therapeutic guidance, positioning, and other interventions to clients and/or peers in academic, fieldwork, and experiential learning settings.
  • Adjust posture, balance, mobility, coordination, strength, and energy as needed for safe and effective  therapeutic evaluations and interventions.
  • Demonstrate ability to sit and stand for extended periods of time in class, lab, or clinical settings.
  • Accurately perform fine motor tasks needed to administer and demonstrate evaluations and interventions, adapt equipment, and fabricate splints and orthotic devices.
  • Demonstrate sufficient strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency procedures if necessary.

Interpersonal and Professional Skills

Students will:

  • Demonstrate academic honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility consistent with the American Occupational Therapy Association Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics.
  • Demonstrate positive interpersonal skills such as collaboration, cooperation, and flexibility during individual and group interactions with clients, peers, faculty, and other team members.
  • Utilize appropriate language, attire, and behavior in all professional environments including classroom, clinic, community, and fieldwork sites.
  • Demonstrate empathy, respect, and consideration for others regardless of socioeconomic, spiritual, cultural, physical, or intellectual factors.
  • Display flexibility and adaptation appropriate to the demands of various situations and/or the needs of clients and their families for effective problem solving.
  • Be able to reflect on performance and adjust actions or behaviors in response to constructive feedback.
  • Follow standards, policies, and procedures specified in the OT Student Handbook, the Fieldwork Handbook, and at fieldwork sites.