Occupational Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the admissions process like?

All applications received by the deadline each fall are reviewed by the faculty. Candidates who meet the requirements as outlined on the How to Apply page are invited to interview. Small groups of candidates attend the same appointment time and are interviewed individually, then perform a group exercise designed to demonstrate interactions with others.

2. How many applicants do you typically receive and how many of spaces are there each fall?

We typically have 60-70 applicants each year. We can accept up to 40 students each academic year.

3. Is preference granted to those who complete prerequisites at your school?

No. All applicants are scored objectively on the same criteria.

4. Do local (or Maine state) applicants obtain preference?   

No. All applicants are measured according to the same criteria explained on the How to Apply page.

5. Is the GRE required?   

No test scores are required. There is no weight given to GRE scores in the MOT application process.

6. When is the deadline for application? 

October 1st is the priority deadline for applications, with February 1st being the final deadline for the cycle. Students will apply the year prior to the fall semester in which they plan to begin the program. 

7. What are the MOT program’s prerequisites? 

Please see the How to Apply page for admission details including prerequisites.

8. Do all prerequisite courses need to be complete before applying? 

No, all prerequisites do not need to be completed in order to apply. Applicants will need to have a plan in place to complete all prerequisites prior to beginning the program, if accepted.

9. Do all prerequisites need to be completed at a University? 

No, any regionally accredited community, public, or private college or university is acceptable.

10. Are online versions of prerequisite courses acceptable?  

Yes, as long as the courses are offered by a regionally accredited college. (“Straighterline” courses are unacceptable). Online simulated labs must be approved by the Program Director.

11. I have a B- in one of the prerequisites, will it still be accepted to meet the requirement? 

No, applicants must earn a B or higher grade in each of the prerequisite courses. Students may elect to retake the course or complete an equivalency exam and score a B or higher, or may petition the faculty to substitute another course and/or work/life experience.

12. Are there restrictions on how long ago I completed the prerequisites courses?  

Yes, there are “expiration dates” for the following courses: Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, Intro to Physics, A&P I, and A&P II with labs. These courses must be taken within six (6) years of applying to the MOT program.

13. Will applying earlier increase my chances of getting in?  

No, early submission of applications does not increase anyone’s chances. Everyone who meets the deadline will be evaluated.

14. What days during the week are classes for the program offered?  

The class schedule changes every semester, but traditionally full time usually means 5-6 courses spread over 4-5 days (15-17 credits) and part time usually means 3 courses spread over 2-3 days (6-10 credits).

15. May I switch between part and full time attendance if my schedule allows?

No. If you start the MOT program as a part-time student, then you will stay part time throughout the program. A student who starts the program full time may request to switch to part time via petition form, however, they will remain a part-time student for the remainder of the program.

16. What is the course sequence for full or part time credit loads?  

MOT course sequence guides are available for review under the "Additional Information" section of the MOT homepage.

17. Are courses offered online or at another USM campus?  

The MOT program is very hands-on and requires on-site labs to show competency in the material. All on-site courses in the MOT program are offered exclusively at the Lewiston campus. However, most courses have do have an online component and a small number are offered fully online.

18. Can I transfer credits from another graduate program into MOT?  

In rare cases, transfers of previous graduate level credits to the MOT degree are accepted at the discretion of the MOT program director and faculty.

19. How do your students find the commute from Portland?  

The commute from Lewiston to Portland is approximately 35-40 minutes. A number of MOT students commute 1-2 hours to attend the program. A cohort of students usually arrange to car pool amongst themselves within the first few weeks of classes and study together en route.

20. Do most students live in Portland and other surrounding areas?  

The majority of students live in southern Maine. Out of state students have discovered that the Lewiston Auburn area https://discoverlamaine.com/ with its walking trails, kayaking, organic markets and variety in the area restaurants, is increasingly attractive, especially when compared to Portland area rates for rent and in-traffic wait times.

21. Is there a bus from Portland to Lewiston?  

There is no USM-sponsored bus or shuttle between Portland and Lewiston, though the Concord busline does run daily between Portland and Auburn.

22. How intense is the program?  

The program is very rigorous such that most people pass the national exam and start practicing as OTs within a few months of completing the program. Many students report feeling overwhelmed during the first semester as they settle into the program.

23. Is there a minimum grade required to stay in the program?  

Yes, a B average grade must be sustained each semester in MOT.

24. Is it possible to juggle a family and do this program at the same time?  

At least half of the students in the program are raising children, some are single parents, and most are able to manage well. Many elect not to retain employment while completing the program, though several do work part time jobs and a handful work 30 hours or more per week. Federal loans are available for graduate education and is usually how most people pay for tuition and living expenses. Federal graduate aide funds (work study) are available for eligible students.

25. Can I work a job and study with MOT simultaneously?  

Full time employment is generally not recommended while attending this program. Federal loans are available for graduate education and are usually how most people pay for tuition and living expenses. Many students have part time jobs while in the program.

26. How many hours of out-of-class time are required per week for school work?  

Full time students should expect to spend approximately 48 hours studying and completing assignments outside of class time each week. Part time students should expect to spend about 27 hours studying and completing assignments outside of class time. On-campus class hours are about 18 hours per week of full time students and 9 hours for part time students. 

27. What's the maximum length of time allowed to complete the program?  

Five years, with extenuating circumstances and documented leaves of absence. It is best for the student to complete the work consecutively in order to sustain the knowledge required to pass the NBCOT exam.

28. I have a felony, may I still be an Occupational Therapist?  

Prior to applying to the MOT program, it is strongly suggested that anyone with a criminal background review their potential for OT practice with the National Board at the Early Determination/Character Review site. It is the responsibility of the student, not the MOT program, to determine if they will be permitted to sit for the exam.

29. Where may I find the contact information for the American Occupational Therapy Association?  

The American Occupational Therapy Association contact information can be found at www.aota.org


30. What the salary range and employment outlook for the profession?  

The US Department of Labor's OT Career outlook summary bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm is an excellent resource

31. How would you assess the status of this field of work with regard to employment openings/salaries?   

Excellent! Please refer to the United States Department of Labor http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ career data and growth projections.