Occupational Therapy Program

MOT Frequently Asked Questions

What is the admissions process like?
In October each year all applications received by the deadline are reviewed by 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.

How many applicants do you typically receive and how many of spaces are there each fall?
60-70 applicants.  The fall of 2017 has 27 full time seats to offer.

Is preference granted to those who complete pre-reqs at your school?    No.

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.

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

When is the deadline for application?  October 1st of the year prior to the fall semester for which you would like to be considered to begin the program.

What are the MOT program’s prerequisites?  Please see the How to Apply page for admission details including pre-reqs.

Must all pre-reqs be completed prior to applying?  No, all pre-reqs do not need to be completed prior to submitting an application. However, the more you have completed correlate to a potentially higher GPA, making you more competitive to earn a seat.

I checked into the pre-req courses at my local Community College and found that they have 100 and 200 level classes, but no grad courses – is it okay that the pre- req courses are undergrad courses?   Yes, pre-reqs need to be undergraduate courses. The only graduate level courses you need to be concerned with are the ones you are required to complete for the MOT degree. 

Must pre-reqs be completed at a University?  No, any regionally accredited community, public or private college or university is acceptable. Check here to see if a college is regionally accredited.

May I take online versions of pre-requisite courses?   Yes, as long as the courses are offered by a regionally accredited college. (“Straighterline” courses are unacceptable). Check here to see if a college is regionally accredited.

I have a B- in one of the pre-reqs, will it still be accepted to meet the requirement?  No, applicants must earn or have earned a B or higher grade in each of the prerequisite courses. Grades of B- or lower will not fulfill the prerequisite ...the faculty are very strict about this rule.  There are options as follows:

If you did not earn a B grade in any given prerequisite(s), then you may (1) retake the course(s) for a higher grade, or (2) take a national equivalency exam such as CLEP or DANTES (depending on the course subject that you wish to test out of) and score the equivalent of a B or higher on that exam. Information regarding these exams is available at: http://usm.maine.edu/pla/pla-standardized-tests although applicants are not required to arrange exams via USM.

I completed my degree in 1985, when I earned most of  MOT’s pre-reqs. Are there restrictions on how long ago I earned the prerequisites courses?   Yes, there are “expiration dates” for the following courses - Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, Physics, Anatomy and Physiology I, and Anatomy and Physiology II with labs.  These courses must have been taken within six (6) years of applying to the MOT program.

Can I apply to the program now without having done any pre-req courses yet?   It is not in your best interest to do this because earning the majority of the pre-req courses generally increases your GPA and makes you more competitive. The B or higher grades are factored into your overall weighted cumulative GPA. You do not have to have ALL the pre-reqs completed to apply - but you do have to have them all done prior to beginning the program if you are accepted.

Will applying earlier increase my chances of getting in?   No, early submission of apps does not increase anyone’s chances...everyone who meets the deadline is evaluated after 10/1.

When during the week are the classes for the program?   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 (6-9 credits) 

Does the program require being on campus in Lewiston M-F?  Depending on the semester, students could theoretically be on the Lewiston campus Monday through Friday, yes. See previous question.

May I switch between part and full time attendance if my schedule allows?   No. If you start MOT part time then you stay part time the second year, then move to full time in year three because of the way the MOT curriculum is designed.  If a student files a Leave of Absence, then the student may return to the program only when the courses needed to complete her or his degree are offered, which could mean waiting a year before returning to classes.

What is the course sequence for full or part time credit loads?   MOT course sequence guides are available for review under the Additional Resources section of the MOT homepage.

May I take some of this program’s courses online or at another USM campus?   No, the MOT program is offered exclusively in Lewiston.

Can I apply/transfer credits from other graduate programs into MOT?   Grad credits may be accepted to fulfill prerequisites, but are rarely applied to meet MOT degree requirements because of the way the MOT program is designed. 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.

How do your students find the commute from Portland?   The commute is only 35-40 minutes from Portland.  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.

Do most students live in Portland and other surrounding areas?   The majority live in southern Maine. Out of state students have discovered that the Lewiston Auburn area  http://www.laitshappeninghere.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.

Is there a bus from Portland to Lewiston?   There is no USM-sponsored bus or shuttle between Portland and Lewiston. 

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 very overwhelmed during the first semester as they settle into the program.

Is there a minimum grade required to stay in the program?   Yes, a B average grade must be sustained each semester in MOT.

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 of them manage well enough. 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.

Can I work a job and study with MOT simultaneously?   Full time employment is generally not possible while attending this program, though some find it manageable. Federal loans are available for graduate education and is usually how most people pay for tuition and living expenses. Shifting from full time to part time is not feasible because it is challenging to jump back into the courses needed to complete the degree. (Not impossible - but very complicated and discouraged for the sake of knowledge continuity.)  Once started, five (5) years is the limit to completing the degree, as long as a leave of absence form is filed.

How many hours of out-of-class time does it require per week for school work?   Approximately 20 hours of reading, writing, research, and studying outside of class time are needed by most students.  A 'B' average grade must be maintained to stay in MOT.

Would I be able to shift to part-time or even stop the program for a short time if I needed for family reasons?   Yes, as long as a leave of absence form is filed. Once a student drops to part time, however, they will remain that way for the duration of the program.

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.

I have a felony, may I still be a Occupational Therapist?   Prior to applying to MOT it is strongly suggested that anyone with a criminal background review their potential for OT practice with the National Board at http://www.nbcot.org/early-determination-character-review. It is not the responsibility of the MOT program if a student graduates only to discover s/he is not allowed to sit for the exam.

Where may I find the contact information for the American Occupational Therapy Association?   It can be found at www.aota.org

What the salary range and employment outlook for the profession?   The US Department of Labor's OT Career outlook summary bls.gov/oco/ocos078.htm is an excellent resource

Where can I find information about Financial Aid?   http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services

What are the graduate tuition rates?  https://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services/tuition-and-fees

How would you assess the status of this field of work with regard to employment openings/salaries?    Excellent. Please refer to the United State Department of Labor http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ career data and growth projections.