Occupational Therapy Program

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. The fall of 2019 has 40 seats to offer.

3. Is preference granted to those who complete pre-reqs 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 of the year prior to the fall semester for which you would like to be considered 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. Must all pre-reqs be completed prior to applying?  No, all pre-reqs do not need to be completed in order to apply.

9. Do all pre-reqs 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 pre-reqs, will it still be accepted to meet the requirement?  No, applicants must earn a B or higher grade in each of the prerequisite courses. Grades of B- or lower will not fulfill the prerequisite requirement. 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, 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.

13. 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.

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 drop to part time via petiton form, however, they will remain as 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. May I take some of this program’s courses online or at another USM campus?   No, the MOT program is offered exclusively in Lewiston. Some of the MOT courses are offered in a blended format.

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 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.

20. 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 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. 

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 very 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 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. 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. Once started, five (5) years is the limit to complete the MOT degree.

26. How many hours of out-of-class time are required per week for school work?   Students should expect to spend approximately 9 hours outside of class studying for every 3 credit course they take. That equates to about 48 hours of studying for full time students and 27 hours of studying for part time students, in addition to 18 hours per week of full time classes or 9 hours of part time classes (in person).  An average grade of B must be maintained to stay in MOT.

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 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.

29. Where may I find the contact information for the American Occupational Therapy Association?   It 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/oco/ocos078.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 State Department of Labor http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ career data and growth projections.