Pre-Occupational Therapy Advising for Psychology Majors

Here you will find information about being a Psych major on the pre-OT track.
Click on any of the questions below to explore.

NOTE: Your psych advisors do not have a background in OT. We can tell you which classes to take in order to prepare you for your OT application, but we don't know much about the field of OT or OT grad programs. Some of the FAQs are answered below and there are several links to very helpful websites. 
However, if you have more specific OT-related questions, you are best served contacting someone in the OT program (either here at UWL or at another program to which you're applying).

How do I declare pre-OT as a track?

What does pre-OT mean?

What if I no longer want to be pre-OT?

Can I just take a look at what being pre-OT would look like on an AR?

What courses do I need?

Is there a recommended timeline/sequence to the courses?

What if I can't get into a course?

What if I have other questions about UWL's OT admission?

What schools other than UWL have OT graduate programs?

Some programs require that I take the GRE - where can I get more information about that?

What can I do to increase my chances of being admitted to the OT program?

How do I get in touch with other pre-OT students to exchange ideas and learn more?

Are there other options in case I don't get into an OT program or in case I decide that maybe OT is not for me after all?


*How do I declare pre-OT as a track?
You should go to 260 Morris to declare the pre-OT track.   (Back To Top)

* What does it mean to be pre-OT?
Being pre-OT is not the same as having a minor or a second major. Declaring the pre-OT track simply adds information to your AR and tells you which classes you should take in order to fulfill the admission requirements for the UW-L OT graduate program. Note that other programs might have different/additional requirements for admission and you should check directly with other programs to which you consider applying.   (Back To Top)

* What if I change my mind at some point and no longer want to be pre-OT?
You can return to 260 Morris and have it removed from your AR, or you can simply ignore that part of your AR. Again, pre-OT is not a minor or second major - you can still graduate even if you didn't fulfill all of the pre-OT requirements.   (Back To Top)

* If you have not yet declared pre-OT as a track, but want to see what it might look like, you can create a What-If report in Wings.
From the drop down menu that you use to access your regular advisement report (AR), choose "What-If Report".
Then enter the Program Scenario below, and click "Submit Request" at the bottom of the page. It'll create an AR with pre-OT information.
If you have an actual minor (rather than the "make your own minor" CLS program option), choose that from the drop down list instead.   (Back To Top)

Create a What-If report in Wings

* How do I make sense of the pre-OT information on my AR?
There are eight categories that are added to the end of your AR if you're declaring the pre-OT track. There are seven course categories and one GPA requirement. I will discuss each category individually below. The screen shots are taken from an actual student's AR, so ignore the grades and semesters during which they took the course. They're just examples...   (Back To Top)

1) Biology/Chemistry
You need to complete these Biology and Chemistry courses as pre-requisites for Anatomy and Physiology (see below). 
You need a "C" or better in this course. Math 150 (or placement into MTH 150 or 151 is a pre-req for CHM 103.

2) Anatomy/Physiology (A/P)
You need to complete both of these A/P courses. Students typically take these two courses in two subsequent semesters.
Some students prefer to take them Fall/Spring so that they don't forget material from the first one over the summer, 
but it's perfectly fine to take them Spring/Fall.
Note: Bio 105 is a pre-requisite for these courses.
Chem 103 with a "C" or better is also a pre-requisite for this course. (see notes above)

Alternatives to Bio 313/312. The ESS department teaches A/P courses (ESS 205/206), but they do not offer a lab section and the OT program does not accept them as substitutes for Bio 312/313.
You have the option of taking the A/P sequence at another university and transferring them in, but if you do, check with the OT program to make sure they're accepting those courses. The courses must be 4 credit courses that include a lab portion.

You need to complete one of these Physics courses. Most students take PHY 125. This course does not have a pre-requisite, but having taken Math 150 is very strongly recommended in order to do well in this course!

4) Statistics
You need to take Stats 145. If you're a Psych major, you will take this course anyway and you need to earn a "C" or better. We strongly recommend that you take this course early in your undergrad career as it is the pre-requisite for your PSY 331 course, which opens the door to many of your upper level Psych courses. Again, do not wait until the last minute to take statistics. Many students need more than one attempt to pass it with a "C". You will not be able to enroll in PSY 331 without having passed Stats 145.

5) Psychology
As a Psych major, you will take PSY 212 (previously 210) to fulfill Category IV of your Psychology requirements. 

6) Abnormal Psychology
PSY 204 will fulfill your pre-OT requirements and will count as one of your courses in Category III of your Psych major requirements.

7) Sociology/Anthropology
You need to take at least one of these nine courses. Some of these courses are Gen Ed classes that you might take anyway, so you might be able to "kill two birds with one stone".
Simply pick whichever class sounds the most interesting to you. Note that the student in the example below took two courses, but only one is required.

8) OT Admission GPA

UW-L's OT program requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. If you expand this section, your AR will show your cumulative GPA. Although 3.0 is the minimum requirement, traditionally students admitted to the program had significantly higher GPAs. You can check the OT website ( for their most recent admission statistics. The admission committee places particular emphasis on your grades in the pre-OT classes, especially your science courses (Bio, A/P, Physics).   (Back To Top)

* Is there a recommended timeline for taking all of these courses? Should I take them in a particular order?
There are a few courses that will likely need to be timed. As mentioned above, Bio 105 and Chem 103 are pre-requisites for your A/P sequence, so you should take those fairly early.
Stats 145 is the gateway to other Psych classes, so take that fairly early as well.
Other than that, it's entirely up to you which classes you'd like to take in which order. A lot depends on your personal preference and abilities and on which classes are still open when you register.
We generally recommend that students do not take more than one 4 or 5 credit lab class per semester, so spread out your lab science classes as much as possible.   (Back To Top)

* I register next week/tomorrow/etc, and one of my required classes is closed. What do I do?
Add your name to the wait list as soon as you are able to register and hope for the best.
Note that being a declared pre-OT student does not give you special access to classes just because you "need" a particular course - always have a Plan B in case a class closes early.   (Back To Top)

* I have questions about UWL's OT graduate program - who do I contact?
Check out the OT website ( for more information. You can also contact Pete Amann ( if you have questions about admissions or the application process.     (Back To Top)

* What other schools offer OT grad programs?
Check out the AOTA website ( for more information. It allows you to search for programs by state and also includes lots of great information about OT as a career.     (Back To Top)

* Some programs require that I take the GRE - where can I get more information about that?
Check out the GRE website ( for more information. The site includes information about the GRE, where to take the test, and has lots of great materials that help you to prepare for the test.     (Back To Top)

* What can I do to increase my chances of being admitted to the program?
The UW-L OT website has a lot of information about admission criteria. Note that each program is different and different universities might place an emphasis on different criteria.
- Your GPA is important. Earning high grades in your classes (particularly your science classes) is important.
- Gaining hands-on experience is also important. You should job shadow/volunteer/intern/work in as many OT related settings as possible in order to gain experience. You might want to talk to Aiyana Dettmann at Career Services ( about securing an internship or finding volunteer opportunities. Try talking to other pre-OT students to find out more about job shadowing opportunities.
- Be proactive and seek out as many opportunities as you can. Talk to people in the OT field and find out about their path. How did they become OTs? What types of school/work experiences prepared them well for graduate school?
- Become a "well-rounded applicant". Don't focus just on academic or just on work experience. You'll need a bit of everything in order to stand out. Volunteer, join a student club, become a student leader, study abroad, learn a language, meet new people, etc. Most graduate programs are looking for applicants who are well-rounded and have a lot to offer other than just a perfect GPA.  (Back To Top)

* Are there other pre-OT students I can talk to?
Yes, there is a pre-OT club on campus that is very active. The club meets regularly and students exchange ideas, give each other advice, and bring in guest speakers from the university or the community to learn more about OT. You can find information about the Pre-OT club here.    (Back To Top)

* Are there other options?
Yes, WTC has an OTA (OT Assistant) program that's fairly easy to complete for students who took pre-OT classes as UW-L.
The website includes everything you need to know about the program and admission.

There are also a large number of other health-related careers that do not require graduate school or do not require you to take a ton of science courses. There are jobs in the health care field that are not provider jobs (such as OT, PT, PA, etc), but still might involve interaction with patients and allow you to work in the health care setting. 
Check out to explore other career options.