Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Graduate Admissions Application Process

All applicants must complete a VCU Graduate Admissions Application in addition to the OTCAS Application. This application can be accessed at:

For Application Type please select "Graduate (Sum) USCitz/PermRes," and "Summer 20XX" for Admission Term, (XX to indicate the year you will be starting the program). Our program starts in June following the year of the December 1 application period.

Enroll as full time student: "yes"

Sending official transcripts: "yes" (Only those applicants who accept an offer of admission to the program will need to send transcripts directly to VCU. We use the verified OTCAS transcripts for the admissions process. Accepted applicants will need to supply the VCU Graduate School with copies of ALL transcripts before enrolling for the summer semester.)

For the personal statement on the VCU Graduate School application, please follow these directions:

The Value Added Essay must be submitted as a printable attachment (pdf or MS Word) via email directly to the MSOT Graduate Admissions Committee at with the subject line "Valued Added Essay."

Be sure to put your full name and your OTCAS identification number on the document as a header. Name and save the file as "Your first Initial_(underscore)Last Name_(underscore)Value_(underscore)Added_(underscore)Essay." For example, E_Smith_Value_Added_Essay. This file will be added to your OTCAS application for online review by the Graduate Admissions Committee. A correctly named file will prevent errors transferring 300 plus files to the appropriate OTCAS application.

Value Added Essay

The need for a diverse OT workforce that is a reflection of an increasingly diverse population has been recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in the Centennial Vision. By the year 2017 Occupational therapy will be "a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society's occupational needs."

The VCU MSOT Graduate Admissions Committee is committed to the selection of the next generation of OT professionals to become leaders in the state and nation. The Committee's responsibility is to review the pool of applicants to compose a class where every member contributes in special and unique ways to the makeup of the group. The Committee does not conduct interviews. The majority of the Committee membership is made up of practicing clinicians who volunteer their time to review applications online. In lieu of an interview, they have chosen to require a second essay to ask the primary question that they would like answered in an interview. The Graduate Admissions Committee would like to know how your inclusion in the next class of entry-level MSOT students would "add value" to the composition of the class, enrich the lives of your future clients and ultimately enhance the future of the profession.

Please compose an essay of no more than 600 words that shares with the Committee any life experiences, including travel, languages, cultural awareness, research, military service, part-time or full-time work experience, community service, leadership or family experiences that have contributed to your personal growth, understanding of people, and ability to care for others. The Committee is interested in constructing a class of highly capable, lifelong learners interested in capitalizing on the diversity of differences in backgrounds, ideas, thoughts, values, and beliefs. Students admitted to our program must be capable of succeeding in a very rigorous graduate program. Grade point averages and Graduate Record Exam scores help us assess those factors, but it takes more than academic success alone to become a successful OT. The Value-Added Essay helps the Committee identify those special qualities about you that sets you apart from the many other qualified applicants to the program.

Please compose a one page essay (no more than 600 words) that focuses on your unique qualities, and life experiences, (aside from your academic record), that will contribute to the composition of the next generation of occupational therapists.

In the Reference text boxes simply type the names of your references for OTCAS. It is not necessary to send copies or additional letters of reference to VCU Graduate Admissions using the VCU Reference Form.

Applicants who wish to apply to pay in-state tuition must complete the Virginia In-state Tuition section of Graduate Admissions Application

There is a $65.00 application fee to submit the application to VCU Graduate Admissions. This VCU application fee is a separate application fee from that of the one collected by OTCAS.

All applicants must submit official GRE scores to VCU. Although you report your Verbal, Quantitative, and Writing GRE scores as part of the OTCAS application, these scores are self-reports and must be verified by VCU. You must have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send an official score report, current within the last 5 years, directly to VCU by the December 1st application deadline. The ETS Institutional Code for VCU is 5570. The GRE is produced by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and administered at hundreds of test center locations around the country. Computer-based testing is available at PrometricTM Testing Centers and at some colleges and universities. Many Prometric Testing Centers are located inside Sylvan Learning Centers. There are ten centers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The GRE is now scored on a scale ranging from 130-170 in one point increments compared with the previous GRE scoring (prior to August 2011) when scores range from 200-800 in 10 point increments. Regardless of whether applicants take the test before or after August 2011, the percentile scores will be used in the application review process.

In Summary

ALL applicants must complete the three following steps before the VCU Entry-level Graduate Admissions Committee will begin the review of your application.

  • A complete OTCAS application with reported coursework verified by OTCAS from official transcripts sent directly to them
  • A complete VCU Graduate Admissions Application including the Value Added Essay and the VCU application fee paid
  • Submitted the Value Added Essay as a Portable Document File (PDF) attachment to an email sent to
  • An official GRE report on file at VCU

Applicants with outstanding application scores are notified of acceptance as soon as their application is reviewed and scored. The Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee, Dr. Dianne Simons, will send the initial acceptance via email through the OTCAS email system. Additional emails will follow from the Director of Graduate Admissions through OTCAS after the acceptance has been processed by Graduate Admissions. A formal letter of acceptance will be sent from Graduate Admissions at a later date, but that process can take a number of weeks.

The goal of the Entry-level OT Graduate Admissions Committee is to notify all applicants of their acceptance as early as possible and by April 1, at the latest. A waiting list is created when the class has been filled. An offer of admission can be made any time between April 1 and the day that Orientation starts. Applicants are kept apprised of their ranking on the waiting list throughout this time.