Skip to main content

M.S. in Occupational Therapy


Discover a clear path to a rewarding career as an occupational therapist with the M.S. in Occupational Therapy at Biola University. Join a cohort of aspiring Christian occupational therapists on the journey to licensure. Experience deep faith integration while working with the latest in professional equipment housed in our cutting-edge facilities.

Our program equips future occupational therapists with a Christ-centered education integrating theory, practice and leadership. Our M.S. in Occupational Therapy program is designed around five core values that set us apart from the rest:

  • Biblical Integration. Immerse yourself in a unique curriculum based on biblical principles and combine your passion for occupational therapy with your commitment to Christian values.
  • Hybrid Mode. Enjoy the flexibility of asynchronous learning combined with on-campus labs, offering a more adaptable approach than rival programs. Balance your studies with your personal and professional commitments without compromising quality education.
  • Speed to Practice. Accelerate your path to becoming a licensed occupational therapist with our streamlined master’s degree program. This program prioritizes efficiency and affordability, ensuring you enter the workforce sooner and with less financial burden than a combined master's and doctoral program.
  • Career Outcomes. Occupational Therapists have a median pay of $96k/year and a booming job market projected to grow by 12% from 2022 to 2032 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Our program equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in this dynamic field.
  • Take Your Faith to Work. Actively participate in Christ's mission to heal and serve the marginalized and embrace the freedom to openly integrate your faith into your professional practice and education. Explore the intersection of occupational therapy and religious practice under the broad umbrella of "meaningful daily activities," fostering enriching conversations with your clients.

Show More

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a specialized field within healthcare dedicated to helping individuals of all ages overcome challenges that impede their daily activities. Through evidence-based techniques and personalized intervention strategies, occupational therapists strive to enhance independence, productivity, and overall well-being. With an M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Biola University, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of conditions, empowering clients to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Yes! Tell Me More!


What will I study as an occupational therapy student?

Biola's M.S. in Occupational Therapy program spans six continuous trimesters of classes, labs and fieldwork designed to broaden your knowledge in the OT field and give you valuable field experience working with licensed occupational therapists. Course topics and learning highlights include:

  • Advocacy and leadership in occupational therapy
  • Occupational therapy preventative care and wellness
  • Pediatric, adult-geriatric and mental health occupational therapy courses
  • Occupational therapy practice framework and spiritual integration
  • Patient care foundations
  • Theology of disability
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods


The first four trimesters are focused on online coursework with monthly on-campus labs with the final two trimesters dedicated primarily to in-person fieldwork at placement sites. For the in-person fieldwork segment, please note the following:

  • Students do not need to be California residents
  • Fieldwork does not need to be completed within California
  • Fieldwork placements are coordinated by the occupational therapy academic fieldwork coordinator
  • Students may need to relocate for each placement (one in trimester 5 and one in trimester 6)
  • Students are responsible for living expenses during fieldwork placement

Career Outlook and Preparation

What can you do with an M.S. in Occupational Therapy?

Graduates of this program are prepared to sit for board licensure and become entry-level occupational therapists. The following is a glimpse into some work settings graduates of this program may pursue careers in:

  • Acute hospital (pediatric and adult)
  • Rehabilitation clinics
  • School districts
  • Pediatric private clinics
  • Mental health settings
  • Skilled-nursing facilities
  • Senior living facilities
  • Home health visits
  • Therapeutic programs

12% job growth

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for occupational therapists is projected to be much faster than average between 2022 and 2032.

BLS projections are not specific to Biola University students or graduates.

Certification & Accreditation


Upon completion of the program, graduates will qualify to sit for the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapists, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). Upon successful completion of this exam, graduates will earn the title of Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Additionally, licensure is required in all states to practice occupational therapy. Typically, state licenses are granted based on the results of the NBCOT® certification examination. It's important to note that felony convictions may impact a graduate's eligibility to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or obtain state licensure.


ACOTE Accreditation Status

The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT® Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure. In addition, students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork within six months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

ACOTE Accreditation Timeline:

  • Pre-applicant: Current as of April 2024
  • Pre-candidacy: After application is submitted on September 2024
  • Pre-accredited: After ACOTE approves application in December 2024 (students can be notified of acceptance into the program)
  • Full accreditation: Awarded after ACOTE on-site evaluation in November 2026 (achieved before first cohort graduates)

Admissions & Deadlines

As a Christian institution, Biola seeks to admit applicants whose backgrounds clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, and a positive service-oriented motivation toward their field of study. Biola does not discriminate on the basis of the applicant's race, color, sex, socio-economic status, disability, or national or ethnic origin.

Note: This program is currently not designed to meet the curricular guidelines for international F-1 visa students.

    Education and GPA Requirements

    • Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or its equivalent, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), unless otherwise noted.
      • Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at


    • Complete the following prerequisites with a minimum of “C” grade or higher within seven years of planned enrollment (note: prerequisite courses may be in progress at the time of the application):
      • Human Anatomy with Laboratory
      • Human Physiology
      • Abnormal Psychology or Introduction to Psychopathology
      • Developmental Psychology
      • Sociology, Cultural Anthropology or Cross-Cultural Psychology
      • Medical Terminology (pass/no pass accepted)

    Volunteer Experience

    • Completion of 40 hours of documented volunteer experience under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist and proof of volunteer hours. For multiple observation/volunteer sites, submit proof for each site. Acceptable proof may be a timecard or a letter outlining all volunteer hours — but the timecard and/or letter must be signed by the supervising OT with the OT's name printed and credentials provided.

    English Proficiency Requirements

    • If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. See “English Proficiency” in the application steps section below.

    Application Deadlines

    • This program currently admits new students in the summer (May)
      • Summer deadline: February 1
      • Admissions review dates: February 5–25
      • Admissions decisions will be made between March 1–15

    Visit Biola

    Explore our sunny Southern California campus in person or virtually. Learn more about your program of interest and the admissions process by scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor.

    Visit Biola
    Virtual Tour

    Meet Your Admissions Counselor

    If you have more questions about the program, admissions process or Biola in general, schedule a phone call or send an email to your admissions counselor.

    Graduate Admissions Counselor

    Photo of Andrea Choi
    Andrea Choi

    Text or Call: (562) 393-7639
    Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

    International Graduate Admissions Counselor

    The Office of International Admissions serves students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

    Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

    Application Steps

    1. Complete and submit the online application

    2. Submit a non-refundable $65 application fee

    3. Submit supplemental application materials through your online application portal:

    4. Official Transcripts

      • Submit all official transcripts from previous academic institutions.
        • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. In addition, transcripts with prerequisites, leveling courses, advanced standing, and any other courses relevant to your desired program should be submitted.
        • If enrolled at the time the application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
        • Transcripts will be considered official only when a) mailed directly from the institution to Biola, b) sent electronically through an approved vendor or c) physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.
          • Mail transcripts to:
            Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions
            13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639

      Two Reference Letters

      • Spiritual mentor or leader recommendation
      • Academic, character or employer recommendation

      Resume or CV

      • A copy of your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

      English Proficiency (required for non-native English speakers)

      • Evidence of English proficiency is required for all students to support student success. Proficiency must be shown through one of the methods described below:
        • Minimum test score on a qualifying standardized test
          • TOEFL: minimum score of 100 iBT
          • IELTS: minimum score of 7.5
          • Duolingo: minimum score of 125
        • A degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) issued by an institution where English is the medium of instruction.
          • Official written communication from the institution (Registrar, Controller of Examinations Office, or Undergraduate College)
          • Official degree statements or transcripts may be accepted given English is stated as the medium of instruction
          • Official catalog verification
          • Note: For universities from non-Anglophone countries, further language assessment may be required.
        • Completion of the English Language Scholars (ELS) with passing status on the ELS's final exit exam, which must be approved by the ELS Director in collaboration with the academic program committee. An updated TOEFL or IELTS score may be used at the end of a term to test directly into the graduate program for the following term.
        • Qualify for English Language Scholars (ELS), which allows students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores to still enroll in their graduate degree program. Students would be taking academic English courses concurrently with the graduate degree program courses. 
          • Students eligible for ELS will be assessed by the ELS Director to determine the total number of academic English courses to take while enrolled in their graduate program courses. The following are the scores needed to qualify for ELS: TOEFL iBT 90 / IELTS 7.0 / Duolingo 110–124.
          • Note: Students must be admitted to the graduate program first to be considered for ELS.
    5. Interview with a faculty member

      • After your application and supplemental application requirements are submitted and approved, a select number of qualified applicants will be scheduled to have an interview with a faculty member.


      Things to Note

      • Track your application status at any time. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. When you apply, to guarantee confidentiality, you will be asked to create a user name and a password, and will receive a personalized identification number. Track your application status by logging in to the online application.
      • Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.

    Tuition and Financial Aid

    Biola is committed to help make your studies affordable — each school offers different scholarship, grant and loan opportunities to help finance your education.

    Cost Per Credit (2024‑25) $1,043
    Full-time Tuition Per Term (Estimated) Based on 14-18 credit courseload$17,210
    Total Program Tuition (Estimated) Based on total program credits and 2024‑25 cost per credit$79,268


    You may also be interested in

    B.S. in Allied Health

    School of Science, Technology and Health

    B.S. in Healthcare Management

    School of Science, Technology and Health

    B.S. in Public Health

    School of Science, Technology and Health

    M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology

    School of Science, Technology and Health

    Master of Public Health

    School of Science, Technology and Health


    Hybrid (On Campus and Online): This program includes a blend of course formats, including online and in person at Biola University's Southern California campus.

    Total Credits

    Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.

    Cost per Credit

    This is the cost per credit; total tuition costs for each term will differ for part-time and full-time students.

    Standard Completion Time

    This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.


    Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.