MSc. Occupational Therapy Program

OT students

Thank you for your interest in the Occupational Therapy Program.

To ensure a fair and equitable admissions process, the McMaster Occupational Therapy Program utilizes the sub-GPA as calculated by ORPAS (per the ORPAS published January 30, 2017 transcript submission deadline) to determine the top-ranked applicants (approximately 300) invited to the Multiple Mini Interview weekend.  As such, any questions or concerns about your sub-GPA should be communicated to ORPAS via email at

*Note: As outlined on the ORPAS website, ‘Universities are under no obligation to revisit an applicant’s file after they have completed their review process.  Admission decisions are at the discretion of the University.’

The mission of the MSc Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare graduates with requisite knowledge, skills, and professional behaviours to practice as entry-level occupational therapists in a range of institutional and community settings throughout Canada and the international community.

Students will achieve an understanding of the influence of family, society, culture and physical environment as they explore the concepts of occupation and health across the lifespan within the context of client-centered practice. Graduates will be prepared to function as independent practitioners, as members of interdisciplinary teams, as critical consumers of research, as agents of change, as leaders in their profession, and as lifelong self-directed learners.

For more information please visit the OT program website.

How to Apply

  • Applicants apply through the ORPAS website
  • The ORPAS application service fee is $190, plus an institutional fee of $90 for each university selection.
    • Applicants who applied to both Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy will be required to pay an additional fee of $90 in the form of a Certified cheque (personal cheques not accepted) sent directly to the OT Program Coordinator, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West IAHS 402, Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7.
  •  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that ORPAS receives the application and all required supporting documentation by the required deadlines.  If the application is not complete or if supporting documentation is not received within the required deadlines, the application will not be considered.
  • Application fees are non-refundable.
  • The MSc Occupational Therapy Program at McMaster University offers of admission are determined by academic achievement (sub-GPA).  The top 300 applicants, based on their GPA, will be invited to participate in the Multiple Mini Interview process (April 7-9, 2017).

Required documentation:

Official transcripts of all university and college degree work must be sent directly to ORPAS by the originating institution(s).  If you have course work that was completed outside of Canada, such as exchange courses, you must request a legend from the university that explains the grading scale.

If you have international transcripts, excluding the USA, you must submit:

  • Original transcripts sent by originating institution(s);
  • Notarized English copies of all degree course work completed to date; and,
  • Notarized English copy of the appropriate diploma or degree awarded.
  • English-Language Requirements, such as TOEFL or IELTS.

Admissions Requirements

  • Applicants require a four-year baccalaureate degree (120 units/credits or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.30/4.0 (B+ or 77%) in the last two (2) years or 60 units of university academic study.
  • The degree can be in any university discipline; none are favoured. There are no pre-requisites.
  • Applicants may apply in the final year of their degree.
    • Applicants who apply in their fourth year of their degree program must provide proof of completion of the degree requirements prior to June 30, of the year they apply in.
    • GPA would include 4th year grades up to December (Final year fall term).
  • Applicants who have graduated from a three-year baccalaureate degree (90 units/credits) must complete additional university work in order to be eligible to apply.  For example:
    • An additional 30 units/credits (in addition to a three-year degree) are required to total 120 units/credits.
    • Contained within the 120 units/credits, 18 units/credits must be at the fourth-year level or above; and,
    • A minimum average of B+ or 77% or 3.30/4.0 or 9/12, calculated over the last 60 units of university course work.
  • GPA of all graduate work will be calculated the same as undergraduate work.
    • All graduate work must have a grade of B- or higher.

Notes for all applicants:

  • Practicum courses and non-convertible grades (e.g., pass/fail) will not be included in GPA calculation.
  • Ontario Bachelor of Education degrees will not be included or converted in the GPA calculation.
  • Indigenous students who meet the above admissions requirements for degree and GPA (B+ or 77% or 3.30/4.0 or 9/12) will be automatically provided an invitation to interview.

Selection Process

  • Eligible applicants are ranked solely on the basis of his/her sub-GPA.
    • ORPAS calculates GPA. GPA is based on the last 60 units of study.
    • ORPAS uses a 4.0 scale. Where both letter and percentage grades are given, the percentage is used.
    • ORPAS includes all courses and marks, including failures, incomplete, repeated and supplementary courses.
    • International transcripts, exchanges and/or graduate work will be forwarded to the Occupational Therapy Program to be evaluated.
    • Please refer to the ORPAS Instruction Booklet to review the courses that are not included in the GPA calculation (page 11).
  • Approximately, the 300 top-ranked applicants are invited for the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI).
    • Applicants invited to be interviewed are notified approximately three (3) weeks in advance of their interview.
    • Top ranked applicants (based on GPA) will be invited for a personal interview, which entails a series of short in-person interviews and station-based written responses. Personal qualities, aptitudes, attitudes and skills are assessed at these interviews. Interviewers are drawn from the faculty and the community.
    • All applicants are responsible for their own travel costs to and from the in-person interview at McMaster University. Interviews cannot be rescheduled or held on Skype due to the nature of the MMI circuits. (Note: for exceptional reasons, a waiver may be granted for in person interviews).
    • Applicants invited to MMI weekend who require any special considerations (e.g., learning accommodations or religious observances) will be instructed to communicate with the OT program in advance.
  • Applicants who are interviewed are ranked on a combination of their pre-admission sub-GPA (25% of final ranking) and their interview scores (75% of final ranking) to determine the final ranking for offers of admission.
    • Approximately, 67 students are admitted to the MSc Occupational Therapy Program.
    • The final approval of applicants for admission will be granted by the Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies.
  • Applicants will be notified of the admission decision via the email address that was provided to ORPAS in the online application.
    • Applicants will receive either an offer of admission, notification of their position on the waiting list (including waitlist number) or a letter of refusal.
  • Applicants being offered admission must complete the online offer of acceptance to ORPAS and pay a non-refundable deposit fee (acceptance fee) of $500.00 CAD.  Please see important dates for fee deadline.

Policy and Procedures

  • As per the McMaster University School of Graduate Studies Calendar, admission is competitive; meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.  The admission decision is not subject to appeal.
  • The School of Rehabilitation Science does not provide feedback to applicants concerning their performance on the multiple mini interview.
  • Applications from one year are not held over to another year.
  • The MSc Occupational Therapy Program does not allow successful applicants to defer their start date.
  • There is no provision for advance standing or transfer into the MSc Occupational Therapy Program.
  • Applicants should understand that where it is discovered that any application information is false or misleading, or has concealed or withheld, the application will be deemed invalid, and the matter will be forwarded to the Office of Academic Integrity.  If the student has already been admitted and registered, withdrawal from the university may be required, pending a university investigation.

Professionalism is an important requirement of the McMaster Occupational Therapy Program. Graduates of the program that register with a regulatory college will be expected to demonstrate professional behaviours in practice. In preparation for licensure and in keeping with the standard of excellence required in our program, we expect applicants to the MSc(OT) program to conduct themselves in a professional manner throughout all phases of the application process. Any and all interactions throughout the admissions process, where applicants are engaged with Occupational Therapy program staff, faculty, students, and/or community volunteers may be taken into consideration in making admissions decisions. Admission may be denied to applicants who, amongst other critical determinants, behave in a manner that is considered is below the level of professionalism expected of similarly situated candidates, regardless of their academic standing or interview performance.

Important Dates and Deadlines

The following dates are for the 2017-2018 Admission Cycle, for September 2018 entry.

October 19, 2017 ORPAS online application opens.
Monday, November 27
4:30 - 5:30 pm
Hosted by: Dr. Lori Letts (Assistant Dean), Dr. Jackie Bosch, Admissions Chair, Prof. Lorie Shimmell (Director of Clinical Education), Meredyth Bowcott (Year 2 student OT).
Friday January 5, 2018 Last day to submit an application to ORPAS.
Friday January 12, 2017 Deadline for ORPAS to receive non-refundable application fee ($270).

Deadline to submit the dual application fee $90 (for applicants applying to more than one rehab program i.e. Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy/Speech Language Pathology at McMaster University).

a) Please send an additional $90 money order/ certified cheque  made payable to “McMaster University” (personal cheques are not accepted).
b) Indicate your full name and ORPAS identification number in the memo field. Note: Your ORPAS number begins with “2018”.
c) Mail the money order/certified cheque to: OT/PT Program Coordinators, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West, IAHS 403, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 1C7.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Deadline to submit transcripts from all universities the applicant attended.
Friday, March 16, 2018 Multiple Mini Interview Invitations Sent Out.  Please note, invitations can be sent up to days before due to cancellations. Please put on your safe senders list.
Friday April 13, 2018 to
Saturday April 14, 2018
Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) will be conducted in person at McMaster University.  Please note that these dates cannot be rescheduled.  Applicants are responsible for his/her travel costs.
May 18, 2018 Admission decisions will be emailed to applicants (via School of Graduate Studies) using the email address applicants submitted in their ORPAS online application.
June 1, 2018
First-round offers expire.
June 8, 2018
Provisional acceptances become firm acceptances.
June 30, 2018 Deadline to submit payment to McMaster University of $500 non-refundable deposit.
June 30, 2018 Deadline to submit transcripts to ORPAS, with confirmation that your degree has been conferred (if applicable).
July 31, 2017 Program fees, Police Check, Vulnerable Screening and CPR documents are due.
August 27 - 31, 2018
Orientation Week - mandatory for students to attend.
Does the OT program have any prerequisites?

The OT program has no prerequisites.

Do you require references or a personal statement?

No, McMaster does not require reference letters or personal statements.

What are the admissions requirements for International Applicants?
  • International applications require the same admission requirements as domestic applicants (See Admissions Requirements tab).
  • Applicants that have foreign transcripts, excluding the United States, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, are required to submit the following with their application:
    • Original transcripts sent by originating institution(s);
    • Notarized English copies of all degree course work completed to date; and,
    • Notarized English copy of the appropriate diploma or degree awarded.
  • If your first language is not English, a TOEFL minimum score of 92 (internet based), 237 (computer based) or 580 (paper based), minimum of 20 per band is required.
    • The TOEFL score must be sent directly from the TOEFL Centre to McMaster University (McMaster code: 0936, Department code: 48).
  • IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section.
  • The only exception to this requirement is for those who have completed an entire university degree in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand.
  • Scores that are more than two (2) years old are not valid.
What is the application procedure for Indigenous Applicants?

The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at McMaster University has a policy in place to facilitate the admission of students with indigenous ancestry as defined by the 1982 Constitution Act, which recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Métis as the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

These applications must be supplemented by documentation (photocopy of an Indian Status Card or Tribal Enrolment Card, Métis Membership/Citizenship Card, Inuit or Inuvialuit Tribal Corporation Number of Inuit Registry; or a letter from an official representative of the applicant’s First Nations band, treaty, tribal or traditional council; Inuit land/territory organization; Métis settlement or community organization; or, a recognized Aboriginal organization.  A copy of this document must be sent to:

OT Program Coordinator
1400 Main Street West, Room 402
Hamilton, ON  L8S 1C7

Please click here to visit the Indigenous Students Health Sciences office.

Indigenous students who meet the admissions requirements for degree and GPA (B+ or 77% or 3.30/4.0 or 9/12) will be automatically provided an invitation to interview.

Can I use my courses from another professional program or apply as a mature student?

No. The OT program begin in the fall of year one and continues over two full years. All students must complete all courses and advance from semester to semester. There is no provision for advance standing or ability to transfer into the program.

What was the average GPA for incoming students?

It is impossible to accurately predict how competitive the applicant pools are from year to year, however, the cut-off GPA for an interview invitation for the 2015 cycle was 3.64/4; 2016 cycle was 3.66/4 and the 2017 cycle was 3.72/4.

What is the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) process?

The personal interviews constitute the final phase of the student selection process These interviews provide an opportunity for the interviewers to assess each applicant’s suitability for the program. This process also provides the applicant with the opportunity to explain why they will be successful in this program.

Two-part station-based process:

  • Part 1: Two written stations (paragraph style)
  • Part 2: Multiple evaluators, scenario based in-person interviews
    Short, timed interview stations where we evaluate your ability to:
    –Think on the spot
    –Communicate ideas
    –Demonstrate how you might address a particular scenario
Do I need a car?

Students are expected to travel outside of Hamilton, Ontario for mandatory teaching sessions and clinical placements.  Students are responsible for their own transportation and associated costs in order to complete program requirements.  Some placements maybe located in rural, under-serviced and remote areas.  In certain placement streams, there may be some external funding available.

How much is tuition?

Please visit the following website to see the most recent tuition fees for the program.

2017 OT Admissions Webinar - Monday, November 27 from 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Hosted by: Dr. Lori Letts (Assistant Dean), Dr. Jackie Bosch, Admissions Chair, Prof. Lorie Shimmell (Director of Clinical Education), Meredyth Bowcott (Year 2 student OT).

View the 2017 OT webinar Nov 27.

2016 OT Admissions Webinar
Hosted by: Dr. Lori Letts (Assistant Dean), Prof. Lorie Shimmell (Director of Clinical Education), Chelsea Tidd (Year 2 student OT) and Nadia Federici (Class of 2015 OT graduate).

Click HERE to view the admissions webinar hosted on November 8, 2016. (Please note, the audio is a very poor quality. We apologize for the inconvenience.)

Click here to view the OT Webinar PowerPoint slides from the webinar.

Here’s what employers say about our graduates.

  • Very passionate about the profession. Fierce advocate for the role of OT.
  • Excellent problem solving and independence, while still asking for help when needed.
  • Ability to adapt generally to different practice situations and autonomously develop the skills required to practice effectively. Very good at self reflection. Exceptional team players.

Here’s what graduates of our program say about their experiences.

  • Amazing and committed faculty really made the experience!
  • The program was excellent, I feel like the critical thinking skills I was able to gain through the program has greatly benefited my practice
  • PBL has been EXTREMELY valuable in my position as a lone OT in a rural northern-Ontario community. It provided me with the foundation and confidence to complete my role independently.

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


Contact Us


Directions to IAHS