OT/PT Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Pre-Requisites

How many courses do I need to list?

Please just list one for each requirement. Either a full or a half term course.

What are the undergraduate program course lengths?

  • A full term or full credit is September to April = 2 course lengths or 6 units
  • A half term or half credit is September to December OR January to April = 1 course length or 3 units

Does the prerequisite course have to fall within the last 60 units?

No, it does not it could be from any year of your university studies.

Admissions Requirements

What are the Admissions Requirements for Domestic and International Applicants?

  1. A 4 year baccalaureate degree (120 units/credits) or the equivalent.
    Applicants may apply in the 4th year of their degree. By June 30 the degree must be completed.
  2. A minimum average of B or 75% or 3.0/4 or 8/12 calculated over the last 60
    units/credits of your university degree work is required for admission.

In addition, the MSc (PT) program requires:

  • one half or full credit in a biological or life science course with a grade of B or higher
  • one half or full credit in a social science or humanities course with a grade of B or higher

These pre-requisite courses can be presented from any level of your university academic study.  You need only one course from each column.

  • A biological or life science course is considered any of the following: anatomy, biochemistry, biology, biomedical sciences, environmental science, earth science, histology, physiology, ecology, chemistry, physics, health physics, pharmacology, biotechnology, radiation sciences, kinesiology, psychology or neuroscience.
  • A social science or humanities course is considered any of the following: arts and science, anthropology, economics, geography, history, labour studies, political science, religious studies, social work, sociology, linguistics and languages, communication studies, literature, cultural studies, indigenous studies, philosophy, social sciences, inquiry, women studies, kinesiology or psychology.
  • Recommended courses: anatomy, physiology and statistics.

* Please note that Kinesiology and Psychology courses qualify under both sections (I.e. Biological/Life Science and Social Science/Humanities).  However, the program will require two different types of courses as pre-requisites, for example, an applicant cannot use two different Psychology courses to satisfy both pre-requisite requirements.

Furthermore, International applicants are required to provide:

  • TOEFL (if applicable)
  • Original Transcripts
  • Notarized English Transcripts (if original transcripts are not in English)
  • Notarized copy of the Original Degree

What if my first language is not English?

If your first language is not English, a TOEFL score of 600 (written) or 250 (computer) or 92 (iBT) (reading-22, speaking-24, listening-24, writing-22) is required. The only exception to this requirement is for those who have completed an entire university degree in Canada, U.S.A, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand. The TOEFL score must be sent directly from the TOEFL Centre to McMaster University (McMaster code: 0936, Department codes: OT- 44 and PT- 48.) Scores that are more than two years old are not valid.

Do we need reference letters?

No, McMaster does not require reference letters.

How will the pre-admission GPA be calculated?

Domestic Applicants:

A calculation will be completed by ORPAS based on an applicant’s final 60 units/credits of university academic study (i.e. equivalent of 10 full courses or 20 half courses) completed and final as of December 31st of the application year.  These will include summer, part-time, on-line distance education, transfer courses, courses taken on an exchange program, failed university courses and degree courses taken beyond the four-year undergraduate degree.

For applicants currently enrolled in the 4th year of a baccalaureate program, this calculation will start with the applicants final fall grades (completed as at December 31st) and will move back in chronological order based on the order of the courses listed on the transcript. Where grades must be extracted from a term to achieve the equivalent of 10 full courses, the average of that term (e.g. an applicants second year) will be used.

Please note: 

  • Applicants may apply in the fourth year of their degree program but must provide proof of completion of the degree requirements prior to June 30, of the year they apply in.
  • Academic achievement on graduate courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Practicum courses and non-convertible grades (e.g. pass/fail) will not be included in this calculation.
  • Ontario Bachelor of Education degrees will not be included or converted in the GPA calculations.
  • All graduate work must have a grade of B- or higher.

Permanent Residents & International Applicants

If your transcript contains university coursework taken outside of Canada (other than from the U.S.A.), ORPAS will forward your application to the McMaster OT/PT Admissions Office for evaluation, in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies. (ORPAS will process the GPA for U.S.A. schools.)

Transcripts will be assessed by the McMaster OT/PT Admissions office, based on an applicant’s final 60 units/credits (i.e. equivalent of 10 full courses or 20 half courses) of university academic study completed as of December 31st of the application year. The calculation will move back in chronological order, following the transcript, as described previously in the section for Domestic applicants.

All non-English documentation must be accompanied by an official English translation completed by a certified translator and notarized.

Application Procedures

What are the Important Dates for the 2016/2017 Admissions Cycle?

Dates are subject to change.

January 6, 2017 Deadline to submit application to ORPAS
January 30, 2017 Deadline to submit all transcripts to ORPAS
Early April 2017 300 top ranked applicants will be invited to participate in the Multiple Mini Interview Process
April 7, 8, 9, 2017
Multiple Mini Interviews will be conducted in person at McMaster University (Note: these cannot be rescheduled; please hold these dates in your calendar)
May 20, 2017 Offers for MSc(OT) and MSc(PT) Programs will be emailed to top ranked candidates (using the email address applicants submitted in their ORPAS online application)
Late May 2017 Deadline to respond to offers for admission
June 3, 2017 The $500 non-refundable deposit to "hold a seat" for both firm and provisional acceptances will start being collected
June 10, 2017 Provisional acceptances become firm
June 30, 2017 Deadline to submit final transcripts to ORPAS, with confirmation that your degree has been conferred (if applicable)

The non-refundable ORPAS processing fee is CAD $180.00 and the non-refundable McMaster institutional fee is CAD $90.00 (fees subject to change).Applicants apply via an Online Application Service through the Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Program Application Service (ORPAS), a division of OUAC in Guelph, Ontario. The online application service is located at: http://www.ouac.on.ca/orpas/.

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

No. The MSc(OT) and MSc(PT) Programs begin in the fall of year one and continue 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.

I am an internationally trained Physiotherapist/ Occupational Therapist. What resources are available to assist me in seeking licensure?

Applicants who already have physiotherapy or occupational therapy credentials, and are seeking licensure in Canada are encouraged to contact the appropriate organizations below:

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators at http://www.alliancept.org/
The Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists Portal at http://www.gocanadaot.com/

Applicants may also want to explore bridging programs.

For Physiotherapy, University of Toronto houses the Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging (OIEPB) Program: http://www.physicaltherapy.utoronto.ca/iept

For Occupational Therapy, McMaster University houses the Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) Program: http://www.otepp.ca/

Individuals who are seeking additional professional education may wish to consider post-entry to practice graduate program options available through McMaster University. For further information on these, please consult www.srs-mcmaster.ca.

What is the application procedure for students of Aboriginal Ancestry?

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

These applications must be supplemented by documentation (photocopy of a Indian Status Card or Tribal Enrolment Card, Métis Membership/Citizenship Card, Inuit or Inuvialuit Tribal Corporation Number or 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.

This documentation must be sent to School of Rehabilitation Science OT Admissions Committee c/o Tania Baricevic, OT Program Coordinator or PT Admissions Committee c/o Liz Dzaman, PT Program Coordinator.

School of Rehabilitation Science
Institute for Applied Health Sciences,
Rm. 402
McMaster University
1400 Main St. W.
Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7

Applicants who have a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 and who meet the above criteria will be automatically invited to come for an interview. For applicants applying for Physiotherapy, they must also meet the pre-requisite courses identified earlier.

Applicants are then ranked with all other applicants using the weighted average of the MMI score and GPA.

Selection Process

What is the selection process at McMaster?

The admissions selection process considers academic achievement, personal qualities and experience during the Multiple Mini Interview.

Domestic Applicants: All eligible applicants to both the OT and PT programs are ranked solely on the basis of their GPA for an interview invitation. Approximately 300 of the top ranked applicants to each of the programs are invited for a personal interview (multiple mini interview).

All applicants who are interviewed are ranked on a combination of their pre admission GPA (25%) and their interview scores (75%) to determine the final ranking for offers of admission. We admit approximately 65 students to each of the OT and PT programs, including up to 6 positions in each for International students. The final approval of applicants for admission will be granted by the Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies.

International Applicants: Applicants who are considered suitable candidates, based on their application material, will be invited to an interview. Successful interview candidates (based on pre-admission GPA and personal interview) will be recommended for offers of admission.  The final approval of applicants for admission will be granted by the Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies.

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 3.81 for PT and 3.64 for OT. For 2016, 3.66 for OT.

How is my sub-GPA calculated?

Please visit the following website to determine how your sub-GPA is calculated: http://www.ouac.on.ca/faq/how-is-my-sub-gpa-calculated/.

When will we be notified if we have received an interview?

You will receive an email the first week of April.  Please check your settings on your email to ensure that the interview invitation is not re-routed to your “junk” mailbox.

If I have been refused before, should I bother applying again?

Applicants are invited to re-apply. Applications from one year are not held over to another year. Each application is considered as a new submission.

If I am not accepted this time, how may I improve my application for the future?

Generally, applicants choose to continue university course work to upgrade and improve their GPA. An understanding of the learning environment and the professions are important, and may be accessed through articles on problem-based, self-directed learning, as well as through our annual Information Sessions held in the fall of the year.

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 OT or PT Program The interviewers are drawn from the Faculty of Health Sciences, the health care community and the OT and PT student body. This process also provides the applicant with the opportunity to explain why they will be successful in this program.

The applicant will meet 7 different interviewers in 7 different stations to discuss the scenarios provided.  Eight minutes are allowed for each station (2 minutes outside the interview room to read the scenario/interview questions, and 6 minutes inside the room with the interviewer to discuss the scenario/questions.).

The applicant should be aware that the interviewers may be taking notes throughout the interview as part of their assessment.

Remember that the interviewers do not have access to the applicant’s academic record or admissions file. The interviewers do not discuss the interview with other interviewers.

When are the 2017 Interview Dates?

Multiple Mini Interviews will be held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada only. Interviews for OT and PT applications in 2017 are April 7, 8, 9.

All applicants are responsible for their own travel costs to and from the interview. If invited, in-person interviews are mandatory in order to continue consideration for admission. Failure to attend will result in an automatic withdrawal from the applicant pool.

There are no alternate dates for interviews. Also we do not offer telephone or Skype interviews. They must be done in person.

Program Information

What is PBL and how does it work at McMaster?

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an educational approach that contends that knowledge is best remembered in the context in which it is learned, and that acquisition and integration of new knowledge requires activation of prior knowledge (Schmidt, 1983). In contrast to the common approach of using a problem for application after learning has taken place, problem-based learning requires that the learner encounter a problem first as the initial stimulus for learning (Barrows, 1980; Branda, 1990). The learner thus becomes actively involved in the learning process, can shape it to meet personal needs based on prior knowledge and experience, can engage in independent study appropriate to his/her unique learning style, and can integrate information from many sources, including student peers, into a construct for use in dealing with future problems.

The essential characteristics of a PBL health profession curriculum are outlined by Walton and Matthew (1989) as follows: an organization of content around problems rather than disciplines, an integrated curriculum rather than on separated into basic sciences and clinical sciences components or “traditional” courses, and an inherent emphasis on cognitive skills or “process” as well as on knowledge of “content”. Practice-based client scenarios or professional issues serve as the “problems” in the curriculum, and are designed to meet specific program goals and objectives. Clinicians are useful resources in this regard, and often help to develop the paper “problems” for tutorial learning by providing information on clinical practice. As students explore the problems, they gain the profession-specific and generic knowledge, skills, and professional behaviours required for entry to professional practice and for continuing growth throughout a lifetime of professional activity.

Small group tutorials provide an excellent forum for problem-based learning to occur. Students, with the guidance of a faculty facilitator/tutor, meet once or twice weekly.

Will all my clinical education placements be in Hamilton?

The geographical area for the Clinical Education/Fieldwork component of the curriculum at McMaster University centres around, but extends well beyond the City of Hamilton.  The area includes many excellent facilities and programs, both in urban and rural settings.  The primary mandate of Clinical Education/Fieldwork is that students will be able to participate in a broad range of clinical learning opportunities to develop their professional behaviours, solidify and expand their knowledge base and to gain a variety of clinical skills in different practice areas.

Students will be given the opportunity to identify preferences for placements, however, the type and location of placements that are available in each term/unit is dependent on the placement offers received from clinicians and facilities so preferences cannot be guaranteed. In both the OT and PT Programs, there are specific clinical/fieldwork requirements that need to be completed prior to graduation to meet accreditation requirements.

Both programs offer a Northern Studies Stream (NSS) option in collaboration with Northern Ontario School of Medicine.  Through the NSS, approximately half of the students in each OT and PT class will be able to participate in a Clinical Education/Fieldwork opportunity in Northwestern Ontario during the two-year program. For more information about the NSS Program, please visit http://www.srs-mcmaster.ca/ in the ‘Programs’ section. For their final placement, students may qualify to apply to an international placement and our students have taken part in many exciting placement opportunities all around the globe.

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.

Are hours for clinical practica (placement) always 9am to 5pm?

During clinical practica, students may be required to attend evening and weekend hours. Whenever possible, students will know in advance if evening and/or weekend hours are required.  It is students' responsibility to meet the requirements for clinical practica hours in order to meet the degree requirements of their respective programs.

After You Have Received an Offer of Admission

What is a conditional offer of admission, and how am I able to clear this condition and receive a firm offer of admission?

Conditions will be one of two things:

  • Completion of your undergraduate degree
  • Completion of any course taken beyond your undergraduate degree, if the course is a pre-requisite.

Conditions will be cleared once you have conferred your undergraduate degree and your final transcripts have been received.

Please note that all students are granted a conditional admission based on receiving proof of a clear Police Check (as defined by the Police Check Policy - please review our Admissions  Policies and Procedures webpage for more information).

How is deferral of admission viewed?

According to the policy of the School of Graduate Studies, deferral of admission for the OT and PT programs is not granted. Applicants are advised to apply to the OT and PT programs during the year that they are able to attend.

Acceptance Fee

Applicants being offered admission must complete the online offer of acceptance to McMaster University and pay a non-refundable deposit fee (acceptance fee) of CAD $500.00 by credit card online by the offer deadline date.

This fee will be deducted from the tuition following registration and entry into the program.

Financial Obligations

Please visit the following website to see the most recent tuition fees for the programs:

How do I apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship?

The processes related to applying for Ontario Graduate Scholarships changed for the 2013 – 2014 academic year.  Each department within McMaster was provided with an allocation of scholarships.  Due to the timelines of when OT and PT acceptances became “firm” and the internal timelines related to when scholarships were to be distributed, the OT and PT programs made the decision to award their program allocations to “in course” students only (i.e. students enrolled in the program effective May 1, 2013). For the 2015 – 2016 academic year, please check back for updates. As we receive new information we will post updates.

Can I work during the two years?

The programs we offer are intensive and demanding. Each student has a personal method of time management and varying priorities. Most students in the OT and PT programs find it difficult to manage on-going part-time employment.

Assuming I am accepted, may I get help finding a place to live?

The McMaster University Off-Campus Housing office and the International Student Services office may assist in arranging accommodation close to the university. You may find information on housing via the website: http://www.mcmaster.ca/ by selecting one of the two office options mentioned above.

Questions About Employment

What is the employment rate of graduates?

Graduates of the OT and PT programs have obtained jobs in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, chronic care facilities, nursing homes, schools, industry, home care programs, mental health facilities, private clinics and rehabilitation companies. The employment rate of graduates from the School of Rehabilitation Science after graduation varies year to year, depending on economic context.

Employers consistently rate McMaster OT and PT graduates highly. Examples of employer’s statements include:

“McMaster grads bring a unique set of skills to the work place even as new grads. They take on tasks and know how to find the resources they need to get a job done.”

How much will I make as a professional practitioner?

Applicants are recommended to call the following organizations to obtain current information for salaries in various sectors of the professions.

PT: Canadian Physiotherapy Association at (613) 564-5454

The respective website CPA (http://www.physiotherapy.ca) may also provide salary information.

Can we work in the United States or another country after we graduate?

You will need to contact the Licensing Board of the state or country you wish to obtain employment in for additional information.

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


(905) 525-9140 Ext: 22867


(905) 524-0069




Directions to IAHS