pre-Occupational Therapy

If you want to pursue a career in occupational therapy, a major in Exercise Science or Human Performance and Fitness are good fits. Social science majors such as Psychology or Sociology are also popular choices.

Be sure to discuss your post-graduate plans with your SAU advisor so that you construct a plan of study that satisfies whatever major you choose and prepares you for graduate school.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Pick Your Path
  • Hands-On Learning and Research
  • Excellent Facilities, Exceptional Faculty


The requirements for occupational therapy programs focus on the biological, physical, and social sciences. The specific course requirements for admission to occupational therapy programs differ for each institution, but all programs seek compassionate individuals who can solve problems effectively and efficiently without compromising patient care.

Many occupational therapy programs in the Midwest region require:

  • One year of Anatomy/Physiology
  • Upper level Social Science
  • Research Methods and Statistics
  • Biomedical ethics

Individual occupational therapy programs may have additional requirements. Click here to view the prerequisite coursework for application to the SAU OTD program

What will I learn?

An undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, Human Performance and Fitness, Psychology, or Sociology gives you an excellent foundation for graduate studies in OT. Most occupational therapy programs require coursework in biological, physical, and social sciences, and we offer the courses you will likely need -- and more.

Your advisor can help you create a plan of study.

At St. Ambrose, we offer an education grounded in the Liberal Arts and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. We emphasize inquiry, critical thinking skills, a view of the world beyond the classroom, and activities that support social justice. Our students are challenged to get involved on campus and in the community so they can learn from others and about themselves. Yes, we do teach you the skills you need to be successful in your profession -- and those include exploration and personal discovery.

What are some of my unique learning opportunities?

Our Psychology and Sociology majors can get involved in research early in their educational career.

Our Exercise Science and Human Performance and Fitness majors will take some classes in the newly-opened Wellness and Recreation Center, which was built, in part, to meet their specific educational needs. It contains classrooms and labs outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, giving them hands-on learning opportunities.

You can explore and experience various career fields by participating in an internship. Our Career Center has strong relationships with employers across the region, and will work to find the opportunity that fits your interest and goals.

Best of all, while you are an SAU undergrad, you can explore our top-rated OTD program. The St. Ambrose Center for Health Sciences Education is located just blocks from campus. Stop by, talk to some of the professors and students, take a look at the facilities, and learn about the Interprofessional Health Clinic.


Scholarships and Grants

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

To receive an institutional grant or scholarship students must meet specific criteria, and some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible. There is no need to apply for these; students automatically are eligible if they meet the criteria.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Awards

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation to be completed by your pastor available here (pdf).

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year. For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award


Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Based on Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership. Award is $12,500 per year for new transfer students.

Awards are renewable each year up to a maximum eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Apply Visit Info


Admissions Office
Admissions and Welcome Center
310 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 26 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!