Celebrating 100 YearsSince 1922, the occupational therapy program at WMU has been a leader and innovator in the field, and our graduates have made significant contributions throughout the nation and the world. In 2022 we celebrated our 100th anniversary, commemorating a tradition of excellence and committing to a bold future.

Historically, occupational therapists have been in high demand, and that demand is rising. New professionals are needed, particularly those skilled in working with the growing population of older adults. In that area and many others, WMU occupational therapy graduates have distinct advantages:

We welcome your interest in our OT academic programs and invite you to browse these pages and our points of pride and contact us for more information.

Graduation rates

YearCohort Start DateNumber of Students
Admitted to Cohort
Anticipated GraduationNumber of GraduatesGraduation Rate
2023Summer I 2023 OTD48Spring 2026TBDTBD
Spring 2023 OTA14Spring 2026TBDTBD
2022Summer I 2022 OTD48Spring 2025TBDTBD
Spring 2022 OTA8Spring 2024TBDTBD
2021Summer I 2021 OTD47Spring 2024TBDTBD
2020Summer I 2020 OTD48Spring 20234798%
Spring 2020 4+124Fall 202224100%
2019Spring 2019 4+124Fall 20212396%
Fall 2019 4+124Summer I 202224100%
Fall 2019 MSOT24Fall 202124100%
2018Spring 2018 4+132Fall 20203094%
Fall 2018 4+117Summer I 202117100%
Fall 2018 MSOT45Fall 202045100%

* Note: Our first Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) cohort is set to graduate in April 2023; graduation rates for the OTD program will be updated at that time.

NBCOT certification results

Click to review NBCOT certification exam results for WMU OTD and OTA graduates.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The Department of Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University commits to a diverse and inclusive faculty and student body recognizing and respecting each person’s unique story. Although our goal is to incorporate and embrace diverse viewpoints, we acknowledge that unconscious bias, prejudices, power dynamics and privilege exist. As a result, we strive to increase awareness and remove barriers which prevent inclusion and equity for all individuals. The faculty are committed to instruction, research, and service that considers the breadth of human diversity which includes, but is not limited to, people of all ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, races and ethnicities, and a continuum of abilities. 

Click here to review the College of Health and Human Service's Statement on Race and Antiracism.
Use these links for more information about diversity and inclusion at WMU or WMU's religious observances policy.


Marion R. Spear founded the occupational therapy program at Western Michigan University in 1922 and served as its first faculty member. At that time, two students were enrolled in the program, which required three months of coursework and was located at the Kalamazoo State Hospital. Under Spear's leadership, the program eventually grew into an academic unit, providing a 27-month program requiring 32 hours of college credit before admission.

In 1939, the program received full accreditation from the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association in collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association. It was one of the first five programs to gain such recognition.

The program moved to the campus of Western Michigan College in 1944, and students earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. Thirty students were enrolled at that time. By 1949, the enrollment had increased to 150 full-time students. In 1953, the department developed one of the first occupational therapy graduate programs in the country.