Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Degree Awarded: 
Master's Degree

To learn more about the faculty and staff of the Occupational Therapy Program, click here.
To see the Occupational Therapy section in the Jefferson College of Health Sciences Catalog, click here.

Occupational Therapy (OT) is an allied health profession. Its primary aims are to provide intervention to individuals whose lives have been disrupted by adverse circumstance, assist them in gaining or improving their quality of life, and make them capable, using specific skills required of them, to function effectively within their own dynamic environments. To this end occupational therapist use meaningful / purposeful "occupations" (those tasks and functions of life that time and energy which otherwise able-bodied individuals take for granted) to develop or redevelop necessary and/or desired skills for life. These life tasks include, but are not limited to, self care skills such as bathing, dressing, and toileting; interpersonal communication skills such as carrying on a telephone conversation or speaking with family members or an employer about sensitive issues; everyday living tasks such as the roles of a homemaker, vocational interactions and the roles of employee; paying personal bills, balancing a checkbook, purchasing groceries, driving, planning for the future, enjoying leisure pursuits, etc.

Occupational therapists function in a variety of settings. Graduates may work in a hospital, rehabilitation center, extended care facility, nursing home, public schools, developmental daycare facility, adult day care program, mental health clinic, out-patient facilities, home health agencies, industrial rehabilitation programs, hospice programs, private practice and in various community agencies that aid individuals with specific disabilities.

Program Mission: 

The purpose of the OT program is to produce graduates who demonstrate generalist competencies at an entry-level. The graduates will also possess resource awareness with unique perspectives and experiences in dealing more with a person or persons, than a disease or disability. The OT program will graduate practitioners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to engage individuals, who demonstrate some form of impaired coping skills, in a process of evaluation, treatment planning and therapeutic interventions.

These interventions will be presented within a performance context of cultural and environmental demands, according to that individual's needs and wants.

The mission of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences' Occupational Therapy program is to provide qualified students an opportunity for practice and advanced study in the profession of Occupational Therapy. Graduates will develop skills in the analysis and application of occupations to restore, reinforce and enhance a client's performance while promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Graduates will be prepared to engage in advocacy as it pertains to the impact on an individual's health, well-being and participation in daily occupations. Graduates will be prepared to engage in collaborative practice, leadership and scholarship to improve the health of the communities they serve.

Program Goals Intro: 

Upon graduation from the occupational therapy program a graduate will be able to:

Program Goals: 
  • Apply occupational therapy theories with evidenced-based evaluations and interventions to achieve expected outcomes as related to their client's participation in their daily lives.
  • Demonstrate life-long learning by applying the latest research and professional knowledge that supports the practice of occupational therapy.
  • Contribute to the occupational therapy profession through the analysis and application of current occupational therapy theories and other related healthcare knowledge.
  • Communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals, agencies, and other members of the healthcare team to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Articulate and model the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Advocate in various settings for both the services occupational therapy may provide and the recipients of those services.
  • Effectively manage the delivery of occupational therapy services through the coordination and supervision of staff and the prudent utilization of resources.
Accreditations: 

The Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814-3449. The telephone number for ACOTE (c/o AOTA) is 301-652-2682 or (301-652-AOTA). The web site link iswww.acoteonline.org

Upon graduation from this program graduates must sit for a national registry exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Their offices are located at 12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877-4150. NBCOT's phone number is (301) 990-7979.

Career Outlook: 

Employment for Occupational Therapists is projected to increase much faster than other healthcare professions due to the rapid growth of middle-aged and elderly populations demanding therapeutic services. Emerging specialty areas in Occupational Therapy include driver rehabilitation and fall prevention. Places of employment include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, public schools and skilled nursing facilities.

How to Apply: 

To apply for the MSOT program, applicants should provide the following to the Office of Admissions by December 1, 2014:

  • The Application for Admission, completed and (digitally online) signed.
  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities in which you have enrolled.
  • Completed Recommendation Forms from three individuals who are knowledgeable regarding your suitability for graduate work.
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (School Code: 5099). 
Please note the following admission criteria for the MSOT Program:
  • An earned Baccalaureate degree with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Completion of the following pre-requisite coursework:
    • 3 credit course in statistics or a research design course.
    • 6-8 credits in courses pertaining to anatomical systems such as human anatomy, kinesiology, human physiology, and exercise science.
    • 3 credit course in sociology or anthropology
    • 3 credit course in human growth and development throughout the lifespan
    • 3 credit course in abnormal psychology 
  • Completion of an essay (double-spaced, 12-point font), which includes a discussion of your personal contact with the world of health and human services (volunteer work, family health, personal experience with injury or disease) and the process you used in deciding to pursue a career in OT.
  • Observation of an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings is Recommended, but not Required. Documentation of such hours signed by the OT observed may be included as one of the references on the application.
  • Completion of Recommendation Forms from three individuals who are knowledgeable regarding your suitability for graduate work.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which includes a standardized writing sample within the last five years. You must arrange to have GRE scores submitted directly to Jefferson College. Our institutional code is 5099.
  • The graduate admissions committee will screen applications and selected candidates will be scheduled for interviews on campus as a part of the admissions process. 

Click here to apply online and begin the application process. Also, please note that you may need some of the forms listed below as you complete your application:

Other Information: 
What do Occupational Therapists do?

Occupational Therapists: Assess and treat clients experiencing a mental, physical, emotional or developmental problem. Assist clients in developing, recovering or learning new ways to perform daily activities. Use physical exercises to help clients increase strength and dexterity. Use activities to help patients improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns. Design and fabricate adaptive equipment, instructing patients/families in its use. Use computer programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract reasoning, problem- solving, memory, sequencing, coordination and perceptual skills. In addition, Occupational Therapists can choose to work with a certain age group or with clients throughout their lifespans.

Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics (Abbreviated)

Principle 1. Occupational therapy personnel shall demonstrate concern for the well-being of the recipients of their services. (beneficence) Principle 2. Occupational therapy personnel shall respect the rights of the recipients of their services. (e.g. autonomy, privacy, confidentiality) Principle 3. Occupational therapy personnel shall achieve and continually maintain high standards of competence. (duty) Principle 4. Occupational therapy personnel shall comply with laws and association policies guiding the profession of Occupational Therapy. (justice) Principle 5. Occupational therapy personnel shall provide accurate information about occupational therapy services. (veracity) Principle 6. Occupational therapy personnel shall treat colleagues and other professionals with fairness, discretion and integrity. ( fidelity, veracity)

Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education at Jefferson College

The profession of Occupational Therapy believes in the concept that human beings are complex individuals who derive meaning from interacting with their environment. These environments are: physical, social, temporal, cultural, psychological, and spiritual. It is through active encounters within these external and internal environments that humans learn, adapt, and change. Occupational Therapy education advocates the use of varied "occupations" in order to facilitate this healthy growth, change, and adaptation with the goal of increased participation as a means toward improving self esteem, problem solving abilities, and the overall quality of one's life. Occupational Therapy is grounded in the core concept that individuals are active beings. To this end, this educational program seeks to instruct students in methods used to engage clients in meaningful occupations. OT interventions seek to address the needs of all age groups. Strategies developed may be used to enhance the client's already healthy lifestyle and thus prevent future infirmities or, assist in the remediation of a loss of participation in a specific "occupation" secondary to injury or disease. This program embraces the development of performance-based autonomy. It is our belief, that the students themselves must bear considerable responsibility for attaining their educational goals. Faculty encourages and facilitates the students' learning by working with them to flesh out answers to problems posed within an on-going educational process. This program teaches students to offer creative solutions to difficult problems. This may be accomplished by teaching them to broaden their creative thinking to a level where there are no limitations to increasing a client's level of participation in meaningful activities. We firmly believe that participation in meaningful activities equates to the overall quality of one's life. One goal of this program is to help students recognize their own potential as adaptive, creative, and resourceful individuals. During this developmental process, students first learn self-awareness and how this awareness can be used in approaching problem-solving with others. Next, students research and learn the theories and techniques utilized by occupational therapists when working with clients to accomplish their treatment goals. All of this knowledge is intertwined with the concept of life-long learning as it is the competent therapist's responsibility to always remain aware of changes not only in our profession, but also in the social/political climate that affects us all. This program supports the practice of occupational therapy as a vocation and as such, seeks to graduate professionals with a predisposition to serve others. We instill in our graduates the personal responsibility to continue to learn as they practice. As graduates, their challenge is to become a dynamic part of a diverse, multi-cultural society stressing occupations as their primary intervention for health promotion in an ever-changing world. Established 2007

Graduate Certification Exam

All graduates of an Occupational Therapy degree program are required to pass an entry level national registry examination prepared by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) prior to their becoming licensed to practice as an occupational therapist. As part of the accreditation standards of all OT programs, each program is required to make the results of these first-time tests for the previous three (3) years available to the public. Jefferson College of Health Sciences results were as follows:

3 year passing taken from NBCOT website: NBCOT.org. Program report statistics.

Year Number of Graduates Number Passing Percentage
2011 13 12 92%
2012 14 13 93%
2013 13 13 100%
Registration/Licensure

Graduates from this program must sit for the national registry exam administered by NBCOT prior to applying for a license to practice OT in whatever state they may choose. All candidates must complete an application for this exam which includes information concerning any previous charges or convictions of a felony, revocation or suspension of a professional license by a regulatory board, or involvement in any disciplinary action due to malpractice, negligence or misconduct. An affirmative response to any of the above questions may prohibit the candidate's permission to sit for the exam. Upon entry to this program, if any of the above situations have occurred, the student may contact NBCOT and request an EARLY DETERMINATION where the facts may be presented and the Board will respond stating whether or not the student would be allowed to take the test. More information is available on their website: www.nbcot.org.

Transfer of Credits

Jefferson College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy program accepts credits for transfer purposes from other institutions only for prerequisite courses. The office of the registrar will make all final decisions concerning acceptance of transfer credits. Applicants to the OT program are required to complete all necessary professional courses at Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the start of the master's course sequence beginning in the Fall Semester of each year.

Program of Study

The Occupational Therapy program is an entry-level Master's program consisting of 28 months of academic and fieldwork experiences. Students are accepted into the program after completion of a bachelor's degree and the prerequisite courses as listed in the program information. The OT curriculum is seven semesters: five semesters of academic work followed by the last 2 semesters of Level II fieldwork to be completed prior to the granting of the degree. If necessary, due to unforeseen circumstances and approval by the Program Director, students may take up to eighteen (18) months to complete their fieldwork requirements. All academic and fieldwork requirements must be completed before the granting of the degree. A continuation in either the academic program or fieldwork completion will result in the delay of graduation from the program.

Semester 1 Course Title Credits
BIO 521 Gross Anatomy for Clinical Applications 4
OT 531 Occupational Response to Pathological Conditions 3
OT 501 Fundamentals of Occupation 3
OT 510 Use of Occupations in Mental Health 3
OT 554 Fieldwork I-A 1
  Total Credits: 14
Semester 2 Course Title Credits
BIO 530 Functional Clinical Neuroanatomy 4
OT 520 Humans in Motion 3
OT 502 Research Methodologies 3
OT 555 Fieldwork I-B 1
OT 670 Occupational Fitness for Life 2
  Total Credits: 13
Semester 3 Course Title Credits
OT 540 Occupation using Adaptation 3
OT 560 Client Advocacy/Public Policy 3
  Total Credits: 6
Semester 4 Course Title Credits
IPE 507 Ethical and Legal Decision Making 3
OT 556 Fieldwork I-C 1
OT 602 Occupations thru the Lifespan I 4
OT 602L Pediatric Lab 0
OT 615 Client Care Techniques 3
OT 615L Techniques Lab 0
OT 631 Research Project Decisions 3
OT 635 Program Development 3
  Total Credits: 17
Semester 5 Course Title Credits
OT 557 Fieldwork I-D 1
OT 603 Occupations thru the Lifespan II 4
OT 603L Geriatric Lab 0
OT 610 Clinical Reasoning 3
OT 640 Topics in Administration 3
OT 650 Research Implementation 3
  Total Credits: 14
Semester 6 Course Title Credits
OT 682 Fieldwork Level II –A 8
  Total Credits: 8
Semester 7 Course Title Credits
OT 692 Fieldwork Level II – B 8
OT 695 Senior Seminar 1
  Total Credits: 9
  Credits from Non-Major Courses 11
  Credits from Major Courses 70
  Credits from Validation Courses 0
  Total Credits 81


Graduation in December following final semester.

Sequence of Courses

The OT program of study is conceived as a lock step curriculum. All courses of one semester must be completed before moving on to the next. A delay in taking the course in sequence will result in a delay in the date of graduation from the program.

Class Enrollment

Classes begin in the Fall semester of each year. Applications will be accepted beginning in September for the class beginning the following fall. Interviews will be conducted in the period from February -March. The incoming class will be selected by mid April. All prerequisite courses must be completed, and grades received by the Registrar’s Office prior to the start of classes in the Fall.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

As a graduate program, students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.