Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
This is an entry-level, residential master’s program for individuals wishing to become occupational therapists. The mission of the program is to prepare high quality practitioners to meet patient needs in changing healthcare delivery settings. The program provides a strong foundation of critical inquiry applied to practice, education, and administration of healthcare.
Length of Program
The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is a 27-month, full-time program of study offered in a residential format, culminating in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree (MSOT). The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is 87 credit hours.
Philosophy of the Occupational Therapy Program
The philosophy of the Occupational Therapy program is based on the belief that humans are occupational beings who are shaped and influenced by many factors. These factors include personal factors, such as the genetic makeup, and environmental factors, such as culture, social organization and systems, and life experiences across the lifespan. Occupation, observed in countless forms, provides a basis for engagement with the world.
The philosophical base of the profession rests on the belief in occupations as a health determinant, engagement in occupations is necessary, and meaningful occupations benefit all people and populations. Engagement in occupations affects the ability to achieve health and well-being. Occupations occur across the lifespan and are influenced and impacted by many contextual factors. The occupational therapy profession values occupations as a therapeutic means and end to facilitate function, health, and quality of life (AOTA, 2011).
The program adheres to the belief that students are active learners who acquire knowledge best when they are able to integrate theoretical and didactic content through experiential learning activities, in the classroom, clinic, and community. Learning is accomplished when instructors are facilitators for students, who work together in communities of learning and practice, to engage in ongoing discourse to understand, analyze, critically evaluate, and apply information. The program faculty believes that students need a thorough grounding in foundational knowledge and skills; these foundational competencies serve to scaffold more complex information. Complete mastery of foundational concepts is not required before higher-level skills and learning can be introduced in an integrated manner as students learn to build on simple concepts, integrate concepts, and apply them to practice.
The MSOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA is 301.652.2682. ACOTE website: www.acoteonline.org
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) following the completion of their academic coursework and fieldwork experiences. NBCOT is located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, phone: 301.990.7979, fax: 301.869.8492, web www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). All states within the United States require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition is due twice a year at ATSU. It is due at the beginning of the first and second semester. Each payment is half the cost for the entire year. Tuition may be paid any time during the week that it is due. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year. For more information on Student Account Collection, please reference ATSU Policy #50-112 within the Financial Policies section of this catalog.
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Applications to the residential entry–level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program are processed through the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Applications may be obtained through OTCAS at www.otcas.org. Questions regarding the OTCAS account may be directed to OTCAS at 617.612.2860 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All other questions should be sent to Admissions at email@example.com or 866.626.2878 ext. 2237.
Applications for the Occupational Therapy Entry-Level Program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, but applicants are encouraged to apply early. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.
- Candidates accepted for admission will have earned a baccalaureate degree from an school accredited by a US Department of Education institutional accreditor prior to matriculation.
- GPA Requirements: Applicants must have achieved a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average overall or minimum of 2.75 cumulative grade point average for the last 60 credits or if under a minimum of 2.75 cumulative grade point average for the last 60 credits there may be special considerations for a holistic approach.
- Applicants are required to submit all official college or academic transcripts.
- Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 20 contact/observation hours in the occupational therapy field. More than one setting is recommended.
- Applicants must secure three (3) letters of reference. One of these letters must be written by: a present or former faculty member, academic advisor, or employer. One reference letter should come from a professional from the occupational therapy field or another clinical supervisor. The final letter can come from a reference of your choice, but may not be from a friend or family member. Letters from an educational consulting service will not be accepted. New letters of reference must be submitted for each application year.
- Applicants who are considered potential candidates will be invited to participate in an applicant interview process.
- Applicants must complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the academic term prior to matriculation at ATSU.
- Applicants are expected to be computer literate and experienced in word processing. All curricula require extensive computer usage. Accepted applicants are required to have a laptop computer prior to the first day of class.
- Students must obtain and maintain Health Care Provider level of CPR certification from either the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. Verification must be submitted to the Occupational Therapy department prior to enrollment.
- Applicants are required to submit to a criminal background check at their own expense. Applicants need to be aware that having a felony conviction might impact a graduate’s future ability to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam and/or ability to obtain state licensure to practice.
- All students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to the Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T Still University. You can find information on the methods by which you can demonstrate your English Proficiency in the ATSU-ASHS General Admissions section.
- Applicants who wish to be considered for more than one ATSU-ASHS program, including both Occupational Therapy programs, MSOT and OTD-entry level (and including Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Audiology), must submit separate application fees, transcripts and references. Acceptance to ATSU-ASHS is to a specific program and is not transferable to any other program. Application materials are not transferable from one application year to another.
- Applications for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy-entry level program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, which means that seats are offered to qualified applicants beginning in October and ending when all seats are filled. For that reason, applicants are encouraged to apply early as seats fill quickly.
- Human Anatomy: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours
- Human Physiology: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours (Note: Human Anatomy/Physiology I and II may be substituted for the above courses)
Science: In addition to numbers one and two above, two courses for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours each from one of the following: General Biology I & II, Microbiology, Chemistry (Physical, Organic, Biochemistry) or Physics. Preference for courses with lab.
- Statistics: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours. Course must be behavioral, education, psychological or mathematical statistics.
- Lifespan Human Development: This requirement can be met by having one course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours that covers human development from birth through gerontology. It can also be met by having a child development or child psychology course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours, in addition to a gerontology or psychology of aging course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
- Introduction or General Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
- Abnormal Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
- Introduction to Sociology OR Cultural Anthropology: One course either in Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Anthropology or Cultural Anthropology for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
- English: Two courses of composition, grammar/literature, for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
- Humanities: Two courses (e.g., philosophy, religion, literature, fine arts, logic, ethics, or foreign language), for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
- Medical Terminology: one course for a minimum 1 semester hour/1 quarter hour.
To earn a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree, all students in the residential program must:
- Complete all didactic coursework with a passing grade and maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
- Complete a minimum of 6 hours of volunteer work per semester for the first three semesters of your curriculum (total = 18 hours)
- Complete all Level II fieldworks with a passing grade within 24 months of successfully completing all didactic coursework.
- Attend and complete the Practice Competency: Certification Exam Prep Course
- Attend commencement activities and graduation.
MSOT Program Goals and Outcomes
Graduates from the MSOT program will be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to determine the unique needs of a wide variety of clients, to include individuals, small groups of individuals as well as larger groups of people.
- Approach occupational therapy practice from a holistic viewpoint, incorporating all aspects of the individual’s or group’s life and culture.
- Incorporate the therapeutic use of self through collaboration with others.
- Demonstrate the ability provide meaningful occupational therapy services for all clients, recognizing the necessary assessments, tools, interventions and outcomes are dependent on the client, who can be an individual, a small community, or a larger group of people.
- Identify and demonstrate elements of health and wellness in their own lives, serving as a model for others.
- Facilitate interventions, activities and programming to promote health and well-being for all clients.
- Select appropriate evaluation processes and tools for assessing function based on occupational therapy frames of reference and models of practice.
- Develop and implement appropriate occupational therapy treatment plans and interventions that reflect client needs including cultural, socioeconomic, age, gender and lifestyle factors.
- Modify and revise treatment goals and interventions based on the client’s progress.
- Develop and implement programming that facilitates responsibility for personal health and quality of life.
- Understand health disparities and the cultural influences on health and recovery.
- Engage in interventions, activities and programming to serve the underserved.
- Understand the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics, and will demonstrate moral responsibility and ethical practice during their professional training.
- Demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making that reflect ethical occupational therapy practice.
- Demonstrate a commitment to their profession, by participating in professional organization activities and/or scholarship opportunities.
- Communicate the value of occupations, helping all clients to identify the meaningful activities that promote engagement in life.
- Articulate and demonstrate the role and value of occupational therapy to the public and other health care professionals.
- Utilize occupations, in many forms, as a means to achieve health and wellness for all clients.
- Demonstrate entry-level skills needed for management and administration of occupational therapy services, including leadership, advocacy, marketing, and consultation.
- Apply accepted principles of scientific inquiry, evidence based practice, and research design to support occupational therapy theory, enhance practice, and meet the challenges of changing health care delivery systems.
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, phone: 301.990.7979, fax: 301.869.8492, web: www.nbcot.org. Upon passing the NBCOT exam, Entry- Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy graduates and Entry-Level MSOT graduates are then eligible to apply for state licensure in their state of residence. All states within the United States require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Academic Progression Transfer Policy: MSOT Program to OTD Program
The OT program at ATSU has two distinct entry-level occupational therapy degree programs – OTD and MSOT. Each student is admitted and matriculates into one of the two programs. The curriculum between the two programs are the same for the first year of coursework. However, after the first year is completed, the curriculum becomes distinct between the OTD and MSOT programs. The transfer process is conceived as a continuum of academic progression. Each students’ request for transfer is constrained by the time of the request and is dependent upon application approval.
Students in good academic standing during the first year are eligible to request transfer from MSOT to the OTD program. The student must not have failed any course in the first year, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have demonstrated ability and professionalism in handling the rigor and demands of the program. The transfer GPA will be the average of GPA at the time of admission to the program and the first year GPA.
Students may request a one-time transfer from the MSOT program to the OTD program. Such transfers must take place within one year of matriculation into the ATSU occupational therapy program. Students who want to transfer from the MSOT program to the OTD program must request the transfer in the spring semester of the first year (minimum 4 weeks before end of term) in order for the department to complete the required steps of the transfer process including appropriate paperwork with enrollment services prior to the first day of the fall semester of the student’s second year. Once the first day of the fall semester of the student’s second year begins, the student is no longer eligible to request a transfer.
Transfer request process
The student requesting the transfer must generate a written statement explaining why he or she is requesting the transfer to the OTD program. He or she will then submit the statement to the program chair for approval. Once the chair receives the request, the chair will meet with the student requesting the transfer to discuss their academic plan and ensure that the student understands the expectations of the OTD degree and is making an informed choice. The chair will then present this request to the OT faculty who, as the Academic Review Board, will determine the suitability of the student for the OTD program. Submission of a request for transfer is not guaranteed approval.
In cases of extenuating circumstances, regardless of the degree program the student has matriculated into, the University’s academic and absence policies will apply.