Apr 16, 2024  
2018-19 ATSU University Catalog 
2018-19 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy (Residential), MS

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program - residential

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 is 28 months in length and 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 will consist of 78 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, and are not limited, to person factors such as the genetic makeup, and environmental factors such as culture, social organization and systems, life experiences across the lifespan. It is believed that 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, and impact the ability to achieve health and wellbeing. 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.

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.

Class/Year Tuition Educational Supply Fee
Class of 2021, year 1 $33,434.00 $1,150.00
Class of 2020, year 2 $33,434.00 $1,150.00
Class of 2019, year 2 $13,732.00 $350.00


Application Process

ASHS’ MS in OT program participates in a centralized application processing service called 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 otcasinfo@otcas.org. All other questions should be sent to Admissions at admissions@atsu.edu or 866.626.2878 ext. 2237.

Application Deadline

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 late August.

Admission Requirements

  1. Candidates accepted for admission will have earned a baccalaureate degree from an U.S. regionally accredited institution prior to matriculation.
  2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA, and a 2.75 science GPA (on a 4.00 scale). Applications will not be considered unless both the cumulative and the science GPA scores meet the stated minimum requirements. Additionally, the ATSU Admissions department does not recalculate GPA.
  3. Applicants are required to submit all official college or academic transcripts.
  4. Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 20 contact/observation hours in the occupational therapy field. More than one setting is recommended.
  5. 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.
  6. Applicants who are considered potential candidates will be invited to participate in an applicant interview process.
  7. Applicants must complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the academic term prior to matriculation at ATSU.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 General Admissions section. International Admissions Requirements
  12. 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.
  13. 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. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.

Prerequisite Courses

  1. Human Anatomy: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours
  2. 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)
  3. Science: In addition to numbers one and two above, one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours from one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, or Physics
  4. Statistics: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours. Course must be behavioral, education, psychological or mathematical statistics. Business statistics does not fulfill this requirement
  5. 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
  6. Introduction or General Psychology; one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  7. Abnormal Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  8. 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
  9. English: Two courses of composition, grammar/literature, for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
  10. Humanities: Two courses (e.g., philosophy, religion, literature, fine arts, logic, ethics, or foreign language), for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
  11. Medical Terminology: one course for a minimum 1 semester hour/1 quarter hour.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree, all students in the residential program must:

  1. Complete with a passing grade of all didactic coursework and maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
  2. Complete with a passing score of all Level II fieldwork, within 24 months of completion of didactic coursework.
  3. Complete a directed research project and a project presentation.
  4. Discharge all financial obligations to ATSU.
  5. Participate in the NBCOT certification exam workshop.
  6. Attend commencement activities and graduation


The MSOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, 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.

MSOT Program Goals and Outcomes

Graduates from the MSOT program will be able to:

  1. 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.
    1. Approach occupational therapy practice from a holistic viewpoint, incorporating all aspects of the individual’s or group’s life and culture.
    2. Incorporate the therapeutic use of self through collaboration with others.
  2. 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.
  3. Identify and demonstrate elements of health and wellness in their own lives, serving as a model for others.
  4. Facilitate interventions, activities and programming to promote health and well-being for all clients.
    1. Select appropriate evaluation processes and tools for assessing function based on occupational therapy frames of reference and models of practice.
    2. Develop and implement appropriate occupational therapy treatment plans and interventions that reflect client needs including cultural, socioeconomic, age, gender and lifestyle factors.
    3. Modify and revise treatment goals and interventions based on the client’s progress.
    4. Develop and implement programming that facilitates responsibility for personal health and life-
  5. Understand health disparities and the cultural influences on health and recovery.
  6. Engage in interventions, activities and programming to serve the underserved.
  7. Understand the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics, and will demonstrate moral responsibility and ethical practice during their professional training.
    1. Demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making that reflect ethical occupational therapy practice.
  8. Demonstrate a commitment to their profession, by participating in professional organization activities and/or scholarship opportunities.
  9. Communicate the value of occupations, helping all clients to identify the meaningful activities that promote engagement in life.
    1. Articulate and demonstrate the role and value of occupational therapy to the public and other health care professionals.
  10. Utilize occupations, in many forms, as a means to achieve health and wellness for all clients.
  11. Demonstrate entry-level skills needed for management and administration of occupational therapy services, including leadership, advocacy, marketing, and consultation.
  12. 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.

Academic Progression Transfer Policy: MSOT Program to OTD Program

Background: 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. Curriculum between the two programs is the same for 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. Students’ request for transfer is constrained by the time of request and their matriculated degree program.

Eligibility: 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.

Timeline: 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, i.e., MSOT or OTD, the University’s academic and absence policies will apply.


Courses: Descriptions and Credit Values

A typical course schedule consists of the following. Additional course options may be available and listed below under Other Courses.

*All level II fieldwork must be completed within 24-months following completion of academic course work. Fieldwork placements will be scheduled at facilities throughout the United States. Students will be scheduled for a variety of experiences that reflect various age groups, diagnostic categories, and service delivery models

Third Year Fall Semester

Optional Certificate in Public Health (additional curriculum for MSOT students)

All MSOT students will have the option to obtain the Certificate in Public Health through the College of Graduate Health Studies at A.T. Still University unless a Master’s in Public Health has been previously awarded. The additional courses for the certificate are not included in the MSOT tuition fee.