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Occupational Therapy

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Westbrook College of Health Professions

Department of Occupational Therapy

Jane O'Brien


The mission of the Occupational Therapy Department is to develop competent, compassionate occupational therapy practitioners and scholars through a dynamic, student-centered, occupation-based educational program.


Our vision is to lead the profession in the meeting society’s occupational needs by fostering excellence in occupational therapy teaching, scholarship and service.

Degree Description

Occupational therapy is a health profession whose practitioners work with clients of all ages and diagnoses.  The goal of occupational therapy intervention is to increase the ability of the person to participate in everyday activities, including feeding, dressing, bathing, leisure, work, education and social participation. 

Occupational therapy practitioners  work in  hospitals, clinics, schools, rehabilitation centers, home care programs, community health centers, psychiatric facilities, or nursing homes. With experience, the therapist might function in private practice, as a university faculty member, as an administrator, or as a consultant.

The graduate occupational therapy (OT) curriculum is designed to facilitate occupation-based, client-centered practice, critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Courses emphasize life-long learning and professional responsibilities and help students become competent practitioners. Workshops, lectures, intervention labs, small group classes and community clinical experiences help students apply and integrate practice grounded in theory.
In addition the graduate OT program at Westbrook College of Health Professions emphasizes inter-professional education among all the health professions at the University, including nursing, nurse anesthesia, athletic training, applied exercise science, physical therapy, social work, dental hygiene, physician assistant, pharmacy, public health, and osteopathic medical students.

Learning Outcomes

The OT Department’s goal is to develop competent, compassionate practitioners and scholars. 
Upon completion of the Occupational Therapy curriculum, the student will: 

  • Foundations
    • Have acquired, as a prerequisite, a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences
    • Have an understanding, awareness, and appreciation of social, global and cultural  issues.
    • Be prepared as a generalist with a broad exposure to delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • Occupation across the Lifespan
    • Articulate and apply evidence-based occupational therapy.
    • Demonstrate entry-level competence in person-centered and occupation-based practice.
  • Communication and Leadership
    • Commit to uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
    • Differentiate roles and responsibilities within occupational therapy.
    • Perform as a competent and compassionate inter-professional practitioner.
  • Critical Thinking in the OT process
    • Advocate for occupational therapy services and for the recipients of those services.
    • Demonstrate effective critical thinking/clinical reasoning/interpersonal reasoning in occupational therapy practice.
  • Scholarship and Research
    • Commit to engage in lifelong learning and utilization of evidence-based practice.
    • Synthesize information from research and knowledge bases to support practice.
    • Participate in professional and/or inter-professional growth and dissemination of research and knowledge.

The Occupational Therapy Program was first awarded accreditation in January 1985. The OT 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, MD 20824-1220. [(301) 652-AOTA].

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR).

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Results

Most states require licensure to practice. (State licensure requires NBCOT Certification Examination results). Eligibility for the National Certification Examination requires:

  • Master's degree, with a major in occupational therapy.
  • Successful completion of an accredited occupational therapy curriculum; and
  • Successful completion of a minimum of six months of supervised fieldwork (Level II).

Occupational Therapy, Master of Science Degree (2-year program)

The University of New England offers a 24-month Masters in Occupational Therapy Program (MS in OT). This is a full time 2-year program beginning in late May (summer term) each year. The program begins with a strong foundation in science including a functional anatomy and kinesiology course (4 credits), as well as a practice class focused on working with older people. In the fall semester the emphasis is on adults who have psycho-social and/or physical disabilities. The spring semester content focuses on working with children who have a wide range of abilities, therapeutic use of self, and developing research knowledge and skills. Upon completion of the first graduate year, students spend two semesters in full time fieldwork (summer and fall). They return in the spring to complete one semester of academic work to integrate and apply their learning.

Prerequisite Courses

Courses Specifics Semester Credits Quarter Credits
Human Anatomy & Physiology Labs 8 12
Neuroscience Lab 4 6
Introduction to Sociology   3 4
Introduction to Psychology   3 4
Abnormal Psychology   3 4
Human Development (Lifespan)   3 4
Statistics (taught in Math, Biology or Psychology dept.)   3 4
English Composition   3 4
  • Anatomy & Physiology and Neuroscience prerequisites must have been completed within seven (7) years prior to matriculation (taken summer 2007 or more recently). Anatomy & Physiology I & II courses must include all body systems and be a full-year (two semester sequence) or the equivalent. The courses must consist of 4 credits of anatomy with lab and 4 credits of physiology with lab OR 8 credits of A&P I & II (both with lab).Animal Physiology or Exercise Physiology will not satisfy the physiology prerequisite.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better (“C-“grades are not acceptable).
  • Prerequisites can be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but must be completed by May, prior to matriculation. Please include any in-progress or planned coursework in your OTCAS application. Upon completion of the in-progress or planned coursework please submit official transcripts to UNE's Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.
  • Courses in medical terminology, college level chemistry or physics, and introduction to occupational therapy arehighly recommended.

Academic/Experience Requirements

  • Successful completion of a Bachelor’s Degree, in any major, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses (listed above)
  • A minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Volunteer or work experience in a health or human service related setting
  • Please refer to Procedures and Policies section below

Admissions Requirements for UNE Undergraduates

UNE students in the BS in Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies major who have achieved high academic standing and who demonstrate strong interpersonal & professional skills may apply in the fall of their junior year for early admission to the master’s program.

  • Students will compete with the pool of Post Baccalaureate applicants and will be required to follow the “Procedures and Policies” section (see below).
  • Students who are accepted into the occupational therapy program:
    • Will not receive a Bachelor’s degree but will progress to the Master’s program after 3 years of undergraduate coursework.
    • Must complete a minimum of 90 credits of undergraduate work including all MS in OT prerequisites prior to entering the program in the summer after their third year.
  • Students who are not accepted into the occupational therapy program are encouraged to return for their final year of undergraduate coursework to complete the BS in Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies program. 
  • Students with a completed Bachelor’s Degree from the University of New England are encouraged to apply to the occupational therapy program as a Post Baccalaureate Student. Students will compete with the new applicant pool for admission into the occupational therapy program.

Note: Before matriculation, accepted applicants will need to obtain a physical exam with proof of up-to-date immunization status. Immunization of students is based on current Centers for Disease Control recommendations for health professionals. This information must be presented prior to matriculation. 

As required by clinical training sites, students will be subject to criminal background checks and drug screens periodically throughout the MS in OT program.

Procedures and Policies

  • Applications for admission are accepted through the Central Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS) by the posted deadline
  • Admissions are rolling and acceptance offers will be made after each interview session and continue until the program starts. Candidates are encouraged to apply early. The OTCAS application portal opens annually by August 1st
  • When reviewing applicants, the Admissions Committee will consider the full OTCAS application; student GPAs, related work or volunteer experience, personal statement and letters of reference.
  • On-campus interviews will be granted to qualified applicants upon invitation by the Admissions Committee, and are required for admission to the program beginning with the application cycle for summer 2014 matriculation. The on-campus interview will include an on-site writing sample.
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited institution in the US. See International Applicants for a list of educational credential evaluators.
  • Official transcripts for in progress degrees and other in progress or planned prerequisites must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions prior to matriculation. (This includes all degrees/coursework in progress and planned at the time of submission of the OTCAS application.)
  • International applicants must submit the International Student Supplemental Application Form at time of acceptance to the university.
  • All applicants to UNE must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university. UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency, see International Applicants. If applicable, the TOEFL requirement must be completed and the score received by the application deadline.

The Admission Committee reserves the right to make changes or exceptions to the admission policies and procedures without notice when it deems such a decision is appropriate. 

For additional information on the admissions process and requirements, please access the OT Website.

Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits are rarely awarded to students who transfer from another occupational therapy program. The program director will review and award transfer credits on a case-by-case basis.

Advanced Placement

There is no advanced placement.

Experiential Learning

No credit will be awarded to students for experiential learning.

Program Academic and Technical Standards

WCHP Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures

Technical Standards for the Profession of Occupational Therapy

The following abilities and skills are necessary to engage in the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of New England: 

  • Cognitive abilities to analyze, synthesize, and integrate information related to anatomy, physiology, human development, psychology, sociology, kinesiology, and occupational studies in order to make clinical judgments for planning and implementing effective occupation-based interventions.
  • Problem solving and judgment that promotes safety, optimal functional performance, remediation and adaptation.Time management and organizational skills to meet demands of classroom.
  • Interpersonal skills that include participating in classroom discussion, conducting interviews, observing subtle bodily cues, listening, responding, joint goal setting, and developing positive relationships.
  • Monitoring/assessing performance of self and others and making adjustments in behavior or promoting behavioral change in others to enhance occupational performance.
  • Reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English to develop positive client relationships, complete written documentation consistent with OT practice, and participate as a health care team member.
  • Sufficient postural and neuromuscular control and sensory functioning in order to perform physical examinations, such as balance, range of motion, and strength, and to accurately, safely, and efficiently use assessment tools, equipment, and other materials during occupational therapy intervention.
  • Emotional stability to handle the demands of a  health care environment, focus on helping others, being dependable, meeting commitments, being forthcoming about one’s own needs, and conducting one’s self in a professional manner.
  • Ability to maintain personal appearance and hygiene conducive to working in clinical and community settings.

Professional Development Evaluation for MS OT Graduate Students - Key Areas

Communication Skills:

  • The student is able to communicate  in class, in groups and in one to one situations.
  • The student accepts constructive criticism.
  • Non-verbal behavior reflects an interest in lectures, respect for guests, peers and faculty.

Assumes Responsibility for own Learning:

  • The student shows good time management skills.
  • Assignments are consistently completed on time.
  • The student takes the initiative to make up missed assignments and classes.
  • The student demonstrates evidence of honesty and  integrity in doing his/her own work.

Interpersonal Skills:

  • The student is cooperative and  tactful with peers and instructors.
  • The student exhibits self-confidence.

Problem Solving Skills:

  • The student demonstrates self-awareness.
  • The student adopts behavior based on feedback from faculty/peers.
  • The student shows evidence of the ability to manage change and disruptions to a schedule in a professional manner.

Professionalism in Simulations – Fieldwork:

  • The student presents a “professional appearance”.
  • The student demonstrates ability to make/keep appointments.
  • The student interacts professionally with peers, clients, speakers and faculty.
Curricular Requirements
Program Required Courses  
OTR 505 - Foundations of OT 3
OTR 520 - Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology 4
OTR 503 - Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Older Adults 3
OTR 503L - OT Interventions w/ Older Adults 2
OTR 522 - Communications, Culture & Group Process 2
OTR 513 - Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Mental Health 3
OTR 513L - OT Interventions in Mental Health 0
OTR 515 - Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Adults 3
OTR 515L - OT Interventions w/ Adults 2
OTR 502 - Occupational Analysis 3
OTR 524 - Applied UE Interventions 2
OTR 526 - Integrative Practice w/Adults 3
OTR 621 - Health Care Management & Administration 3
OTR 611 - Biopsychosocial Dimensions of Children 3
OTR 611L - OT Interventions w/ Children 2
OTR 614 - Therapeutic Use of Self & Group Intervention 2
OTR 610 - Integrative Practice w/Children 3
OTR 628 - Research Methods & Design 3
OTR 601 - Fieldwork IIA 6
OTR 602 - Fieldwork IIB 6
OTR 619 - Evidence Based Practice 3
OTR 630 - Essentials for Practice in OT 3
OTR 640 - Neuro-occupation 3
OTR 650 - Leadership/Advocacy within Delivery Systems 3
Student must take one (1) of the following: 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, 641 or an approved elective from another department  
OTR 605 - Special Interest Practice Seminar 3
OTR 606 - Cognitive Neurorehabilitation 3
OTR 607 - Hand Therapy 3
OTR 608 - Advanced School Based OT 3
OTR 609 - Advanced Listening Skills for Health Professions 3
OTR 641 - Advanced Applied Motor Control 3
Approved elective from other department 3
Total 73

Clinical Experiences
Students complete Level I Fieldwork experiences as part of didactic courses in a variety of community settings. This experience reinforces class concepts. Students are supervised by qualified personnel including occupational therapists, teachers, social workers, public health nurses, and physical therapists.

Level II Fieldwork emphasizes the application of knowledge by providing the student with an in-depth experience in delivery of occupational therapy service to patients/clients. Students complete two full time level II fieldwork experiences, each is 3 months long. A third three-month internship may be recommended for some students or a specialty internship may be elected.

The expenses incurred for room and board during these internships, and travel to and from them, are the responsibility of each student. Students may complete fieldwork at any approved location.

The requirements for Level II fieldwork include:

  • A minimum of six months (24 weeks, full time) of Level II Fieldwork experience, preferably with at least three months on a full-time sustained basis;
  • Completion of all fieldwork experience no later than 24 months following completion of academic preparation;
  • Direct supervision provided by a registered occupational therapist with at least one year of experience.
Learning Outcomes

The OT Department's goal is to develop competent, compassionate practitioners and scholars.

Upon completion of the Occupational Therapy curriculum, the student will be able to:

1. Foundations

  • Have acquired, as a foundation for professional study, a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences and an understanding of issues related to diversity.
  • Be educated as a generalist with a broad exposure to delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service. 

2.  Occupation across the Lifespan

  • Articulate and apply occupational therapy theory and evidence based evaluations and interventions to achieve expected outcomes as related to occupation.
  • Demonstrate entry-level competence in clinical performance across the lifespan.

3. Communication and Leadership

  • Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Define distinct roles and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant in the supervisory process.
  • Perform as a competent and compassionate interZprofessional practitioner.

4. Critical Thinking in the OT process

  • Advocate as a professional for occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking/clinical reasoning and problem solving abilities for OT practice.

5. Scholarship and Research

  • Engage in lifelong learning and demonstrate evidence-based professional practice.
  • Synthesize information from research and knowledge bases that support practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge. 
Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Graduation Requirements

Students must successfully complete all courses prior to graduation and fulfill all curriculum requirements.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2013-2014 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication August 12, 2013.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.