About Occupational Therapy at UNE

Earn your OT degree in Portland, Maine with the University of New England — recognized as a top university by The Princeton Review. The UNE M.S.O.T. empowers students to become innovative occupational therapists who influence the health and wellness of people and communities through the transformative power of occupation.

Become a Leader in the Growing Field of OT

The University of New England Occupational Therapy program is a community of scholars and students who are passionate about the transformative power of everyday activities. We define “occupation” as any activity that brings a sense of meaning to a patient — from a child learning to play to a senior maintaining the ability to cook. Be a part of our innovative OT degree program in beautiful Maine. Find your purpose in helping others connect with their purpose. 

Fill out the form below to download an info sheet on UNE’s M.S.O.T.


What Makes the UNE M.S.O.T. Special?

Experience All Areas of Practice

UNE M.S.O.T. students develop a diversity of career options through engagement with the full range of practice areas. You’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients. Discover OT Fieldwork at UNE

Study With Innovative Scholars

Two U N E Occupational Therapy students working with a professor in the O T Lab

You will have a fascinating OT education in the care of faculty who are engaged with and dedicated to your progress. Our team includes nationally recognized scholars who bring the leading edge of theory and practice to the classroom. See OT Research

Learn With Other Health Professions

Occupational Therapy students in Portland, Maine.

UNE is a leading health university, so our OT students receive interprofessional training alongside future doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. You’ll learn how to collaborate in today’s team-based care. About the Occupational Therapy Degree Program 

Partnerships and Peers

occupational therapy class of 2018 students stand in a 2018 shape

With UNE’s long-term community partnerships, you’ll have access to fascinating field learning. Through these relationships and our welcoming, supportive culture, you’ll build a strong network for your occupational therapy career. View the M.S.O.T. Curriculum

Meet Alumnus Matthew Capaldo, ‘13

"The University of New England OT program casts a very wide net in order to allow us to learn a multitude of skills in different clinical backgrounds.” — Matthew Capaldo ’13; Director of Rehabilitation at Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center in Boston

Read M.S.O.T. Testimonials

Quality academics, respected degrees

UNE is proud of the recognition we've received for our OT master’s program, which echoes the success of our students: 100% of our 2019 to 2021 graduates passed the NBCOT licensure exam within one year.

Best Colleges: National
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Live and study in Portland, Maine

UNE M.S.O.T. students study on our Portland, Maine campus, a classic New England quad with brick buildings and tall trees that's about 100 miles from downtown Boston. Portland, named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes and “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appetit, is the city on every list. A rustic port hosts a cool cultural scene — with outdoor adventure all around. UNE’s campus is just 10 minutes from downtown. Take a Virtual Tour

Portland harbor near the UNE health professions campus in Portland, Maine.

OT by the numbers


best master’s degree


best health care job

U.S. News and World Report, 2021

the 100 best jobs

U.S. News and World Report, 2021

Additional Information


Our mission is to develop, innovative, and collaborative OT practitioners and leaders who respond to the dynamic needs of people and communities to support health and wellness through occupational engagement.


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

NBCOT Exam Pass Rates

M.S. program graduates are eligible to take the certification examination administered by the National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy. Learn more about the exam and UNE pass rates


The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at UNE was initially accredited in 1985 and has been continuously accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) since that time. Our next accreditation visit will occur in the 2024/2025 academic year. ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number, C/O AOTA is (301) 652-6611 and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) supports health and wellness by helping patients participate in the daily activities (occupations) that are meaningful to them. Daily occupations can range from tying your shoes, to cooking, to playing your favorite sport. With an occupational therapy career, you’ll work with clients to modify tasks, activities, contexts and environments to better support their engagement and participation in the things they want to do.

UNE’s Portland, Maine-based Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) degree program provides aspiring occupational therapists with the skills needed to make a difference in the lives of their future patients. Through our expert faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and interprofessional education practices, UNE OT students have the opportunity to learn side-by-side with students from other health professions.

What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Occupational therapy and physical therapy work together frequently, and they have similarities as well as important distinctions. An occupational therapist (OT) is ultimately concerned with addressing how a client accesses and participates in activities that hold meaning within day-to-day functioning. Physical therapists (PTs) focus on improving the patient's ability to move their body. PTs help individuals to avoid surgery and prescription medications, maximize mobility, manage pain and chronic conditions, and improve overall physical function and fitness.

As a student in UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program, you have the opportunity to collaborate with our physical therapy faculty and students in classroom, clinical, and even global settings. UNE is one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission that encourages interprofessional learning opportunities.

What does an occupational therapist do?

An occupational therapist is a health care professional that works in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, and community centers to help patients participate in important activities. As an occupational therapist, you could work with neurodivergent toddlers learning to play with toys, help injured athletes explore adaptive sports, support senior citizens in arranging their kitchen so they can cook at home, and much more.

Practicing OTs typically start patient treatment with an evaluation of their patient’s history, experiences, and goals. Occupational therapy treatment continues with a customized intervention plan that helps the patient participate in the occupations that matter to them.

With an occupational therapy master’s, you’ll be able to support people in participating in activities that bring them a sense of purpose, meaning, and independence.

How long does it take to become an occupational therapist?

Becoming an occupational therapist will require you to earn a four-year undergraduate degree, as well as a two-year OT master’s degree from an accredited occupational therapy graduate program. From there, you will have to pass a licensure exam in order to practice OT.

Undergraduate Degree

If you intend to become an occupational therapist, it’s a good idea to start with a bachelor’s degree within a relevant area, such as psychology or biology. UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program accepts applicants with many different bachelor’s degrees, as long as they have taken the UNE Master of Science in Occupational Therapy prerequisite courses. Our M.S.O.T. faculty have found that graduates of UNE’s Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies undergraduate program are well prepared to enter UNE’s OT master’s program.

Graduate Degree

The next step is to attend an accredited university to earn your occupational therapy graduate degree. UNE’s Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) program is an excellent option if you are seeking a career as a practicing clinician in occupational therapy. Qualified applicants can complete UNE’s OT master’s program in two years of study which includes four semesters of coursework and two semesters of fieldwork.

Pass the NBCOT

After completing your M.S.O.T., you will need to pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination to practice in the United States. The NBCOT exam is offered to graduates via computer and is scheduled “on-demand” at various testing centers across the USA. Since 2019, UNE OT graduates have had a 99% pass rate of the NBCOT within one year of graduating.

Do you need a doctorate in occupational therapy?

You do not need a doctoral degree to be a licensed occupational therapist. There are currently two academic entry points into the profession of occupational therapy for occupational therapists, an entry level master’s degree or an entry level doctoral degree.

M.S.O.T. graduates who pass the NBCOT are prepared to enter clinical OT practice. Those interested in leadership activities beyond the traditional clinical OT role may consider the additional time and investment required for a doctoral degree in occupational therapy.

At UNE, our two-year M.S.O.T. degree program is an excellent option if you are seeking a career as a practicing clinician in occupational therapy.

What is the best occupational therapy program for me?

When looking for the right occupational therapy degree program, academic quality is a key consideration. Licensure exam pass rates are a useful indicator of how well any OT program’s students are prepared for success. Since 2019, 99% of UNE M.S.O.T. graduates have passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination within one year of graduating.

You should also choose an OT program that offers an engaging educational experience. In your two years of study at UNE earning a master’s in OT, you’ll be immersed in the study, and practice of occupational therapy. In addition to coursework, students have the opportunity to become involved in community based projects, pursue leadership opportunities, and engage in research and scholarship. All of these experiences are designed to enhance your entry level skills as you work toward your goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

While in UNE’s M.S.O.T. degree program, you’ll learn side-by-side with students from other health care disciplines, gaining the skills to collaborate when you enter the workplace. UNE pursues a health-focused mission that includes programs in medicine, dental medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and an array of allied health professions, so UNE students benefit from an interprofessional health education.

Another reason for choosing an occupational therapy program is the amount of academic and community support. At UNE, OT students learn in a non-competitive and supportive environment, and UNE faculty genuinely care about their students. There are also plenty of academic support systems available to help students stay on track.

Location and quality of life are other considerations. Students of the UNE OT master’s program study on our Portland, Maine campus, a classic New England quad with brick buildings and tall trees that's about 100 miles from downtown Boston. Take a Virtual Tour of our Portland Campus.

Of course, you should attend a program that fits your financial capabilities and is in good national accreditation standing through ACOTE (Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education).

What is an occupational therapist salary?

The median annual occupational therapist salary was $92,800 in May of 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OT salaries can depend on where you work, level of training and experience. UNE M.S.O.T. alumni are employed all over the US, from Alaska to Maine, California to Florida and everywhere in between.