Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Occupational Science - Pre-OT program

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Occupational Science

Become an Occupational Therapist

Exciting News! This fall of 2017, we are starting our Occupational Science major that can serve as a dual degree program that would give qualified GMercyU students a way to earn both a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Occupational Science and a Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy* without having to apply to graduate school or take a graduate school entrance exam.

The BHS in Occupational Science and MS in Occupational Therapy Program is a 5 ½ year combined undergraduate and graduate program housed within the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Let GMercyU help you become an OT professional.

Program Summary

126 undergraduate credits for BHS in Occupational Science (with 38 additional credits for MS in Occupational Therapy)
3 years of pre-professional liberal arts education, 2 1/2 years professional Occupational Therapy education
Occupational Science major launching Fall of 2017
Occupational Therapy major anticipated* to launch in May 2018

What is Occupational Science?

Occupational Science is a science that focuses on the activities or “occupations” of everyday living. This growing field of study takes a holistic approach to better understanding the meaning, function and abilities of healthy and disabled individuals to participate in and perform daily activities and live a satisfying life.  Courses in liberal arts with a strong foundation in the behavioral sciences, particularly psychology, coupled with courses in occupational science will expand your ability to understand how people develop, recover, manage and improve essential skills for daily living.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

Occupational therapists focus on improving a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks and activities (occupations) – from childhood to older adulthood.  As an occupational therapist, you might:

  • Enable young children with a developmental delay to improve their ability to play or participate in school and other social activities
  • Assist an adult with an orthopedic injury to regain use of his or her hand and arm, allowing him or her to perform daily activities more independently
  • Help older adults who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury perform self-care and household activities so they can return home safely from the hospital or skilled nursing facility
  • Provide strategies to adolescents with severe mental illness to aid them in finding and securing employment in order to live on their own

A developmental delay or other type of disability can alter one’s ability to perform meaningful daily activities.  A registered occupational therapist helps people to cope and manage their daily activities, as well as adapt to environments in a way that best supports their safety and independence.



Paths of Entry

There are three paths of entry into the dual degree program in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

First, a select number of high school graduates will enter as freshmen. High school seniors must hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 scale), 1080 combined Math and Verbal SAT or at least a 22 on the ACT with no subsection under 20. CLEP or AP credits are not accepted for courses in Anatomy and Physiology, General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology or Statistics.

Second, a select number of non-Occupational Science major undergraduate students at GMercyU can apply to transfer into the dual degree major. It is required that these students have completed 12 or more credits at Gwynedd Mercy University, maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 scale) or greater, complete an application that includes a written essay, and conduct an in-person interview with an Division faculty member.

Third, pending current cohort size, a limited number of students from other academic institutions may be eligible to transfer directly into the Occupational Science major if the if they have completed 12 or more credits, maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 scale) or greater, complete an application that includes a written essay, and conduct an in-person interview with an Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Division faculty member. No more than 35 credits completed within the last 5 years could be transferred into the general education requirements required of an Occupational Science major.

Requirements for Entry into Occupational Therapy Program

Occupational Science majors are guaranteed entry into the Occupational Therapy Program the summer after their junior year if the following criteria are met:

  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or greater.
  • Prerequisite courses (General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Sociology, Anatomy and Physiology I and II with lab, and Statistics) combined GPA of 3.0 or greater and earn a “C” or better in all non-prerequisite courses.
  • Completed and documented 50 hours or more of occupational therapy observation beginning in the fall of their freshman year to the spring of their junior year.
  • Attest to being able to meet the essential functions of occupational therapy practice:
    1. Observational skills: utilizing senses to identify and define problems that may arise.
    2. Communication skills: read, speak, and write in English at the college level.
    3. Assimilate information: demonstrate the mental capacity to understand, problem solve, and make judgements in order to promote safety.
    4. Sensory and motor skills: able to participate in physical activity that can include continuous sitting, standing, walking, bending, reaching, pulling, lifting, stooping, kneeling, crawling, and performing medium work such as exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 20 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
    5. Social skills: interacting with others in a professional, courteous, and collaborative manner while using good judgment for confidentiality.
    6. Professionalism: demonstrate mature and professional behaviors with other students, faculty, colleagues and clients on fieldwork. Includes an openness to receive mentor feedback about academic or fieldwork performance and adherence to academic and fieldwork policies and procedures.


In September 2016, we declared our intent to develop a new MSOT program to meet the growing demand for qualified occupational therapists. We are currently recognized as an “Applicant Program” with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE ®) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Our entry-level Occupational Therapy Master’s degree program has applied for accreditation 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 20814-3449. ACOTE®’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is Our MSOT program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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®). After successful completion of this exam, graduates will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR®). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT® Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure. For more information on the steps towards our accreditation, please visit our MSOT degree page.


The four year Occupational Science major includes three years of pre-professional studies with a focus on liberal arts, occupational science, health science, and general education. The fourth year begins the professional phase of the Occupational Therapy Program (at an undergraduate tuition rate). The Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy courses that are offered in this dual degree Program are listed below:

Year 1:
OSC 101: Introduction to Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (3 credits)

Year 2:
OSC 201: Study of the Form, Function, and Meaning of Occupation (2 credits)

Year 3:
OSC 301: Lived Experience of Disability and Occupation (2 credits)

Year 4:
OSC 402: Neuroscience of Occupational Behavior (2 credits)
OSC 403: Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (4 credits)
OSC 404: Therapeutic Use of Self (2 credits)
OSC 405: Foundations of Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
OSC 406: Creativity and Activity Analysis (2 credits)
OSC 407: Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
OSC 408: Therapeutic Environments and Service Delivery (2 credits)
OSC 4000: Development of Humans as Occupational Beings Capstone (2 credits)
OSC 410: Professional Development I: Ethics, Values, and Responsibilities (2 credits)
OSC 411: Health and Medical Conditions: Children and Youth (3 credits)
OSC 412: Occupational Therapy Process: Children and Youth (4 credits)
OSC 413: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Children and Youth (1 credit)
OSC 414: Research Methods I: Evidence-based Practice (3 credits)
OSC 415: Ethics in Occupational Therapy (2 credits)
OSC 416: Professional Development II: Scholarship (2 credits)

Please note: All professional phase Occupational Therapy students (senior year and beyond)  are required to obtain the following annually – criminal background check, child abuse clearance, DHS and DOE fingerprint clearances, drug screen, student membership to AOTA, and student membership to POTA. All students will be required to have a current CPR certification and a laptop.

Additional Occupational Therapy course listings can be found on the MSOT degree page.

The GMercyU Difference

Don’t let the name fool you. GMercyU’s BHS in Occupational Science is less focused on mastering the physical sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics, and more focused on the science of helping improve the daily lives others.  

As an Occupational Science student, the bulk of your major courses will focus on the liberal arts, including human development, psychology, and occupational science. These courses will help you develop the knowledge needed to better understand the challenges faced by those with disabilities. In doing so, Occupational Science students are uniquely prepared to enter into our Occupational Therapy Program.

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

Occupational Therapy Career Opportunities

Job growth in the field of occupational therapy is expected to grow by 27% over the next 8-10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational therapy is ranked #9 in the "10 best jobs in 2017" according to CareerCast.

Philadelphia is ranked #5 in top cities for occupational therapy jobs according to Reflectx.