Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) major is a 2 1/4 year graduate program housed in the Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Program within the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions.
|2 1/4 years (including 5 academic and 1 fieldwork term)|
|Program launched in May 2018|
The Mission of the Occupational Therapy Program at GMercyU is to prepare competent, reflective, ethical and compassionate OT professionals for a successful career and a meaningful life within the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy. This Mission is accomplished through the offering of an education that values integrity, respect, service, and promotion of occupational justice. Occupational therapy graduates will be prepared to practice as generalists while understanding the value of people-first language and conducting therapeutic practices that are occupation-based, evidence-based, and client-centered in order to promote the health and well-being of individuals and society.
The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status 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 www.acoteonline.org. The program must 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, the individual 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. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Projected Timeline for GMercyU MSOT Program Accreditation Activities
The following table includes a projected timeline and steps leading to accreditation of the MSOT Program:
|Letter of Intent||September 2016||Granted "applicant program" status|
|Candidacy Application||August 2017||
Candidacy Application Submitted
|ACOTE Candidacy Decision||December 2017||Candidacy status granted, students may be admitted into the program in May of 2018|
|Report of Self-Study||Due July 2019|
|ACOTE Pre-Accreditation Decision||December 2019|
|Initial On-Site Evaluation||January-April 2020|
|ACOTE Accreditation Decision||April 2020|
|First MSOT Class Graduates||August 2020|
|First MSOT Class Eligible to Sit For NBCOT Exam®||September 2020|
** In order to be eligible to sit for the NBCOT® examination, one must graduate from an ACOTE® accredited program. Pending accreditation, future NBCOT® examination pass rates would be accessed at the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) program results website.
Paths of Entry
There are two paths of entry into the MSOT Program. First, a select number of eligible undergraduate students from GMercyU who major in Occupational Science can enter the MSOT Program after the spring semester of their junior year.
Second, applicants holding a baccalaureate degree or expecting to graduate in the spring semester prior to the start of the MSOT Program will follow the admission steps below. The GRE is not required for admission to GMercyU's Occupational Therapy program.
The application cycle for 2019 is now closed and will re-open in mid-July 2019 for the 2020 application cycle. Applicants to the MSOT Program can apply online using the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). To learn more about the OTCAS application process and to create your OTCAS account, please visit the OTCAS portal.
Admission to the MSOT Program is only available on a full-time basis. All prerequisite courses must all be completed in early May of each year. Applicants must have verified OTCAS application before the admissions deadline. Applicants are responsible for submitting timely transcripts to OTCAS and confirming that all of the requested materials have been successfully submitted and received. Applications will not be reviewed until they are complete and verified.
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy assumes the primary responsibility for the admission of its graduate students. The faculty review applications, conduct interviews, and offer admission to its selected applicants beginning in March for the start of the MSOT Program in middle to late May.
Applicants are required to successfully complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university prior to the start of the MSOT Program in mid to late May and should hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 scale).
Complete the following prerequisite courses with a minimum combined GPA in these prerequisites of 3.1 (based on a 4.00 scale). Anatomy and Physiology I & II must be completed within the past 5 years, the remainder of the prerequisites must be completed within the past 10 years.
- Anatomy and Physiology I & II (with a laboratory component): 8 credits
- General Psychology: 3 credits
- Abnormal Psychology: 3 credits
- Developmental (Lifespan) Psychology: 3 credits
- Sociology/Anthropology: 3 credits
- Statistics/Research Methods: 3 credits
Note: CLEP or AP credits are not accepted as fulfillment of prerequisite courses. Anatomy & Physiology Lab I and II prerequisite cannot be an online course.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Gwynedd Mercy University does not require the GRE for admission into the MSOT Program.
Observation of Occupational Therapy
Enter a minimum of 50 hours of paid and/or volunteer observation hours under an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR®) on the OTCAS portal.
Letters of Recommendation
You must have a minimum of three requested and returned letters of recommendation in order to submit your OTCAS application. One of these letters must be from an OTR®.
On your OTCAS account, complete a personal statement that should address why you selected OT as a career and how an Occupational Therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals. The personal essay is an important part of your application for admission and provides you with an opportunity for you to clearly and effectively express your ideas.
Conduct an interview with members of the Occupational Therapy faculty.
Technical Standards for Occupational Therapy Practice
Students entering into and engaged during the full course of the Occupational Therapy Master’s Program must possess essential skills (observation, communication, motor function, intellectual-conceptual abilities, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social attributes) to perform all educational (classroom, laboratory and clinical), fieldwork, and experiential preceptorship tasks in an accurate, safe, and efficient manner, to the satisfaction of the faculty, with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Normal or corrected visual ability sufficient for client observation and assessment to ensure safety and accurate measurement.
- Ability to obtain information from written documents, videotaped data, graphic images and measuring devices accurately and within a reasonable time frame.
- Ability to sufficiently monitor and assess health needs of clients.
- Interact with others in a professional, courteous, and collaborative manner while using good judgment for confidentiality.
- Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each person.
- Maintain integrity in word and deed with others.
- Read, speak, and write in English effectively using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- Assume a variety of body postures that can include continuous sitting, standing, walking, bending, reaching, pulling, lifting, stooping, kneeling, and crawling.
- Demonstrate manipulation skills to effectively carry and use therapeutic equipment (i.e. assistive devices, weights).
- Demonstrate movement and mobility skills that are required for safe handling of persons of various sizes in order to perform safe transfers and guarding during functional mobility with and without an assistive device.
- Pushing and pulling in order to provide resistance for the purposes of maneuvering and transitioning persons such during bed mobility, using a wheelchair, and for sitting and standing balance activities.
- Demonstrate eye-hand coordination, postural control, strength, endurance, and integrated function of the senses (vision, hearing, smell, and touch) during the therapeutic process.
- Demonstrate verbal and written insight into one’s own academic and clinical performance.
- Demonstrate the mental capacity to understand, problem solve, and make judgments in order to promote ethical reasoning.
- Demonstrate ability to collect, document, and analyze evaluation data and implement client-centered and occupation-based interventions.
Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
- Demonstrate the mental capacity to understand, problem solve, and make judgments in order to promote safety.
- Intellectual capacities to measure, evaluate, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information specific to client care.
- Demonstrate ability to apply information learned from the classroom to a therapeutic practice environment.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
- Demonstrate mature and professional behaviors with other students, faculty, colleagues, and clients.
- Be receptive and open to mentor feedback about academic or fieldwork performance and adherence to academic and fieldwork policies and procedures.
- Establish and maintain a therapeutic relationship with clients.
- Ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with others.
Students should review the Technical Standards for the MSOT program carefully and identify if additional supports are needed for any portion (didactic and clinical) of the MSOT program. Students are encouraged to contact the Student Accessibility Services Office (215-646-7300 extension 21427) to arrange an individualized consultation to discuss any support services or accommodations they may need. Student Accessibility Services is located within Counseling Services in The Griffin Complex, 2nd floor window hallway of Rotelle Lounge.
To enroll as a graduate-level international student at Gwynedd Mercy University, you need to:
- Have your transcript evaluated and have a course-by-course evaluation by either the World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators, if you hold a bachelor's degree from an institution outside of the U.S.
- Score at least a 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL test or a 6 on the IELTS test
Transfer of Credit
No more than six graduate credits that were taken at other accredited institutions prior to matriculation, may be applied toward the master’s degree. The credits must have been taken within seven years of admission and a grade of B or better must have been earned. The official transcript for transfer of credit must be on file prior to acceptance of credits for transfer.
The MSOT Program is designed to educate students to adapt to the rapidly changing and dynamic nature of contemporary health and human services delivery systems by gaining the knowledge and skills as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, researcher and advocate for the profession and the consumer. This program consists of five semesters (including summers) of didactic learning and two level II fieldwork rotations. All students must complete level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of academic preparation. The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy assumes the primary responsibility for planning and delivering the curriculum. The MSOT Program consists of courses and fieldwork experiences that serve to promote a successful career and meaningful life in a global society. Full course descriptions are available below.
Year 1: Summer Term 8 credits
OSC 501: Foundations of Occupational Science (3 credits)
OSC 502: Neuroscience of Occupational Behavior (2 credits)
OSC 503: Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
Year 1: Fall Term 15 credits
OSC 505: Foundations of Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
OSC 506: Creativity and Activity Analysis (2 credits)
OSC 507: Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
OSC 514: Research Methods I: Evidence-based Practice (3 credits)
OSC 508: Professional Skills I: Therapeutic Use of Self (2 credits)
OSC 510: Professional Development I: Ethics, Values, and Responsibilities (2 credits)
Year 1: Spring Term 14 credits
OSC 511: Health and Medical Conditions: Children and Youth (2 credits)
OSC 512: Occupational Therapy Process: Children and Youth (5 credits)
OSC 513: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Children and Youth (1 credit)
OSC 518: Wellness and Health Promotion through Occupation (2 credits)
OSC 515: Professional Skills II: Safety, Mobility, ADL, IADL, and Work (2 credits)
OSC 516: Professional Development II: Health Care, Policy, and Advocacy (2 credits)
Year 2: Summer Term 8 credits
OSC 601: Health and Medical Conditions: Adults (2 credits)
OSC 602: Occupational Therapy Process: Adults (5 credits)
OSC 603: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Adults (1 credit)
Year 2: Fall Term 16 credits
OSC 604: Health and Medical Conditions: Older Adults (2 credits)
OSC 605: Occupational Therapy Process: Older Adults (5 credits)
OSC 606: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Older Adults (1 credit)
OSC 607: Emerging Areas of Occupational Therapy Practice (2 credits)
OSC 609: Research Methods II: Applied Research (2 credits)
OSC 608: Professional Skills III: Environmental Adaptations and Assistive Technology (2 credits)
OSC 610: Professional Development III: Management and Leadership (2 credits)
Year 2: Spring Term 16 credits
OSC 611: Fieldwork Level IIA (7 credits)
OSC 612: Professional Development IV: Fieldwork Education (1 credit)
OSC 701: Fieldwork Level IIB (7 credits)
OSC 702: Professional Development V: Career Success and Meaningful Life (1 credit)
Please note: All MSOT students are required to obtain the following annually – criminal background check, child abuse clearance, DHS and DOE fingerprint clearances, drug screen, and CPR certification. Student membership to AOTA and POTA is expected of all students. Students will be required to have a laptop.
OSC 501: Foundations of Occupational Science (2) [Entry-level Master’s students only] Introduces the academic discipline of Occupational Science and its relationship to occupational therapy. The complex nature of occupation is explored from an interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasis on how occupational injustices can limit occupational performance and occupational participation, and how the therapeutic use of occupation can influence the development and/or recovery of persons with disabling conditions.
OSC 502: Neuroscience of Occupational Behavior (2) Covers body functions and structures of the nervous system, including the impact of nervous system impairment on occupational behavior.
OSC 503: Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (3) In-depth study of the body functions and structures of the human body with a major emphasis on functional anatomy within the domain of concern for occupational therapy. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 505: Foundations of Occupational Therapy (3) Introduction to the foundations of the occupational therapy profession including its history, philosophical base, professional terminology, theory development, frames of reference, and the varied scope and roles of the occupational therapy practitioner.
OSC 506: Creativity and Activity Analysis (2) Exploration of the historical and contemporary use of creativity in the promotion of health through client-centered activities to promote health and recovery. Emphasis on the analysis, grading, and managing the complexity of therapeutic activities. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 507: Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy (3) Focus on the understanding and analyzing typical, atypical, and compensatory human movement across the life span. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 508: Professional Skills I: Therapeutic Use of Self (2) Exploration of human behavioral theories and practice of therapeutic use of self within individual and group therapeutic contexts. Focus on understanding the occupational needs of individuals and groups, teaching-learning process, appraisal of effective communication, empathy, mindfulness, and building of rapport to foster effective therapeutic relationships.
OSC 510: Professional Development I: Ethics, Values, and Responsibilities (2) Examines the ethics and values of the profession of occupational therapy including the ethical standards of occupational therapy practice and review of scenarios to solve ethical dilemmas. Includes professional development regarding the acquisition of professional membership, knowledge, and skills expected of students in a professional program while beginning to develop a plan for lifelong learning.
OSC 511: Health & Medical Conditions: Children & Youth (2) Examines development and the prevailing health and welfare needs of children and adolescents with or at risk for mental and/or physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Focus on varying medical conditions that can impact occupational performance and participation of children and youth.
OSC 512: Occupational Therapy Process: Children &Youth (5) Integrates theories and the occupational therapy process of evaluation (including assessment), intervention, and targeted outcomes with children and adolescents. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 513: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Children & Youth (1) Immersion experience into a therapeutic service delivery context with children or youth.
OSC 514: Research Methods I: Evidence-based Practice (3) Review of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, appraisal of professional literature and levels of evidence, and the influence of clinical expertise and client values in supporting best therapeutic practices.
OSC 515: Professional Skills II: Safety, Mobility, ADL, IADL, and Work (2) Review and practice of a wide array of health care and practice skills that include infection control, safety, body mechanics, wheelchair and mobility device use, ADL training, IADL training, and ergonomics to improve work performance. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 516: Professional Development II: Health Care, Policy, and Advocacy (2) A focus on understanding health care, policy, and reimbursement that influence access to occupational therapy practice across multiple practice areas. Review of intra-professional and inter-professional roles, and the laws and regulations that influence occupational therapy practice. Promotion of occupational therapy to other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers, regulatory bodies, and to the public.
OSC 518: Wellness and Health Promotion through Occupation (2) Exploration of occupation, health literacy, and diversity factors that influence health and wellness. Review of community-based and institutional-based practice areas in the promotion of health and wellness in the individual, group, and population-based contexts.
OSC 601: Health and Medical Conditions: Adults (2) Examines development and the prevailing health and welfare needs of adults with or at risk for mental and/or physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Focus on varying medical conditions that can impact occupational performance and participation of adults.
OSC 602: Occupational Therapy Process: Adults (5) Integrates theories and the occupational therapy process of evaluation (including assessment), intervention, and targeted outcomes with adults. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 603: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Adults (1) Immersion experience into a therapeutic service delivery context with adults.
OSC 604: Health & Medical Conditions II: Older Adults (2) Examines development and the prevailing health and welfare needs of older adults with or at risk for mental and/or physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Focus on varying medical conditions that can impact occupational performance and participation of older adults.
OSC 605: Occupational Therapy Process: Older Adults (5) Integrate theories and the occupational therapy process of evaluation (including assessment), intervention, and targeted outcomes with older adults. Includes a practice lab.
OSC 606: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Older Adults (1) Immersion experience into a therapeutic service delivery context with older adults.
OSC 607: Emerging Areas of Occupational Therapy Practice (2) Emerging areas of occupational therapy practice and identifying opportunities to work in an emerging practice area on a full time or contractual basis.
OSC 608: Professional Skills III: Environmental Adaptations & Assistive Technology (2) Overview of environmental adaptation, compensatory strategies, and types of common assistive devices and technology to improve occupational performance and participation needs identified by individuals and communities.
OSC 609: Research Methods II: Applied Research (3) Using scholarly literature to develop a research plan to promote evidence-based decisions for an innovative therapeutic program. Make a plan to locate and secure a grant to support program development and implementation.
OSC 610: Professional Development III: Management and Leadership (2) Plan, develop, and market the management and delivery of occupational therapy that includes care coordination, case management, transition of services, consultation, management of staffing occupational therapy assistants, referral and collaboration with other inter-professional partners, and provision of fieldwork education.
OSC 611 Fieldwork IIA (7) Twelve-week immersion into a therapeutic context to perform the occupational therapy process in a selected practice area.
OSC 612 Professional Development IV: Fieldwork Education (1) Professional responsibility for providing fieldwork education and the criteria to become a fieldwork educator. Discussion of practical solutions to student challenges with occupational therapy service delivery across multiple therapeutic contexts.
OSC 701 Fieldwork IIB (7) Twelve-week immersion into a therapeutic context to perform the occupational therapy process in a selected practice area.
OSC 702 Professional Development V: Career Success and Meaningful Life (1) Preparation methods to taking the NBCOT® exam, future job interviewing, service to society, and the completion of an e-portfolio with strategies to engage in scholarly activities to become a lifelong learner.
More information can be found in the graduate catalog (PDF).
To complete the Occupational Therapy Master’s Program at Gwynedd Mercy University successfully and graduate, students must complete all 6 terms of the professional Occupational Therapy Program which includes 1 term for full-time Level II fieldwork. While enrolled in the Program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater to remain in good standing. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 will be placed on probation and will have two terms to raise their GPA to 3.0 or greater. A GPA of less than 3.0 after two terms on probation may result in dismissal from the Program. All students must complete Level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of academic preparation.
Financial Aid, Tuition & Fees
The financial aid process and program tuition and fees can be found on GMercyU's Tuition and Fees page. Select the Graduate tab and the program's tuition and fees can be found under Nursing and Health Professions.
GMercyU’s proposed MSOT Program will be dedicated to preparing future occupational therapists who are capable of making a real difference in the everyday lives of whom they serve to enable.
Offered through the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy offers many Program highlights including:
- Program philosophy that is consistent with the core values of higher education within the Mercy tradition
- 77 credit program that can be completed in just 26 months
- Brand new classroom and two practice labs
- Only program in the region that offers a dual degree of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
- Program that advocates for client-centered, occupation-based, and evidence-based practices
- e-Portfolio that can be used to help graduates stand out during job interviews
- Individualized faculty advisement
- Small class sizes
- Diverse fieldwork options
- Beautiful, private 314-acre campus just 30 minutes from Philadelphia
Our Outstanding Faculty
Occupational Therapy Career Opportunities
Job Growth in the field of occupational therapy is expected to grow by 24% from 2016 to 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (February, 2019).
Occupational therapy is ranked #9 in the "10 Best Jobs in 2017" according to CareerCast.
Occupational Therapist ranks #13 in 100 best jobs in 2019 by the U.S. News and World Report.
Occupational Therapist ranks #4 in 50 best jobs in America for 2019 by Glassdoor.