Become an Occupational Therapist

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) Program is a 2 ½ year graduate program housed within the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Program Summary

 
77 credits
2 1/2 years (including 5 academic and 2 fieldwork terms)
Program anticipated to launch in mid to late May 2018

Accreditation
Admission
Curriculum

Mission

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.

Accreditation

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 www.acoteonline.org. 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.

Projected Timeline for GMercyU MSOT Program Accreditation Activities

The following table includes a projected timeline and steps leading to accreditation of the MSOT Program:

STEP DATE STATUS
Letter of Intent September 2016 Granted "applicant program" status
Candidacy Application August 2017  
ACOTE Candidacy Decision December 2017  
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 April 2020  
First MSOT Class Eligible to Sit For MBCOT Exam® 2020  

Admission

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 the spring semester prior to the start of the MSOT Program will follow the admission steps below.

Requirements

Applicants to our MSOT Program can apply online using the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). See Application Information below to learn more about the OTCAS application process.

Baccalaureate Degree

Applicants are required to successfully complete a baccalaureate degree prior to the start of the MSOT Program in mid to late May and hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (based on a 4.00 scale). 

Prerequisite Courses

Complete the following prerequisite courses with a minimum combined GPA in these prerequisites of 3.00 (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 Psychology: 3 credits
  • Sociology/Anthropology: 3 credits
  • Statistics: 3 credits   

Note: CLEP or AP credits are not accepted as fulfillment of prerequisite courses

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is not a requirement of admission into the MSOT Program.

Observation of Occupational Therapy

Complete a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or paid work experience under an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR®).

Letters of Recommendation

Submit two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s academic and professional abilities (one must be from an OTR®). Letters of recommendation are submitted through the OTCAS application.

Personal Essay

Submit an essay answering questions relative to your views of occupational therapy, why this career is a good fit for you, and the types of goals you may have for yourself in the future. Essays are submitted through the OTCAS application.

Interview

Conduct an interview with members of the Occupational Therapy faculty.

Meet Essential Functions of Occupational Therapy Practice

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.

Application Information

Applicants to the MSOT Program can apply online using the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Applicants can expect to begin applying in August 2017. To learn more about the OTCAS application process and to create your OTCAS account, please visit the OTCAS portal.  

The deadline for applying to the MSOT Program is February 1. Admission to the MSOT Program is only available on a full-time basis. The MSOT Program is projected to begin towards the middle to end of May of each year. We encourage applicants to apply early in the rolling admissions cycle, which begins in mid to late July each year. Prerequisite courses must all be completed by May 10th. Applicants must have verified OTCAS application before February 1 and are responsible for confirming that all of the requested materials have been successfully submitted and received. Applications will not be reviewed until they are complete and verified.

International Applicants

To enroll as a graduate-level international student at Gwynedd Mercy University, you need to:

  • Have your transcript evaluated by 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

Acceptance

Once the ACOTE Candidacy Decision is made to grant our MSOT Program "candidacy status," we will then be permitted to admit our first class of students and proceed to the pre-accreditation review stage, which includes our preparation and submission of a Report of Self-Study.

Curriculum

The MSOT professional 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 fieldwork II rotations. The program consists of courses and fieldwork experiences that serve to promote a successful career and meaningful life in a global society. All students must complete Level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of academic preparation. Full course descriptions are available below.

Plan of Studies for the MSOT Program

Year 1: Summer Term 8 credits
OSC 501: Foundations of Occupational Science (2 credits)
OSC 502: Neuroscience of Occupational Behavior (2 credits)
OSC 503: Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (4 credits)

Year 1: Fall Term 16 credits
OSC 504: Therapeutic Use of Self (2 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 508: Therapeutic Environments and Service Delivery (2 credits)
OSC 509: Development of Humans as Occupational Beings (2 credits)
OSC 510: Professional Development I: Ethics, Values, and Responsibilities (2 credits)

Year 1: Spring Term 15 credits
OSC 511: Health and Medical Conditions: Children and Youth (3 credits)
OSC 512: Occupational Therapy Process: Children and Youth (4 credits)
OSC 513: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Children and Youth (1 credit)
OSC 514: Research Methods I: Evidence-based Practice (3 credits)
OSC 515: Ethics in Occupational Therapy (2 credits)
OSC 516: Professional Development II: Scholarship (2 credits)

Year 2: Summer Term 8 credits
OSC 601: Occupational Therapy in Health and Wellness (3 credits)
OSC 602: Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (2 credits)
OSC 603: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Mental Health (1 credit)
OSC 604: Environmental Adaptations and Assistive Technology (2 credits)

Year 2: Fall Term 16 credits
OSC 605: Health and Medical Conditions: Adults and Older Adults (3 credits)
OSC 606: Occupational Therapy Process: Adults and Older Adults (4 credits)
OSC 607: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I: Adults and Older Adults (1 credit)
OSC 608: Upper Extremity Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
OSC 609: Research Methods II: Applied Research (3 credits)
OSC 610: Professional Development III: Management and Leadership (2 credits)

Year 2: Spring Term 7 credits
OSC 611: Fieldwork Level IIA (6 credits)
OSC 612: Professional Development IV: Fieldwork Education (1 credit)

Year 3: Summer Term 7 credits
OSC 701: Fieldwork Level IIB (6 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, student membership to AOTA, and student membership to POTA. All students will be required to have a current CPR certification and a laptop.

Course Descriptions

OSC 501: Foundations of Occupational Science (2 credits) Post-baccalaureate students only
Introduces the academic discipline of Occupational Science, the concept of occupation, how health is influenced by occupational performance and 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 credits)
Covers body functions and structures of the nervous system, including the impact of impairment on the person and their occupational behavior.

OSC 503: Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (4 credits)                     
In-depth study of human anatomy with major emphasis on functional anatomy within the domain of concern for occupational therapy. Includes a practice lab.            

OSC 504: Therapeutic Use of Self (2 credits)
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 505: Foundations of Occupational Therapy (3 credits)                                       
Introduction to the foundations of the basic occupational therapy profession including its history, professional terminology, theory, and scope of practice.     
    
OSC 506: Creativity and Activity Analysis (2 credits)                                    
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 of complexity of therapeutic activities. Includes a practice lab.

OSC 507: Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
Focus on the understanding and analyzing typical and atypical human movement across the life span and methods of compensation and use of prosthetic devices.  Includes a practice lab.

OSC 508: Therapeutic Environments & Service Delivery (2 credits)
Review of the wide array of traditional and emerging areas in occupational therapy practice, health literacy, care coordination, infection control, safety, referral, understanding the roles of occupational therapy assistant, and the laws and regulations that influence practice.                                             

OSC 509: Development of Humans as Occupational Beings (2 credits)
This cumulating course explores the transactional nature of the person, occupation, and environment to produce occupational performance. Humans as occupational beings are developmentally influenced by occupations performed across the lifespan.

OSC 510: Professional Development I: Ethics, Values, and Responsibilities (2 credits)
Focuses on understanding and appreciation of the ethics and values of the profession of occupational therapy including the acquisition of professional membership, knowledge, and skills expected of students in a professional program.

OSC 511: Health & Medical Conditions II: Children & Youth (3 credits)
Examines common health and medical conditions associated with children and adolescents and how impairment impacts occupational performance.

OSC 512: Occupational Therapy Process II: Children &Youth (4 credits)
Integrates theories and the occupational therapy process with children and adolescents. Includes a practice lab.

OSC 513: Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Children & Youth (1 credit)
Immersion experience into a therapeutic context of therapeutic service delivery for children and youth.

OSC 514: Research Methods I: Evidence-based Practice (3 credits)
Prepares students to critically appraise professional literature to support evidence based decisions and the promotion of applying best therapeutic practices.

OSC 515: Ethics in Occupational Therapy (2 credits)
Introduces ethical standards of occupational therapy practice and review of scenarios to solve ethical dilemmas.

OSC 516: Professional Development II: Scholarship (2 credits)
Describing and interpreting the scope of the profession, establish new knowledge, and interpret this knowledge to practice through the development of a health and wellness proposal to address community mental and/or physical health initiatives.

OSC 601 Occupational Therapy in Health & Wellness (3 credits)
Exploration of sociocultural, socioeconomic, and diversity factors that influence health and wellness. Review of consultation and emerging practice areas in the promotion of health and wellness in individual, group, and population-based contexts. Performing of health and wellness proposal with program evaluation and dissemination of findings.

OSC 602 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (2 credits)
Examines common mental health conditions affecting adults and older adults, theories of practice, and the occupational therapy process for individuals and groups with mental health impairment.

OSC 603 Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Mental Health (1 credit)
Immersion experience into a therapeutic context of therapeutic service delivery for mental health.

OSC 604 Environmental Adaptations & Assistive Technology (2 credits)
Reviews the process of environmental adaptation, compensatory strategies, and types of common assistive devices and technology to improve occupational performance needs identified by individuals and communities.

OSC 605 Health & Medical Conditions II: Adults & Older Adults (3 credits)
Examines common development, health, and medical conditions associated with adults and older adults and how impairment impacts occupational performance.

OSC 606 Occupational Therapy Process II: Adults & Older Adults (4 credits)
Integrates theories and the occupational therapy process with adults and older adults. Includes a practice lab.

OSC 607 Occupational Therapy Fieldwork: Adults & Older Adults (1 credit)
Immersion experience into a therapeutic context of therapeutic service delivery for adults and older adults.

OSC 608 Upper Extremity Rehabilitation for Occupational Therapy (3 credits)
Integrates theory and practice to remediate upper extremity impairment and injury prevention through orthotics. Includes a practice lab.

OSC 609 Research Methods II: Applied Research (3 credits)
Prepares students to develop a research plan to promote best therapeutic practice.

OSC 610 Professional Development III: Management and Leadership (2 credits)
Review management and delivery of occupational therapy including knowledge of legislation and regulations, typical practice expectations, ethical supervision, and provision of fieldwork education.

OSC 611 Fieldwork II (6 credits)
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 credit)
Discussion of practical solutions to student challenges with occupational therapy service delivery across multiple therapeutic contexts.

OSC 701 Fieldwork II (6 credits)
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 credit)
Review of preparation methods of NBCOT® exam, resume writing, future job interviewing, service to society, and strategies to become a lifelong learner.

The GMercyU Difference

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, which has been providing quality education and training in nursing and other health professions for more than 50 years, our MSOT Program will prepare students as generalist entry-level practitioners who will be exposed to current and emerging practice areas. Other benefits of choosing GMercyU include:

  • More than 60 years of experience preparing our Distinctive Mercy Graduates who become leaders in their chosen professions
  • Fulfilling and exciting learning experiences with the personal attention you need to achieve your goals
  • Courses taught by experienced faculty who take the time to mentor and engage their students

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.