The Department of Occupational Therapy (OTH) at the College of St. Scholastica has offered a Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy for more than 25 years. The Department is located at the Health Science Center and provides students an education in a state-of-the-art learning environment. Located on site is the maurice’s® Community Clinic which provides students hands-on learning opportunities with diverse client populations throughout the progression of the Program. Occupational therapy curriculum is focused on developing students’ knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy process across the lifespan to prepare for entry-level practice in occupational therapy. Based on Experiential Learning Theory and occupation-based practice models, the curriculum integrates clinical experiences with academic learning and personal reflection to foster clinical reasoning and professionalism. Students learn fundamentals of science driven, evidence based occupational therapy practice for clientele across the lifespan through faculty facilitated experiences and community engagement. Occupational therapy faculty bring diverse experiences to the students including expertise in pediatric therapy, neurorehabilitation, assistive technology, physical and orthopedic conditions, emotional and behavioral health, and older adult services. Faculty led research projects provide students the opportunity to engage in applied research that furthers their understanding of scholarship within the field of occupational therapy.
The Occupational Therapy Department offers these programs:
The College of Saint Scholastica M.S. Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
6116 Executive Boulevard
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
(301) 652-AOTA (2682)
Application to the M.S. in OT Program
All applicants to the M.S. OTH Program at The College of St. Scholastica must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria in order for their application to be considered:
- B.A./B.S. degree from a regionally accredited institution. No specific baccalaureate major;
- complete a minimum of 5 of the 7 required prerequisite courses by the deadline for application (mid-November) and complete the remaining required prerequisites no later than one week prior to the start of classes in June;
- cumulative OR most recent 64 credit GPA of 3.0. The College will consider whichever is higher: cumulative GPA or most recent 64 credit GPA, as calculated by OTCAS;
- prerequisite GPA of 3.0. The prerequisite GPA is calculated separately using the highest grade received in required prerequisite courses;
- complete all prerequisites with a grade of 2.0 or better and within 10 years of application;
- submit three letters of recommendation;
- Observation hours: competitive applicants will have explored a minimum of two clinical settings that address the needs of distinct patient/client populations. While no specific number of hours is required, applicants are expected to have researched the profession sufficiently to demonstrate that they are making a career choice based on a sound understanding of the profession of occupational therapy. Observations must be completed post-high school and entered into OTCAS. Successful completion of an introduction to occupational therapy course or healthcare careers course may substitute for direct observation hours. Here is another alternative option for observation hours Occupational Therapy Online Shadowing Experience, developed by Cheryl Lucas, Quinnipiac University may also substitute (use password: LucasQU).
- submit the completed Occupational Therapy Centralized Admission System (OTCAS) application by the mid-November deadline.
Note: meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission. Exceptions to minimum criteria may be made at the discretion of the admissions committee. The College of St. Scholastica follows the OTCAS method of calculating GPA. Interviews are not typically part of the admission process for the OTH Program.
Prerequisites for Admission
The following prerequisites (or their approved transfer equivalents) are required for admission:
& BIO 2520
|Human Anatomy and Physiology I|
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II
|HSC 2209||Medical Terminology (minimum of 1 semester credit)||2|
|PSY 1105||General Psychology||4|
|PSY 2208||Lifespan Developmental Psychology||4|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|HSC 2500||Introduction to Occupational Therapy (minimum 1 semester credit; acceptable with a letter grade of C or better, or a "passing" grade)||2|
|PSC 1501||A Short Course in Physics||4|
|or PSC 1201||Concepts of Physics|
|PSY 3423||Abnormal Psychology||4|
|PSY 3330||Research Methods||4|
Students must complete a minimum of 5 of the 7 required prerequisite courses by the deadline for application (mid-November) and complete the remaining required prerequisites no later than one week prior to the start of classes in June. All prerequisite courses must have been completed with a grade of 2.0 or better.
We will accept AP credits for General Psychology and Statistics only. To verify results, applicants must submit official CollegeBoard scores directly to The College of St. Scholastica (not OTCAS) using the code 6107. A score of 3 or better is required to qualify; scores must be within 10 years from date of application. The College of St. Scholastica M.S. OTH Program does not give credit for work experience or credits taken in another occupational therapy program toward prerequisite or in-program courses. Prerequisite courses must be within the past 10 years.
Due to the high volume of interest in the M.S. OTH Program at The College of St. Scholastica, the Office of Graduate Admissions does not review unofficial transcripts to determine the completion of prerequisite coursework. In most cases, course titles match. If you have specific questions about a particular course, please reference our transfer credit center to determine if the course meets the stated requirement.
Any student may request a waiver of admission requirements through a written request to the Graduate Admissions Office. These requests must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by October 15th to allow ample time for review prior to the mid-November application deadline. The Department Chair may determine prerequisite course equivalencies and grant waivers for time limitations without full admission committee involvement. Other waiver requests may require a committee vote. Waiver of GPA and course grade minimum requirements will not be considered. The Department Chair or the Admissions Committee Chair notifies the applicant and the Graduate Admissions Counselor of waiver decisions in writing.
Scoring of Admission Criteria
Applications that meet the above minimum eligibility criteria will be reviewed and scored by members of the admissions committee using a rubric. Applicants are ranked based on both quantitative and qualitative criteria. Quantitative measures include computed GPA for all undergraduate work and prerequisite coursework. Qualitative aspects of the application are scored by members of the admissions committee. Areas that receive scoring include:
- letters of recommendation: provide three recommendation letters. It is suggested that at least one of the three letters of recommendation be from a professor who knows the applicant well enough to speak to their qualification for graduate school;
- observation hours: evidence of exploring the profession sufficiently to demonstrate that they are making a career choice based on a sound understanding of the profession of occupational therapy. Applicants should consider the following when planning observations or researching the profession: observe various practice settings with distinctly different client populations (e.g., pediatrics and adult rehabilitation); observations must be completed post-high school and entered into OTCAS; all observations must be in a setting that offers the student the opportunity to shadow a registered/licensed occupational therapist. Applicants can also do this by completing an Intro to Occupational Therapy course or online shadowing experience;
- previous experiences: applicants should provide details about their work history, community service, honors/recognitions, leadership, teaching, and participation in research activities, as these are awarded additional points; and
- personal essays: essays that follow the prompts with clear expression of ideas, good organization, and absence of writing errors are awarded additional points.
Pass and graduation rates
For National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam data by school and state, visit NBCOT.
- 2018 graduates: 36 students entered and 33 graduated for a 92% graduation rate.
- 2019 graduates: 36 students entered and 34 graduated for a 94% graduation rate.
- 2020 graduates: 36 students entered and 35 graduated* for a 97% graduation rate.
- Three year total 108 students entered and 102 graduated for a 94% graduation rate average.
*One student remains in progression to graduate in 2021.
Occupational Therapy Courses
Application of the occupational therapy perspective on human movement. Focus on functional performance including analysis of static and dynamic forces, anatomical mechanics and kinematics including performance qualities specific to the context and environment. Application of these concepts for use in occupational therapy assessment and intervention is addressed. Emphasis is on determining patterns of dysfunction and facilitating optimum performance during task directed activity within life role contexts.
An advanced musculoskeletal anatomy course that emphasizes the functional relationships between musculature, nervous tissue, vascular components, and the skeletal system of the extremities and trunk. A cadaver dissection laboratory enhances understanding of anatomical relationships within body regions that contribute to successful physical task performance. Unique perspective is provided towards understanding the material in terms of occupational performance addressed in occupational therapy.
Explores the three basic tenets of occupational therapy through the profession, the practice, and the practitioner. The profession and practice of occupational therapy is analyzed through the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework and theoretical models of occupation. The professional roles and ethical responsibilities of the practitioner are studied.
Intended to ground students in the occupational therapy process of selecting and administering clinical measurement tools used to guide evaluation and assessment a client’s occupational performance. Students will learn to use a client-centered approach to clinical assessment including the use of: formal and informal interviewing techniques and skilled observation of occupational performance skills and patterns.
Provides an understanding of and appreciation for the concept of evidence-based practice. Develops fundamental scientific inquiry skills related to gathering, reading, understanding, and critically appraising the rehabilitation research literature in order to become evidence-based occupational therapists. Understanding scientific inquiry is taught within the context of doing original research projects mentored by OTH faculty. Emphasizes appreciating the value of life-long learning as future evidence-based occupational therapists as well as developing the skills to carry this out in challenging and changing clinical environments.
The analysis of occupational performance is done from an understanding of how performance capacity and abilities integrate to result in activity completion. The relationship between these capacities and abilities and occupational performance will be explored by understanding how capacities and abilities manifest in task performance. Beginning level skills for facilitating occupational performance through interventions of occupation and preparatory methods will be developed.
Provides opportunities to build beginning-level professional skills through exposure to different clinical settings and client populations. Situations to practice careful observation, clear communication, therapeutic use of self, and task analysis through scheduled visits to community settings occur. Professional development is initiated in the community followed by self-reflection of experiences. Expands upon current understanding of human occupational performance and gains insight to working with diverse client populations.
Broadens understanding of occupation-based practice to include core components of intervention selection including: application of a model or a frame of reference; analysis of the activity, the client and the environment; and effectively matching client capacities and the challenge of the task through gradation and adaptation of meaningful occupations. Therapeutic mechanisms of behavior management, building rapport and client learning are emphasized.
Designed to help occupational therapy students apply their knowledge about evidence-based practice to clinical experiences and the development of new evidence in occupational therapy. Builds on basic concepts of evidence-based practice by examining more advanced quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques for application to both clinical and research experiences.
Explores life roles of individuals and the contexts and environments in which they engage in those life roles. The activities of daily living and some instrumental activities of daily living central to the care of self will be analyzed with development of intervention strategies for various populations. Further, an individuals’ sense of accomplishment and enjoyment through self-enhancement occupations of play and leisure will be analyzed and intervention strategies will be developed. The performance patterns of individuals including activities, habits, and routines are analyzed throughout the occupational therapy process.
Focus is on selection and administration of specific screening and assessment tools that include three main areas: abilities and capacities; roles and competence; and environmental factors affecting an individual’s function and participation in a range of occupations and contexts. The use of evidence from the scientific literature, client values, and clinical reasoning will be emphasized in making decisions when selecting assessments for clients. The importance of developing and utilizing outcome measures that document the effectiveness of OT services is also emphasized.
Integrates occupational therapy theory into practice through hands-on learning experiences. Occurs within the occupational therapy process, while providing client-centered care in a supervised and mentor-based setting.
A 35 to 40 hour fieldwork experience scheduled in the summer following the first year of the Occupational Therapy Program. Students may request sites from a variety of traditional and emerging practice settings throughout the United States, and will be assigned based on availability. This fieldwork experience reinforces clinical skills, professional behaviors and professional relationships, clinical reasoning skills, ethical issues, and how to integrate occupational therapy theory into practice. In addition it is designed to familiarize students with various intervention settings and clinical conditions. Students may be provided initial hands-on experiences under direct supervision when determined to be appropriate by the clinical supervisor/educator. Upon completion of the clinical hours, the students attend a seminar to discuss various aspects of the experience.
Home and environment management includes focus on creating interventions to address life skills related to community mobility including driving rehabilitation, management of areas for medication, communication, finance, home, safety, and health, care of others, and shopping. Interventions to address social participation as a self-enhancement area of occupation with community, peer, and family will be developed. Designing group process for client learning to address social participation and areas of home and environment management will be included followed by implementation of those group processes. Opportunities to evaluate various practice settings to determine influences and considerations in occupational therapy process will occur.
Facilitates the student’s progress toward contributing to the body of knowledge in occupational therapy. Builds on work completed in Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy II (OTH 6334) by collecting data and performing the appropriate statistical analyses needed to answer their research questions. Summarize findings narratively and graphically into a results section.
Through the transformative engagement process, students will integrate prior learning with personal reflection and current theories related to concepts of supervision, management and leadership. Application of leadership and management theory, professional ethics and behaviors and the importance of professional relationships is facilitated through clinically-based scenarios. Students evaluate administrative structure and service delivery within health facilities, organizations and agencies with respect to occupational therapy's role. Students will create and evaluate a set of outcomes related to evidence-based practice, documentation, peer review, reimbursement, service provision and organizational change.
This course is an elective experiential OT fieldwork course that may be taken subsequent to OTH 6410 and will occur in one of a variety of settings including but not limited to acute care, inpatient, transitional care, out-patient, skilled nursing, assisted living, mental health, ergonomics, camp, etc. and will occur in the curriculum during the summer session at the beginning of year two. The vast areas of practice offered by this course will afford a variety of opportunities for students to work with a multitude of clients from birth to elder care depending on their specific fieldwork request and/or placement. Students will closely work with individuals of all abilities and deliver occupational therapy services to all people regardless of any particular categorization of diversity, ethnicity, age, faith, gender, nationality, culture, socio-economic status, race, political affiliation, and/or sexual orientation. The premise of this course is to enhance student learning and enrichment by providing an experience in a setting that provides services to all people in need.
Integrates occupational therapy into practice through a mentored clinical setting. Designed to provide application of clinical knowledge and skills, professional behaviors and relationships, clinical reasoning, and ethical decision making. Hands-on learning experiences of the occupational therapy process and providing client-centered care in a supervised setting.
Builds on work completed in Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy III (OTH 6533) by writing a formal discussion section that explains and interprets research findings and places the main findings within the context of previous research. Discusses options for disseminating research results and implications of findings.
Students are eligible for Level II Fieldwork upon completion of all academic requirements. Each fieldwork experience will reflect current practice with clients from across the life span and with a variety of diagnoses. Two Level II fieldwork Affiliations are required for a minimum of 24 weeks full-time and may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, but may not be less than half time. All students complete one Level II experience in physical disabilities and a second may include but is not limited to occupational therapy practice in physical dysfunction, developmental disabilities, pediatrics and/or psychosocial dysfunction.
Self-advancement occupations of education and work are fully explored along with advanced practice settings including hand therapy, work/industry, neonatal intensive care unit, education, emerging practice, and non-traditional areas of practice. Alternative healing practices and advanced skill areas will be the focus of interventions.
Capstone course designed to integrate theory, knowledge of pathologies and intervention strategies with an understanding of human performance and adaptation. The course focuses on students’ abilities to integrate and articulate the role of the occupational therapist in a variety of complex situations and practice settings involving individuals and populations. Specific issues in global health care including public policy, access to service, at-risk populations and advocacy are addressed. Personal reflection of transformative engagement through leadership, management and professional development are emphasized.
Topics in Occupational Therapy.
Students are eligible for Level II Fieldwork upon completion of all academic requirements. Each fieldwork experience will reflect current practice with clients from across the life span and with a variety of diagnoses. Two Level II fieldwork Affiliations are required for a minimum of 24 weeks full-time and may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, but may not be less than half time. All students complete one Level II experience in physical disabilities and a second may include but is not limited to occupational therapy practice in physical dysfunction, developmental disabilities, pediatrics and/or psychosocial dysfunction. The fieldwork experiences will be completed under the supervision of a "currently licensed or credentialed occupational therapist who has a minimum of one year of practice experience subsequent to initial certification, and is adequately prepared to serve as a fieldwork educator".
Students are required to be enrolled continuously until the final research project and fieldwork are completed. A fee equal to one master's credit will be assessed each fall and spring semester until Occupational Therapy Program requirements are completed, if not registered for another OTH professional program course.
Independent study in Occupational Therapy.