Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

UNH Occupational Therapy students provide therapy to members of a stroke survivors support group

Why get a master’s degree in occupational therapy?

A master’s degree in occupational therapy (OT) will prepare you for a career supporting people in the daily activities that are important to them. A fast-growing field, occupational therapy provides opportunities to work with people of all ages in a range of clinical settings. Our accredited master’s degree program emphasizes the understanding that engagement in everyday activities fulfills social needs and gives meaning to life, and is essential to the development, adaptation and well-being of individuals,societies and populations. You’ll learn to evaluate, provide intervention, and monitor the outcomes of patients facing a variety of illnesses, injuries and disabilities, such as autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, substance abuse and musculoskeletal injuries.

Why choose UNH’s occupational therapy program?

At UNH, you’ll gain valuable hands-on experience, integrating your knowledge and skills as you provide services with people in the community through academic courses and fieldwork. You’ll have opportunities to become involved with faculty research and scholarly projects, and you’ll also be supported by the educational, service and social opportunities of the Student Occupational Therapy Association on campus. The two-and-a-half-year program includes fieldwork. After completing your degree, you’ll be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy certification exam to become a registered occupational therapist. Students in the B.S./M.S. Program enter the master’s program with advanced standing, making the total program five and a half years.

Potential career areas

  • Acute care
  • Administration
  • Early intervention programs
  • Hand therapy clinics
  • Hospitals In-patient rehabilitation centers
  • Mental health and substance abuse programs
  • Primary care settings
  • School settings
  • Skilled nursing facilities

Contact

Department of Occupational Therapy
Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-3221

Curriculum & Requirements

Occupational Therapy MS Program

A master's degree in occupational therapy (OT) will prepare you for a career supporting people in the daily activities that are important to them. A fast-growing field, occupational therapy provides opportunities to work with people of all ages in a range of settings. Our accredited program emphasizes the understanding that engagement in everyday activities fulfills social needs and gives meaning to life, and is essential to the development, adaptation and well-being of individuals and populations. You will learn to evaluate, provide intervention, and monitor the outcomes of clients facing a variety of illnesses, injuries and disabilities such as autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, substance abuse and musculoskeletal injuries. After completing your degree, you will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination to become a registered occupational therapist.

The UNH Occupational Therapy Master's Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD  20852-4929. Their phone number is 301-652-AOTA; and website is: www.acoteonline.org.

Academic Standards and Policies

In order to be awarded a MS in Occupational Therapy from UNH, students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and earn a minimum of B- in all required occupational therapy courses, and may not earn more than 8 credits of B- in OT courses (700 level or above). Students must pass all level I fieldwork requirements and receive a passing criterion score on the American Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapist in both 12-week Level II fieldwork experiences. Students must meet professional behavioral standards, which are explained in detail in the OT Department Policy and Procedure Manual, provided to all occupational therapy students during their first semester.

Because curriculum review and revision is undertaken annually, occupational therapy faculty work closely with students during academic advising sessions and share information about any policy and requirement changes during registration periods as well as throughout the academic year. Students are expected to take an active role in verifying expectations and requirements and should check with their departmental advisers each September for updated policies and requirements. Program requirements and policies for retention in the major are posted annually in the OT Department Policy and Procedure Manual, which is available on the OT department’s organization site on MyCourses.

Students participate in a variety of off-­campus and fieldwork experiences throughout the course of study and are covered with basic personal liability insurance through UNH for all practical components of the curriculum. Students are responsible for transportation to fieldwork sites and other off-campus learning experiences. Students are responsible for meeting the health and criminal record clearances established by their fieldwork sites and off-campus learning sites. Proof of immunization such as poliomyelitis, rubella, H1N1, and hepatitis B may also be required. For Level II fieldwork, health insurance and a physical examination, including a tuberculin test, are required. All fieldwork experiences are scheduled in centers approved by the Department of Occupational Therapy and with whom active Memoranda of Understanding with UNH exist.

After successfully completing all Level II fieldwork requirements and academic work, students are awarded a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy. They are then eligible to sit for the National Board Certification Examination in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Consistent with NBCOT expectations, students must sit for the certification examination within two years of completion of coursework and fieldwork. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination and/or obtain state licensure.

Curriculum and schedule: The program is two and a half years (5 semesters) of coursework, including fieldwork experiences. There are no summer course requirements. Most classes will be scheduled during weekdays during the day and into early evening. Some courses require experiential, off-campus learning in addition to the Level II fieldwork experiences which are two twelve-week full time experiences. Level II fieldwork­ experiences are planned collaboratively with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.

Plan of Study for Students in the Occupational Therapy M.S. Program

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
OT 810 OT Practice and Professional Roles 3
OT 841 Human Occupation 4
OT 853 Mind Body Systems: Neurologically-based Function and Dysfunction--Pediatric Conditions 4
OT 852
852L
Human Movement and Environmental Effects on Everyday Occupations
and Human Movement and Environmental Effects on Everyday Occupations Lab
4
OT 844 Fieldwork and Professionalism - Level 1 1
 Credits16
Spring
OT 857 Mind Body Systems: Neurologically-based Function and Dysfunction--Adult Conditions 4
OT 845 Administration and Management for Occupational Therapy Practice 3
OT 860
860R
860L
Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention
and Psychosocial Evaluation & Intervention Recitation
and Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention Lab
4
OT 830
830L
Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance
and Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance Lab
4
 Credits15
Second Year
Fall
OT 871
871L
Enabling Participation in Community Groups
and Enabling Participation in Community Groups Lab
5
OT 862
862L
OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children
and OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children - Lab (and OT 862R Recitation)
4
OT 863
863R
863L
Occupational Therapy Intervention for Adults
and Adult Evaluation and Intervention Recitation
and Occupational Therapy Evaluation and Intervention for Adults - Lab
4
OT 846 Fieldwork and Professionalism-Level II 1
 Credits14
Spring
OT 854 Level II Fieldwork, I 8
OT 855 Level II Fieldwork Discussion 1
OT 856 Level II Fieldwork, II 8
 Credits17
Third Year
OT 865 Occupational Therapy Practice and Professional Reasoning 3
OT 875 Leadership in Occupational Therapy Systems of Practice 3
OT 886 Engagement in Research 3
Choose additional graduate level electives 3
 Credits12
 Total Credits74

Occupational Therapy, M.S. Degree

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Requirements

The Occupational Therapy M.S Program  requires the completion of at least 74 graduate-level credits, which includes 18 credits of fieldwork.

Required OT courses include:

OT 810OT Practice and Professional Roles3
OT 830
830L
Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance
and Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance Lab
4
OT 841Human Occupation4
OT 844Fieldwork and Professionalism - Level 11
OT 845Administration and Management for Occupational Therapy Practice3
OT 846Fieldwork and Professionalism-Level II1
OT 852
852L
Human Movement and Environmental Effects on Everyday Occupations
and Human Movement and Environmental Effects on Everyday Occupations Lab
4
OT 853Mind Body Systems: Neurologically-based Function and Dysfunction--Pediatric Conditions4
OT 854Level II Fieldwork, I8
OT 855Level II Fieldwork Discussion1
OT 856Level II Fieldwork, II8
OT 857Mind Body Systems: Neurologically-based Function and Dysfunction--Adult Conditions4
OT 860
860R
860L
Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention
and Psychosocial Evaluation & Intervention Recitation
and Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention Lab
4
OT 862
862L
OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children
and OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children - Lab (and 862R Recitation)
4
OT 863
863R
863L
Occupational Therapy Intervention for Adults
and Adult Evaluation and Intervention Recitation
and Occupational Therapy Evaluation and Intervention for Adults - Lab
4
OT 865Occupational Therapy Practice and Professional Reasoning 13
OT 871
871L
Enabling Participation in Community Groups
and Enabling Participation in Community Groups Lab
5
OT 875Leadership in Occupational Therapy Systems of Practice3
OT 886Engagement in Research3
Select 3 credits of graduate-level elective course(s)3
Total Credits74

Elective Courses

OT 887Upper Extremity Rehabilitation and Splinting4
OT 888Application of Physical Agent Modalities in Occupational Therapy Practice3
OT 890Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration4
OT #891Ergonomics for Occupational Therapy4
OT 831Introduction to Assistive Technology Principles2
OT 832Introduction to Assistive Technology Practices2
OT 833Assistive Technology and Physical Disabilities for Electronic Devices2
OT 834Assistive Technology and Physical Disabilities for the Home, Community and Employment2
OT 835Assistive Technology for Communication and Cognitive Impairments2
OT 836Assistive Technology and Vision and Hearing Impairments2
OT 889Using iPads to Support Children with Disabilities3
OT 866AMPS Training4
OT 895Readings and Research in Occupational Therapy1-6

Deadlines

Admissions decisions are made as applications are received. 

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 15; March 1 for UNH B.S./M.S. Students
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: CT RI VT

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Two letters of recommendation should address the applicant’s educational abilities and performance, while the third letter should address the applicant’s interpersonal and communication skills as observed in a volunteer or paid work setting.

Note: If applying to the Occupational Therapy: Advanced Standing (M.S.) program you only need to submit two letters, the third is waived.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Essays should integrate a discussion of the applicant’s experience working with people as a volunteer or employee, demonstration of a broad understanding of occupational therapy, and an explanation of personal interest and match for the profession.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Note: If applying to the Advanced Standing version of the program your personal statement simply needs to be a statement indicating you are an existing UNH student applying to the advanced standing program.

Resume

Applicants who are not in the UNH B.S. in Occupational Therapy program must submit a one-page resume that details academic, work, and related experiences.

Additional Department Requirements

Prerequisite Course Verification Form (required): The regular program requires that all applicants print and complete the OT Prerequisite Course Verification Form. All prerequisites must be completed at the time of application. Please email the form to the UNH Graduate School. If you have questions about using the form, please contact the OT program. Those applying to the Advanced Standing program, or current and recently graduated UNH B.S. in Occupational Therapy students, do not have to submit the prerequisite verification form.

Students who are currently in the UNH BS Occupational Science Program and applying to the Occupational Therapy Advanced Standing MS Program should talk with their academic advisor in the Occupational Therapy Department regarding any questions on the application process.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

Professional Master’s Degree Track (e.g., those without a B.S. in Occupational Science): Please note that this is a highly competitive program with a very limited number of openings available.

Accelerated Master's Program: For those applicants interested in doing the accelerated masters program in Occupational Therapy be aware that the graduate-level courses taken during a student's senior year can only count towards the Certificate in Assistive Technology, and not the MS in Occupational Therapy degree. All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

graduating student

MS Occupational Therapy Prerequisites

  • A completed BA or BS degree with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.00 or better

  • Neuroanatomy (lab preferred)
    The Neuroanatomy course must include content related to the neural basis for movement and sensory functions. This includes an overview of the anatomical organization and function of the central nervous system, gross anatomy of both central and peripheral nervous system (including blood supply and meninges), sensory pathways, motor pathways, cranial nerves, and the spinal cord and spinal nerves. At the end of the course, students should have a basic working knowledge of the central nervous system in order to participate in the neurological examination of individuals with neurological impairments.

    • UNH offers KIN 706 Neurology as an online course during summer session that will include online lab experiences.

    • Neurology can often be found at schools that offer medical based programs, including occupational therapy and/or physical therapy programs. Neuroscience or neuropsychology courses typically do not meet this prerequisite.
       

  • Clinical Kinesiology (lab preferred)
    The clinical kinesiology course must include content related to the anatomy and physiology of the skeletal and muscular systems, sensory innervation of muscles, and basic biomechanics.

    • UNH offers KIN652 Clinical Kinesiology as an online course during summer session.
       

  • Statistics
     

  • Research Methods

    • This course should cover both qualitative and quantitative research design.
       

  • Human Development

    • Coursework should include all stages of human development from birth through old age. This information may be covered in one lifespan course or multiple courses (i.e.: child development and adult development).
       

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (2 courses, both with required labs)

Do all of the prerequisites need to be completed to apply?

Students who have completed all prerequisites will be reviewed more favorably, however, students may apply while still completing prerequisite courses.  All prerequisites must be completed before beginning the program in the Fall semester. 

Where can I take the prerequisites?

Prerequisite courses may be completed at any accredited college or university. Prerequisite course must be taken for college credit with a letter grade of a B- or better.

What are the prerequisites for the OT MS Program?

For students applying to the fall 2018 MS class and beyond.

Mandatory Prerequisites:

  • Neuroanatomy* (with lab)
  • Clinical Kinesiology (no lab required)
  • Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Human development course covering the lifespan (two courses needed: one course covering child development and one course covering adult development).
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with labs - 2 courses
  • A completed BA or BS degree with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.00

Do all of the prerequisites need to be completed to apply?
Students who have completed all prerequisites will be reviewed more favorably, however, students may apply while still completing prerequisite courses.  All prerequisites must be completed before beginning the program in the Fall semester. 

How can I schedule a tour?
To register for a campus tour please visit admissions.

How do I apply to the MS Program?
Please apply through the graduate school online application

How do I register for prerequisite courses at UNH?
To resister as a Non-degree student you must go through Continuing Education.

I have been out of school for many years and don't have access to recent professors to ask for references.  What should I do?
We are looking for references who can speak to your ability to handle complex and dynamic information, your work ethic, your ability to handle stress, and your communication skills.  While we prefer two references from recent professors, people who have supervised you in a professional, work/volunteer capacity are also acceptable.

What is the deadline for MS Applications?
**Application Deadline for Occupational Therapy MS Program is January 15th
**
However, we encourage applications to be submitted to the graduate school by the end of December to ensure that all applications are complete in time for review. We also encourage applicants to periodically review their application status on the graduate school website, and to contact the graduate school if items are missing.

    What is the topic for the admissions essay?
    We are looking for strong writing skills and a clear presentation of your understanding of Occupational Therapy.  We especially appreciate creative approaches to telling your story, and describing why you believe you would be a good fit for the profession.

    What should I look for in a neuroanatomy course?
    The Neuroanatomy course must be rich in content related to the neural basis for movement and sensory functions.  Course content must incorporate an overview of the anatomical organization and function of the central nervous system, including blood supply and meninges; sensory pathways; motor pathways; cranial nerves; and spinal cord, including spinal nerves.  Typical course objectives of an appropriate course should include wording about providing students with a basic working knowledge of the central nervous system and presenting the basic functional neuroanatomy required to understand and interpret the neurological examination of individuals with neurological impairments.

    These courses can often be found at schools that offer medical professions education, including Occupational Therapy and/or Physical Therapy majors.  UNH offers this course (KIN706/707) in the fall semester and in the early summer.  There is one acceptable online course of which we are aware at San Jose State (Bio 109).  Neuroscience courses typically do not meet this prerequisite.

    Where can I take the prerequisites?
    Prerequisite courses may be completed at any accredited college or university.

    Students in the professional program (MS or BS/MS courses) must meet program requirements:

    • A minimum GPA of 3.0 (overall) is required for continuation in the professional program.
    • Grades B- or above in all courses. Students earning B- or lower in 9 or more credits will be dismissed from the professional program.
    • Passing grades in all fieldwork components.  
    • Acceptable professional behavior identified on the OT Department Pillars of Professional Behaviors.

    Students who do not meet these standards will be dismissed from the program. BS students may complete their BS degree by registering for sufficient elective credits to meet UNH degree requirements (128 credits). MS students failing to meet these requirements will be recommended for dismissal by the Graduate School.
     
      

    Once students have completed all their academic and fieldwork requirements for entry-level practice, they prepare to take the NBCOT exam. This is one exam for which students cannot cram! But students certainly can prepare for it. The below links provide information about the exam’s format and content and guide you through the process of using your fieldwork experience as a study guide.

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