Degree type(s): Master's
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND; Billings, MT
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

The University of Mary is proud to announce that we will be the first college in North Dakota to offer a HLC approved Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree, and are also opening a new on-site OTD program in Fargo, ND pursuant to accreditation approval expected in December 2017, by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Students who are interested in our Occupational Therapy program can begin applying in JULY 2017 through Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Upon ACOTE approval, classes for the OTD degree will begin in the summer of 2018, and will be offered at our Fargo, Bismarck, and Billings locations.
To read the full press release click here.

MS in Occupational Therapy

Graduate degree; Master of Science

Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to achieve independence and to enjoy life to its fullest. The Occupational Therapy Master of Science program at the University of Mary prepares students to be competent, caring, ethical, compassionate occupational therapy practitioners who are able to meet the diverse occupational needs of individuals, groups, and communities. Graduates of the master’s program in occupational therapy will have the skills and training necessary to practice in a variety of professional roles and settings.

Upon successful completion of your master’s degree in occupational therapy, you will be eligible to take the certification examination for the occupational therapist, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The MS degree in Occupational Therapy is offered at the University of Mary’s main campus in Bismarck, ND, along with our Billings, MT and Fargo, ND campus locations.


The Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Mary is accredited 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 phone number, C/O AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

University of Mary NBCOT Pass Rates

Pass rates can be found at 

Occupational Therapy Program

The University of Mary Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is offered in Bismarck, ND (main campus), Billings, MT and Fargo, ND. Lecture classes are provided through live interactive video networking, while lab classes are held separately at each location. Each location has full time faculty who are licensed occupational therapists.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is designed for students who have a Bachelor's degree in a related field other than occupational therapy. This program takes 2 1/2 years to complete and includes 2 years of professional coursework and 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork experiences.

Occupational Therapy Master’s Program Highlights

Grounded in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values, the Occupational Therapy master’s program at the University of Mary offers unique learning experiences and opportunities within a supportive healthcare community:

  • Gain real-world experience through service learning and problem-based learning experiences, including an optional international service-learning experience. 
  • Take part in diverse fieldwork experiences in a variety of settings throughout the United States, as well as a group research project which is mentored by an occupational therapy faculty member. 
  • Learn from experienced faculty who represent numerous areas of occupational therapy practice.
  • Develop a foundation for the practice of professional skills, therapeutic use of self, ethical decision making, attitudes of service, and respect for others through a curriculum based in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values.
  • Learn to think critically, solve problems, and express yourself clearly.

A select group of students may apply for early assurance into the Occupational Therapy Master of Science program if they have attained a high school GPA of 3.5 or an ACT score of 24. Students who fall into this category may apply for admission to the master’s program during their senior year of high school and arrange for an interview with a faculty member. If accepted into the early admissions occupational therapy program, students still must meet all criteria for regular admission and maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA in pre-requisite courses and a 3.0 GPA overall. If this level is not attained, they are still eligible to apply under the regular admissions process. The requirements to enroll in the occupational therapy program after being admitted as a high school senior are as follows:

  • Completion of the admissions application, including 3 letters of reference and completion of required volunteer hours
  • Compliance with the University of Mary Standard of Conduct

Early assurance students who intend on beginning the professional occupational therapy program must inform the admissions committee or the secretary of the occupational therapy department and complete an admissions application by January of the year they intend to enter the program.

  • OTH 400: Fundamentals of Occupation
  • OTH 407: Evidence Based Practice
  • OTH 409: Behavioral Neuroscience I
  • OTH 415: OT Issues II
  • OTH 423: Group Leadership in Occupational Therapy: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 424: Fieldwork with Individuals in the Early Lifespan: Level I
  • OTH 430: Application of Assistive Technology
  • OTH 431: OT Process and Developmental Conditions I: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 432: OT Process and Developmental Conditions II: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 435: OT Process through Case Application: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 436: OT Process through Case Application & Comprehensive Examination: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 441: OT Process with Neurological Conditions I: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 450: Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology I
  • OTH 451: Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology II
  • OTH 452: OT Process for Psychological Conditions: Early Lifespan
  • OTH 507: Concepts and Practice of Research
  • OTH 508: Therapeutic Modalities and Essentials of Splinting
  • OTH 511: Seminar: Occupational Justice
  • OTH 515: OT Issues III
  • OTH 517: Implementation of Research Methods in Occupational Therapy
  • OTH 523: Group Leadership in Occupational Therapy: Adults and Aging Adults
  • OTH 524: Fieldwork with Individuals in the Adults or Aging Adult Lifespan: Level I
  • OTH 535: OT Process through Case Application: Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 536: OT Process through Case Application and Comprehensive Evaluation: Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 541: OT Process with Neurological Conditions I:  Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 542: OT Process with Neurological Conditions II:  Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 552: OT Process with Psychological Conditions: Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 560: Therapeutic Use of Self
  • OTH 561: OT Process with Orthopedic and Musculoskeletal Conditions: Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 562: OT Process with Medical Conditions: Adult Lifespan
  • OTH 565: Statistics
  • OTH 581: Community-Based Fieldwork
  • OTH 615: Advanced OT Issues
  • OTH 617: Dissemination of Occupational Therapy Research
  • OTH 680: Fieldwork Seminar
  • OTH 682: Level II FW 1
  • OTH 683: Level II FW 2
  • OTH 685: Graduate Seminar

Even as one of the most affordable private universities in the nation, the University of Mary does offer a variety of scholarships. In fact, 99% of main campus undergraduate students receive some form of scholarship! 

Some scholarships are available for specific academic programs, such as nursing, while other scholarships are available for certain student populations, such as military and veteran students

We strongly encourage you to contact your personal admissions representative to discover all of the options that might be available to you. In many cases, a program specific scholarship is just one component of a complete financial aid package. 

Our admissions professionals will work together with our Office of Financial Assistance to ensure that you get the best financial aid package possible to finance your education. 

The University of Mary Occupational Therapy program is a member of the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS), available at To apply for the program, please submit your application to OTCAS and indicate the University of Mary is one of your choices. OTCAS will send the documentation to the Department of Occupational Therapy Admission Committee for consideration.

After receipt of application through OTCAS, the Admissions Committee selects candidates eligible for the required personal interview. The final class is selected based on an objective point system based on cumulative GPA, GPA in pre-requisite courses, completion of volunteer hours, professional references, and the interview. The deadline for submission of the application to OTCAS is December 1 of the year prior to the June/August start date. Interviews are conducted in mid- January.

MS in Occupational Therapy: Admission Requirements

Students are required to complete the following:

1.  A bachelor's degree in any field completed prior to beginning the University of Mary Occupational Therapy Program.

2.  Pre-requisite Course Requirements:

  • Anatomy & Physiology I with lab
  • Anatomy & Physiology II with lab
  • General Chemistry with lab OR Physics with lab
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental or Lifespan psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Statistics (from math or psychology department)
  • Medical terminology or passing grade on competency exam

3.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and a minimum of a "C" in all pre-requisite coursework. Students may retake pre-requisite coursework one time. A GPA of 3.0 in pre-requisite coursework is required. Of the pre-requisite courses, a student may only retake a total of 3 of the 7 classes.

4.  Three (3) satisfactory letters of reference addressing moral and ethical behavior, academic abilities, and work ethic. One of these references must be completed by a previous or current work supervisor OR from the occupational therapist supervising the volunteer clinical hours.

5.  Twenty (20) volunteer hours with an occupational therapist. It is highly recommended that the hours occur in more than one area of practice. The clinical hours must have taken place within the last 2 years of the application deadline. Submit evidence of clinical hours to OTCAS as part of the application. Additional volunteer hours with nonprofit organizations which provide services to people is highly recommended.

6.  Official GRE scores within the last five (5) years.

7.  International candidates must submit official OTEFL scores to OTCAS by the application deadline. Applicants much achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 89 or 90 on the Internet-based test (iBT). The Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program also requires a minimum TOEFL iBT Speaking subscale of 26, TOEFL iBT Writing subscale score of 24, TOEFL iBT Reading subscale score of 21, and iBT Listening subscale score of 18. All exams are valid for two years.

8.  Foreign Transcripts - The University of Mary Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program only accepts pre-requisite coursework taken at an accredited US institution. Coursework completed in Canada should be submitted to OTCAS for evaluation.

Program Advisors

Bismarck: C. Anderson, M. Dooley, J. Lawson, J. Sibla (Program Director), J. Schroeder,
J. Varland (Academic Fieldwork Coordinator)

Billings: K. Briggs, P. Kitzenberg (Program Director)

For more information on the MS in Occupational Therapy program, please contact the University of Mary Graduate Admissions Office at (800) 288-6279.

If you are considering a master’s degree in occupational therapy, you might also be interested in the following graduate programs offered at the University of Mary:

The profession of occupational therapy requires either a master’s level or doctoral level degree for an entry level occupational therapist. There is a national trend in occupational therapy educational programs to move toward the doctorate degree.  In our desire to create not only competent occupational therapists, but leaders and change agents in the profession, the OT program has begun the process of developing a doctoral degree. 

It is the intention of the program to begin the doctoral degree in fall 2018, after successfully completing the steps necessary to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.  Students will be required to have a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the doctoral program.