Degree type(s): Master's
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND; Billings, MT

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, North Dakota.

Occupational Therapy Program Options

The University of Mary offers three options to earn your Master of Science in Occupational Therapy:

  1. Combined Bachelor of University Studies degree / Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (4 1/2 year option, 5 1/2 year option)
      • The 4 1/2 year occupational therapy program option requires students to complete liberal arts coursework over summer semesters and includes 3 years of professional coursework and 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork experiences.  
      • The 5 1/2 year occupational therapy program option requires students to complete liberal arts coursework over a 2 year period and follows with 3 years of professional coursework and 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork experiences.
  2. Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
      • 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.
  3. Occupational Therapy Assistant to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy    
      • Designed for students who have an associate's degree in occupational therapy. The 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.

"Being involved in the University of Mary's occupational therapy program, I have had the privilege to complete a fieldwork experience in which I was able to observe the profession of occupational therapy and everything that comes along with it. I was also able to do different activities on my own with the supervision of my fieldwork educator that solidified in my mind that occupational therapy is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It is so valuable to get these experiences now while still going to school. Being in the program, I have also had the experience to work hands on with different clients which helps to make sense of all of the information we have learned in class. "

 
Karlene Nelson, Occupational Therapy major, 2015

A select group of students may apply for early entrance 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 Entrance 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.

Pre-professional course

  • OTH 200: Introduction to OT Practice

Professional OT coursework for the 4½ or 5½ year program 

  • OTH 300: Introduction to the OT Process
  • OTH 310: Occupational Therapy in the Promotion of Health and Wellness
  • OTH 315: OT Issues I
  • OTH 321: Occupational Engagement: Theory & Models of Practice
  • OTH 322: Fundamentals of Occupational Engagement
  • OTH 323: Fundamentals of Group Leadership in Occupational Therapy
  • OTH 395, 495, 595: Independent Study in Occupational Therapy Practice

Courses for students with a Bachelor’s Degree or OTA Degree

  • OTH 400: Fundamentals of Occupation

Courses for ALL students in the professional OT program (those with a bachelor’s degree or OTA degree and those without a bachelor’s degree)

  • 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

Elective Courses (students must take one course)

  • OTH 461/661: Emerging Areas of Practice I
  • OTH 462/662: Emerging Areas of Practice II
  • OTH 563: Emerging Area of Practice III

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 www.otcasorg. 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. Be sure to send your verification of volunteer hours form directly to the Department of Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee, 7500 University Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58504.

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 mid-December of the year prior to the June/August start date. Interviews are conducted in mid- January.

MS in Occupational Therapy: Admission Requirements

Applications are accepted online beginning in the fall of each academic year until early January. Students are required to complete the following:

1. Occupational Therapy pre-requisite courses

  • Composition II [writing course]
  • Oral Communications [speech course]
  • Fundamentals of Chemistry (with a lab)
  • *Anatomy & Physiology I (with lab)
  • *Anatomy & Physiology II (with lab)
  • General Psychology
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • Medical Terminology
  • College Algebra (or higher)
  • Abnormal Psychology (only for students who are seeking a Bachelor’s Degree to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy AND Occupational Assistant to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy)

*Note: Anatomy & Physiology (with lab) may be separate courses

2. Applicants for the 4 ½ year or 5 ½ year option must have completed or be enrolled in 6 of 9 required pre-requisite courses by January. Applicants, who have a bachelor’s degree or an OTA degree, must have completed 8 of 10 required pre-requisite courses by January.

3. Community Service and Volunteer Hours: All hours must be documented and uploaded to OTCAS:  

  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (4 ½ year option, 5 ½ year option) and Bachelor’s Degree to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy:
  • 20 hours volunteer service with an occupational therapist AND 20 hours community service (work hours are not accepted for community service hours)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy:
  • 15 hours of community service AND proof of completion of all Level II fieldwork experiences (work hours will not be accepted for the community service hours)

4. Three (3) 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 OT supervising the volunteer hours.  

5. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and a minimum grade of “C” in all pre-requisite course work. Students may retake pre-requisite coursework one time.

6. International students need to provide a copy of the score sheet from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Program Advisors: Anderson, Briggs, Kitzenberg, Lawson, Newman, Olson, Sibla (Program Director), Schroeder, Varland (Academic Fieldwork Coordinator)

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. Students who begin their college education in the fall of 2015 or later are strongly encouraged to complete a bachelor’s degree in preparation for this change.