Occupational Therapy, Master of Science in - Professional Degree

Program Director: Jenkins

Faculty: Barstow, Cunningham, Dudgeon, Eidson, Jenkins, McCurry, Tucker, Vogtle, Warren, Wingo, Yuen

The Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an entry level Master's of Science degree in occupational therapy (MSOT) for individuals who hold a baccalaureate degree in a field other than occupational therapy.

The MSOT entry-level or professional program is a full-time, 7 consecutive semesters, and 107 credit hours program. A research project is required for graduation.

Accreditation: The occupational therapy program 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 telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is acoteonline.

Credentials Conferred: Diploma-Master of Science degree is awarded by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Certification and Licensure
: Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the occupational therapist certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT); website: www.nbcot.org. After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Note that state law regulates occupational therapy practice and most states require licensure. Contact a specific state's board of licensure for occupational therapy to obtain information on that state's eligibility requirements.

NBCOT Pass Rate

Applicants should be aware that fieldwork placement sites, professional licensing agencies and prospective employers frequently require criminal history disclosures and background checks, although convictions do not necessarily disqualify someone for licensure or employment. Applicants with criminal convictions should recognize that such convictions may impede eventual licensure or employment and that the University of Alabama at Birmingham cannot predict the future decisions of fieldwork sites, licensing agencies, or employers.

Length of Study
: Minimum of 7 semesters (2 1/2 years) as a full-time student.

Program Entrance Date
: Fall semester.

Requirements for Admission: Selection into the program will be based on the student's academic performance record, aptitude for a career as an occupational therapist, and an interview. The candidate must satisfy the following requirements:

  • hold a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than occupational therapy from an accredited college or university; or receive a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than occupational therapy by June 1 of the admission year;
  • GRE taken within the last 5 years;
  • complete required prerequisite coursework with a grade of "B" or better;
  • have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0);
  • have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0) in prerequisite coursework;
  • if invited, participate in an interview with members of the faculty of  the Department of Occupational Therapy. The interview is scheduled once the application is received; and the steps outlined under Application Procedures completed.


Procedures Following Acceptance:

Received by the Department of Occupational Therapy:

  • signed Letter of Intent.
  • $300 non-refundable tuition deposit to reserve a seat in the program (deposit will be applied to tuition). 

Once admitted, students will be allowed to enroll into the program only if the following requirements are met:

Essential Requirements: Fundamental tasks, behaviors, and abilities necessary to successfully complete the academic and clinical requirements of the program and to satisfy licensure/certification requirements, if any, have been outlined and are available upon request from the academic program office. Students requesting disability accommodations must do so by filing a disability accommodation request in writing with the Disability Support Services Office.

Prior to enrollment, students must certify their ability to complete the essential tasks, with or without reasonable accommodation, associated with performing as an occupational therapy student. Reasonable accommodation refers to ways in which the University can assist students with disabilities to accomplish these tasks (for example, providing extra time to complete an examination or enhancing the sound system in a classroom). Reasonable accommodation does not mean that students with disabilities will be exempt from certain tasks; it does mean that the Department of Occupational Therapy will work with students with disabilities to determine whether there are ways to assist the student with completion of the required tasks. (visit http://www.uab.edu/dss).

After enrollment, a student with a disability who wishes reasonable accommodation contacts Disability Support Services (205) 934-4205 or (205) 934-4248 (TDD) or visits 9th Avenue South Office Building, 1701 9th Avenue, provide appropriate and current documentation substantiating the claimed disability, meet the requirements of a disability as described in the ADA, and identify the needed accommodation. Reasonable accommodation in classroom and in practice settings cannot be provided without the formal request and the required documentation of the ADA defined disability.
Essential Tasks:
• Students must meet class standards for course completion throughout the curriculum.
• Students must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive client-therapist relationships.
• Students must complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours.
• Students must gather decision-making pieces of information during client assessment activities in class or in the fieldwork setting without the use of an intermediary, such as a classmate, an occupational therapy assistant, or an aide.
• Students must perform intervention activities in class or in the fieldwork setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries.
• Students must apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and in the fieldwork setting, exercise sound judgment in class and in fieldwork, and follow safety procedures established for each class and fieldwork setting.
• Students must have interpersonal skills as needed for productive classroom discussion, respectful interaction with classmates and faculty, and development of appropriate therapist-client relationships.
• Students must maintain personal appearance and hygiene conducive to classroom and fieldwork settings.
• Students must pass a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course at the health professional level (American Heart Association, Course C) every two years under Alabama guidelines for CPR certification.
• Students must demonstrate appropriate health status prior to enrollment, with annual updates on some items. Requirements are posted at www.uab.edu/studenthealth.
• Students must annually complete OSHA-regulated Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Training.
• Students must follow standards and policies specified in the Department of  Occupational Therapy Student Manual, the Letter of Understanding (contract between university and fieldwork sites), and the Graduate School Handbook (see Section IX Fieldwork Experience for ADA issues related to fieldwork).

Typical Program
(Course requirements are listed in semester credit hours)

Fall Semester I
OT 606 Occupation Based Practice Models (3)
OT 607 Analysis of Occupational Performance (3)
OT 620 Foundations of Occupation: A&P (4)
OT 667 Research Methods (4)
OT 675 History and Theory of Occupation (3)
OT 688 Occupation and Health: Groups & Communities (1)
OT 698 Master's Level Non-Thesis Research (1)

Spring Semester II
OT 605 Therapeutic Skills (3)
OT 609 Barriers to Occupational Performance (3)
OT 623 Foundations of Occupation: Neuroscience (3)
OT 631 Foundations of Occupation: Biomechanics (4)
OT 688 Occupation and Health: Groups & Communities (1)
OT 698 Master's Level Non-Thesis Research (1)

Summer (12 Week Session) Semester III
OT 610 Mental Health Diagnosis Across the Lifespan (3)
OT 624 Occupations of Infants, Children, & Adolescents (4)
OT 632 Fieldwork Seminar I (1)
OT 662 Enhancing Occupational Performance: Orthotics, Prosthetics, & Other Modalities (4)
OT 673 Engagement in Occupations Through Technology I (3)
OT 688 Occupation and Health: Groups & Communities (2)
OT 698 Master's Level Non-Thesis Research (1)

Fall Semester IV
OT 625 Occupations of Adults and Older Adults I (4)
OT 633 Fieldwork Seminar II (1)
OT 661 Wellbeing and Health Through Occupations (3)
OT 668 Mental Health Practice in Adulthood (4)
OT 677 Foundations in Low Vision Rehabilitation I (3)
OT 688 Occupation and Health: Groups & Communities (1)
OT 698 Master's Level Non-Thesis Research (1)

Spring Semester V
OT 634 Seminar in Professional Readiness (2)
OT 653 Using the Lit: Evidence Based Practice (3)
OT 663 Promoting Occupations of Communities,Organizations, & Systems of Practice (2)
OT 665 Occupations of Adults and Older Adults II (4)
OT 674 Engagement in Occupations Through Technology II
OT 688 Occupation & Health: Groups & Communities (2)
OT 698 Master's Level Non-Thesis Research (2)

Summer Semester VI
OT 685 Advanced Field Experience I (10)

Fall Semester VII
OT 686 Advanced Field Experience II (10)

A minimum total of six credit hours of Master's Level Non-Thesis Research must be completed to meet graduation requirements.

For further information, contact:

Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
Department of Occupational Therapy
SHP 353, 1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1212
Telephone: (205) 934-3568
E-mail: msot@uab.edu
For course descriptions, see the UAB School of Health Professions Catalog - Course Descriptions.