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Program requirements

The Professional Entry-Level Master's Degree Program prepares students for generalist practice in the field of occupational therapy. The Program has two tracks to accommodate students who are accepted with or without an undergraduate degree. The tracks designate the degree paths offered. TRACK ONE is designed for undergraduate students who have not earned a baccalaureate degree and requires 154 credits for graduation. TRACK TWO is designed for students who have earned a BS or a BA degree in a field other than occupational therapy and requires 94 credits for graduation with a master's degree. Credit totals include 24 weeks of full-time Level II Fieldwork within the United States or in international facilities where the supervising therapist has graduated from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Students with an undergraduate degree should refer to the Graduate Catalogue for specific information about the College's requirements for graduate students.

The combined program model permits students in TRACK ONE to earn a Baccalaureate Degree in Occupational Science (BSOS) on the way to earning a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy (MSOT). Undergraduate students are eligible to earn a BSOS degree at the end of the Spring Semester of the first year in the graduate phase of the program upon the completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours, and an MSOT degree in August of the second year of the graduate phase after completing an additional 34 credits. The first three years require no summer sessions. The final two graduate years require that students attend classes in the summer session. Freshman students may be eligible for the College Honors Program.

The Program also provides an accelerated option for eligible undergraduate students. In the accelerated option, students can complete a BSOS degree in three years (including three summers), and an MSOT degree in the fourth year (including the summer session).

Fieldwork

In addition to academic coursework, occupational therapy (OT) students are required to successfully complete fieldwork experiences to effectively apply knowledge within the environmental contexts of therapeutic practice. Students participate in course-related Level I Fieldwork experiences beginning in the professional foundation phase and continuing through the final year in the program. The fieldwork experiences differ by site type and population served, and progress in expectations for student learning outcomes.

Level I fieldwork experiences are designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process. In addition, it provides opportunities for students to demonstrate professional behavior and to develop interpersonal skills including understanding and respect for diversity and effective communication. The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and other faculty members are responsible for arranging Level I Fieldwork experiences in local hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, schools, supported employment sites and community-based programs, and for insuring that sites meet AOTA accreditation standards and Program goals. Students are supervised by faculty and/or site supervisors. Students are responsible for transportation to and from Level I Fieldwork sites.

Students are also required to successfully complete twenty four weeks of full- time, supervised, Level II Fieldwork (12 credit hours) during the second year of the graduate phase to fulfill the academic requirements for graduation. These advanced field experiences provide students with opportunities for skill and task mastery, and demonstration of their role as practitioners. Level II Fieldwork experiences must be completed within one year of completing didactic coursework, unless otherwise approved by the program director. Level II Fieldwork courses (OTR896 and OTR897) are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students must earn the minimum criterion score based upon performance in the areas of fundamentals of practice, basic tenets, evaluation and screening, intervention, management of OT services, communication and professional behaviors, as assessed on AOTA's Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapy Student.

Program completion

Following the successful completion of the academic and fieldwork components of the Program, a graduate of the Occupational Therapy Program will be qualified to sit for the national certification examination as a candidate for occupational therapist, as administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Upon passing the certification examination administered by the NBCOT, the individual will be qualified to practice as a professional Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states, Massachusetts included, require licensure in order to practice. State licenses are usually based upon the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Information regarding NBCOT's procedures can be obtained by contacting the NBCOT at 800 S. Frederick Avenue, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150; phone (301) 990-7979; or on-line at www.nbcot.org.

The School of Health Sciences requires annual CORI (Criminal Offender Registry Information) reviews on students. Students admitted to the Occupational Therapy Program who subsequently refuse to permit a CORI review will be dismissed from the Program. Students with a negative CORI who are denied the ability to participate in academic fieldwork will be dismissed from the Program.

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