Anne Zachry, Ph.D., OTR\L, Chair
The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) Program is designed to prepare entry-level occupational therapists who meet the current practice demands of the profession. With a strong foundation of liberal arts, biological and behavioral sciences, students develop skills in the analysis and therapeutic use of a wide variety of occupations. Students learn to understand and appreciate the role of occupation in the promotion of health, well-being, and participation in life. The program promotes both professional and academic development and seeks to graduate future leaders in healthcare. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NBCOT certification exam and become licensed.
The curriculum in occupational therapy is a full-time program that leads to an entry-level master’s degree. Students matriculate into the occupational therapy program following successful completion of a bachelor’s degree. The program includes 21 months of academic coursework followed by 6 months of fieldwork. Students are expected to graduate in May of their third year.
Courses cover occupation-centered practice, perspectives of development across the lifespan, evidence-based practice, biomechanical and neurological aspects of occupational performance, leadership in healthcare, and the basic sciences. To provide active learning experiences, instructors use small group activities, simulation experiences with live actors and manikins, hands on labs, community-based service experiences, and Level I fieldwork that may include mental health, pediatric, adult, and geriatric practice areas.
The Level II fieldwork placements provide students the opportunity to apply and synthesize knowledge and skills in a variety of settings. Level I and II fieldwork sites are available nationally. The department’s Academic Fieldwork Coordinator arranges and monitors the fieldwork experiences. All students are expected to complete fieldwork in multiple geographic locations, including at least one rotation out of state. The student is financially responsible for all expenses incurred.
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 www.acoteonline.org.
To be eligible for admission to the MOT Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
1. A baccalaureate degree and all prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrollment, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.00 scale.
2. The following prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better in each course and reported on official transcripts to OTCAS before an application for admission will be considered. If a course is repeated, an average of “C” or better is required. Prerequisite courses may include on-site or online content.
|General Biology (or Zoology)*
|Anatomy & Physiology*
|Additional Science Course*
|Lifespan Psychology (or Human Growth and Development)**
|Sociology, Social Psychology, or Anthropology
*The anatomy and physiology and kinesiology courses must be taken within five years of planned enrollment and the biology, anatomy and physiology, and additional science courses must include a laboratory component. Higher-level science courses may be substituted if current and approved.
**Course content MUST cover conception to death. Two or three psychology courses may be required to fulfill the across the lifespan requirement at some institutions.
No credit is awarded for prior experiential learning to meet the prerequisite requirements.
***Recommended courses include: foreign language (Spanish preferred), philosophy, logic, ethics, literature, and/or fine arts.
****Recommended courses include: computer/technology skills, education, technical or critical writing, logic, fine and performing arts, language and communication systems, philosophy, and industrial arts or activity-based courses (e.g., woodworking, ceramics, photography).
3. To be competitive, a GRE score of 300 and a writing score of 3.5 are recommended.
4. A completed application must be submitted to the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (www.otcas.org) on or before January 5 for early admissions or March 5 for standard admissions of the year prior to the January start date. To qualify for early admissions, applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of a 3.2 or higher and required prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to the application submission. The student will submit all official transcripts to OTCAS. ALL application materials, including transcripts, GRE scores, OT observation hours, and pre-professional evaluations, must be verified by OTCAS within four (4) weeks of the application close date for the Admissions Committee to consider the application.
5. In addition to coursework completed, the student will report the following information on OTCAS on or before the application deadline:
- Plan for completion of remaining coursework
- GRE Scores
- Three professional or academic references (recommend at least one by an occupational therapist)
- Volunteer observation hours
- Leadership and service experiences
6. A personal interview (based on GPA and GRE scores) is required for admission.
7. All application materials should be submitted to the OTCAS website at www.OTCAS.org. Applicants seeking assistance with the application process should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. For accepted students, proof of the following is required prior to January start date:
- Ability to meet published technical standards of the College of Health Professions and the Master of Occupational Therapy degree program
- Background check
- Health insurance
- Transcripts showing completion of bachelor’s degree and all prerequisites with a “C” or better grade
- Official copy of GRE scores
- A signed copy of the UTHSC Honor Code
- A complete Eligibility of Entitlement Act form
9. Students do not receive credit for work experience and coursework from another program may not be transferred to meet the requirements for admission to or graduation from the MOT program.
If prospective students are concerned about any prior issues which might prevent them from securing a cleared background check, they may choose to undergo a character review prior to applying for the MOT Program. This is done by requesting the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy to complete an Early Determination Review. For further information about the process and fees please click on the following link: https://www.nbcot.org/Students/Services#character
Students must demonstrate good physical and mental health consistent with the demands of the educational program and the professional field of occupational therapy. Immunization against Hepatitis B virus is required. Some fieldwork sites have additional requirements for health screening and/or further immunization. A description of the university’s current health requirements can be accessed at www.uthsc.edu/admissions/university-level_reqs.php
The goal of the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, College of Health Professions (COHP) is to prepare students for the practice of the professions of audiology and speech pathology, clinical laboratory science, health informatics and information management, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. This includes undergraduate and graduate education, where applicable. Modern health professions education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of essential skills, functions and professional attitudes and behavior. The faculty of the College of Health Professions have a responsibility to graduate the best possible practitioners and graduate students; therefore, admission to educational programs in the College is offered only to those who present the highest qualifications for education and training in the art and science of the respective health professions.
For admission to the College of Health Professions (COHP), students are expected to be able to successfully meet the Technical Standards as outlined below. Students must have the ability to meet these standards either with or without approved accommodations (for students with documented disabilities.) We receive applications from a diverse body of potential students including those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to help students meet these technical standards when appropriate, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Technical standards cannot be waived. Any student needing accommodations should contact Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) for further information. Information regarding accommodations can be found online or by calling 901-448-5056.
In the event a student cannot meet these technical standards either with or without reasonable accommodations, the student will be ineligible for admission or continued enrollment in the program. In addition to ensuring that students can meet the intellectual, emotional and physical criteria for participating in programs in the College of Health Professions, it should also be noted that of utmost importance is the safety and welfare of clients. The faculty of the COHP have a responsibility for the welfare of the clients treated or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the College as well as for the welfare of its students relative to the educational programs of the College. If a student is unable to perform in a manner that ensures the safety and welfare of clients and others, the student is unable to meet the technical standards of the College.
In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Committees on Admissions for the various professional programs of the College maintains that certain minimal technical standards must be present in applicants to the various educational programs of the College. These Committees on Admissions will consider for admission applicants who demonstrate the ability to perform or to learn to perform, the essential skills listed in this document. The College, in assuring the safety and welfare of others as well as ensuring that we graduate the best possible clinicians, will assess the candidate’s overall ability to meet the academic, physical and emotional standards necessary to complete the College’s curricula and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners.
Candidates for the bachelor of science degree, as well as those enrolled in any graduate education program of the College, must have the following essentials: motor skills; sensory/observational skills; communication skills, intellectual-conceptual skills, integrative and quantitative abilities; and behavioral/social skills and professionalism. Additionally, applicants to programs of the College must possess the following general qualities: critical thinking, sound judgment, emotional stability and maturity, empathy, physical and mental stamina, and the ability to learn and function in a wide variety of didactic and clinical settings. Graduates of the College must have the minimal skills, essential functions and knowledge to function in a broad variety of clinical settings, while rendering a wide spectrum of healthcare services.
All students must be able to perform the essential functions of the curriculum with or without accommodations and meet the technical standards described herein for the program in which the student is enrolled. Students who disclose a properly documented disability will receive any and all reasonable accommodations. Students desiring accommodations should refer to the Centerscope for further information and apply to Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) who will then work with both the student and the College to determine and deliver accommodations.
Additional Standards For Occupational Therapy Students
In addition to the general standards described above, each professional program requires additional specific standards as follow:
Occupational therapy procedures require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses. For this reason, candidates for admission to occupational therapy must have the manual dexterity to engage in procedures involving grasping, manipulating, pushing, pulling, holding, extending, and rotating.
Occupational Therapy Program candidates must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by touch, palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other standardized and non-standardized evaluative procedures.
Candidates must be able to provide general occupational therapy, including the ability to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, lift and transfer patients, and to stand/sit long periods of time.
Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory experiences as required by the curriculum. Candidates must be able to observe clients and be able to obtain an appropriate history directly from the client. Such observation necessitates the use of cognition, social skills and the senses, including visual perception, depth, and acuity.
Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with clients in English. In addition, candidates must be able to communicate in oral and written with faculty, COHP personnel, and peers in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. Such communication skills include not only speech but also reading and writing. Candidates must be able to acquire information delivered through classroom instruction, clinical experiences, independent learning, and consultation. Candidates must have the ability to complete reading assignments and search and evaluate the literature. Candidates must be able to complete written assignments and maintain written records.
Additionally, candidates must have the ability to complete assessment exercises. Candidates must have the social skills and ability to use therapeutic communication, such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching. These skills must be performed in clinical settings, as well as the didactic and laboratory environments.
Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative, and Qualitative Skills
Candidates must have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data. Problem solving and diagnosis, including obtaining, interpreting and documenting data are critical skills demanded of occupational therapists. These skills allow students to make proper assessments, sound judgments, appropriately prioritize therapeutic interventions and measure and record client care outcomes. Candidates must have the ability to use technology for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information. In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of anatomic structures.
Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism
Candidates must demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation, as such qualities are assessed throughout occupational therapy education. Candidates must possess the emotional well-being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to adapt to ever-changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stresses which are inherent in the educational process, as well as the clinical problems of many patients.
Candidates must have the ability to function as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team and to be assertive and delegate responsibilities as needed. Occupational therapists must utilize good organizational skills in order to prioritize their work, manage their time and meet deadlines.
Scholarships and Added Expenses
The following scholarships are available to students enrolled in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program:
- UTNAA Scholarship
- Lori Maloy Scholarship
- The Rachel Kay Stevens Scholarship
Information about these scholarships is available in the college section of the bulletin.
Fieldwork and State Authorization
Level I and Level II fieldwork sites are located in Memphis, throughout Tennessee, and in other states. Due to the limited number of fieldwork sites in Memphis, it is necessary for students to accept the financial impact of traveling and living out of town for a number of their fieldwork assignments. As described in more detail in the UTHSC overview portion of the bulletin as well as the college-wide section of the bulletin, state authorization is mandated for any fieldwork experiences to be completed in locations outside of Tennessee. The UTHSC is responsible for securing the necessary authorizations for any out of state experiences to be completed. Students are to work closely with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator to ensure the necessary authorizations are in place prior to finalizing any out of state fieldwork experiences.
Occupational therapy students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, student labs, and fieldwork assignments. In the case of absence due to illness or emergency, the student should notify the course instructor. The COHP has a policy of mandatory attendance and therefore there are no excused absences. Appointments for health services should not be made during scheduled class time.
Written and practical examinations and performance evaluations are a part of the educational program throughout the curriculum. All courses in each term must be passed before the student is allowed to progress to the next term. All courses that receive an incomplete (I) must be resolved by the end of the subsequent term. No credit for any course is awarded until the end of the term. The point-grade conversion scale used for all courses taught by occupational therapy faculty is as follows:
|A = 96 - 100
A- = 94 - 95
B+ = 92 - 93
B = 84 - 91
B- = 82 - 83
C+ = 81 - 80
C = 75 - 79
C- = 70 - 74
F = Below 70
Grades of Pass/Fail are used for grading Level II Fieldwork. Passing fieldwork grades are not included in calculating the grade point average (GPA), and failing grades are included in calculating the GPA. Information about grading related to incompletes and withdrawals is covered in the general college section of the bulletin. Students should reference this information about grade assignment in these situations.