Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (July 2022 Ed) 
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (July 2022 Ed) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy, MOT


Anne Zachry, Ph.D., OTR\L, Chair

Program Objectives

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 in 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.

Curriculum Description

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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. 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, or a proposed plan to complete the courses by September 1 must be submitted. If a course is repeated, an average of “C” or better is required. Prerequisite courses may include on-site or online content.

Prerequisite Requirements  
General Biology (or Zoology)* 4
Anatomy & Physiology* 8
Additional Science Course* 4
Kinesiology* 3
English Composition 6
Oral Communication 3
General Psychology 3
Lifespan Psychology (or Human Growth and Development)** 3
Abnormal Psychology 3
Sociology, Social Psychology, or Anthropology 3
Statistics 3
Medical Terminology 1

*The anatomy and physiology and kinesiology courses must be taken within five years of the application year 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.

Prerequisite Recommendations      



***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 the early admissions cycle or March 5 for the standard admissions cycle of the year prior to the January start date. To be considered for early admissions, applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of a 3.2 or higher, score 3.5 on the analytical writing section of the GRE, have competitive scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE, and all 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:

  1. Plan for completion of remaining coursework
  2. GRE Scores
  3. Three professional or academic references (at least one by an occupational therapist)
  4. Volunteer observation hours
  5. Leadership and service experiences (including online OT shadowing experience course, if applicable.)
  6. Essay

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 otcasinfo@otcas.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 
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Negative drug screen
  • A complete Eligibility of Entitlement Act form
  • CPR Certification- American Heart Association- BLS Healthcare Provider

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.

10. AP English and Psychology courses will be accepted as prerequisite requirements if accepted by the undergraduate institution. 


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

Minimum Computer Requirements

Students are expected to have minimum computer requirements as specified by Information Technology Services (ITS).   Specifics can be found here: https://uthsc.edu/its/minimum-computer-requirements/

Health Requirements

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

Technical Standards

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:

Motor Skills

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.

Sensory/Observational Skills

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.

Communication Skills

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.

Program-Specific Policies

Attendance Requirement

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.

Grading Policy

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 = 93 - 100
A- = 90 - 92
B+ = 87 - 89
B = 83 - 86
B- = 80 - 82
C+ = 78 - 79
C = 75 - 77
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.

Curriculum Summary

Total Hours for Term I: 20 credit hours

Total Hours for Term II: 22 credit hours

* Level I fieldwork is typically two weeks

Total Hours for Term III: 18 credit hours

* Level I fieldwork is typically two weeks

Total Hours for Term IV: 24 credit hours

** Level II fieldwork is typically twelve weeks

Fifth Term (Jan - May)

Total Hours for Term V: 12 credit hours

Optional Course

Total Hours in the MOT Curriculum: 96 credit hours

Progress, Promotion and Graduation

Each term, the Progress and Promotions Committee meets.

In order to progress to the next term in good standing, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If a student’s GPA for that term drops below 3.0, the Progress and Promotions Committee forwards to the Dean of the college a recommendation that the student be placed on probation.  During that probation term, the student must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or greater. The student may also be required to meet other expectations in order to be removed from probation. While on probation, the student may not participate in fieldwork rotations.

Earning a grade of “D” or “F” will result in a recommendation from the Progress & Promotions Committee that the student be dismissed from the program.

A student must demonstrate satisfactory personal and professional behavior deemed by faculty as being necessary for academic success and competency in clinical practice. Such areas may include ability to establish rapport with clients, ability to work and communicate effectively with members of the health care team, dependability, judgment, integrity, initiative, and interest. Failure to meet these requirements may result in the Progress and Promotions Committee’s recommending that the student be placed on probation.

According to the college policy, in exceptional circumstances, a student may be allowed to repeat all or part of the curriculum. All earned grades in didactic work and failing grades in Level 2 fieldwork are calculated in the overall GPA.

Students must meet the college and program technical standards to continue in the program and graduate.

In the case of a negative recommendation by the Progress and Promotions Committee, the Dean makes a decision to either accept the recommendation or not. When the Dean decides to uphold the recommendation, her office sends a letter to the student (via encrypted email) to notify the student of the negative decision. If the student is placed on probation, the letter outlines requirements the student must meet in order to be removed from probation.

Readmission Following Dismissal or Unapproved Program Withdrawal

Students who withdraw from the program without permission to return or who are dismissed from the College for non-academic reasons may reapply. However, students who are dismissed from the program for academic reasons are generally not considered competitive. Students who chose to reapply to the program following an academic dismissal should provide documentation of extenuating circumstances that contributed to the inability to progress in the program, resolution of the extenuating circumstances, and their plan to be successful academically if readmitted to the program. This information should be submitted to the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee @ uthscot@uthsc.edu.

Requirements for Graduation

The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the Master of Occupational Therapy degree:

a. Satisfactory completion of 96 credit hours of professional curriculum course work, including satisfactory performance in 24 credit hours of Level II Fieldwork. Level II Fieldwork requirements must be completed within the 24 months following completion of on-campus academic coursework.

b. Completion of all didactic coursework in the MOT curriculum with a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher.

c. Demonstration of the level of professionalism necessary for the professional practice of occupational therapy.

d. Ability to meet the minimal technical standards or essential skills necessary for the professional practice of occupational therapy.

e. Submission and satisfactory completion of all assignments related to fieldwork and the Professional Development Evaluation.

Attendance at graduation is mandatory. Those unable to attend the commencement must obtain permission to receive the degree in absentia by filing a written request with the Dean of the College.


Achievement Award in Occupational Therapy

This award is presented annually by the faculty to a graduating student for outstanding academic and clinical achievements. The recipient has achieved a level of excellence in both the classroom and field-work settings.

Leadership Award in Occupational Therapy

For this award, the faculty and students select a graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership.

Occupational Therapy Scholarly Achievement Award 

For this award, the faculty selects a graduating student (or group of students) who demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement, going above and beyond course requirements to make scholarly contributions or disseminate scholarly work.

Rosemary E. Batorski Community Service Award in Occupational Therapy

For this award, the faculty select a graduating student who has demonstrated outstanding service to their class, UTHSC or the community at large.

President’s Award in Occupational Therapy

The President’s Award in occupational therapy is granted to a student who demonstrates outstanding and continuous service to the UTHSC Occupational Therapy program, is an acknowledged leader for his peers, and is a supportive liaison to the faculty and the University.

Certification Examination and Licensure

Graduates with a master of occupational therapy degree qualify to sit for the national certification examination administered through the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Information regarding this process may be found at their website http://www.nbcot.org/. Students must consult the licensure board in the state where they plan to practice to determine licensure requirements.

Student Professional Organization Membership

Occupational therapy students are eligible for membership in the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA).