Curriculum Design

OT Expressive Arts Lab 

The occupational therapy curriculum is developed around humanistic values and incorporates an experiential approach that focuses on students becoming active learners. Foundation and upper level clinical courses promote an understanding of the dynamic relationship between health, well-being and occupational engagement, or a persons ability to participate in valued life activities and roles. Students are immersed in learning opportunities to both promote clinical reasoning skills and develop a systemic view of health and the health care system. The curriculum model is organized around three elements: Foundations and Professional Responsibilities, Evaluation and Intervention in Practice Settings, and OT Service Delivery and Research. It is further supported by three major themes that are infused throughout coursework: Person-Environment-Occupation Relationship, Therapeutic Style and Interactions, and Competent Practice.

Curriculum Model

Organizing Elements

Foundations & Professional Responsibilities
Initial courses provide students with a basis for understanding the unique occupational perspective of the profession. Through these foundation courses students explore the physical, psychosocial, cultural, and spiritual aspects of occupational participation on lifestyle and valued life roles. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework is introduced along with the major practice models and theories that define the language and philosophy of occupational therapy. Early courses explore the wellness-illness continuum and the concept of disability.

Evaluation and Intervention in Practice Settings
Evaluation courses focus on clinical and community -based practice settings, and provide a framework for developing client-centered intervention skills. The application of theories and practice models within this content guides the development of critical thinking. Students engage in fieldwork experiences to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to clinical settings, hone clinical reasoning skills, and achieve independent practice competence.

OT Service Delivery & Research
A multi-course research sequence provides students with content leading to basic proficiency in research while preparing them to be evidence-based practitioners. Working collaboratively with clinic and community-based sites, student teams develop and implement research studies whose outcomes add to the literature and meet the information needs of research partners. The culminating requirement is a presentation at the annual Gradate Research Symposium. Students learn about the roles and associated responsibilities of the OT through coursework that addresses occupational therapy service delivery, advocacy, consultation, and administration. Through these experiences, students develop the broad perspective required for promoting and providing best practice.

Supporting Themes

Person-Environment-Occupation Relationship
Students explore how personal factors, environmental influences, and occupation-related characteristics impact participation, health, and well-being. Throughout the curriculum students engage in literature reviews, case-based learning, and field experiences with clients, families and communities. Together these activities assist students to better understand the factors that enable and constrain occupational performance.

Therapeutic Style and Interactions
Students develop skills in forming therapeutic relationships through activities that foster self-awareness, personal maturity, and effective communication. Exposure to client-centered practice supports the students ability to engage in a collaborative intervention process.

Competent Practice
Competence as an occupational therapist is facilitated through the development of critical thinking skills, therapeutic use of self, and professionalism. The application of ethics, evidence-based practice, and clinical reasoning are woven throughout coursework and fieldwork experiences. Students develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for best practice.

For more information on the specific courses involved in the M.S. in Occupational Therapy visit the catalog page.