Curriculum Design

OT Expressive Arts Lab 

The occupational therapy curriculum emphasizes the person, environment and occupation relationship and incorporates an experiential approach that focuses on students engaging as active learners. Foundation and upper level clinical courses promote an understanding of the dynamic relationship between health, well­being and occupational engagement for a person’s 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 service delivery systems. The curriculum model is organized  around  three  elements: Foundations and Professional Identity, Evaluation and Intervention in Practice Settings, and Professional Responsibility and Research.  It is further supported by three major themes that are infused throughout coursework: Person­-Environment­-Occupation Relationship, Therapeutic Use of Self and Entry Level Practice.

OT Curriculum Graphic 

Organizing Elements

Foundations & Professional Identity

Foundational courses provide students with a basis for understanding the distinct occupational perspective and how the profession contributes to health promotion and participation in society. The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework is introduced along with the major practice models and theoretical frameworks that define the language and philosophy of occupational therapy.  Students explore the intersection of the areas of occupation, client factors, performance skills and patterns as well as context and environment.

Evaluation & Intervention in Practice Settings

Evaluation and intervention courses focus on a variety of service delivery models and provide a framework for developing client­centered intervention. The application of practice models within this content guides the development of critical thinking. Students engage in case driven labs and fieldwork experiences to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to clinical settings, in order to hone clinical reasoning skills, and achieve entry level competence.

Professional Responsibility & Research

Students learn about the roles and associated responsibilities of the OT through coursework that addresses occupational therapy service delivery, advocacy, ethics and health policy administration.  A multi­course research sequence prepares students for scholarly inquiry guiding them to become evidence­based practitioners. Working collaboratively with faculty, clinic and community­based sites, student teams develop and implement research studies whose outcomes augment current literature and meet the information needs of research partners. The culminating requirement is a presentation at the annual Graduate Research Symposium. Through these experiences, students develop the broad perspective required for promoting and providing best practice.


Supporting Themes

Person- ­Environment­ - Occupation Relationship

Students explore how factors related to the person, environment and occupation impact health, well­being and participation in society. Throughout the curriculum students engage in scholarly inquiry, case­ based learning and field experiences with persons, groups and organizations. Together these learning activities assist students to analyze the elements that promote occupational performance.

Therapeutic Use of Self

Students develop skills in forming therapeutic relationships through experiences that foster self­awareness, personal maturity and effective communication.  Emphasis on client­centered practice supports the student’s ability to engage in a collaborative intervention process.

Entry Level Practice

Entry level practice as an occupational therapist is facilitated through the development of critical thinking skills, therapeutic use of self and professionalism. The application of ethics, evidence­based 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.