BS/MS in Occupational Therapy

PLEASE NOTE: The five-year combined BS/MSOT program will not be admitting students after academic year 2012–2013. In addition, due to curriculum constraints, students are not able to transfer directly into this accelerated, combined undergraduate/professional program. A new four-year program offering a BS in Behavior and Health is available as of Fall 2013.

The undergraduate Occupational Therapy program combines liberal arts and professional education. The Occupational Therapy program offers a combined BS/MSOT program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Studies after the fourth year and the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy after five years of coursework and a minimum of 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork.

BS/MSOT Requirements

A minimum of 128 semester credits is required for award of the Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Studies degree and a cumulative minimum total of 160 credits (64 of which must be from graduate-level courses numbered 500 or above) is required for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree. Successful completion of 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork is also required prior to program completion. These fieldwork hours are completed after the academic portion of the program, extending the program’s official end by a minimum of six months, dependent upon fieldwork site availability.

The occupational therapy program requires a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 by the end of the junior year (i.e., by the end of the summer session before the start of the fall semester senior year). Students who do not meet the GPA requirement at the stipulated time may not continue matriculation in the occupational therapy program, but may continue their senior year and graduate with a BS in Therapeutic Studies. Also combined BS/MSOT students who decide to change career paths are able to graduate with a BS in Therapeutic Studies.

It is assumed that students receiving a BS in Therapeutic Studies will continue to complete requirements for the MSOT. Students cannot use AP or transferred college credit to reduce the combined program curriculum from five years to four years. BS degree recipients who do not complete MSOT requirements are not eligible to apply for fieldwork, national certification, or occupational therapy licensure. For more details, please refer to the MSOT Student Manual.

Pre-Professional Policies

During the first three pre-professional years of the BS/MSOT program (freshman, sophomore, and junior years), students must complete a minimum of 96 credits. Additional requirements include:

Grade Point Average (GPA): A cumulative GPA of 2.7 with a limitation of 12 credits of D grades. If a student repeats a course, both grades (non-passing and repeat) will be counted in calculating the overall GPA. The highest grade, however, will be considered as the final grade received in the course. No course may be repeated more than once. Cumulative GPA will include Boston University courses only.

Prerequisites: Seven prerequisite courses must be completed.

Four courses must be completed with a grade of B– or better:

  1. Statistics (CAS MA 113 [preferred], MA 115, or PS 211)
  2. Developmental Psychology (CAS PS 241)
  3. Psychology of Personality (CAS PS 251)
  4. Abnormal Psychology (CAS PS 371 or SAR HP 412)

Three courses must be completed with a grade of C or better:

  1. Human Anatomy (CAS BI 106)
  2. Human Physiology (CAS BI 211)
  3. Gross Human Anatomy (BS/MSOT students must take SAR HS 369 or HS 581 at Boston University to fulfill this requirement.)

Repeating Pre-Professional Courses: Students may not repeat more than two of the following courses or they will be terminated from the program: seven prerequisites and OT 317.

Sargent Core Curriculum and OT-Prefix Courses: Students must obtain a minimum grade of C in the Sargent Core Curriculum and OT 317 Professional Preparation Seminar:

  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to Health Professions
  • SAR HP 252 Health and Disability Across the Life Span
  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the U.S.
  • SAR OT 317 Professional Preparation Seminar for OT

The Occupational Therapy Program does not require, but does recommend, that students complete an ethics requirement (CAS PH 251 Medical Ethics or CAS PH 452 Ethics of Health Care). The ethics course may be applied to meet the Human Occupation requirements in the area of Health, Illness, and Disability Studies.

Human Occupation Courses: Students must complete a minimum of 18 credits in courses related to human occupation. At least two courses should be taken in each of the three content areas (categories) described below. Please meet with your advisor to review your course selection each semester to make sure your courses meet one of the categories.

Category I—Cultural and evolutionary influences on occupation: approved courses in this area are all of those courses offered by the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) in anthropology; religion; sociology; and women’s, gender, & sexuality studies, unless otherwise listed in Category II or III below. Some courses from study abroad programs may count in this category; students should check with their advisor.

Category II—Processes contributing to human activity performance: approved courses in this area are all of those offered by the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) in Psychology (other than those that are OT program prerequisites: PS 211, PS 241, PS 251, PS 371, or SAR HP 412) and selected courses from the School of Education (visit the OT Office Blackboard course site for complete list of approved courses). Some courses from study abroad programs may count in this category; students should check with their advisor.

Category III—Health, illness, and disability studies: approved courses in this area are posted on the OT Office Blackboard course site and offered in several different departments and programs including College of Arts & Sciences (CAS: Economics, Philosophy, and Sociology), School of Education (SED), Sargent College (SAR), and the School of Public Health (SPH). Some courses from study abroad programs may count in this category; students should check with their advisor.

Some courses taken to fulfill human occupation requirements may also fulfill distribution requirements, however the credits will only count in one of the areas.

English Composition: Two courses in expository composition (CAS WR 100 and WR 150) are required.

Distribution Requirements: Students must complete a minimum of 20 credits in courses that expand their knowledge to areas other than their area of study. These courses must be distributed among at least three of the following divisions:

Humanities Division
Social Sciences Division
Mathematics Division and Computer Science Division
Modern Language Division other than Literature Courses
Natural Sciences Division

NOTE: CAS PS 101 (social sciences) and CAS BI 105 (natural sciences) count toward distribution requirements.

Minor Concentrations: Minors in a different discipline must be completed by the end of the junior year.

Electives: Students may select a variety of electives from across the University. A maximum of 3 credits of Physical Education (including CPR and First Aid) will be accepted toward the 96 credits required by the junior year.

Optional International Internship

During the second or third year of undergraduate study, students may participate in the Human & Health Services segment of the International Internship Programs in cities such as London, Paris, Dublin, and Sydney. Arrangements are coordinated by Boston University Study Abroad, 888 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; 617-353-9888. Interested students should meet with their advisor as early as possible to ensure they will be able to complete the pre-professional requirements.

Sample Sequence of Courses Prior to Entering the MSOT Portion

Below is a sample of how a student might meet degree requirements prior to entering the professional (MSOT) portion of the program. Some of the pre-professional required courses may be offered during a particular semester only or must be taken in sequence, and students should plan accordingly. Students should prepare an individual schedule of courses in consultation with their advisors.

Each course carries 4 credits unless otherwise noted. Students should register for a total of 16–18 credits per semester.

Freshman Year

NOTE: Students who participate in the International Internship Program (study abroad) will need to work with their advisor to modify this schedule in order to meet prerequisites.

First Semester

  • CAS BI 105 Introductory Biology for Health Sciences
  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • SAR HP 150 Freshman Year Experience (0 cr)
  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to Health Professions (2 cr)

Plus

  • Other prerequisite courses or
  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

Second Semester

  • Elective: SAR OT 151 Occupation and Health: Intro to OT (2 cr)
  • CAS BI 106 Human Anatomy
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar

Plus

  • Other prerequisite courses or
  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

Sophomore Year

First Semester

  • SAR HP 252 Health and Disability Across the Life Span
  • CAS BI 211 Human Physiology
  • CAS Psychology (PS 241 Developmental Psychology, PS 251 Psychology of Personality, or PS 371/SAR HP 412 Abnormal Psychology)

Plus

  • Other prerequisite courses or
  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

Second Semester

  • CAS Psychology (PS 241 Developmental Psychology, PS 251 Psychology of Personality, or PS 371 Abnormal Psychology)

Plus

  • Other prerequisite courses or
  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

Junior Year

First Semester

  • CAS Psychology (PS 241 Developmental Psychology, PS 251 Psychology of Personality, or PS 371/SAR HP 412 Abnormal Psychology)
  • SAR OT 317 Professional Preparation Seminar for OT (2 cr; Fall or Spring)
  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the U.S.
  • SAR HS 369 Gross Human Anatomy (Fall or Spring)

Plus

  • Other prerequisite courses or
  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

Second Semester

  • CAS MA 113 Statistics (or CAS MA 115 or PS 211)
  • SAR HS 369 Gross Human Anatomy (Fall or Spring)
  • SAR OT 317 Professional Preparation Seminar for OT (2 cr; Fall or Spring)
  • Ethics course (recommended)

Plus

  • Human occupation courses or
  • Distribution requirements or
  • Undergraduate electives

BS/MSOT Transfer Students: Undergraduate admission to the combined BS/MSOT program is limited to students who have enrolled at Boston University by September 1, 2012. The new BS program in Behavior and Health replaces the undergraduate program in Therapeutic Studies as of Fall 2013. The accelerated BS/MSOT program does not accept intra-university or external transfers.

Sophomore Transfers: For students who have previously transferred into the occupational therapy program as sophomores, all of the Pre-Professional Requirements for students entering as freshmen must be met by the beginning of the senior year, with the exception of HP 151 as this Sargent core course is normally taken only by freshmen.

Professional Program Policies

To enter the senior year, minimum requirements are 96 credits and a 2.7 cumulative grade point average.

Once students begin the professional portion (senior year) of the program, they must meet all the academic standards and requirements of the MSOT program, including:

  1. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 during the professional years (MSOT-1 and MSOT-2). The MSOT professional GPA will be calculated separately from the pre-professional GPA. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 have one semester to bring up their GPA. Thereafter, if a GPA of 3.0 is still not achieved, students may be terminated from the professional program. If it would be statistically impossible for the student to achieve a 3.0 GPA the following semester, the program may terminate the student immediately. Students will not be scheduled for Level II Fieldwork while they remain on academic probation. If a student repeats a course, both grades (non-passing and repeat) will be counted in calculating the GPA. The highest grade, however, will be considered as the final grade received in the course. GPI and cumulative GPA will include courses taken at Boston University only;
  2. A minimum grade of C in all required courses in the professional program. Students may not repeat more than two courses in the professional program or they will be terminated from the program. No course may be repeated more than once;
  3. A cumulative minimum total of 160 credits is required for the MSOT (64 credits must be from graduate-level courses numbered 500 or above);
  4. Successful completion of 24 weeks of supervised Level II Fieldwork (SAR OT 593/594) within 24 months after finishing didactic work;
  5. Demonstration of appropriate professional behaviors as described in the Occupational Therapy Student Manual.

Technical Standards

The following technical standards have been formally adopted by the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College Department of Occupational Therapy.

Applicants and students for the MSOT must have abilities and skills in the areas of cognition/judgment/observation, communication, interpersonal/attitudinal attributes, and physical and sensory motor skills as described below. These technical standards are necessary for full participation in the academic and fieldwork/clinical aspects of the Occupational Therapy Program at Boston University and must be demonstrated on a consistent basis. Applicants and students should review the technical standards for the MSOT program carefully and identify if additional supports are needed to meet these standards consistently for any portion (classroom and clinical/fieldwork) of the MSOT program.

Students who have a disability may request reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students are encouraged to contact the University’s Disability Services to arrange an individualized consultation to discuss any support services or accommodations they may need.

Cognitive/Judgment/Observation

  • Problem-solving ability sufficient to organize and complete multiple tasks (such as projects and assignments and interventions relating to client care) from multiple courses and/or fieldwork/clinical, accurately and within assigned time frames.
  • Adherence to safety precautions and ability to use appropriate judgment with clients, family members, and other stakeholders during lectures, application sessions, and clinical/fieldwork experiences (including independent studies and fieldwork/clinical).
  • Ability to handle possible stress and anxiety of an intensive curricula including the academic (classroom and independent studies) and fieldwork/clinical (Level I and Level II fieldwork/clinical and special programs such as service learning experiences) aspects by demonstrating effective and adequate coping and time-management skills.
  • Ability to self-reflect and apply feedback to academic and fieldwork/clinical situations in order to develop appropriate strategies for professional growth.
  • Ability to generalize and apply academic knowledge to fieldwork/clinical situations.
  • Ability to initiate and attend to a task until completion.
  • Ability to observe and participate in application sessions and fieldwork/clinical experience settings determined essential by the faculty. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. Student must be able to observe a patient accurately both at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals.


Communication

  • Ability to speak and write the English language intelligibly, hear sufficiently, and observe patients closely to elicit and transmit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication as well as possess reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide fieldwork/clinical care for clients. Capable of completing appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol, in a thorough and timely manner. Comprehend and use the English language in an understandable manner both verbally and in writing, including grammar and organization in an efficient time frame specific to the task.
  • Ability to communicate sensitively, effectively, efficiently, and appropriately with peers, faculty, supervisors, other professionals, clients, and their significant others on a one-to-one basis, in a small group, large classroom setting, and large group and to respect the confidentiality of client/patient information.
  • Ability to initiate and actively participate in classroom and fieldwork/clinical settings.


Interpersonal/Attitudinal

  • Ability to use intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly respond and adapt to the client’s needs under potentially stressful circumstances. Must be flexible in being able to adapt to changing environments and client factors, and respond in the face of uncertainties inherent in fieldwork/clinical practice.
  • Ability to work within fieldwork/clinical environments that involve exposure to persons with physical and mental disabilities. Must also be able to appropriately deal with situations involving pain, grief, death, stress, communicable diseases, blood and body fluids, and toxic substances.
  • Ability and willingness to work with a diverse client population including persons of various ages, disabilities, sexual preferences, ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Ability and willingness to modify behavior/performance in the classroom or the fieldwork/clinical setting after feedback from the instructor or fieldwork/clinical supervisor.


Physical/Sensory Motor

  • Manual dexterity and motor planning sufficient to manipulate evaluation and intervention equipment.
  • Hearing and visual acuity and visual field sufficient to respond independently to an emergency situation signaled by a change in an individual’s appearance, pulse, blood pressure, an individual’s verbal, nonverbal, or physical communication of distress, and/or environmental event.
  • Ability to lift 20 lbs. independently and to place objects of this weight at various levels including floor and overhead.
  • Ability to perform 50% of a physical transfer of a patient/client up to 200 lbs. with assistance or with assistive devices; i.e., from a wheelchair to toilet or tub while maintaining good body mechanics.
  • Capacity to attend and actively participate in all lecture and application sessions including real-time tests and fieldwork/clinical situations.


Sample Sequence of Courses Following Entry into the MSOT Portion

The sequence of courses for the MSOT program is fixed. Professional courses are sequential and offered only once a year.

Senior Year (First Professional Year, MSOT-1)

First Semester

  • SAR OT 500 Integrative Seminar I and LIFW (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 513 Analysis and Adaptation of Occupation
  • SAR OT 520 Evidence-Based OT Practice I (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 526 Functional Movement: Analysis and Assessment
  • SAR OT 529 Occupation Across the Life Course
  • SAR OT 589 Orientation to Practice (0 cr)

Second Semester

  • SAR OT 501 Integrative Seminar II and LIFW (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 524 Introduction to the OT Process
  • SAR OT 556 Neuroscience for Occupational Therapy
  • SAR OT 562 Learning and Behavior Change
  • SAR OT 620 Evidence-Based OT Practice II (2 cr)

Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Studies awarded

MSOT Year (Second Professional Year, MSOT-2)

First Semester

  • SAR OT 502 Integrative Seminar III & LIFW
  • SAR OT 538 Assistive Technology (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 563 Context and Occupational Performance
  • SAR OT 564 Skills for Occupation-Based Practice I
  • SAR OT 621 Evidence-Based OT Practice III (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 904 Thesis Proposal* (2 cr) optional

Second Semester

  • SAR OT 530 Occupation-Based Practice with Groups
  • SAR OT 565 Skills for Occupation-Based Practice II
  • SAR OT 566 Client Factors and Occupational Performance (2 cr)
  • SAR OT 586 Professional Service Management (prev HP 650)
  • SAR OT 590 Level II Field Experience Fee (0 cr)
  • XXX XX 500+ Graduate-level elective (2 cr) or SAR HP 905 Thesis: Directed Research* (4 cr)

Where marked (*), a thesis is an option for students who are in good academic standing and accepted by a faculty reader/advisor (thesis project must be in an area of current faculty research). If approved, the student registers for SAR OT 904 Thesis Proposal (2 credits) in Semester I and for SAR HP 905 Directed Research (4 credits) in Semester II. Students cannot begin OT 593/594 LIFW until the thesis is completed. No more than 6 credits of thesis will apply toward the MSOT.

Level II Fieldwork (LIIFW)

No student may start LIIFW until all academic coursework (including optional thesis) has been completed, an acceptable grade (C) is earned in all required professional courses, the minimum cumulative GPA (3.0+) is achieved, and professional behavior standards are met. All students must complete LIIFW within 24 months of finishing their academic coursework.

  • SAR OT 593 Level II Field Experience I (0 cr)
  • SAR OT 594 Level II Field Experience II (0 cr)
  • SAR OT 595 Level II Elective Field Experience (0 cr) optional via petition

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Awarded

Accreditation

Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College’s professional entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree programs are 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. AOTA’s phone number is 301-652-2682. In December 2011, ACOTE awarded Boston University Sargent College full re-accreditation for 10 years through academic year 2021/2022 for substantial compliance with the Accreditation Standards for a Master’s-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist.

Institutional Accreditation: Boston University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. The University was most recently granted continuing accreditation in October 2009.

Certification: Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Visit the NBCOT website for more information. Upon successful completion of the exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure and/or initial certification to practice.

NBCOT Eligibility: The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) may disqualify students with felony convictions/charges from becoming certified. The Qualifications Review Committee (QRC) will review the qualifications of examination candidates who have been convicted of or charged with a felony to determine if the circumstances appear to relate directly to the safe, proficient, and/or competent practice of occupational therapy. For students entering an OT program, the QRC may give an early determination for approval to take the certification exam. For more information, please contact the NBCOT directly.

NBCOT Success Rate: Over the past three years (January 2010–December 2012), our graduates have achieved an overall pass rate of 98.3% on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.

Because the calendar year of a student’s official graduation may differ from the year in which the exam was taken, these two categories (*) do not overlap 100%.

Year Number of program graduates* Number of first-time test takers* Number of first-time test takers who passed the exam Percentage of
first-time test takers who passed the exam
2010 33 33 33 100%
2011 47 46 44 96%
2012 40 40 40 100%
3-year total 120 119 117 98.3%

More than 80 percent of our graduates seeking employment last year had jobs within three months of completing the program. Boston University graduates consistently rate themselves as very well prepared for practice, and many have taken on leadership roles in practice and education.