Academics / Academic Programs

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

MSOT Program Director:

Ellen Cohn, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA (email preferred)

Note: In April, 2014, The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recommended that entry-level occupational therapists complete doctoral degrees. Building on Boston University’s solid foundation and reputation, the OT Department is leading the way by transitioning the Master of Science Program (MSOT) to an Entry-level Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD).

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and have decided to become an occupational therapist, congratulations on an excellent career choice. Whether your degree is in the sciences, humanities, or arts, a great deal of what you’ve learned can help you excel in this multifaceted helping profession. You’ll need an understanding of people, critical thinking skills, communication skills, creativity, and the desire to apply your knowledge in real-life situations.

87465BG_OccupTher13_103221109_wmU.S. News & World Report Ranks BU Sargent College MSOT #2 in the Nation!

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at BU welcomes graduate students with a wide variety of educational and work experiences. We offer this diverse student community an outstanding combination of advantages: a program ranked #2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, renowned faculty, extensive clinical experiences, and a focus on preparing professionals for leadership. We also offer a stimulating, urban location that provides the broadest possible exposure to clinical settings and client populations. Learn more about our OT faculty and their recent accomplishments in Special Edition Inside Sargent: Accomplishments in Occupational Therapy.

At BU, academic coursework and practical fieldwork are integrated into a curriculum that’s evidence-based, client-centered, and organized from a life-course perspective. You’ll study the concepts, theory, and practice of occupational therapy with professors and practitioners known in health care communities worldwide. Beginning in your first semester and continuing through the two-year curriculum, you’ll acquire an exceptional range of clinical experience through Level I Fieldwork placements chosen from BU’s large network of clinical sites. Finally, you’ll complete about six months of Level II Fieldwork in two full-time supervised internships.

Throughout the program, you’ll have close interaction and personal attention from our faculty. Many of your application sections will have fewer than 20 students; even your largest lecture will have no more than 60 students.

Regardless of your undergraduate area of study, our accredited program will fully prepare you to take the NBCOT National Certification Examination. After passing the exam, you’ll be ready to enter clinical practice with confidence.

Are Occupational Therapy and BU Sargent College right for you? We’ve designed our program for students who:

  • Desire to be agents for change for best practice
  • Are flexible, dynamic, and creative problem solvers
  • Can communicate and collaborate effectively with people from diverse communities
  • Are interested in both the biological and behavioral sciences
  • Enjoy the challenge of learning and applying complex knowledge about human occupations
  • Are ready to assume responsibility for their own personal and professional development

We encourage applicants (especially those who are unsure if they want to study occupational therapy or what occupational therapy is) to observe or shadow an occupational therapist. Applicants can arrange an observation by contacting the Department of Occupational Therapy at a local  facility. Observation of a population in which you are interested would be helpful (for example, if you are interested in working with  children, try a school  setting). If possible, applicants should chat with the occupational therapist to find out what they do.

We highly recommend experiences in at least two different service delivery settings (e.g., school, early intervention program, skilled nursing facility, community health center). One experience should be extended (more than several weeks), and one short term. Although health care experiences are not part of the official admissions criteria, they provide additional information about a prospective student’s experience in the field and basis for choosing to pursue occupational therapy.  Such experiences will weigh favorably when making admissions decisions.

NBCOT Program Results

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at

Please visit Boston University’s Accreditation & Certification webpage for more information, including our gradation rates.


Boston University’s last MSOT class will matriculate in Fall 2015.  We are leading the way by transitioning the MSOT to an Entry-level Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD).  If you have questions, please visit our Entry-level OTD webpage or contact:

  • Entry-level OTD Admissions Committee/OT Office at
  • Entry-level OTD Program Director Ellen Cohn at