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College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions

MS in Occupational Therapy

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is a post-baccalaureate professional program designed to prepare students for licensing as certified occupational therapists. Students benefit from personal attention, strong fieldwork partnerships, and research opportunities in a two-year, full-time program. 

Students also have the unique benefit of interprofessional education with faculty and students in our nursing, physical therapy and prosthetics & orthotics programs. As we are very focused on our students' career success, our program is competitively priced, offering one of the lowest cost programs in the region.

The MSOT program has been granted candidacy status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). We anticipate receiving full accreditation in the spring of 2024.

Quick Facts
Undergraduate Program
  • We also offer a five-year combined BS/MSOT program. Learn more

About the Program

therapist working in kitchen with patient

Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people of all ages, helping them overcome health challenges to live active, independent lives. They may assist young children who have physical or mental disabilities, individuals who have sustained a brain injury, or older adults recovering from a stroke. OTs work in a variety of settings including schools, homes, outpatient clinics, mental health facilities, and hospitals.

The MSOT program prepares students for OT careers through a series of foundational science courses, clinical skills laboratories, and current theories in practice. Our expert faculty, curriculum and supervised learning experiences assure that students are educationally prepared and clinically competent to provide optimal care, as well as implement therapeutic approaches to improve quality of life of their patients/clients.

During the program, students will have several integrated experiences with specific populations from pediatrics to adults. There will be integrated fieldwork experiences in the first spring, second summer, and second fall semester. The culminating fieldwork experiences are full-time fieldwork during the last semester of the professional program.

Occupational Therapy at UHart

As a student in the MSOT program, you will benefit from:

  • Small class sizes with personal attention, mentoring and career advising from our expert faculty
  • Strong fieldwork partnerships 
  • Research opportunities with faculty
  • Inter-professional education with students in our physical therapy, prosthetics/orthotics, and related health programs
  • State-of-the-art OT labs and facilities in the Hursey Center, our new academic building (see more below)
  • Competitive tuition rates compared to other area MSOT programs

Learn more about occupational therapy at UHart in this short video with Program Director Sarah Psillas:

Want to learn more?

  • Questions? Contact Program Specialist Heather Johnson at hejohnson@hartford.edu.
  • Interested in learning more about the MSOT program? Schedule a time to chat with a current MSOT student about their experience in the program.

Why Study Occupational Therapy?

therapist with helping client with laundry
  • A rewarding career: Occupational therapists make a big difference in people’s lives, whether helping someone get back to a favorite hobby, maintain their independence, return to work or school, overcome a cognitive disability or simply lead a normal life. Getting to see your clients’ progress and celebrate their victories is an immensely rewarding experience.
  • Strong job outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects OT jobs to grow 12 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than average.
  • High salaries: Salary.com reports that the national average salary for a certified occupational therapist with a master’s degree was $97,360 in 2023; in Connecticut the average was $104,700.
  • Top career: Occupational therapy is consistently ranked as one of the top careers and best recession-proof jobs. Read more.

What can occupational therapists do?

Occupational therapists help people with health challenges participate in life to the fullest.  They may help them learn or re-learn skills like dressing, eating, bathing, preparing meals, driving, and work and leisure activities. From a child with autism to a wounded warrior with a double amputation, this video from our national occupational therapy association AOTA shows the different ways OTs help their clients achieve their goals:

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is a 76-credit program. The following is a sample of courses; for the full list of requirements and course descriptions see the course catalog.

First Year

Summer - 12 credits
Gross Anatomy and Lab - 4 credits
Kinesiology and Lab - 3 credits
Introduction to Occupational Therapy - 3 credits
Research Methods - 2 credits

Fall - 17 credits
Neuroscience Lab - 1 credit
Neuroscience and Occupation - 3 credits
Occupational Analysis - 2 credits
Theory & Foundations of OT - 3 credits
Group Dynamics - 2 credits
Communication Skills for Effective Practice - 3 credits
Scientific Inquiry I - 3 credits

Spring - 18 credits
Scientific Inquiry II - 2 credits
OT Practice with Children & Adolescents - 6 credits
OT Service Delivery for Children & Adolescents - 3 credits
Assessment throughout the Lifespan - 3 credits
Assistive Technology - 4 credits

Second Year

Summer - 12 credits
OT Practice in Mental Health - 6 credits
OT Service Delivery for Mental Health & Wellness - 3 credits
Health Promotion, Wellness & Program Development in the Community - 3 credits

Fall - 17 credits
Leadership & Management of OT Services - 4 credits
OT Practice with Adults and Older Adults - 6 credits
OT Service Delivery for Physical Rehab - 3 credits
Fieldwork and Professional Practice Seminar - 2 credits
Scientific Inquiry III - 2 credits

Spring - 0 credits
Level II Fieldwork
Level II Fieldwork (first half)
Level II Fieldwork (second half)
Note: Finishes in June

Career Outlook

Ot student with professor

Occupational therapists are in demand.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for occupational therapists to grow 12 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all jobs. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or loss of a limb. The need for occupational therapists is expected to remain strong as the U.S. population ages and people with disabilities desire to remain physically active, productive and independent.

Our new home - The Hursey Center

The home health care suite in the Hursey Center allows occupational therapy students to practice helping clients with tasks like cooking, doing laundry, and getting in and out of the shower. The suite includes a working kitchen and model bathroom. The suite is also used for inter-professional education with our nursing, physical therapy, and education students.

The occupational therapy skills lab in the Hursey Center contains a wide variety of equipment for use with pediatric and adult clients.

The occupational therapy skills lab includes therapy swings for use with pediatric clients.

In the home health suite, adaptive kitchen tools help adult clients with food preparation and cooking.

Students learn to use the ball pit in the occupational therapy skills lab to help pediatric clients with postural control, spatial understanding, core strength and body awareness.

The occupational therapy skills lab includes a climbing wall for use with pediatric clients.

Admission

Occupational Therapy Assistants

We offer flexible options for Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) to apply to our program. Contact us for more information.

Applicants for the MSOT should apply through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). The program begins in May and admissions are rolling until filled. The materials listed below must be submitted with your completed application.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at the University of Hartford requires the following:

  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • 10 hours of observation at two occupational therapy-related settings with proper documentation of logged hours.
    • Observation Hours (as called in OTCAS) should be used to explore different settings and populations within the field of occupational therapy. You must complete and provide documentation of at least 10 hours from at least two qualifying experiences.
    • Observation Hour Criteria (must meet both criteria)
      • Direct Interaction: There must be direct interaction with one or more individuals with a disability, illness, and so forth; thus, administrative experiences do not qualify.
      •  Completed within the Past Year: The hours used toward this requirement must have been completed in the past calendar year of the application deadline.
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from a course instructor or academic advisor and one from a supervisor in a professional or other work capacity.
  • GRE scores: Although GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores are not required, we suggest submitting scores as they may strengthen your application. Official GRE scores should be forwarded to the University of Hartford using school code 3436. Visit www.ets.org. Accepted students generally have GRE scores of 300 combined (verbal/quantitative) and 3.5 or higher in analytical writing.
  • TOEFL or IELTS (for students who are not native speakers of the English language): Average TOEFL scores for students range from a minimum of 80 (Internet Based Total) and 550 (Paper Based Total). IELTS minimum score for graduate students is a 6.5. The University of Hartford is not able to support F-1 student visas for international students pursuing the MSOT program. International students who do not require a F-1 visa are able to apply. Please contact the graduate admissions office with questions.
  • One personal statement addressing the specific question specified within OTCAS.
  • Official transcripts for all collegiate coursework.
  • Applicants may apply with up to two prerequisites in progress. All prerequisites must be completed with a minimum grade of B- and overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 prior to the start of the program.

Advanced Placement Test Policy: The University of Hartford generally grants credit to students who have earned scores of 3 or higher (4 for English Composition) on the appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) examination. Please see the AP Credits from Testing form here for additional details.

Transfer Credit Policy: Transfer credits from other programs or institutions are not accepted toward the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program requirements.

Work Experience/Experiential Learning: No credit will be given for work experiences or experiential learning.

PLEASE NOTE: A felony conviction may delay or prohibit certification through NBCOT and could prevent state licensure. For more information, refer to www.nbcot.org

Prerequisites

The following are prerequisite courses/content areas that must have been completed at the college level in the past five years. This includes university, four-year college or community college courses. It does not include preparatory or Advanced Placement courses. Applicants may have two prerequisite courses in progress when you apply.

  • Human Anatomy: (4 credits) one course with laboratory
  • Human Physiology: (4 credits) one course with laboratory; Note: when anatomy and physiology are taken as a combined course, two semesters (i.e., 8 credits) are necessary to meet the requirements
  • Physics*: (4 credits) one course with a laboratory
  • Psychology: (9 credits) including general/introduction, developmental, and abnormal
  • Sociology*: (3 credits) general/introduction
  • Statistics: (3 credits) course to include descriptive statistics, correlation, and introduction to inferential statistics

Courses marked with an asterisk are content areas that may be fulfilled with other approved coursework. If you are unsure if you have the correct prerequisite courses to apply, we encourage you to reach out to the program at otprogram@hartford.edu.

Meet Your Success Counselor

Shannon Saleeba
Assistant Director of Graduate Success
Division of Graduate and Professional Studies
View Full Profile

Additional Information

The following are estimated tuition and fees for the MSOT program:

Year 1 of Graduate Phase
Summer tuition $7,515
Fall tuition $13,397
Spring tuition $13,397
Course/Lab Fees $850
Books/Supplies (estimated) $1,400
Technology, registration fees $562
Year 2 of Graduate Phase
Summer tuition $7,515
Fall tuition $13,397
Course/lab fees $1,050
Books/supplies (estimated) $700
Technology, registration fees $562
Level II Fieldwork fees $3,400
Estimated Total Cost $63,695

** Fees do not include room and board or out-of-pocket expenses and are subject to change.

Program graduates, graduation rates and NBCOT exam pass rates will be included here after the first graduating class completes the program.

1. Students will understand the meaning of occupation and its depth and importance to the profession and therapeutic process, identifying assessments, interventions, and outcomes to improve occupational engagement, health, well-being, and participation in life.

2. Students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required of an entry-level occupational therapist to apply the domain and process of the OTPF. 

Demonstrate critical reasoning needed to carry out and professionally document the therapeutic process (collaborating with clients to gather, develop and analyze occupational profiles, screening, identify and complete assessment tools, goals, reassessment, and discharge).

3. Students will be prepared to be lifelong learners who are good and ethical consumers, producers, and supporters of research who apply evidence to the therapeutic process.

4. Students will practice in a professional and collaborative manner consistent with established legal, professional, and ethical standards and guidelines.

5. Students will collaborate interprofessionally and with community partners, demonstrating leadership and advocacy skills.

The University of Hartford Occupational Therapy Program will:

1. Recruit and retain a qualified, diverse faculty to cover the depth and breadth of the content in the curriculum.

2. Retain 90% of students on part-time or alternative schedules.

3. 100% of students will be placed in preferred area of practice for at least one Level II fieldwork site.

4. 95% of students will pass the NBCOT examination within the testing year.

5. Employment within 6 months of passing their NBCOT for 95% of students.

The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Preaccreditation Status 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. The program must complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

NOTE: Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Accreditation Timeline: The University of Hartford has met all milestones to date and has been granted Preaccreditation Status through ACOTE (the accrediting body for occupational therapy programs) with no areas of concern noted. As per ACOTE guidelines, the University will be hosting an accreditation site visit in February 2024 and expects to receive a decision on full accreditation in April of 2024.

Occupational Therapy Faculty

Sarah Psillas
Program Director and Clinical/Applied Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Rehabilitation Sciences
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Laura Wheeler
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Rehabilitation Sciences
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Michelle Forfa
Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Rehabilitation Sciences
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Jordan Bowling
Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Rehabilitation Sciences
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Anne Koba
Clinical/Applied Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Rehabilitation Sciences
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Program Contact

Heather Johnson
Program Specialist, Occupational Therapy Program
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
860-768-5207
hejohnson@hartford.edu

Graduate Admission Office
860.768.4371
gradstudy@hartford.edu

Making a difference is the ultimate reward.