Occupational Therapy: Living Life to Its Fullest
Occupational therapy practitioners help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They use a holistic and customized approach to evaluations, interventions, and outcomes to help a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations, assist a person recovering from injuries to regain skills, aid older adults to stay as independent as possible, and offer specialized support and services to people of all ages and in all circumstances that only occupational therapy can provide. Occupational therapy interventions may be provided to individuals, groups, communities, or to society as a whole.
 Master of Science (Entry-Level)
The objective of the occupational therapy curriculum is to educate entry-level professionals who are competent and skilled to independently practice occupational therapy in a wide range of service-delivery models with emphasis placed on the development of collaborative and therapeutic relationships with clients, families, and other health and human service professionals. Moreover, they will be prepared to generate and participate in research associated with the discipline of occupational science, as well as the practice of occupational therapy.
The Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association. The address and phone number are
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Upon successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice as an occupational therapist. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensures. For further information, the address and phone number for NBCOT are
[2.4] Course of Study
Once admitted to the program, students will complete 69 (non-thesis) or 73 (thesis) graduate credit hours, scheduled across a 24-month period. Within the course of study, the students are engaged in both classroom and fieldwork experiences at facilities in Arkansas and contiguous states. The first level of fieldwork assignments occur in concert with on-campus course work. Advanced levels of fieldwork assignments involve full time placement at two different fieldwork sites across a six-month period. At this level, students may again be placed at facilities in Arkansas or contiguous states.
It should be noted that students are responsible for their own transportation and living expenses throughout the program, including fieldwork assignments.
[2.5] Program Admission Requirements
To be considered for admission, candidates must complete a baccalaureate degree and meet the specific prerequisite requirements of the UCA Department of Occupational Therapy. Students may pursue the bachelor’s degree in any chosen field of study at UCA or from a USDE-recognized regionally accredited college or university. Moreover, completion of 25 hours of prerequisite course work is required. Prerequisite courses may be completed at UCA or at another regionally accredited college or university. Students who plan to complete prerequisites at another university are strongly urged to contact the Occupational Therapy Program Advisor to assure course equivalency.
Students enrolled in the occupational therapy program must perform certain essential functions in order to participate in and complete program requirements. A list of these essential functions and the departmental policy is available at uca.edu/ot.
All prospective students should review the document “UCA Department of Occupational Therapy Essential Functions” and the departmental policy prior to applying for admission to the program.
[2.5.1] Prerequisite Course Work
Required prerequisite course work is listed here with University of Central Arkansas course numbers.
|Course (UCA and ACTS* course numbers in parentheses)||Credit Hours|
|Anatomy and Physiology I (UCA: BIOL 2406; ACTS: BIOL2404)||4|
|Anatomy and Physiology II (UCA: BIOL 2407; ACTS: BIOL2414)||4|
|Physics (UCA: 1405 or 1410; ACTS (for 1410): PHYS2014)||4|
|Medical Terminology (UCA: H SC 3123)||1|
|Sociology (UCA: SOC 1300; ACTS: SOCI1013 or|
Anthropology (UCA: ANTH 1302; ACTS: ANTH1013
|Abnormal Psychology (UCA: PSYC 4320)||3|
|Lifespan Development (UCA: FACS 2341) or|
Developmental Psychology (UCA: PSYC 2370; ACTS: PSYC2103)
|Statistics (UCA: PSYC 2330 or SOC 2321 or MATH 2311; ACTS [for MATH 2311]: MATH2013)||3|
* ACTS is the Arkansas Course Transfer System. It applies to transfer of some lower-division undergraduate courses.
[2.6] Application Process
The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (Entry-Level) program has strict admission requirements and enrollment limitations. Acceptance is by specific application and competitive admission only. A new class begins each fall semester.
Two options exist for admission to the program. Regardless of the admission option, all applicants are required to complete the online application through the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) at www.otcas.org by January 15 of the year of planned enrollment.
[2.6.1] Freshman Admission
Declaration of Intent: Intent to pursue the option for Freshman Admission must be completed with the Department of Occupational Therapy Program Advisor by November 1 of the freshman year.
Students who begin study at UCA as a freshman will be admitted into the occupational therapy program if they meet and maintain specific performance standards and criteria. Actual enrollment in the occupational therapy program will occur after completion of the baccalaureate degree if performance standards and criteria are maintained.
To maintain Freshman Admission status, the applicant must
- Take all coursework at UCA.
- Complete the GRE revised General Test (August 2011) with scores of at least 150 on Verbal, 150 on Quantitative, and 4 on analytical writing sections.
- Attend three SPOT (Students for Pre-Occupational Therapy) meetings each year (12 total meetings in 4 years).
- Maintain at least a 3.7 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 prerequisite GPA for all undergraduate coursework.
- Complete a minimum of 20 hours volunteer/observation experience under a licensed occupational therapist; (form and specific instructions are available from the Department of Occupational Therapy website: uca.edu/ot).
- Complete a baccalaureate degree at UCA by May of the year applying.
- Complete all prerequisite course work by the end of the fall semester prior to application in the fall.
No interview is required of applicants entering the graduate OT program under Freshman Admission. Contact the UCA Occupational Therapy Program Advisor for the Freshman Admission application.
[2.6.2] Regular Admission
Application deadline: January 15th of each year
Those applicants not using the Freshman Admission or those who were not able to maintain performance standards and criteria for Freshman Admission must complete an application for Regular Admission. The deadline for Regular Admission is January 15th of the year of planned enrollment.
To be eligible for Regular Admission, by the application deadline, the applicant must:
- Complete baccalaureate degree by May of year of planned enrollment
- Complete the online application through the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) at www.otcas.org.
- Submit GRE revised General Test (August 2011) and GRE Analytical Writing scores to UCA Graduate School.
- Possess a cumulative GPA of 2.75 minimum based on a 4.0 scale or possess at least a 3.0 GPA on the last 60 hours of course work on a 4.0 scale.
- Complete a minimum of 20 hours volunteer/observation experience under the supervision of one licensed occupational therapist; the therapist must submit a performance rating from this experience (form and specific instructions are available from the Department of Occupational Therapy website: uca.edu/ot).
- Complete all prerequisite course work, with a grade of C or better, by the end of the fall semester prior to the spring graduate OT program application deadline (January 15th of each year).
All applications of candidates who meet qualifications for Regular Admission are reviewed by the OT Admission Committee. Applicants are ranked according to a formula based on overall GPA and GRE scores; top-ranked candidates are invited to a mandatory interview scheduled in March. Final ranking of candidates is based on the interview, GRE scores, volunteer/observation experience, and GPA. In addition to the selected candidates, a ranked alternate list is established. Individuals may be chosen from the alternate list to replace applicants who decline their appointment at any time, up to the date of enrollment.
Applicants who believe that they have been treated differently from other candidates in admissions decisions are to contact the chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy for information about the appeals process. All appeals must begin at the department level.
[2.7] Tuition and Fees
Occupational therapy students pay UCA general registration and other mandatory fees plus combined health science and departmental fees of $14 per credit hour and a lab fee of $5 per credit hour each semester.
Information on tuition and other mandatory fees is available from the UCA Office of Student Accounts. Fees are subject to change.
[2.8] Professional Courses
Required courses for the program are listed below in curriculum sequence order:
 Graduate Courses in Occupational Therapy (OTHY)
Follow this link for OTHY course descriptions: course link.