Occupational Therapy

[1] Occupational Therapy: Living Life to Its Fullest

The practice of occupational therapy means the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of enabling participation in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings. Occupational therapy services are provided for the purpose of promoting health and wellness to those who have or are at risk for developing an illness, injury, impairment, activity limitation or participation restriction. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life.

Specific occupational therapy services include administering and interpreting assessments designed to evaluate a client’s physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and functional performance; identifying intervention goals with the client; teaching personal daily living skills as well as community integration skills; developing perceptual-motor skills and sensory integrative functioning; developing play skills and prevocational and leisure capacities; designing, fabricating, or applying selected orthotic, prosthetic, or assistive devices; using specifically designed activities to enhance functional performance; and evaluating and adapting occupational environments. Occupational therapy intervention may be provided to individuals, groups, or to society as a whole.

[2] Master of Science (Entry-Level)

[2.1] Purpose

The objective of the professional curriculum in occupational therapy is to educate entry-level therapists competent and skilled in providing occupational therapy services to clients whose independence is at risk or limited by a variety of disabling conditions or circumstances. Graduates are prepared to practice independently 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 are prepared to generate and participate in research associated with the discipline of occupational science, as well as the practice of occupational therapy.

[2.2] Accreditation

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 is: 

4720 Montgomery Lane
PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220

phone: (301) 652-2682.

[2.3] Certification

Graduates of the program 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, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licensures are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.  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 for NBCOT is:

12 South Summit Avenue
Suite 100
Gaitherburg, MD 20877-4150

Phone:  (301) 990-7979

[2.4] Course of Study

The curriculum leading to the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy requires completion of 33-34 hours of prerequisite course work plus 54 undergraduate hours of professional-level courses. The graduate phase of the program requires completion of an additional 53 (thesis) or 56 (non-thesis) hours of professional-level courses. For students who do not possess a baccalaureate degree, 70 hours of prerequisite and general education courses must be completed prior to program entry; the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy emphasis) is awarded following the fifth semester in the professional curriculum. 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 determine course equivalency.

The professional-level curriculum consists of a minimum of nine semesters (combined undergraduate and graduate courses)  of on-campus study. During this time, students are engaged in both classroom work and Level I fieldwork experiences (minimum 80 hours per semester) at facilities in Arkansas and contiguous states. Following campus study, students are assigned to facilities in Arkansas and/or contiguous states for full-time fieldwork experiences of six-months’ duration. Students are responsible for their own transportation and living expenses throughout the program, including fieldwork.

[2.5] Program Admission Requirements

Application to the professional program is made upon completion of the prerequisite courses, through a competitive admission process. Students seeking admission to the professional program in occupational therapy must

1.  Apply to and meet all admission requirements of the university (if not previously a student at UCA).

2.  Complete an application for admission to the occupational therapy professional program and pay a non-refundable application fee of $50 (current full-time UCA students are exempt from the application fee).

3.  Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.75.

4.  Complete a minimum of 20 hours volunteer/observation experience under the supervision of one occupational therapist and submit a performance rating sheet from this experience (form and specific instructions are available from the Occupational Therapy department).

5.  Complete the following prerequisite course work with a grade of C or better. Students who have not completed all prerequisite courses may begin the application process for admission; however, completion of all prerequisites is required prior beginning the professional curriculum.

BIOL 1400 or 1440; 2405; 3370 or 2411 11-12
CHEM 1402(preferred) or 1450 4
PHYS 1405 4
H SC 3123 1
SOC 1300 3
PSYC 1300 3
FACS 2341 or PSYC 2370 4
PSYC 2330 or SOC 2321 3
PSYC/SOC Elective (SOC 4334 or 4343 recommended) 3

6. Students working toward a first bachelor of science degree will have earned at least 70 credit hours and must have completed all general education course work as described in the UCA Undergraduate Bulletin.  

7.  Submit GRE General Test scores prior to admission to graduate school.

[2.6] Departmental Admissions Procedure

Entry into the program is by application and competitive admission only. Applications to the program become available by November 15 and are due in the program office by February 1 for consideration for entry the following May Intersession. All applications are reviewed by the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee. Admission criteria may include cumulative GPA, biological/physical science GPA, behavioral science GPA, volunteer/observation experience, personal interview, and essay. Candidates are ranked according to a formula that is applied to the overall cumulative, behavioral science, and biological/physical science GPAs. Top-ranked candidates are invited for an interview. On the interview date, these candidates also complete a short essay on a topic related to occupational therapy. Candidates are scored on their interview performance and on the essay. Final ranking of candidates is based on the interview, essay 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. Preference is given to Arkansas residents; admission of out-of-state residents is limited.

Applicants who believe that they have been treated differently from other candidates in admissions decisions are to contact the Occupational Therapy Department Chair 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 $19 per credit hour each semester. Information on general registration and other mandatory fees is available from the business office. Textbooks cost approximately $500 per semester. Fees are subject to change.

[2.8] Professional Courses

Undergraduate courses taken during the first year of the professional curriculum (course descriptions appear in the Undergraduate Bulletin) are listed here:

OTHY 3125 Independent Living Strategies for Activities of Daily Living
OTHY 3215 Group Process and Communication Skills in Occupational Therapy
OTHY 3223 Introduction to Occupational Therapy
OTHY 4230 Occupations Across the Lifespan
OTHY 3241 Clinical Conditions II
OTHY 3330 Therapeutic Activities in Occupational Therapy
OTHY 3340 Clinical Conditions I
OTHY 4125 Independent Living- Strategies for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
OTHY 4127 Level I Fieldwork, Rotation 1
OTHY 4128 Level I Fieldwork, Rotation 2
OTHY 4270 Pharmacology in Rehabilitation
OTHY 4335/5335 Introduction to Pediatrics
OTHY 4308/5308 Foundations in Occupational Therapy
OTHY 4300 Functional Neuroanatomy
OTHY 4317/5317 Functional Kinesiology
OTHY 4321/5321 Evaluation and Treatment in Physical Disabilities I
OTHY 4325 Foundations in Mental Health for Occupational Therapy
OTHY 4330/5330 Introduction to Research
OTHY 4355 Evaluation and Treatment in Pediatrics I
OTHY 4365/5365 Evaluation and Treatment in Mental Health I
OTHY 4380/5380 Evaluation and Treatment in Physical Disabilities II
OTHY 4400 Gross Anatomy

Required graduate courses for the entry-level curriculum are OTHY 6100, 6101, 6125, 6220, 6301, 6304, 6308, 6311, 6312, 6314, 6315; and 6621, 6631, or 6641 (must complete two of the three); KPED 6316; for thesis, enroll in OTHY 6320 Thesis, for a total of 6 credits, plus 6 hours electives; for non-thesis, enroll in 15 hours of electives. (For course descriptions, see section below.)

[3] Graduate Courses in Occupational Therapy (OTHY)

Follow this link for OTHY course descriptions: course link.