Back to Home
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
Masters of Occupational Therapy Program is now accepting applications! Learn more and Apply Now.

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Application process for Fall 2014 class, is now closed.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is a post-baccalaureate entry-level practice degree intended for students who want to study to become practicing occupational therapists.

The entry level MSOT program is a full-time on-campus graduate program offered at the W.A. Lettinga campus. The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Davenport University provides practice-based education that prepares students to be exceptional practitioners. Classroom education is supported by extensive hands-on training provided through on-campus practical activities and off-campus immersion experiences in practice settings. Small class sizes and individualized instruction by experienced clinicians and educators assist students master skills needed for contemporary and emerging areas of practice.

Length of Program

The MSOT program (78 credits) is delivered as a full-time on-campus program. Students enter the occupational therapy program in the Fall Semester and progress through the program as a cohort. The typical program is 28 months in length and is conducted over 7 consecutive semesters (including summers).

Occupational Therapy Program Philosophy

The field of occupational therapy is concerned with the ability of individuals, families, and societal groups to participate in activities of daily life and engage in personally meaningful occupations. Occupations are all the activities that give our lives meaning and promote health, well-being, and sense of purpose. Due to human diversity, engagement in occupations at any point in the life span is unique. Occupations are as unique as the individuals themselves. Disruption of occupations can be caused by illness, injury, disease, or life events. In situations such as these, functional abilities and independence may be diminished or lost resulting in loss of well-being and sense of purpose.

The primary objective of occupational therapy is to support persons of all ages and with all levels of ability to fully participate in life. Occupational therapy evaluation and intervention focuses on factors impacting participation such as body structure and function; functional abilities; the nature of the activities to be performed; and the context of participation. Engagement in occupations is not just the goal of therapy, but is also a therapy tool. Participation in meaningful activity is therapeutic in itself.

Participation in education is considered part of the human occupational experience. Occupational therapy education programs have the mission of educating students to become practitioners of the future. Students are likely drawn to the field as an educational choice due to alignment of values and envisioning their future roles as occupational therapists.

The Occupational Therapy Department at Davenport University is an academic program focused on student learning and achievement. The program’s curriculum design, course construction, and instructional approach reflect the belief that learning is strongly influenced by intrinsic motivation and that the motivational needs of students can be addressed through a thoughtfully constructed education program. The occupational therapy program teaching approach is founded on a hierarchical structure that builds on prior knowledge and guides students forward and upward through introduction, reinforcement, and mastery of concepts. Implementation strategies include classroom instruction, experiential learning, self-directed study, and self-reflection. Our goal is to provide practice-based education that is knowledge-driven and prepares students to be team oriented and client-centered clinicians who incorporate principles of human occupation into their practice.

Student Learning Outcomes

Four concepts (curricular threads) are emphasized throughout the Davenport University Occupational Therapy program:

  • Professional identity
  • Professional and social responsibility
  • Effective and exemplary practice
  • Knowledge-driven clinical reasoning

The four curricular threads provide the foundation for evaluation of student performance and overall success of the program. At the conclusion of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program graduates will:

  • Interpret the importance of purposeful activity and meaningful occupation to consumers, colleagues, administrators, and policy makers;
  • Integrate concepts of human occupation into evaluation, treatment, goals and documentation;
  • Demonstrate professional and social responsibility through socially and culturally competent communication and interaction;
  • Exemplify professionalism through ethical behavior, advocacy, and leadership supporting the diverse needs of individuals, communities, and society;
  • Appraise and recommend effective interactive, adaptive, and technological approaches intended to facilitate communication, enhance function, and promote participation;
  • Implement exemplary practice utilizing depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities in assessment and treatment;
  • Evaluate options to address challenging issues in practice and the profession through clinical reasoning, creative problem solving, and critical thinking; and
  • Advance best-practice in contemporary and emerging areas of practice by consistently seeking, critically reviewing, and utilizing information from the literature and credible sources.

Admission Requirements

At the time of application, students must have:

  • Completed a baccalaureate degree or provide documentation that the baccalaureate degree will be completed prior to the start of occupational therapy classes
  • Completed all specific prerequisite courses (listed below) or provide documentation that the prerequisite classes will be completed prior to the start of occupational therapy classes:
    • Introductory Psychology
    • Abnormal Psychology
    • Introductory Sociology
    • Development Across the Life Span
    • Oral Communication/Speaking Skills
    • Medical Terminology
    • Introductory Statistics
    • Anatomy and Physiology I & II (with lab)
  • A competitive cumulative grade point average - a gpa of 3.0 or better is strongly recommended
  • A grade of “C” or better on all prerequisite course work (“C” = grade point of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • A a minimum of 40 hours of documented volunteer or shadow experience in at least two different areas of occupational therapy practice. (OT Exploration Form PDF)
  • Completed personal essay
  • Two completed letters of recommendation

The following will also be considered as part of the application process:

  • History of human service
  • Awards and recognitions
  • Relevant work experience

International Students

Students with English as a second language must provide documentation of scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A Total Score of 89 (or greater) and a Speaking Score of 26 (or greater) on the TOEFL are required.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening Policy

Davenport University
All students in the Davenport University College of Health Professions are required to submit to criminal back ground checks and drug screenings. The results of the checks/testing, which remain confidential, will be used to determine a student’s eligibility for continued enrollment in the College of Health Professions and the Occupational Therapy program. Students who refuse to consent to criminal background checks and/or drug testing will be dismissed from the program. The cost of background checks and drug screenings are part of course fees and are therefore the responsibility of the student.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
Persons who have been charged with or convicted of a felony may be barred from being certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). NBCOT certification must be successfully completed to practice as an occupational therapist. Prior to application to the Occupational Therapy program at Davenport University, applicants with concerns are encouraged to review their specific situation with NBCOT. Questions should be directed to: Credentialing Services at NBCOT, 12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877. Phone: (301) 990-7979; email:

Faculty and Staff

Department Chair: Christy L.A. Nelson Ph.D, OTR/L, FAOTA
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator: Susan Dee Owens, MS, OTR/L

Faculty-Theresa Leto, DHS, MOT, OTR/L:


Regional Accreditation

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (30 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602-2504).

Occupational Therapy Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy program at Davenport University has received Candidacy Status from Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and is moving through the typical two-year accreditation process. Candidacy Status indicates that Davenport University may enroll students into the program and conduct occupational therapy courses and fieldwork. Candidacy Status does not guarantee that a program will become accredited at the end of the accreditation process. However, Candidacy Status indicates that ACOTE has thoroughly reviewed the program’s candidacy application and has determined that the program’s plans and resources provide evidence of the program’s ability to meet ACOTE standards and requirements leading to accreditation.

Frequently asked questions about accreditation

Prospective Applicant Letter from AOTA