Occupational Therapy M.S.
Degree: Master of Science
Program Director: Sonia Lawson
This program admits fall term only.
The professional Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy is designed to prepare graduates to assume key roles in practice, research, education or administration. Occupational therapists’ responsibilities in these roles are to assure high-quality services for client groups and to advance the practice of occupational therapy.
Towson University also offers a Combined B.S./M.S. degree program in which students earn a B.S. degree in Occupation and Well-Being and an M.S. degree in Occupational Therapy. For more information about this program, see the Undergraduate Catalog or contact the admissions coordinator.
NOTE: Applicants for the professional master’s degree in Occupational Therapy follow procedures for submitting their application materials through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Admission Service (OTCAS). ALL applicants for the master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy must complete the Graduate application and supplemental forms. Contact the Occupational Therapy Admissions Coordinator at 410-704-2653 or OTadmissions@towson.edu for questions regarding the application process.
Towson University's Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA.
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 of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this examination, the individual will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. (Persons convicted of felonies may be unable to sit for the Certification Examination and should inquire in advance of program entry regarding eligibility.)
For more information about occupational therapy, visit the AOTA website: http://www.aota.org
A course fee will be applied to select courses to cover course materials and supplies.
Program and Fieldwork Requirements
Initial Health and Insurance Requirements
Contracts with fieldwork facilities require that students in placements show proof of current health insurance and documentation of current health status. The findings of the health examination will not necessarily exclude students from placement. Students must present evidence of current health insurance, a recent health examination (including documentation of results of titers for immunization of measles, mumps, rubella varicella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), a speech and hearing screening, results of a PPD test, and results of a Hepatitis B titer (or sign a declination form for the vaccine). Failure to comply will prevent registration.
Speech and Hearing Screening
Speech and hearing screening is offered free of charge through the Towson University Speech, Language and Hearing Center each term. Only one initial screening is required. Failure to comply will prevent registration.
Annual Health Requirements
Students must present evidence of current health insurance and results of PPD test annually. Failure to comply will prevent registration.
CPR and First Aid Courses
Certification for adult, infant and child CPR is required prior to beginning the program. Proof of annual CPR certification is required during enrollment in the major. Online courses are not accepted. It is highly recommended that students complete a standard course in first aid. Failure to comply will prevent registration.
Criminal Background Check
Students may be required to obtain a criminal background check and drug screening if required by the fieldwork site. This can occur for any Level I or Level II fieldwork experience. The student is responsible for this expense.
Damaged or Missing Equipment, Assessments or Other Resources
Students are responsible for replacement costs for any items that are found to be damaged or missing due to their actions.
All of the following criteria must be met for admission.
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university** with a minimum GPA of 3.25 is required for full admission. (All GPA calculations for admission are based upon the last 60 units of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate study.) The bachelor’s degree must be indicated on the transcript by August 1 in order to begin the program.
- Complete 10 prerequisite courses prior to entering the Professional M.S. Program. Six of the 10 prerequisites must be completed at the time of application. One must be in Anatomy and Physiology I. The remaining four prerequisites must be completed in the spring and summer prior to beginning the program. CLEP scores may not be used for English Composition; online courses, ACE or UExcel exams may not be used for Anatomy and Physiology I and II, and Physics.
- Complete the following prerequisite courses with a “B” or better:
- English Composition
- Introductory Sociology
- Introductory Psychology
- Abnormal Psychology
- Basic Statistics
- Human Anatomy and Physiology I with a lab (taken within the last five years)
- Human Anatomy and Physiology II with lab (taken within the last five years)
- Human Growth and Development (covering development across the lifespan)
- Medical Terminology
- Complete the following prerequisite course with a “C” or better:
- Physics (including mechanics and a lab)
- Complete and verify at least 60 hours of human service activity or direct occupational therapy observation. These will serve as your observation hours in the OTCAS. Human service work or volunteer experience must have involved direct, hands-on contact with people with disabilities and/or illness and/or other disadvantages. Examples include work/volunteer experience in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, senior centers, drug rehabilitation programs, programs for the homeless, camps and/or attendant care. The following experiences do not satisfy this requirement: babysitting with children who do not have disabilities and administrative clerical work. All 60 hours of human service activity or direct occupational therapy observation must have been completed within two years of the application deadline. The 60 hours must have been completed in at least three different settings (e.g., hospital, rehabilitation center, school system, out-patient clinic, nursing home/assisted living facility); with a mix of children, adults and older adults; and the applicant must have been in each setting for at least 10 hours.
- Three reference forms: human service activity or occupational therapy supervisor, a professional, and either another professional or faculty member (OTCAS reference forms are to be used)
- Graduate occupational therapy admission essay/personal statement (follow guidelines outlined for OTCAS)
- Complete a group interview and on-site writing sample
- Complete Graduate Application (submitted by invitation after final admission decisions)
The admission procedures are updated regularly. Please check website for most current information.
Non-immigrant international students: See additional admission information in Graduate Admissions
**See Exceptions to Policy in Graduate Admissions
Application Procedure and Guidelines
The deadline for receipt and verification of applications is February 1. Please note that applications must be submitted to OTCAS at least 6 weeks ahead of this date in order for OTCAS to verify applications. Complete the Towson University graduate application online.
For more information regarding admission prerequisite courses and other aspects of the application process, contact:
Occupational Therapy Admissions Coordinator
8000 York Road, Enrollment Services Room 245
Towson, MD 21252-0001
Early Admission Option for Professional M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program
Students are eligible for early admission to the Professional Master of Science Degree Program if they have:
- a 3.60 GPA (based on the last 60 units of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate course work)
- completed ALL of the prerequisite course requirements as outlined for regular admission
- completed all other aspects of application as outlined for regular admission
All early admission materials must be submitted through OTCAS. Additionally, a formal letter is to be sent to the program Admissions Coordinator indicating the desire to be reviewed early. This letter and all admission materials must be submitted and verified by October 1 (OTCAS allows 4-6 weeks to verify applications). Up to 10 applicants will be selected based on full review of their admission materials and ranked according to their composite score. Any applicant not admitted early will be automatically included in the pool for regular admission.
Submit all materials through the OTCAS. Selected applicants will be invited to apply to the Graduate School to complete their application.
- Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 for all courses in the major.
- Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in 500- to 800-level course work.
- Students may receive a maximum of two “C” grades (including “C” and “C+” grades).
- Students may repeat a maximum of two courses.
- Students may repeat the same course only once.
- Students may repeat a maximum of one Level II Fieldwork.1
- Students must have a GPA of 3.00 and cleared by the department to be eligible to enroll in a Level II Fieldwork.
The professional Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy is 26 months (excluding breaks) completed over 2.5 years and consists of 2 units of undergraduate course work and 80 units of graduate course work, which includes a graduate research project (a total of 82 units of course work). All students complete two 12-week, 480-hour, full-time Level II Fieldwork experiences: one in physical disabilities and one in psychosocial practice (either may be with a children and youth focus), where they apply theoretical knowledge and demonstrate entry-level competence for a licensed occupational therapist. Level II Fieldwork is a full-time commitment often requiring additional time for preparation on the evenings and weekends. Students are advised to eliminate employment during this time. While local sites (within 90 miles of the university) are available, students may need to be assigned out of the local area or out of the state for one or both of the fieldwork experiences. All Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of academic course preparation.
All students must complete the Occupational Therapy Knowledge Exam (OTKE) as a degree requirement and are billed for the discounted fee associated with this exam.
Completion of an online exit survey is required for graduation clearance in addition to successful completion of all other program requirements.
Required Undergraduate Course
Students must complete the following undergraduate course once accepted into the program.
|BIOL 427||NEUROMUSCULAR MECHANISMS OF THE UPPER BODY||2|
Required Graduate Courses
Students must complete required graduate course work.
|OCTH 521||KINESIOLOGY OF OCCUPATION||3|
|OCTH 600||FOUNDATIONS OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||4|
|OCTH 601||GROUP DYNAMICS IN DIVERSE CONTEXTS||3|
|OCTH 603||ISSUES IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||3|
|OCTH 606||ADULT AND OLDER ADULT NEUROLOGICAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||3|
|OCTH 607||ADULT AND OLDER ADULT MUSCULOSKELETAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||3|
|OCTH 610||DATA ANALYSIS IN OCCUPATION-BASED RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE||3|
|OCTH 611||ADVANCED THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF OCCUPATION||3|
|OCTH 612||OT HEALTH PROMOTION INITIATIVES IN THE COMMUNITY||3|
|OCTH 613||ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS IN OCCUPATION BASED PRACTICE||3|
|OCTH 614||PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOSOCIAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE||5|
|OCTH 619||ADULT PHYSICAL REHABILITATION LEVEL I FIELDWORK (Remove OCTH 615 from required courses)||3|
|OCTH 620||PSYCHOSOCIAL LEVEL I FIELDWORK||3|
|OCTH 624||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN AND YOUTH||5|
|OCTH 626||OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FIELDWORK FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH||3|
|OCTH 627||ADMINISTRATION AND ORGANIZATION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES||3|
|OCTH 635||PHYSICAL REHAB LEVEL II FIELDWORK||9|
|OCTH 636||PSYCHOSOCIAL LEVEL II FIELDWORK||9|
|OCTH 678||ASSESSMENT THROUGHOUT THE LIFESPAN||3|
|OCTH 781||GRADUATE SEMINAR IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||3|
|OCTH 880||GRADUATE PROJECT IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY||3|
NOTE: Students have the option of earning a graduate certificate in Autism Studies or in Family-Professional Collaboration. Students who elect to earn a certificate will be required to extend the length of the master’s degree program in order to complete the entire certificate program.
Suggested Plan of Study
|First Term (Fall)||Units||Second Term (Spring)||Units||Summer||Units|
|OCTH 521||3||OCTH 611||3||OCTH 627||3|
|OCTH 600||4||OCTH 614||5||OCTH 678||3|
|OCTH 601||3||OCTH 620||3|
|OCTH 610||3||BIOL 427||2|
|First Term (Fall)||Units||Minimester||Units||Second Term (Spring)||Units|
|OCTH 606||3||OCTH 603||3||OCTH 635 or 636||9|
|OCTH 607||3||OCTH 612||3|
|OCTH 619||3||OCTH 624||5|
|OCTH 781||3||OCTH 626||3|
|First Term (Fall)||Units|
|OCTH 636 or 635||9|
|Total Units 82|
1. Assess clients and formulate intervention plans leading to realistic, attainable goals at all life stages, by using accurate observation and appropriate assessment data, problem solving skills, and knowledge of theories and human development.
2. Analyze, adapt, and apply purposeful activities and other modalities for health promotion and therapeutic programs in order to facilitate the ability of clients to lead their lives with a meaningful balance in the areas of human occupation (daily living skills, work, and play/leisure).
3. Adapt and promote occupational therapy services at the individual, group, community, and population levels utilizing occupation and non-occupation theoretical models through successful fieldwork experiences.
OCTH 521 KINESIOLOGY OF OCCUPATION (3)
Analysis of human movement and pathology as it applies to occupational performance. Presents the principles of biomechanics, muscle physiology, joint structure, muscle function, and motor control emphasizing palpation of anatomical structures. Prerequisite: consent of department.
OCTH 570 SPECIAL TOPICS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (1-3)
Designed to explore topics of special interest in the theory and practice of occupational therapy. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 units.
OCTH 600 FOUNDATIONS OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (4)
Historical and philosophical underpinnings of occupational therapy focusing on the meaning of occupation across the lifespan. Occupational therapy process and analysis of occupational performance are emphasized. Prerequisites: consent of department. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.
OCTH 601 GROUP DYNAMICS IN DIVERSE CONTEXTS (3)
A study of group process in various contexts, representing diverse cultures.
OCTH 603 ISSUES IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Analysis of current issues in occupational therapy. Prerequisite: Admission to Occupational Therapy master's program. Consent of department.
OCTH 604 ACADEMIC AND CLINICAL EDUCATION (3)
College/university teaching and clinical supervision strategies for the preparation of professionals in clinical disciplines. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
OCTH 605 MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Issues and trends: in leadership, decision-making styles, productivity, professional
development recruitment and retention, and performance appraisal systems. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
OCTH 606 ADULT AND OLDER ADULT NEUROLOGICAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Examination of the etiology, progression, and management of neurological conditions and other influences on adults and older adults' engagement in occupation. Fundamentals of developmental theories, and occupational therapy theory and practice applied to adults and older adults with neurological conditions. Corequisite: OCTH 607. Prerequisites: OCTH 600, OCTH 601, OCTH 221; BIOL 427.
OCTH 607 ADULT AND OLDER ADULT MUSCULOSKELETAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Examines the etiology, clinical course, evaluation, and management of musculoskeletal conditions as they influence engagement of occupation for adults and older adults. Fundamentals of occupational therapy theory and practice are applied to adults and older adults with musculoskeletal conditions. Corequisite: OCTH 606. Prerequisites: OCTH 600, OCTH 601, OCTH 221; BIOL 427. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.
OCTH 609 ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS AND DATA ANALYSIS IN OCCUPATION BASED PRACTICE (3)
Application of qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis. Prerequisite: consent of department.
OCTH 610 DATA ANALYSIS IN OCCUPATION-BASED RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE (3)
In depth examination of quantitative and qualitative data in health related literature and application of data analysis procedures in occupation-based research: Prerequisites: consent of department.
OCTH 611 ADVANCED THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF OCCUPATION (3)
Analysis of the theories and philosophical assumptions underlying occupation. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
OCTH 612 OT HEALTH PROMOTION INITIATIVES IN THE COMMUNITY (3)
Theory and practice of occupational therapy in health promotion in the community with special emphasis on the cultural context of the community. Integrates knowledge and skills for the practice of occupational therapy services which foster healthy development; prevent health problems; maintain optimal function; and develop occupational performance skills of individuals, families, and communities. Prerequisite: OCTH 611 or permission of instructor.
OCTH 613 ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS IN OCCUPATION BASED PRACTICE (3)
Application of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Prerequisite: consent of department.
OCTH 614 PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOSOCIAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE (5)
Psychosocial aspects of human functioning and occupational implications of clinical conditions. Occupational therapy theory and practice are applied to mental health. Corequisite: OCTH 620. Prerequisites: OCTH 600 and OCTH 601.
OCTH 615 SEMINAR IN PROFESSIONAL AND CLINICAL REASONING (3)
OCTH 619 ADULT PHYSICAL REHABILITATION LEVEL I FIELDWORK (3)
Classroom and fieldwork experiences in evaluation and intervention in adult rehabilitation and disability. Students explore assumptions related to clinical skills, identify areas in need of improvement, and apply learned concepts. Corequisites: OCTH 606 and OCTH 607 or consent of department. Prerequisites: OCTH 600, OCTH 601, OCTH 521, BIOL 427.
OCTH 620 PSYCHOSOCIAL LEVEL I FIELDWORK (3)
Occupational therapy service delivery in the mental/behavioral health practice arena. Students employ their clinical reasoning, therapeutic use of self and professional attitudes and behaviors while in the classroom and during their Level I fieldwork experience. Transformative learning theory frames learning activities and expected outcomes. Corequisite: OCTH 614. Prerequisites: OCTH 600, OCTH 601; consent of department.
OCTH 624 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN AND YOUTH (5)
Examination of functional implications of pediatric conditions. Fundamentals of occupational therapy theory and practice applied to children, adolescents, and families. Students examine theories and principles of assessment and intervention, socio-cultural and political factors influencing occupational performance of children and families. Corequisite: OCTH 626. Prerequisites: OCTH 600, OCTH 601, OCTH 521, BIOL 427, consent of department.
OCTH 626 OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FIELDWORK FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH (3)
Classroom and fieldwork practice in occupational therapy evaluation and intervention with children and youth and their families. Students gain knowledge of delivery of occupational therapy services in various practice settings, legislation, and documentation. Competency and professionalism are addressed in Level I fieldwork. A transformative learning theory is used to frame the course. Corequisite: OCTH 624. Prerequisite: consent of department.
OCTH 627 ADMINISTRATION AND ORGANIZATION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES (3)
Administrative and organizational processes applied to occupational therapy service delivery. Includes leadership in personnel relationships, systems analysis, program planning, budgeting, marketing occupational therapy and related services, and ethical and legal issues. Topics are viewed within the perspective of the dynamics of the current health care industry. Prerequisite: consent of department.
OCTH 628 CONTEMPORARY OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE (3-6)
Combines classroom preparation with a directed independent study focused on expanding and developing skills in an area of occupational therapy practice of special interest to the student. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units. Prerequisite: completion of one Level II fieldwork or consent of instructor.
OCTH 633 OCCUPATION BASED PEDIATRIC INTERVENTION (3)
Advanced intervention principles for pediatric populations, including provisions for care of children from birth to 21 years of age in health delivery systems, including the schools. Prerequisite: consent of the department, permit required.
OCTH 634 CONTEXTUAL FACTORS AND OCCUPATIONAL PERFORMANCE (3)
Study of contextual factors that influence occupational performance across the lifespan. Prerequisites: Consent of department.
OCTH 635 PHYSICAL REHAB LEVEL II FIELDWORK (9)
OCTH 636 PSYCHOSOCIAL LEVEL II FIELDWORK (9)
OCTH 670 SPECIAL TOPICS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (1-3)
Study of selected topics in occupational therapy. Prerequisites: Vary with each topic, consent of instructor.
OCTH 678 ASSESSMENT THROUGHOUT THE LIFESPAN (3)
Examination, selection, administration, and evaluation of a variety of measurement tools used in Occupational Therapy Practice. Corequisite OCTH 326. Prerequisites: OCTH 319, OCTH 320; consent of department. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.
OCTH 691 DIRECTED READINGS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (1-3)
Guided review of literature to explore in-depth
subjects related to occupational therapy theory and practice. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
OCTH 692 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-6)
In-depth investigation specific to area of interest in occupational therapy. Prerequisite: Consent of Department.
OCTH 781 GRADUATE SEMINAR IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Graduate project of thesis proposal preparation with feedback and discussion. Corequisite OCTH 319. Prerequisites: OCTH 320, OCTH 610, OCTH 613; and consent of department. Lab/Class fee will be assessed.
OCTH 782 RESEARCH PRACTICUM (3)
Supervised participation in a research process that is oriented toward the application of specific research techniques in occupational therapy and occupational science. Prerequisites: OCTH 613 and OCTH 610 or OCTH 609 and consent of department.
OCTH 880 GRADUATE PROJECT IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (3)
Implementation and documentation of a project designed in OCTH 781 that is oriented toward the application of specific techniques in occupational technology. Prerequisites: OCTH 781, successful completion of the graduate examination and consent of project adviser.
OCTH 885 PROJECT CONTINUUM (1)
Continuing work on previously started project. prerequisites: Previous registration for project work.
OCTH 897 OCCUPATIONAL THESIS (6)
Original investigation using an acceptable research method and design conducted under the direction of a faculty member. Prerequisites: OCTH 781, successful completion of the graduate examination and consent of thesis chairperson.
OCTH 898 OCTH THESIS (3)
The previous course, OCTH 897, taken over two consecutive semesters.
OCTH 899 THESIS CONTINUUM (1)
Continuation of thesis work.
Professors: M. Beth Merryman (Chair), Regena Stevens-Ratchford
Associate Professors: Lisa Crabtree, Sonia Lawson, Cynthia Yeager
Assistant Professors: Kathleen Eglseder, Kendra Heatwole-Shank, Amanda Jozkowski, Derek Piggott
Clinical Associate Professors: Barbara Demchick, Marlene Riley, Kathleen Subasic
Clinical Assistant Professors: Gina Kaplanis, Derek Piggott, Jacqueline Wilson