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2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Health Professions section in this catalog.


Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Programs (MSOT)

The Occupational Therapy Traditional Program is a two-year graduate curriculum leading to an entry-level Master of Science degree. The Occupational Therapy Hybrid Program is a three-year graduate curriculum that also leads to an entry-level Master of Science degree. Both programs contain the same content, but the traditional program is intended for those students who can take 15 - 16 credits per semester and is totally in-seat, while the hybrid program is intended for students who wish to maintain full-time employment throughout the curriculum and take a reduced credit load of 7 - 11 credits per semester.

The occupational therapy graduate curriculum is built around the science of occupation as the core knowledge base, which is predicated upon the assumption that occupational therapists must operate from a common base of knowledge, skills, values, and philosophy. The curriculum is designed to produce professional practitioners and socially conscious citizens who appreciate the unique perspective of individuals and the cultures that influence them, value a democratic perspective of health care and social services delivery, and apply problem-solving, critical thinking, and lifelong learning toward meeting the needs of society.

Incoming freshmen interested in occupational therapy should begin by selecting an undergraduate major in their first year. Suggested majors include allied health sciences, biology, behavioral neuroscience, psychology, or sociology. Although these degrees provide a well-rounded background, any undergraduate major may be selected as long as the required occupational therapy prerequisite courses are completed along with the undergraduate degree before beginning the professional program. Once a selection of major has been made, students should work with the academic advisor from that department and with an occupational therapy program advisor to ensure that all major requirements are completed, along with the required prerequisite courses. All of these required prerequisite courses must be taken for a letter grade. Students may apply for admittance to the occupational therapy programs during the year in which they attain senior status. All students accepted into the occupational therapy programs must have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning prior to the beginning of the master's program coursework.

Admission to the occupational therapy graduate programs is competitive. Maximum traditional class size is 40; the maximum class size for the hybrid program is 20. For the traditional program, the candidates are ranked on a total score basis and our top 40 candidates (minus early admits from CMU, U of M, and Hope and deferrals) are sent a letter offering them seats in the program. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one for one in rank order if any of the original 40 candidates decline admission. For the hybrid program, candidates are also ranked on a total score basis and the top 20 candidates are sent a letter offering seats in the program. Each alternate candidate is offered admission one for one in rank order if any of the original 20 candidates decline admission.

Admission decisions will be made in the first and second semesters of the calendar year. Late applications will be considered, assuming all prerequisite requirements are met and there is space available in either program. Once enrolled in one of the occupational therapy programs, students will take professional courses in individual and group interventions, clinical reasoning, occupational therapy theory and practice, advanced professional issues, and research.

All courses taken with the Occupational Therapy program must be taken for an earned letter grade, excluding fieldwork and research courses, unless otherwise specified by the occupational therapy department chair. Degree requirements include a final research project or thesis, four Level I Fieldwork assignments (60-80 hours each), and two full-time Level II Fieldwork assignments (480 hours each). The Level II Fieldwork assignments may be local or they may be in other areas of the country. It is important to note that Level II fieldwork assignments must be completed within 24 months of completion of the didactic curriculum. Part time Level II fieldwork assignments are available if circumstances warrant.

MSOT Application Procedures

High school seniors interested in the Occupational Therapy Program must first complete an undergraduate application to Grand Valley State University or any accredited four year or higher education institution. They will begin their studies and typically declare an undergraduate major in their freshman year.

Transfer students from community or four-year colleges must also complete an undergraduate application to Grand Valley State University in preparation for completing a baccalaureate degree, which is required for admission to the occupational therapy program. Transfer students should review with their local academic advisor and an occupational therapy program advisor, the courses that will satisfy Grand Valley State University requirements. Upon acceptance to the University, students should consult immediately with an academic advisor in their major and an advisor from the occupational therapy program to ensure they are on the right track.

Students having bachelor degrees from other institutions who wish only to complete a required undergraduate prerequisite course at Grand Valley State University may apply for non-degree-seeking status and submit an undergraduate application. Students are encouraged to meet with an advisor from the occupational therapy program regarding prerequisite course completion to ensure a smooth transition into the program.

Admission to either occupational therapy graduate program first requires completion of the Grand Valley State University graduate application. Applications may be obtained from the Admissions Office or online at Upon return of the completed graduate application the Admission Office will mail supplementary materials for the occupational therapy program application. These forms are also available online at the GVSU OST web site. For first consideration for admission into both programs, supplementary materials must be returned to the Admissions Office by January 15 of the calendar year the student wishes to begin the professional program. Rolling admissions are in effect. Please call the occupational therapy department to discuss your application and timeline. Late applications will be considered if the prospective class is not full.

Admission to the MSOT Programs

Admission to both of the occupational therapy graduate programs is competitive. Application materials are available by contacting the Admissions Office or from the OST website: Maximum class size is 40 in the traditional program and 20 in the hybrid program. The candidates are ranked on a total score basis and our top 40 traditional program candidates, minus early admits from institutions with which GVSU has a contract (CMU, U of M, and Hope) and deferrals are sent a letter offering them seats in the Program. The hybrid program follows the same procedure for the top 20 candidates, however there are no early admits. The criteria for acceptance includes:

  1. Academic achievement of a minimum 3.0 grade point average in prerequisite courses and a 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 credit hours of academic course work. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. Students accepted into the occupational therapy program must have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education prior to the beginning of master's coursework.
  2. Two recommendation letters. Use the forms provided in the application packet, including one from a registered occupational therapist, and one professor (for current full-time undergraduate students), or an employer (for non-traditional students) who can comment on your study and/or work habits.
  3. An interview and an on-site writing sample.
  4. Documented volunteer experience submitted on the form included in the application packet, for a minimum of 50 hours under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Volunteer hours must be verified by a registered and/or licensed occupational therapist. At least 50 volunteer hours are required at the time of application.
  5. Completion of an OT program achievement summary, detailing accomplishments that reflect the core content and goals of the program. Additional education, leadership, scholarly, volunteering, or professional activities are valued and should be documented (form available with admission application). A minimum of 8 points total must be attained.
  6. The prerequisite plan form must be completed in full and submitted.
  7. International student applicants should be able to communicate well in English. Minimum scores of TOEFL 610 or computer-based TOEFL 253 are required.
  8. All prerequisite coursework must be completed within 5 years of the OT Program start date. Waivers to this policy may be granted on an individual basis.
  9. Prerequisite courses are as follows.

Prerequisite Course Name

GVSU Course Equivalent

Anatomy and Physiology Sequence A or



Anatomy and Physiology Sequence B

BMS 250 and BMS 251


MOV 300


PSY 303

Lifespan developmental psychology

PSY 364

One of the Following:

Foundations of Behavioral Neuroscience




PSY 330


PSY 431


BMS 427

Intro to Statistics

STA 215

One elective from psychology, sociology, anthropology, public health, or related field (200-level or higher)

MSOT Degree Requirements

Completion of 81 to 82 credits in the professional curriculum is required for the master's degree in occupational therapy. General graduate academic policies can be found in the Grand Valley State University Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog. General university degree requirements are in the Academic Regulations section of the Catalog and the requirements for undergraduate majors are in the appropriate Academic Program section.

Because the Occupational Therapy program prepares students to practice in a variety of settings, the department assumes the responsibility to assure the public that our students have met high standards of professional behavior, academic achievement and consistent evidence of response to consumer needs. Criminal background checks and drug screens may be required prior to participation in certain clinical experiences. The cost of this evaluation is the responsibility of the student.

The program requires that students attain a minimum of 84 percent competency in each course. This requirement is reflected in each course syllabus across the professional curriculum.

* Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of the academic program.

Sample Curriculum for Traditional Program

Traditional Program

Fall I

Winter I

Spring/Summer I

Fall II

Winter II

Spring/Summer II

Sample Curriculum for Hybrid Delivery Model

Fall I Winter I Summer I
OST 502 3 cr OST 551/552 6 cr IPE 507 2 cr
OST 505 3 cr OST 553 2 cr OST 565 3 cr
STA 610 3 cr OST 555 3 cr PA 535 3 cr
TOTAL: 9 cr TOTAL: 11 cr TOTAL: 8 cr
Fall II Winter II Summer II
OST 557 2 cr OST 558/559 4 cr OST 571/572 6 cr
OST 561/562 5 cr OST 553 3 cr OST 573 1 cr
OST 563 1 cr OST 564 2 cr OST 568 1 cr
Total: 8 cr Total: 9 cr Total: 8 cr
Fall III Winter III Summer III
OST 651/652 6 cr OST 660 (FW) 9 cr OST 661 (FW) 9 cr
OST 653 1 cr OST 698 1 cr
OST 693/695 2/3 cr
Total: 9/10 cr Total: 9 cr Total: 10 cr
Total Credits: 81-82 cr

Occupational Therapy Traditional and Hybrid Programs

Research Sequence:

Core Content Sequence:

  • OST 552
  • OST 562 - Prerequisite = 552 and 502; Corequisites = OST 561 and 563
  • OST 572 - Prerequisite = 562; Corequisites = 571 and 573
  • OST 652 - Prerequisite = 572; Corequisites = 651 and 653
  • OST 553
  • OST 563 - Prerequisite = 553; Corequisites = 561 and 562
  • OST 573 - Prerequisite = 563; Corequisites = 571 and 572
  • OST 653 - Prerequisite = 573; Corequisites = 651 and 652
  • OST 660 - Prerequisite = OST 558, 559, 651, 652, 653, either 693 or 695

Occupational Science and Therapy Program Description

Click here for the program description.

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