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  • M.S. in Occupational Therapy

    Nationally-recognized faculty prepare you for a rewarding career in a high-demand field
    Help individuals achieve professional and personal growth, and develop skills to lead to more self-sufficient, satisfying lives.
    Degree:
    M.S.
    School:
    School of Health and Natural Sciences
    Location:
    Dobbs Ferry
    Credits:
    60

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Occupational Therapy M.S. Curriculum

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy include:

Professional Courses 48 Credits
Clinical Education 12 Credits
Total 60 Credits

First Year - Fall Term

(Every other Friday 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

  • OCTR 500 Mdls of Occptnl Thrpy Pract
  • OCTR 503 Applied Research
  • OCTR 505 Chld & Occptnl Thrpy Pract
  • OCTR 506 Lvl I Fldwrk Pdtrc Thrpy
  • OCTR 507 Prblm Based Lrng Chld Hlth

First Year - Spring Term

(Every other Friday 6:00 p.m. - 8:30; Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

  • OCTR 510 Adlscnc Occptnl Thrpy Pract
  • OCTR 511 Lvl I Fldwrk Oldr Chld
  • OCTR 512 Prblm Based Lrng Adlscnt Hlth
  • OCTR 515 Occptnl Thrpy Assmt Trtmt I

First Year - Summer Term

(May - August, 15 weekend days 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

  • OCTR 516 Occptnl Thrpy Assmt Trtmt II
  • OCTR 517 Occptnl Thrpy Assmt Trtmt III
  • OCTR 525 Qltv & Qntv Rsrch Mthds
  • Advanced Topics I - Course number determined by capstone option - meets once a month through the 2nd year

Second Year - Fall Term

(Every other Friday 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

  • OCTR 605 Adlthd & Occptnl Thrpy Pract
  • OCTR 606 Lvl I Fldwrk Adlt Phycl Dsblty
  • OCTR 607 Prblm Based Lrng Adlt Hlth
  • OCTR 610 Occptnl Thrpy Assmt Trtmt IV

Second Year - Spring Term

(Every other Friday Evening 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

  • Advanced Topics II (Course number determined by capstone option)
  • OCTR 615 Geriatrics & Thrpy Pract
  • OCTR 616 Lvl I Fldwrk Oldr Clients
  • OCTR 617 Prblm Bsd Lrng Geriatric Hlth
  • OCTR 619 OT Assmnt/Trt V: Cogntv & Occu
  • OCTR 620 Occptnl Thrpy Mgmt & Ldrshp

Second Year - Summer Term

(Fieldwork Hours Arranged at Site)

  • Advanced Topics III (Course number determined by capstone option
  • OCTR 623 Clincl Ed II - 1st Plcmnt (12 weeks)

Second Year - Fall Term

  • OCTR 625 Clincl Ed II - 2nd Plcmnt (12 weeks)

Transfer Credits

Up to six credits of graduate occupational therapy degree if equivalent in content, to Mercy College occupational therapy courses. Permission to transfer credits must be requested at the time of admission and official transcripts and course descriptions must be submitted to the program director for evaluation of equivalency. Students may be required to provide a copy of the course outline and required assignments for review by the Occupational Therapy Program Admissions Committee.

Essential Functions

The program has adopted a list of Essential Functions that outlines the necessary communication, motor, intellectual/cognitive, and behavioral/social attributes deemed necessary for program completion and clinical practice in the field. The list of these essential functions is available upon request from the program. Students are expected to review this list and sign a form stating that they are or are not capable of performing the skills and abilities listed.

Program Design

The program incorporates a variety of learning methods including a mixture of lecture discussion, small group problem solving, hands on experiences and problem based learning (PBL). In PBL, students meet in small groups with a faculty facilitator to discuss clinical cases. The case context drives learning, required students' active participation and involvement in the learning process and reflects the actual process occupational therapists engage in within practice. The cases require students to call upon precious learned knowledge from pre-requisite courses, engage in independent and self-directed learning and use a variety of learning resources. PBL allows students to learn the content specified for the course by applying clinical reasoning and inquiry skills.

Grading

Incomplete grades will be granted only under extenuating circumstances and for no more than 25 percent of total course assignments or examinations within a term. Students will contract, in writing, with the course instructor regarding the completion of coursework within a time specified by the program Faculty Review Committee. Students may not register for any further occupational therapy courses without permission from the program director. Failure to complete the work in accord with the contract-specified time will automatically result in failure for the course.

Clinical Education Grades

If a student fails any clinical education course, the decision to allow the course to be repeated will be determined by a Faculty Review Committee. If the student is allowed to repeat the clinical experience, matriculated status will be withdrawn. A student may only withdraw from a clinical education experience and fails again, he/she will be dismissed from the program. If the student is not allowed to repeat the clinical experience, matriculated status will be withdrawn. A student may only withdraw from a clinical education experience for extenuating circumstances approved by a Faculty Review Committee.

Students who are not meeting required standards or competencies of a Level II clinical education experience will be required to suspend work towards the completion of their master's capstone project to enable them to focus their efforts on successful completion of the clinical experience. This will require the student to register for OCTR 890 Capstone Continuation and possibly delay their graduation date.

Fieldwork I

Each life-span module is linked to a Level I Fieldwork course designed to connect theory to practice. Students are assigned to various clinical and community settings for a minimum of seven weekdays each fall and spring trimester. Level I Fieldwork in Pediatrics is completed in settings such as children's specialized hospital and rehabilitation centers, private schools, school based practices, special education schools, pediatric units in general hospitals and outpatient clinics. Level I Fieldwork in Adolescence is completed in residential care facilities for children and youth with emotional disabilities or after school programs for impoverished and "at-risk" youth that are located primarily in the counties surrounding the college. Accommodations may be made for students outside of the tri-state area. Level I Fieldwork in Adults is completed with a physically disabled population in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, private practices, outpatient clinics. The final Level I Fieldwork course in Geriatrics is completed in community settings typically in social based adult day programs for individuals with dementia.

Fieldwork Level I Attendance Policy

Absences of more than one fieldwork day (even if rescheduled) are considered excessive and may result in a non-passing grade for the fieldwork course. Students are expected to attend fieldwork for the entire scheduled day unless they are ill or have extenuating circumstance. Students who are ill should use their judgment when deciding if they should attend fieldwork. Students are required to complete a total of at least seven days of fieldwork each fall and spring term. Students must meet the minimum required hours (forty-two hours) to successfully complete each Fieldwork Level I experience. Students assigned to fieldwork sites that have less than a six hour workday must complete a minimum of 42 hours. Students assigned to sites with six or more hour workdays must complete seven days.

Fieldwork II

A total of 24 weeks of Level II Fieldwork experiences is required for students to graduate and be eligible for national certification and state licensure. This fieldwork is usually completed at the end of the curriculum sequence as two full-time 12-week unpaid placements. Modifications, such as part-time (i.e., 3 day a week schedule) or placement in three practice sites (e.g., 12 weeks in physical disabilities, 8 weeks in pediatrics and 8 weeks in mental health) may be possible depending on a student's GPA, work schedule and availability of fieldwork sites with contracts with Mercy College. Part-time fieldwork experiences may limit the populations and settings in which the fieldwork can be completed and will lengthen the time needed to complete the program, but for some students offers the opportunity to balance education requirements with work or family responsibilities. Specialty or third affiliations are offered in focused areas such as hand rehabilitation or pediatric early intervention after the student completes the basic fieldwork experiences. All fieldwork placements must be successfully completed within 24 months of didactic course work unless the program Faculty Review committee grants and extension for extenuating circumstances. Participating in a Level II Fieldwork frequently involves a commitment commensurate to a full-time job.

Prerequisite Courses

General Prerequisites

  • BIOL 130** and BIOL 131** Anatomy and Physiology I and II with a Lab including vertebrae dissection
  • Intro to Sociology, Anthropology or Cultural Diversity
  • PSYN 212 Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYN 233 Dvlpmntl Psych Across Lifespan
  • BHSC 370 Stats Socl/Behv Sciences or a statistics course at the 200 level or higher

Program Specific Prerequisites

  • HLSC 344 Group Process Health Profes
  • HLSC 210 Ovrview Occup Therapy Practice
  • BIOL 303 Hum Anatomy w/Cadaver Lecture
  • HLSC 302 Pathology for Rehabilitation
  • HLSC 314 Clinical Kines/Applied Physics
  • HLSC 410 Applied Neurosci/Rehab Prof
  • HLSC 205 Stnd Sfty Precaut/Hlth Care Pr
  • HLSC 225 Intro Hlth Prof Lit/Sci Write 
  • HLSC 402 Scientific Writing
  • HLSC 420 Intro to Occupational Therapy (OTAs take for two credits)

** General  Bio I or II (4 credits with a lab) including with a grade of B or higher from a four-year institution, can substitute for A&P II for students with a bachelor degree.

The prerequisite courses are offered at Mercy College days, evenings and weekends. Please note that students must qualify to take ENGL 111 to be admitted into a prerequisite science course. 

The grades of any repeated program specific prerequisite courses will be averaged together into the GPA. Students currently repeating a program specific prerequisite course will have the standing grade for that course included in their admission GPA until the new grade is averaged with he existing grade. Grades lower than C in prerequisite courses are not accepted.

How To Apply to the Occupational Therapy M.S.

  1. 1. Prospective students are required to meet with an admissions counselor for evaluation of transfer credits prior to submitting an application to the Occupational Therapy Program.
  2. 2. An application form and general information regarding eligibility for the Master of Science Degree Program is available online or from the Admissions Office or the Occupational Therapy Program Office at the Dobbs Ferry Campus.
  3. 3. All candidates for the Occupational Therapy Program must first be admitted into Mercy College. A separate application form for the Occupational Therapy Program, accompanied by an application fee, should be submitted between May 15th and July 10th for admission decision to begin the Occupational Therapy Program during the fall trimester one year later. Applications from qualified applicants may continue to be processed after the application deadline if there are available spaces in the program.
  4. Selected applicants will be invited to interview with representatives of the Graduate Program Admissions Committee.
  5. Each applicant's records will be presented to the Admission Committee of the program. The final admission decision is based on a combination of GPA, references, interview, and written essays. Candidates will be notified at to their acceptance into the next Occupational Therapy class in September. All acceptances will be provisional. Provisional acceptance requires that students complete the remaining prerequisite courses and bachelor degree courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a grade of C or better within one-year to enter the program.
  6. Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $250 at the time of acceptance. This fee will be applied to the fall tuition payment.
  7. Students requesting deferral of admission will need to re-apply the next academic year, unless waived by the program director.

Additional information can be obtained from the Program Information Sheet and the Pre-requisite Checklist.

May I speak to students in the program to gain their perspective?
Yes. Many of our current students and alumni have volunteered to speak to prospective students about our program. Please contact the Occupational Therapy program at 914-674-7815 or or otprogram@mercy.edu for the student contact sheet.
What are the weekends like?
Intense. The amount of information covered in one weekend is equivalent to four to five classes in a traditional program. There are lectures, discussions, small group problem solving and active hands on practice.
What is the admission decision based on?
Your grade point average, interview, recommendation forms and written essays. All acceptances are provisional and require successful completion of prerequisites at Mercy College with a grade of C or better and a minimum GPA of 3.0. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to entering the program.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
What type of student is well suited for a weekend program?
The adult learner who is motivated, self-directed and takes charge of his/her own learning.
Laurette Olson Professor, Occupational Therapy
Joan Toglia Dean, SHNS
Jeanine Stancanelli Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy
Deborah Dougherty Associate Professor
Kathleen Golisz Assoc. Dean, SHNS
Debra Zizik Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy
Sonia Moorehead Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy
Caitlin McTeigue Administrative Assistant

Occupational Therapy Overview

If you want an endlessly rewarding career in Occupational Therapy, Mercy College's Graduate Occupational Therapy (OT) weekend program is for you. We offer a 60 credit two year full-time weekend program with classes scheduled every other weekend. The program incorporates a variety of learning methods including a mixture of lecture, discussion, small group problem solving, hands-on experiences, problem based learning (PBL) and our innovative "learning by doing" philosophy. Our faculty is comprised of occupational therapy practitioners with various specializations, providing Mercy students with first-rate, well rounded instruction. Most faculty members have published within the field and are nationally recognized for their expertise. Students with a bachelor's degree and the required prerequisite courses can directly enter into the MS degree program. Students without a bachelor's degree can apply for a BS in Health Sciences which includes prerequisites or pre-professional occupational therapy courses. Students can apply up to one year in advance of entry into the program.

Occupational Therapy FAQS

What are the weekends like?
Intense. The amount of information covered in one weekend is equivalent to four to five classes in a traditional program. There are lectures, discussions, small group problem solving and active hands on practice.
May I speak to students in the program to gain their perspective?
Yes. Many of our current students and alumni have volunteered to speak to prospective students about our program. Please contact the Occupational Therapy program at 914-674-7815 or or otprogram@mercy.edu for the student contact sheet.

Career Opportunities

Graduates apply for licensure and entry level work. From there you’ll be working in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, regional schools and elsewhere, with people with spinal cord injuries, cancer, strokes, autism, cerebral palsy or developmental problems, and many other conditions and illnesses. Many of our alumni hold leadership roles where they work, and have returned to the OT program as PBL facilitators, teaching associates, guest lecturers, and lab assistants.

Degree Completion

The total number of graduates from Mercy College Graduate Occupational Therapy Program during the three year period 2013 - 2015 was 101, with an overall graduation rate of 96%.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2013 35/34 97%
2014 35/35 100%
2015 35/32 91%
TOTAL 105/101 96%

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

Employment

Overall, employer surveys indicated that employers are satisfied with Mercy College graduates. Ninety-five percent of employers rated graduates as average or above average. Eighty-five percent indicated that preparation for the current position was good or excellent, with no ratings of "poor." One hundred percent of employers stated they would hire a Mercy graduate in the future.

Service Learning @Mercy
OT/PT 20th Reunion Alumni Video

Check out the wonderful things our alumni had to say about our OT and PT programs!

Learn more about her story and explore Occupational Therapy at Mercy College.

Occupational Therapy Fast Facts

  • Published, nationally-recognized faculty
  • Weekend classes
  • High job placement
  • Strong national pass rates
Accreditations

The Mercy College Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's phone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Graduates of the Occupational Therapy program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board of 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 in order to practice; however, state licenses 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 licensure.

For further information on these limitations, you can contact NBCOT at: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877 (301) 990-7979. Applicants are also encouraged to contact the State Board of Occupational Therapy in the state they anticipate practicing to investigate any limitations.

Purpose

Occupational therapy is a health, education and rehabilitation profession that helps people maximize potential and build skills that are important for independent functioning, health, well-being and participation in communities. Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages who may need specialized assistance in learning skills to enable them to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives.

Occupational therapy includes: (1) administering and / or interpreting standardized and non-standardized assessments for the purpose of identifying areas of function and/ or dysfunction; (2) evaluation and treatment of motor, cognitive, sensory, psychosocial impairments contributing to difficulty in daily living; (3) customized treatment programs aimed at improving abilities to carry out daily life activities within the home, community, school, or work; (4) comprehensive evaluation of home and job environments and recommendations on necessary adaptations and environmental modifications to prevent injury or enhance independent functioning; (5) design, training and recommendations in the use of specialized tools, adaptive equipment, assistive technology and orthotics; (6) teaching methods that prevent injury or promote and maintain healthy habits and routines; and (7) the provision of consultative, educational or research services.

Occupational therapists work with people experiencing daily living problems that may result from the effects of normal aging, disability or illnesses such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, cancer, autism, cerebral palsy or developmental problems, congenital conditions, and mental illness. Occupational therapists work in a wide range of practice settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities, home health agencies, outpatient rehabilitation programs, psychiatric facilities, private and public schools, community centers and private practices. There are expanding opportunities for occupational therapists in the areas of health promotion and prevention within private practices, industry, social and public or community agencies. 

Admission Requirements

Please refer to the How to Apply link for details on the program's admission process and pre-requisites. Additional information can be obtained from the Program Information Sheet and the Pre-requisite Checklist.

Course Load

The Master of Science Degree Program in Occupational Therapy is a full-time weekend program that takes approximately two years, three months to complete. The student is required to take nine - eleven credits per trimester. Course work may be completed in six trimesters. During the final two trimesters while completing the Level II fieldwork, the student registers for 4.5 - 5 credits and is considered a part-time student. The required 24 weeks of fieldwork must be completed within 24 months following the completion of the didactic component of the program unless the program Faculty Review Committee grants and extension for extenuating circumstances.

Occupational Therapy Program Goals
  • Students are expected to master entry-level proficiencies in occupational therapy knowledge and practice skills with individuals of all ages. 
  • Students are expected to display professional behaviors, cultural competence, ethical values and a commitment to maintaining currency with professional knowledge and practice. 
  • Students are expected to use a dynamic process of inquiry to guide evidence based clinical decisions to competently fulfill the responsibilities of the occupational therapists role within a complex and changing health care environment.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to advocate with professional colleagues for diverse populations of clients' access to health, education and rehabilitative services to foster life and community participation.

Occupational Therapy Objectives

The Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy is a full-time 60-credit weekend program designed to prepare graduates to apply for licensure in Occupational Therapy and practice at an entry level. Classes are completed in 20 months and are followed by twenty-four weeks of full-time clinical fieldwork. Entry into the M.S. degree program requires a bachelor degree and prerequisite courses. Students without a bachelor degree can apply for a B.S. in Health Sciences that includes prerequisites or pre-professional occupational therapy courses. 

The Occupational Therapy Program is organized around development stages and incorporates three strands of knowledge within the curriculum. The strands are 1) the importance of engagement in occupation in promoting health and participation; 2) client centered occupational therapy evaluation and intervention approaches focused on the interaction of the person, environment and occupation; and 3) exploration and application of available evidence based knowledge and information to support critical thinking and clinical decision making. All three strands contain themes that are reflective of the program's philosophy and mission. The program provides students with entry-level proficiency in occupational therapy practice with people of all ages, cultures and disabilities. The program places a strong emphasis on encouraging clinical reasoning and critical thinking and is designed to reinforce the self-directed learning style inherent in the professional role. The Occupational Therapy Program is committed to preparing practitioners who can competently fulfill fulfill responsibilities of the professional role within a changing health care world.

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences as a foundation for understanding human development, learning, and occupation across the lifespan
  • Apply the basic tenets of occupational therapy, including the history and philosophical base, the meaning and dynamics of occupation in promotion of health and prevention of disease and disability, and the ability to analyze tasks within the occupational therapy framework
  • Analyze the effects of physical and mental disabilities, and impairments across the lifespan, within the context of the person, and his or her environment and occupation
  • Screen and evaluate clients occupational performance and participation based on occupational therapy theoretical perspectives, models of practice, frames of reference, and available evidence in a culturally relevant manner to the lifespan stage of development
  • Use client­centered occupations, tasks and activities to promote health, growth and development, and participation within life roles
  • Develop client­centered, evidence­based, occupational therapy programming addressing appropriate aspects of individuals and organizations, their occupational needs and the practice environments to facilitate occupational performance and participation
  • Use available evidence to guide clinical decisions
  • Articulate how the context of service delivery and social, political, demographic, and economic trends impact occupational therapy practice
  • Integrate professional ethics, values, and responsibilities into the role of an occupational therapist
  • Use effective communication skills to interact with and develop a therapeutic relationship with clients and families
  • Participate effectively in collaborative professional relationships
Degree Completion

The total number of graduates from Mercy College Graduate Occupational Therapy Program during the three year period 2013 - 2015 was 101, with an overall graduation rate of 96%.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2013 35/34 97%
2014 35/35 100%
2015 35/32 91%
TOTAL 105/101 96%

 

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx.

Employment

Overall, employer surveys indicated that employers are satisfied with Mercy College graduates. Ninety-five percent of employers rated graduates as average or above average. Eighty-five percent indicated that preparation for the current position was good or excellent, with no ratings of "poor." One hundred percent of employers stated they would hire a Mercy graduate in the future.