Master of Science Occupational Therapy
As an occupational therapist, you’ll help people regain and maintain their independence in all areas of their lives. Occupational therapy is needed when a person’s ability to live independently, to care for personal needs, and to participate in work, school, family and community life is disrupted by illness or injury.
The faculty and curriculum prepared me very well for the certification exam, as well as transitioning from student to Occupational Therapist.
* Tuition rates are for the 2023-24 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change.
Exam Pass Rates
St. Scholastica graduates have a 100% NBCOT exam pass rate, the highest in Minnesota. For test data by school and state, visit NBCOT.
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Examination
Upon completion of all academic and fieldwork requirements of the Occupational Therapy Program, students are awarded a Master of Science (MS) degree. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for certification as occupational therapists. Most states require licensure to practice.
The exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a registered occupational therapist (OTR) and become eligible to practice occupational therapy. Most states require additional licensure. The graduates of the Occupational Therapy Department at The College of St. Scholastica have a high pass rate as shown below.
ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Students graduating from an ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage.
Visit our Catalog to view the program, course and degree requirements, and learning outcomes. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.
Scope and Sequence of the Occupational Therapy Curriculum
We aim to give students a solid foundation for implementing the occupational therapy process so they are prepared to enter a variety of practice settings. The scope of the occupational therapy curriculum is intentionally broad in order to prepare students to work with diverse client populations across the lifespan in a wide range of environments. Moreover, the curriculum is designed to familiarize students to traditional practice areas including: children and youth; health and wellness; mental health; productive aging; rehabilitation and disability; and work and industry. Emerging areas of practice introduced include low vision, driving, transitions for older youths, depression in mental health, and new technology for rehabilitation. The courses offer depth of content that progresses from understanding of fundamental facts and concepts to application in dynamic clinic scenarios fieldwork experiences. The curriculum is designed to prepare students by providing the depth of knowledge and skill to be competent entry-level practitioners.
The courses in the Occupational Therapy program’s curriculum are sequenced in a way that allows for integration of course content with experiential application in each semester. Each Level I fieldwork is integrated with content in courses that are occurring simultaneously and allow for application of learned information and the progression of knowledge translation, skill development, and independent clinical thinking. With the exception of summer sessions, semesters have been divided into session I and session II to allow students to focus on fewer courses at one time allowing for reflection about the complexities of clinical practice. Please see the curriculum schema for specific courses and when they appear in the curriculum.
Fieldwork is an opportunity for Occupational Therapy (OT) students to integrate occupational therapy theory and conceptual practice models with real client situations. Students are able to integrate occupational therapy language and skills that are acquired during the academic phase of the program into clinical practice in a structured and supervised environment. Students are also afforded the opportunity to practice and refine their interpersonal and communication skills with clients and colleagues, develop leadership skills, practice decision-making skills, problem-solve real client situations and participate in evidence-based practice. Fieldwork prepares students for entry-level practice as a generalist occupational therapy practitioner.
Level I Fieldwork
Level I Fieldwork is integrated into the academic portion of the program through experiential learning. Students participate in three required Level I experiences during the OTH program with opportunities for additional elective Level I fieldwork. These experiences occur in the on-campus maurice’s Community Clinic, which includes partner sites in the community and enriched simulated experiences. Students are encouraged to volunteer beyond the required fieldwork experiences to gain as much variety as possible through student or program organized events. Students find that this allows them to expand their knowledge and practice skills and to develop a comfort level with clients from all practice areas.
Level II Fieldwork
Level II Fieldwork occurs in the second year of the program. Students complete two 12-week rotations reflective of two different setting types. This level of fieldwork allows the student, under the supervision of a registered and licensed occupational therapist, to apply clinical reasoning for occupation-based practice, engage in professionalism through various practice settings and participate in evidence-based practice. Students may complete their occupational therapy Level II Fieldwork in traditional, community-based or emerging practice settings. They are expected to develop reflective practice and to transition from the role of a student into the role of an entry-level OT practitioner.
Beginning in 2023, students have the opportunity to complete a Level II Fieldwork rotation focusing on mental health in school-based settings. This Level II Fieldwork opportunity is a federally funded grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The focus of this project is to address student mental health needs by increasing the number of school-based mental health service providers in high-need education agencies, increasing the number of service providers from diverse backgrounds or from the communities they serve, and ensuring that all service providers are trained in inclusive practices. Occupational therapy practitioners have the unique ability to work with students on mental health-related concerns within the context of their daily lives, experiences, and the school structure and environment.
Occupational Therapy (OT) remains a dual-entry degree profession, which allows the choice between earning an entry-level Master’s degree or an entry-level Doctorate. The entry-level Master’s degree program at St. Scholastica offers a well-established, rigorous pathway to becoming a practitioner through state-of-the-art facilities with faculty engaged in scholarship and service in diverse ways. The OT program at St. Scholastica is cost-effective and takes less time when compared with an entry-level Doctorate degree.
Because of the one-on-one attention students receive and the “early and often” approach to hands-on learning, our graduates are in high demand. Graduate surveys indicate between 97% and 100% of graduates are employed as occupational therapists after one year. Many students have employment offers before graduation.
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
- General, psychiatric, and pediatric hospitals
- Public and private schools
- Rehabilitation hospitals or centers
- Colleges and universities
- Home health agencies
- Skilled nursing homes
- Private practice
Occupational Therapy is consistently ranked as one of the best jobs across the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for occupational therapists is expected to grow by 14% over the next decade, a rate much faster than average.
The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
American Occupational Therapy Association
6116 Executive Boulevard
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
This program is located in the Health Science Center (HSC) at BlueStone, approximately one mile from the main St Scholastica campus in Duluth. The BlueStone development includes retail, restaurants, and housing in addition to the HSC. BlueStone Lofts, The Vue at BlueStone and BlueStone Flats offer convenient high-end housing options for students. The HSC includes state-of-the-art classroom space, a research laboratory, meeting rooms, faculty offices, and student lounge areas overlooking Lake Superior. The maurices Community Clinic is also located in the HSC, providing students with mentored hands-on learning opportunities and interdisciplinary training. The maurices Community Clinic serves uninsured and underinsured individuals from the Duluth community.
The Convenience of BlueStone Living
Connect with a BlueStone housing representative about on-site housing options.
Start term: Summer
Application priority deadline: Nov. 15
Application final deadline: May 15
The OT program uses the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). To learn more about the application process and schedule, visit the OTCAS website. You’ll find information specific to our program listed under the Participating Programs link on the left side of the page, then select College of St. Scholastica.
The MS Occupational Therapy program uses an inclusive and equitable admissions process to grow a diverse occupational therapy profession with cohorts that represent a wide range of educational, personal and professional experiences. Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Bachelor’s degree (any major) from a regionally accredited institution
- Cumulative or most recent 64 credit GPA of 3.0 is preferred. The College will consider whichever is higher: GPA as calculated by OTCAS. Admissions committee members do not see GPA when reviewing applications. Applicants will also have an opportunity in OTCAS to explain whether their academic record accurately reflects their capabilities.
Understanding of occupational therapy profession
- Through an OTCAS question, the applicant will show they have sufficiently researched the profession to demonstrate that they are making a career choice based on a sound understanding of the profession of occupational therapy. Options that demonstrate understanding of the profession:
- Observation hours
- Successful completion of an introduction to occupational therapy course or healthcare careers course.
- Completion of an online shadowing experience (i.e. CBL Consulting & Training LLC — fee required)
- Personal experience
- The experiences that each individual has enrich the profession. This information allows the applicant to highlight their important accomplishments. Enter information in OTCAS for any of the following:
- work history
- community service
- participation in research activities
- Essays should be written with clear expression of ideas and good organization. Specific prompts for the essays are found in OTCAS.
- OTCAS Personal Essay/ Statement
- This allows the applicant to show why they selected OT as a career and how their personal, educational, and professional background will achieve their professional goals.
- St. Scholastica Supplemental Statement
- This allows the applicant to explain their connection to the mission and focus of the St. Scholastica OT curriculum.
- OTCAS Personal Essay/ Statement
- Hardship Statement (optional)
Additional Information about Becoming an Occupational Therapy Student
- A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. An individual, who has a felony background and is considering entering an occupational therapy program, can have their background reviewed prior to actually applying for the exam by requesting an Early Determination Review.
- Students who apply to the MS in OT program will be expected to perform a minimum number of Technical Standards and Essential Requirements.
- Complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of 2.0 or better
- Complete prerequisite courses no later than two weeks prior to the start of classes in June
- AP credit accepted for General Psychology. To verify results, applicants must submit official CollegeBoard scores directly to The College of St. Scholastica (not OTCAS) using the code 6107.
- A score of 3 or better is required to qualify; scores must be within 10 years from date of application.
- Prerequisite courses must be within the past 10 years.
- The College of St. Scholastica MS OT program does not give credit for work experience or credits taken in another occupational therapy program toward prerequisite or in-program courses.
- The following prerequisites (or their approved transfer equivalents) are required for admission:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology I
- Human Anatomy and Physiology II
- One of the following:
- Lifespan Development Psychology
- General Psychology
- General Sociology
The Office of Graduate Admissions does not review unofficial transcripts to determine the completion of prerequisite coursework. In most cases, course titles match. If you have specific questions about a particular course, please reference our transfer credit center to determine if the course meets the stated requirement.
Any student may request a waiver of admission requirements through a written request to the Graduate Admissions Office. Waiver requests are reviewed by the admissions committee and the applicant will be notified of the decision by email.
Submit the completed Occupational Therapy Centralized Admission System (OTCAS) application by the mid-November priority deadline.
Note: meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission. Exceptions to minimum criteria may be made at the discretion of the admissions committee. The College of St. Scholastica follows the OTCAS method of calculating GPA. Interviews are not typically part of the admission process for the OT program.
Official transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended or where credit was earned must be sent to OTCAS. Instructions are indicated on the OTCAS application.
- Submit an OTCAS application (reference OTCAS for application instructions/requirements)
- The Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee may request interviews
- After you are emailed a decision regarding your application, please inform us of your decision (accept or decline the offer, if one is made) via the Intent to Enroll form linked in the email
- Submit $500 non-refundable deposit
Meet Our Faculty
Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators
Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who invest in your success. Our values of community, respect, stewardship, hospitality and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.