Occupational Therapy, Master of

Student Handbook

Saint Louis University's program in occupational therapy offers a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree. For the early-assurance (freshman-entry), it is a five-year curriculum, including one summer. Students admitted as freshmen receive a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science after successful completion of the first four years and the MOT degree after successful completion of the additional post-baccalaureate year.

Begin your journey toward SLU’s Master of Occupational Therapy in one of three ways:

  • Freshman-Entry with early assurance in a 3+2 graduate professional program

  • Transfer from another program or university during undergraduate studies

  • Graduate-Entry after earning another undergraduate degree

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages across the entire lifespan to improve the quality of their everyday lives and allow people to live life to its fullest. For an occupational therapist, this means focusing on a person’s “occupations,” including anything a person wants, needs or has to do. Occupational therapists practice in various settings, ranging from the traditional (schools, hospitals, home health, skilled nursing facilities, etc.) to the non-traditional (prisons, homeless shelters, primary care clinics, etc.). Occupational therapists partner with the client to plan interventions that promote health, focusing on important and meaningful activities to the individual or the community.

Curriculum Overview

The occupational therapy program at Saint Louis University provides students with the coursework, faculty and resources to graduate as competent and caring health care professionals. Highlights of SLU's program include: 

  • Applied experiences are an integral and complementary part of the occupational therapy curriculum. Occupational therapy students participate in several levels of clinical experiences and fieldwork.
  • Upon graduation with the M.O.T. degree, students must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination to obtain a license to practice occupational therapy.
  • The curriculum is carefully planned to form students holistically and includes a liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition with an emphasis on interprofessional health collaboration, a foundation in occupational science, occupational therapy coursework and field experiences in research and service.
  • Students are assigned to a faculty mentor who supports the student's professional development.

Clinical and Research Opportunities

Clinical fieldwork is an integral and complementary part of the occupational therapy curriculum. Through classroom and fieldwork experiences, students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that allow for occupation-centered and evidence-driven occupational therapy practice. Occupational therapy students participate in several levels of clinical experiences and fieldwork.

Level I Fieldwork is the applied experience coordinated with coursework during the first fall. Level I Fieldwork provides occupational therapy students with opportunities to develop professional behaviors, establish relationships with clients/patients and staff, identify the role of occupational therapy in various treatment settings, formulate goals and objectives in the therapeutic process and demonstrate emerging occupational therapy skills. Course instructors design assignments to be completed during Level I Fieldwork to assist students with meeting the learning objectives of the fieldwork experience while also addressing the course's learning objectives.

Level II Fieldwork is the in-depth practical experience in the delivery of occupational therapy services that focuses on the promotion of clinical reasoning and reflective practice skills, the application of the treatment process, including evaluation, intervention and discharge, and professional behavior development with the ultimate goal of preparing our graduates for entry-level occupational therapy practice. Level II Fieldwork can take place in either traditional or emerging practice settings.

Students complete two 12-week Level II Fieldwork experiences following the successful completion of all didactic coursework. Fieldwork sites and the academic program collaboratively establish fieldwork objectives for these experiences. During each Level II Fieldwork experience, students participate in weekly assignments to maintain close contact with the academic program, track the progress of learning and skill development, and assist with the achievement of Level II Fieldwork learning objectives. The M.O.T. program is affiliated with approximately 300 fieldwork sites across the United States.

Regulations require all students to complete a criminal background check and a drug test at least once during the program; either or both may be repeated as agency requirements demand. Positive results from the criminal background check or drug tests may result in ineligibility to graduate from the program. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s professional certification and licensure eligibility.

Research

Occupational therapy students who choose to pursue a master's project are matched with a faculty member who mentors their development of a comprehensive project closely associated with the faculty member's scholarship. Through this process and concurrently applied research seminars, you’ll have opportunities to understand the research process in a practice setting or academic environment.

Careers

Upon completing an accredited educational program and earning a master’s degree or entry-level clinical doctorate degree in occupational therapy, graduates must successfully pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. After successfully passing the exam, students will receive the designation of OTR: occupational therapist, registered.

In most states, practitioners must hold a current license or limited permit to work. Typically, therapists must fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain certification and/or licensure.

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase by 12% between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the average occupation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About half of occupational therapists work in occupational therapy offices or in hospitals. Others work in schools, nursing homes and home health services. Additional opportunities include consultation to industry, community settings, teaching and research. The salary of an occupational therapist varies based upon geographic location, years of experience and type of employment. The 2022 median annual salary for an occupational therapist was $93,180, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Applicants

  • Required minimum high school GPA of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale.
  • Required minimum of one year of biology and one year of chemistry (or equivalent coursework).

Standardized test scores are optional. When evaluating whether to apply test-optional or with a test score, applicants should note that students accepted in previous years had an average composite 26 ACT or an average total 1230 SAT.

High school seniors applying for admission are reviewed on an individual basis.

Strong applicants will have: 

  • Four years of science, including biology, chemistry, physiology and/or anatomy 
  • Four years of English 
  • Four years math 
  • Activities demonstrating leadership and community service 
  • An interest in the profession of Occupational Therapy as demonstrated through observation, school activities, volunteer experiences or personal experiences 

The application deadline is December 1. Admission decisions will be made February 1.

Transfer Applicants

General Information

  • The Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program at Saint Louis University admits both internal and external transfer students (students currently enrolled in another program at SLU or students enrolled at another college or university). The number of students admitted varies and is based on the available space in the respective cohort. A change of major status and program entry occurs the next applicable Fall or Spring semester following acceptance.
  • Level of entry (freshman, sophomore, junior) is based on the number of prerequisite course(s) completed (see curriculum roadmap).
    • Students should apply by March 15 for fall semester entry.
    • Students should apply by October 15 for spring semester entry.

Admission Criteria

  • Prerequisite Coursework
    • Students must have an earned cumulative 3.2 GPA for all prior coursework.
    • Per university policy, courses with grades of C or above may be eligible for transfer credit.
    • All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last 5 years.
    • It is recommended that science courses be taken at a four-year university; however, community college coursework may be accepted.
    • Science courses taken online are not accepted.
    • In-progress coursework must be completed by the semester of entry.
  • Experience in the profession

    • Strong candidates will document 10-15 hours of experience in a variety of Occupational Therapy practice settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or community organizations. Alternative ideas include discussions with therapists, conversations/relationships with people with disabilities or their families, volunteerism or employment. Record your experiences in the Journal of Experience, listing the date, amount of time, site and summary of activities.

  • Personal Essay
    • Students submit an essay discussing the reasons for pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy. The essay should integrate an understanding/definition of the profession, experiences in the profession, and an assessment of personal qualities/competence for the study and practice as a clinician. The essay will be evaluated on content, writing style, and a maximum length of 500 words.

Initial Transfer Admission Steps

  • Locate and become familiar with the program’s website and roadmap. Knowledge of the program and transfer criteria prior to beginning the process will result in subsequent productive discussion.
  • Current SLU students interested in transferring to the program should discuss their plans with their current academic advisor. Following that discussion, the student will be referred to the OT Program Director of Undergraduate Education to review coursework and eligibility further.
  • External students should contact the Transfer Admissions Office at or via telephone at 314-977-2500. A transfer advisor will review the coursework and the student’s eligibility for the program. They will also discuss admission procedures to the University. Following that discussion, the student will be referred to the OT Program Director of Undergraduate Education to review coursework and eligibility further.
  • External applicants submit official transcripts either electronically or via traditional mail to the following address:
    • Saint Louis University, Office of Admission, DuBourg Hall, room 119
      One North Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO  63103
  • Transferology is a helpful resource to determine how coursework from other colleges/universities may transfer toward the Program.

Completing the Transfer Admission Process

Upon completion of the above steps:

  • The Journal of Experiences and personal essay should be submitted via email to ot@slu.edu. Students desiring a fall semester entry must submit the two documents no later than March 15. Students wanting a spring semester entry must submit the two documents no later than October 15.
  • To complete the interview process, an interview may be requested by the Departmental Admissions Committee.

Post-Baccalaureate

The program reserves a limited number of spots for qualified students with a bachelor's degree, with entry beginning in mid-May.

Post-baccalaureate applicants to the OT program are required to have completed eight prerequisite courses (listed below), earning a minimum cumulative 3.20 GPA:

  • Biology with lab (4 credits)
  • Chemistry with lab (4 credits)
  • Basic anatomy (3 credits)
  • Physiology (3 credits)
  • Lifespan human development (3 credits)
  • Abnormal psychology (3 credits)
  • Research methods (3 credits)
  • Medical terminology (1-3 credits)
    • Completion of the eight prerequisite courses with a minimum of 3.20 GPA
    • A minimum of 20 hours of volunteering or observation experience with occupational therapists (OT) or occupational therapy assistants (OTA)

All eight prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last five years. Grades below a C will not be accepted. It is recommended that science courses be taken at a four-year university, but community college coursework will be accepted. Science courses taken online will not be accepted. Occupational therapy coursework taken elsewhere will not be accepted. Admitted students must be physically present on campus for the start of Gross Anatomy in mid-May (the exact date varies each year; students will be informed as soon as the start date is known).

Students fulfilling any prerequisite courses in the spring term before our program begins may be conditionally accepted into the program on the agreement that they will complete those prerequisites with a grade of C or higher before the start of Gross Anatomy.

Applications must be completed and transcripts submitted through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy system by the application deadline of January 22. Transcripts will not be accepted by SLU.

Tuition

Tuition Cost Per Semester
Master of Occupational Therapy $23,610

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Accreditation

This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, (ACOTE), an Associated Advisory Council of the Executive Board of the American Occupational Therapy Association, (AOTA).

American Occupational Therapy Association, (AOTA)
7501 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 510E
Bethesda, MD 20814
301-652-6611
https://acoteonline.org

For more information about SLU's occupational therapy program outcomes, matriculation rate, graduation rate, certification exam pass rate and employment rate, please see the program outcomes document.

View Program Outcomes (PDF)

The total number of graduates from the Saint Louis University Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) program during the three-year period of 2021-2023 was 159, with an overall graduation rate of 96.5%.

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 in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successfully passing the exam, students will receive the designation of OTR or occupational therapist, registered. In addition, most states require licensure 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.

  1. Apply theories that underlie the practice of occupational therapy.
  2. Demonstrate skills in assessment and intervention practice in the implementation of occupational therapy with clients across the lifespan.
  3. Demonstrate skills in research designs.
  4. Effectively interact through written communication in a professionally acceptable manner.
  5. Students will construct a professional sense of self as an occupational therapist.

Occupational Science, B.S. requirements

Required Courses
MOT 5030Application of Occupational Therapy Practice 3
MOT 5040Application of Occupational Therapy Practice 23
MOT 5100Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5150Kinesiology3
MOT 5170Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5200Health Conditions and Occupational Implications3
MOT 5250Administration & Leadership in Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5300Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice3
MOT 5350Theoretical Perspectives of Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5370Occupational Therapy Assessments Throughout the Lifespan3
MOT 5400Occupational Therapy Practice with Adults 1 3
MOT 5410Occupational Therapy Practice in Mental Health3
MOT 5450Occupational Therapy Practice with Children and Youth 13
MOT 5550Occupational Therapy Practice with Adults 23
MOT 5560Occupational Therapy Practice in the Community3
MOT 5570Specialty Occupational Therapy Practice2
MOT 5580Emerging and Focused Practice in Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5600Occupational Therapy Practice with Children and Youth 23
MOT 5610Quantitative Research Methods in Occupational Therapy2
MOT 5611Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 1 *1
MOT 5620Qualitative Research Methods in Occupational Therapy2
MOT 5621Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 2 *1
MOT 5631Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 3 *1
MOT 5641Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 4 *1
MOT 5700Advanced Field Work I6
MOT 5750Advanced Fieldwork II6
Total Credits69-73
*

Optional Graduate Research Project

Non-Course Requirements

Upon completing all requirements, students receive the Master’s in Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) degree and are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). In addition to passing the national exam, most states require licensure in order to practice.

Note: All Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 18 months following the completion of academic preparation.

Graduate/Professional Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses. All students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all required program curriculum courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
SummerCredits
MOT 5100 Functional Anatomy for Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5150 Kinesiology 3
 Credits6
Fall
MOT 5170 Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5200 Health Conditions and Occupational Implications 3
MOT 5300 Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice 3
MOT 5350 Theoretical Perspectives of Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5370 Occupational Therapy Assessments Throughout the Lifespan 3
MOT 5610 Quantitative Research Methods in Occupational Therapy 2
MOT 5611 Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 1 (Optional) 1
 Credits17-18
Spring
MOT 5030 Application of Occupational Therapy Practice 3
MOT 5250 Administration & Leadership in Occupational Therapy 2
MOT 5400 Occupational Therapy Practice with Adults 1 3
MOT 5410 Occupational Therapy Practice in Mental Health 3
MOT 5450 Occupational Therapy Practice with Children and Youth 1 3
MOT 5620 Qualitative Research Methods in Occupational Therapy 2
MOT 5621 Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 2 (Optional) 1
 Credits16-17
Year Two
Fall
MOT 5040 Application of Occupational Therapy Practice 2 1
MOT 5550 Occupational Therapy Practice with Adults 2 3
MOT 5560 Occupational Therapy Practice in the Community 3
MOT 5570 Specialty Occupational Therapy Practice 2
MOT 5580 Emerging and Focused Practice in Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5600 Occupational Therapy Practice with Children and Youth 2 4
MOT 5631 Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 3 (Optional) 1
 Credits16-17
Spring
MOT 5700 Advanced Fieldwork I 6
MOT 5750 Advanced Fieldwork II 3
MOT 5641 Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Project 4 (Optional) 1
 Credits9-10
 Total Credits64-68

Program Notes

MOT 5750 is a six (6) credit course, which technically falls into both the spring and summer semesters. Per the U.S. Department of Education, students must take courses in the same semester in which they are registered and not outside the boundaries of that semester. Therefore, second-level II fieldwork is split to hold three (3) credits in the spring and another three (3) credits in the summer. Please note the level II fieldwork dates are as follows:
  • MOT 5700 (IIA rotation) starts Jan. 6 and ends March 29, 2025 and is 6 credits
  • MOT 5750 (IIB rotation) starts April 7 and ends June 27, 2025 and totals 6 credits

Apply for Admission

Contact Doisy College of Health Sciences
Recruitment specialist
314-977-2570
dchs@health.slu.edu