Occupational Therapy Program

Program Handbook

Saint Louis University's occupational science and occupational therapy program offers a five-year, freshman-entry master’s program. Students earn a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science (B.S.O.S.) degree after the completion of four years, including one summer, and then a Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) degree after successful completion of an additional post-baccalaureate year. Students may also enter the program as transfer students or as post-baccalaureates. The occupational science and occupational therapy program has a focus on interprofessional care and occupational justice.

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 a variety of 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 activities that are important and meaningful to the individual or the community.

The post-professional doctorate program (O.T.D.) is available for individuals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational therapy interested in continuing their education.

Saint Louis University Occupational Therapy Program Cost of Attendance

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: 

  • Undergraduate students in the occupational science program have a seamless, direct entry to the graduate-level occupational therapy master's program if all of the academic and professional behavior requirements of the undergraduate program are successfully completed.
  • The curriculum is divided into the pre-professional (years 1-3) and professional (years 4-5) phase. Once accepted, a student will progress through the entire program without the need for re-applying or taking a graduate entrance exam, provided the student meets the program's academic and professional behavior standards.
  • Applied experiences are an integral and complementary part of the occupational therapy curriculum. Occupational science and occupational therapy students participate in several levels of clinical experiences and fieldwork, beginning in year 3 and culminating in the completion of two 12-week full-time fieldwork experiences in a variety of settings beginning in the spring semester of year 5.
  • 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 have the opportunity to study abroad in the spring semester of their sophomore year.
  • The undergraduate program (B.S.O.S.) is one of a select few U.S. programs focused on the discipline of occupational science — the underpinnings of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Students are assigned to a faculty mentor who supports the student's professional development.
  • Undergraduate students have the option to conduct research and produce projects/papers acceptable for publication and presentation at professional conferences.

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 science and occupational therapy students participate in several levels of clinical experiences and fieldwork.

Applied Community Service Experiences take place during year 3 and are aligned with students' engagement in occupational science courses. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 20 hours of experiences throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Level I Fieldwork is the applied experience that is coordinated with coursework during the fall and spring semesters of year  (professional year 1) 4 and the fall semester of year 5 (professional year 2). 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 learning objectives of the course.

Level II Fieldwork occurs January through June of year 5. 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 objectives for these experiences are collaboratively established by fieldwork sites and the academic program. During each Level II Fieldwork experience, students participate in weekly assignments in order 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 eligibility for professional certification and licensure.

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 that is closely associated with the faculty member's scholarship. Through this process and concurrent applied research seminars, you’ll have opportunities to gain an understanding of the research process in a practice setting or the academic environment.

Careers

Upon completion of an accredited educational program and earning a master’s degree or entry-level clinical doctorate degree in occupational therapy, graduates are required to 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 in order to work. Typically, therapists must fulfill continuing education requirements in order to maintain certification and/or licensure.

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase by 18% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average occupation according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About half of occupational therapists work in offices of occupational therapy 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 2019 median annual salary for an occupational therapist was $84,950, 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 now 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, Physics 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 Dec. 1. Late applications are not considered. Admission decisions will be made Feb. 1.

Transfer Applicants

  • The program reserves up to 10 seats for qualified sophomore and junior transfer students with entry beginning in the fall term.
  • Transfer students must have a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA, write a 500-word personal essay and have a minimum 20 hours of experience in a variety of occupational therapy practice settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools or community organizations.
  • Per university policy, courses with grades of C or above may be eligible for transfer credit.
  • Students with fewer than 75 earned credit hours when entering the program are eligible for transfer admission.
  • All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last five years.
  • It is recommended that science courses be taken at a four-year university; however, community college coursework will be accepted.
  • Science courses taken online are not accepted.
  • In-progress coursework must be completed by the semester of entry.
  • Students must have their 20 hours of experience documented in the Journal of Experiences.
  • Students should apply no later than the last day of February for fall entry. For further information, contact the undergraduate program coordinator at ot@slu.edu.
  • Current students interested in declaring this major should make an appointment with their academic adviser to review coursework and eligibility. Students will also need to schedule a meeting with the occupational therapy academic adviser, Tara Ernst at tara.ernst@slu.edu.
  • External transfer students can determine which of their credits will transfer. Transfer students with additional questions should contact the Transfer Admissions Office at 314-977-2500. A transfer advisor will review your coursework and eligibility for the program, as well as discuss admission procedures to the university.

Post-Baccalaureate

The program reserves up to 15 seats for qualified post-baccalaureate students with entry beginning in mid-May with the start of Gross Anatomy.

Post-baccalaureate applicants to the OT program are required to have completed nine 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)
  • Physics (3 credits)
  • Lifespan human development (3 credits)
  • Abnormal psychology (3 credits)
  • Research methods (3 credits)
  • Medical terminology

All nine prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last 5 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.

All prerequisite coursework must be completed by the application deadline date of January 22. Transcripts must be submitted to the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy system and will not be accepted by SLU.

Application Requirements

Freshman

Freshmen or undergraduate transfer applicants from the U.S. or abroad can begin the application process online through the SLU Admission page. SLU also accepts the Common App.

Post-Baccalaureate

Apply through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS). The OTCAS is a centralized service that enables prospective occupational therapy students to submit all application materials electronically. Application materials that must be submitted to OTCAS include:

  • Official transcripts
  • Two professional letters of reference
  • Personal essay up to 500 words, which should be a discussion of experiences in the field and reasons why you are interested in pursuing a degree in occupational therapy

Post-Baccalaureate International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Post-Baccalaureate Deadline

Applications for admission to the MOT program must be submitted through OTCAS beginning September 1 and ending January 22. Interviews will be conducted throughout February and all final decisions will be made and communicated by March 1.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need. In addition to University scholarships, the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers a scholarship to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
  • Financial Aid: Provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, applicants should apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at http://finaid.slu.edu.

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)
6116 Executive Boulevard
Suite 200    
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
(301) 652-2682
http://www.aota.org

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

View Program Outcomes

The total number of graduates from the Saint Louis University Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program during the three-year period of 2017-2019 was 166, with an overall graduation rate of 96.0%.

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.

Occupational Therapy NBCOT Pass Rates

Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science

  1. Graduates will be able to describe the scope of the discipline of occupational science.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply occupational science knowledge in practice.
  3. Graduates will be able to describe the relationship between situational factors and opportunities for occupational engagement, with an emphasis on identifying injustices.
  4. Graduates will be able to analyze disciplinary concepts of humans as occupational beings.
  5. Graduates will be able to employ discipline-specific methods of scholarly and clinical inquiry.

Master of Occupational Therapy

  1. Graduates will be able to apply theories that underlie the practice of occupational therapy.
  2. Graduates will be able to demonstrate skills in assessment and intervention practice in the implementation of occupational therapy with clients across the lifespan.
  3. Graduates will be able to demonstrate skills in research designs.
  4. Graduates will be able to effectively interact through written communication in a professionally acceptable manner.
  5. Graduates will be able to construct a professional sense of self as an occupational therapist.
Foundation
ANAT 1000Basic Human Anatomy3
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
CHEM 1080
CHEM 1085
Principles of Chemistry 1 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 1 Lab
4
ENGL 1900Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research3
ENGL 4000Professional Writing3
HSCI 2200Medical Terminology3
HSCI 2500Human Development across the Lifespan3
IPE 1100Introduction to Interprofessional Health Care1
IPE 3500Health Care Systems and Health Promotion3
IPE 4200Applied Decision-Making in Interprofessional Practice3
IPE 4900Interprofessional Community Practicum2
ORES 2320Interprofessional Health Outcomes2
PHIL 1050Introduction to Philosophy: Self and Reality3
PHIL 2050Ethics3
or HCE 2010 Foundations in Clinical Health Care Ethics
PHYS 1050Intro to Physics of Human Body3
PPY 2540Human Physiology4
PSY 1010General Psychology3
PSY 2050Foundations of Research Methods and Statistics4
PSY 4390Abnormal Psychology3
THEO 1000Theological Foundations3
MATH XXXXMath Elective (select one of the following)3
College Algebra
Pre-Calculus
Calculus I
XXXXCultural Analysis Elective (select one of the following)3
ENGL 2XXX/3XXX
HIST XXXX
XXXXPersonal/Professional Expression Elective (select one of the following)3
Public Speaking
Fine Arts
Foreign Language
XXXXSocietal Contexts Elective (select one of the following)3
Introduction to Anthropology
The Urban Crisis
Introduction to Sociology
ECON
POLS
Required for B.S. in Occupational Science
OCS 1000Seminar in OT Practice2
OCS 1010Introduction to Occupational Science and Therapy2
OCS 3120The Study of Occupation3
OCS 3220Contexts of Occupation3
OCS 3320Development of Humans as Occupational Beings3
OCS 3520Personal and Community Wellness3
OCS 3620Lived Experiences: Disabilities and Chronic Conditions3
OCS 3720Critical Perspectives of Culture, Occupation, & Justice3
OCS 4620Clinical Conditions and Phenomenology3
Required for Master's of Occupational Therapy
ANAT 4000Human Gross Anatomy6
MOT 5020Professional Development I1
MOT 5030Professional Development II1
MOT 5040Professional Development III1
MOT 5150Kinesiology3
MOT 5170Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy4
MOT 5250Policy & Administration2
MOT 5260Problem-Based Learning in Occupational Therapy2
MOT 5300Fundamentals of OT Practice3
MOT 5350Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy3
MOT 5410Occupational Therapy in Mental Health3
MOT 5450Occupational Performance & Assessment of Children and Youth3
MOT 5460Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults3
MOT 5480Occupational Therapy & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation2
MOT 5490Applied Research I1
MOT 5500Applied Research II1
MOT 5550Occupational Therapy for Adults with Neurological Dysfunction3
MOT 5560Occupational Therapy and Community Practice3
MOT 5600Occupational Therapy with Infants and Children4
MOT 5650Applied Research III1
MOT 5700Advanced Field Work I6
MOT 5750Advanced Fieldwork II6
Applied Research IV (optional 1-6 credits)
Total Credits159

Non-Course Requirements

Upon completion of 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 complete within 18 months following completion of academic preparation.

Undergraduate Continuation Standards

The required GPA minimum for freshmen is 2.70, for sophomores is 2.80 and for juniors is 2.90. 

Graduate/Professional Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 in all graduate/professional 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.

Master of Occupational Therapy (B.S.O.S./M.O.T.) Direct Entry

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
ENGL 1900 Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research 3
IPE 1100 Introduction to Interprofessional Health Care 1
OCS 1000
Seminar in OT Practice
or Enhancing First-Year Success
2
PHIL 1050 Introduction to Philosophy: Self and Reality 3
PSY 1010 General Psychology 3
 Credits16
Spring
ANAT 1000 Basic Human Anatomy 3
HSCI 2500 Human Development across the Lifespan 3
IPE 3500 Health Care Systems and Health Promotion 3
MATH 1200 College Algebra 3
PSY 2050 Foundations of Research Methods and Statistics 4
 Credits16
Year Two
Fall
CHEM 1080
CHEM 1085
Principles of Chemistry 1 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 1 Lab
4
ENGL 4000 Professional Writing 3
OCS 1010 Introduction to Occupational Science and Therapy 2
ORES 2320 Interprofessional Health Outcomes 2
PSY 4390 Abnormal Psychology 3
XXXXSocietal Conexts Requirement 1 3
 Credits17
Spring
Participation in Study Abroad Optional  
IPE 4200 Applied Decision-Making in Interprofessional Practice 3
PHIL 2050
Ethics
or Foundations in Clinical Health Care Ethics
3
THEO 1000 Theological Foundations 3
XXXXCultural Analysis Elective 2 3
XXXXPersonal/Professional Expression Elective 3 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
HSCI 2200 Medical Terminology 3
OCS 3120 The Study of Occupation 3
OCS 3220 Contexts of Occupation 3
OCS 3320 Development of Humans as Occupational Beings 3
PPY 2540 Human Physiology 4
 Credits16
Spring
IPE 4900 Interprofessional Community Practicum 2
OCS 3520 Personal and Community Wellness 3
OCS 3620 Lived Experiences: Disabilities and Chronic Conditions 3
OCS 3720 Critical Perspectives of Culture, Occupation, & Justice 3
PHYS 1050 Intro to Physics of Human Body 3
 Credits14
Summer
ANAT 4000 Human Gross Anatomy 6
 Credits6
Year Four
Fall
MOT 5020 Professional Development I 1
MOT 5150 Kinesiology 3
MOT 5170 Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy 4
MOT 5300 Fundamentals of OT Practice 3
MOT 5460 Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults 3
OCS 4620 Clinical Conditions and Phenomenology 3
 Credits17
Spring
Bachelor of Occupational Science degree awarded upon completion of this semester  
MOT 5030 Professional Development II 1
MOT 5350 Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5400 Occupational Therapy for Adults with Physical Dysfunction 4
MOT 5410 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 3
MOT 5450 Occupational Performance & Assessment of Children and Youth 3
MOT 5490 Applied Research I 1
MOT 5500 Applied Research II 1
 Credits16
Year Five
Fall
MOT 5040 Professional Development III 1
MOT 5250 Policy & Administration 2
MOT 5260 Problem-Based Learning in Occupational Therapy 2
MOT 5480 Occupational Therapy & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation 2
MOT 5550 Occupational Therapy for Adults with Neurological Dysfunction 3
MOT 5560 Occupational Therapy and Community Practice 3
MOT 5600 Occupational Therapy with Infants and Children 4
MOT 5650 Applied Research III 1
 Credits18
Spring
MOT 5700 Advanced Field Work I 6
MOT 5750 Advanced Fieldwork II 6
Applied Research IV (optional 1-6 credits)  
 Credits12
 Total Credits163

1: Select one of the following: ANTH 1200, ASTD 3200, SOC 1100, ECON XXXX or POLS XXXX

2: Select one of the following: ENGL 2XXX-3XXX or HIST XXXX

3: Select one of the following: CMM 1200, Fine Arts or Foreign Language

Post-Baccalaureate Entry

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
SummerCredits
ANAT 4000 Human Gross Anatomy 6
 Credits6
Fall
MOT 5020 Professional Development I 1
MOT 5150 Kinesiology 3
MOT 5170 Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy 4
MOT 5200 Clinical Conditions & Phenomenology 3
MOT 5300 Fundamentals of OT Practice 3
MOT 5460 Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults 3
 Credits17
Spring
MOT 5030 Professional Development II 1
MOT 5350 Theoretical Foundations of Occupational Therapy 3
MOT 5400 Occupational Therapy for Adults with Physical Dysfunction 4
MOT 5410 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 3
MOT 5450 Occupational Performance & Assessment of Children and Youth 3
MOT 5490 Applied Research I 1
MOT 5500 Applied Research II 1
IPE 4900 Interprofessional Community Practicum 2
 Credits18
Year Two
Fall
MOT 5040 Professional Development III 1
MOT 5250 Policy & Administration 2
MOT 5260 Problem-Based Learning in Occupational Therapy 2
MOT 5480 Occupational Therapy & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation 2
MOT 5550 Occupational Therapy for Adults with Neurological Dysfunction 3
MOT 5560 Occupational Therapy and Community Practice 3
MOT 5600 Occupational Therapy with Infants and Children 4
MOT 5650 Applied Research III 1
 Credits18
Spring
MOT 5700 Advanced Field Work I 6
MOT 5750 Advanced Fieldwork II 6
Applied Research IV (optional 1-6 credits)  
 Credits12
 Total Credits71

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions please contact:
Julie Miller
Recruitment Specialist
314-977-2570
dchs@health.slu.edu