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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2011-2012
Chair: Rebecca I. Estes (251) 445-9222
Professor: Scaffa
Associate Professor: Estes
Assistant Professor: Wooster
Clinical Assistant Professors: Gifford, Lowrey
Adjunct Faculty: Aninos, Henderson, Van Slyke
Department of Occupational Therapy web site
Occupational Therapy is a health care profession devoted to providing skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all aspects of their lives. Occupational therapists work with persons with acute and chronic physical, psychosocial, mental and developmental disabilities. An occupational therapist may aid in the growth and development of premature babies; create a learning environment for physically and mentally challenged children; adapt home environments for persons with stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and other disabilities; or create activities that are designed to restore mental health for persons with emotional, mental, or substance abuse problems. Occupational therapy focuses on "skills for the job of living" which includes all of the necessary skills for individuals to "live life to its fullest" and lead independent and satisfying lives.
The Master of Science degree program in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is an entry-level professional program designed to enable the student to develop advanced critical reasoning skills and to prepare the graduate for professional practice in a variety of settings. Graduates will also have the capability of assuming responsibilities in the areas of administration, program development, consultation and research in occupational therapy.
The program consists of 94 semester hours and is seven consecutive semesters in length. This includes 24 weeks of full-time Level II Fieldwork as required by accreditation standards. Level II Fieldwork is available in a variety of medical and community sites representing a diverse range of learning opportunities for students. All Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 12 months following completion of academic requirements.
The program is designed to accommodate applicants who have either a baccalaureate degree in another field or advanced undergraduates who have completed three years (96 semester hours) of prescribed and elective undergraduate course work.
A new class of MSOT students begins each year in the fall semester. Applications are accepted beginning in September for the following year. Applications with appropriate processing fees should be submitted directly to the Occupational Therapy Department. Selected applicants who meet all academic admission requirements below will be invited for an interview. Students offered admission may choose to guarantee a seat by submitting a matriculation fee (applied toward tuition) or be placed on the alternate list. All other qualified applicants will be placed on the alternate list. All students admitted to the program must complete a criminal background check; admission is contingent on the background check being clear of criminal charges.
The following are the minimum criteria for admission:
  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree. Students may apply to the program as graduate students if they have completed a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited institution prior to the starting date of the program, (Baccalaureate Degree Holders; (Category I, see below). Students who have completed a minimum of 96 semester (144 quarter) hours of course work, with a minimum 3.0 GPA may apply as Advanced Undergraduates (Advanced Undergraduates: Category II, see below).
  2. Completion of the prerequisite course work listed below with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. A minimum grade of "C" must be completed in all prerequisite courses.
  3. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the last five years. Official scores for Verbal, Quantitative and Analytic sections must be received by the University before the application will be considered. The equivalent of a minimum combined score of 800 for the Verbal and Quantitative portions is required. The minimum GRE scores will be modified after August 2011, when the new GRE format is adopted. Applications will be reviewed for academic qualifications on receipt of application, processing fee, transcripts and GRE results. Selected applicants who meet all academic admission requirements below will be invited for personal interviews.
Admission is offered to the top students who apply after consideration of the admission score. Selection is based on the total admission score which consists of a calculated value based on the following: Prerequisite GPA, a interview rating and any extra admissions points earned.
Extra points may be calculated into the admission score of applicants who have completed any of the following additional courses with a grade of "B" or higher: anatomy (300 level or higher), physiology (300 level or higher), chemistry, pathophysiology, physics, infectious disease or microbiology, medical terminology, introduction to occupational therapy (OT 201), and any additional anthropology or sociology courses (300 level or higher). A maximum of 3 points may be earned by taking these additional classes.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to observe occupational therapy practice in a variety of settings. One (1) extra point will be added to the admission score for each 25 hours observed, up to a maximum of 75 hours or three (3) points. Documentation forms for observation are included in the application packet. These forms may also be downloaded from the department web site ( or may be obtained from the occupational therapy department.
Core Performance Standards, which are fundamental tasks that must be performed to successfully complete the program, have been outlined and are available upon request from the program.
Applicants who are interested in whether courses from other universities will meet prerequisite requirements may contact the department by email for an unofficial review of their course descriptions.
Baccalaureate Degree Holders (Category I)
The student must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university including the prerequisites listed below and must meet the minimum requirements for admission.
Advanced Undergraduates (Category II)
The student must have completed a minimum of 96 semester (144 quarter) hours of prerequisite work as stated below for Advanced Undergraduate students and must meet the minimum requirements for admission.
Applicants interested in this category of admission should review the Additional Information for Advanced Undergraduate Applicants section below.
Baccalaureate Degree Holders (Category I) and Advanced Undergraduate Applicants (Category II) must complete these prerequisites:
English Composition I 3  
General Biology with lab 4  
Anatomy and Physiology* 6  
Kinesiology* 3  
Precalculus Algebra (or higher level mathematics) 3  
Statistics or Research Methods* 3  
General Psychology 3  
Developmental Psychology 3  
Abnormal Psychology 3  
Cultural Anthropology 3  
(one of the following: Public Speaking, Ethics, Logic, Small Group Discussion, Group Dynamics)
Computer Competency*
(as demonstrated by course credit,
proficiency exam,
 continuing education or other  documentation)

First Aid and CPR Competency*
(as demonstrated by course credit, or by documentation of certification by the American Red Cross or the
 American Heart Association)
*Must be taken no more than five years prior to application.  
Additional Prerequisites Advanced Undergraduate Applicants (Category II)
Must Complete:
English Composition II (3 semester hours)
Laboratory Science Elective (4 semester hours) (not Botany)
Fine Arts Elective (3 semester hours)
*Literature Elective (3 semester hours)
Humanities Elective (3 semester hours)
*History Elective (3 semester hours)
Social Science Elective (3 semester hours)
Applied Art Elective (3 semester hours)
Introduction to Logic or Ethics (3 semester hours)
Electives (25 semester hours)
*Must complete a two course sequence in Literature or History.
Additional Information for Advanced Undergraduate Applicants (Category II):
Students not holding a baccalaureate degree who want to apply to the program as an Advanced Undergraduate must complete the university requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Professional Health Sciences. This will help ensure that students who fail to gain admission to the Occupational Therapy program or who elect not to apply will be able to complete an undergraduate degree within the normal time frame.
Advanced undergraduates who are admitted to the MSOT program will officially be classified as undergraduates for the first two semesters of the program; however, they will be taking graduate courses in the program. They will be held to the same academic standards of performance as the graduate students with bachelor’s degrees.
Upon satisfactory completion of all course work during the first two semesters of the program, the advanced undergraduate student will be awarded a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Professional Health Sciences. The student must complete all necessary paperwork for reclassification as a graduate student in order to continue through the remainder of the program.
The academic program for students with bachelor’s degrees and advanced undergraduates is identical in its entirety. Tuition will be assessed at the graduate level for the entire seven semesters of the Master’s degree program.
In the first two semesters of the program, while classified as an undergraduate student, any financial aid awarded is restricted to the types and amounts for which an undergraduate student is eligible.
The Master of Science degree program consists of the following courses:
OT 500 Occupation in Context 3
OT 502 Occupational Development I 3
OT 503 History and Philosophy of OT 3
OT 504 Neuroscientific Basis of Occup Perf 3
OT 505 Scientific Inquiry I - W 3
OT 510 Theoretical Foundations of OT - W 3
OT 512 Occupational Development II - W 3
OT 517 Occupational Evaluation I 3
OT 519 Professional Dev Seminar I 2
OT 520 Occupational Intervention I 5
OT 521 Practicum I 1
OT 524 Biomed & Phenomenol Persp on Disability I 3
OT 525 Documentation 3
OT 527 Occupational Evaluation II 3
OT 530 Occupational Intervention II 5
OT 531 Practicum II 1
OT 534 Biomed & Phenomenol Persp on Disability II 3
OT 536 Management 3
OT 538 Group Dynamics 2
OT 539 Professional Dev Seminar III 2
OT 540 Occupational Intervention III 5
OT 541 Practicum III 1
OT 544 Musculoskeletal Assessment 2
OT 545 Scientific Inquiry II 3
OT 546 Supervision 2
OT 550 Level II Fieldwork (A) 6
OT 555 Level II Fieldwork (B) 6
OT 558 Technology & Environ Interventions in OT 3
OT 559 Professional Leadership 3
OT 570 Community-Based Intervention 3
OT 575 Advanced Professional Writing 3
During the Summer and Fall semesters of the last year students participate in fieldwork education at special fieldwork sites affiliated with the program. Students should be prepared to relocate to two different out-of-town fieldwork centers during these two semesters.
Students admitted in the Occupational Therapy program will be charged a matriculation deposit of $200 required to secure a seat in the entering class. This amount is not refundable but will be applied towards tuition expenses after registration.
Students should be prepared for extra expenses associated with professional studies including books, local travel to and from fieldwork sites and out-of-town travel and living expenses during Level II Fieldwork assignments. Special lab fees are assessed for the following courses:
OT 500 Occupation in Context  
OT 504 Neuroscientific Basis of Occupational
OT 510 Theoretical Foundations of OT  
OT 517 Occupational Evaluation I  
OT 520 Occupational Intervention I  
OT 527 Occupational Evaluation II  
OT 530 Occupational Intervention II  
OT 540 Occupational Intervention III  
OT 544 Musculoskeletal Assessment  
OT 545 Scientific Inquiry II  
OT 550 Level II Fieldwork (A)  
OT 555 Level II Fieldwork (B)  
OT 558 Technology and Environmental Interventions in OT  
In accordance with the Policies of the University of South Alabama Graduate School:
  1. A minimum overall 3.0 GPA on all work attempted in the student's specific program of study as well as an overall 3.0 GPA on all work attempted is required. A maximum of two courses with the grade of "C" may be counted toward a degree program.
  2. Any term in which a graduate student drops below a 3.0 GPA, the student is placed on probationary status and has a period of two terms to attain a 3.0 GPA or be dismissed from the Graduate School.
In addition, the following Departmental Retention Policies apply:
  1. Students in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree program are required to achieve a minimum grade of "C" in each course in the occupational therapy curriculum. This minimum grade of "C" reflects only the letter grade since many courses will require an 80% or 90% competency in order to be considered passing level.
  2. A student who receives a "D" or "F" will be academically dismissed.
  3. Any combination of nine (9) semester hours of grades of "C" in OT courses will result in academic dismissal.
  4. If for any reason a student must withdraw from the occupational therapy program, re-admission will require approval of the department chairperson and the Dean of the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions.
  5. All occupational therapy coursework taken prior to Level II Fieldwork must be successfully completed with a grade of "C" or better and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order for a student to be eligible to proceed with Level II Fieldwork.
  6. Level II Fieldwork will be graded as Pass/Fail using the criterion scores developed by the American Occupational Therapy Association. A student will be allowed to withdraw from fieldwork, without penalty, under special circumstances, for example, a serious illness/newly acquired disability. Withdrawal from Level II Fieldwork requires the recommendation of the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the permission of the Department Chairperson. All repeat fieldwork experiences must be completed within one year.
  7. If a student fails a Level II Fieldwork course (OT 550, OT 555), a "U" or unsatisfactory will be recorded as the grade. IF the student is permitted to repeat the Level II Fieldwork course, the student may be required to complete remediation tasks prior to repeating the course. The Academic Fieldwork Coordinator will schedule the repeated fieldwork at the earliest available time, but no later than 12 months following completion of all other academic requirements. A student failing to satisfactorily complete two out of three attempts of the 12 week fieldwork placements (OT 550, OT 555) shall be dismissed from the program.
  8. In some semesters, courses may not start and/or finish during the regular University beginning and ending dates for the semester. For example, one course may start at the beginning of a semester and finish at the semester midpoint, while another course starts at the midpoint of the semester and finishes at the semester's end.
The Department of Occupational Therapy MSOT Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. ACOTE’s phone number is c/o AOTA (301)652-AOTA. Graduates of the program will be able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of NBCOT Certification Examination. Criminal charges, misdemeanor or felony, may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

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Date last changed: March 18, 2011 2:54 PM

University of South Alabama