Division of Occupational Therapy

Division of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy assists people in participating in life activities and doing the things they wish to do (occupations). Occupational therapists collaborate with the individual to provide holistic and client-centered interventions, whether they are dealing with developmental, physical, mental health, social or educational concerns. Occupational therapists are creative practitioners that skillfully evaluate the individual and develop an intervention plan that addresses the unique needs of the person. 

The Division of Occupational Therapy, one of the five Divisions within the School of Allied Health Sciences, was established in 1989. The State of Florida, in its’ 1988-1993 strategic plan, identified as one of its critical problems in the rapidly growing State of Florida the need for an increased number of allied health practitioners. The Division, consistent with the mission of the University and the State of Florida, has conferred more than 200 baccalaureate degrees in occupational therapy. The last class of undergraduate students received their baccalaureate degrees in 2006. The Division has now transitioned to an entry-level master’s degree program from which the first student graduated in 2007.



The mission of the Division of Occupational Therapy program is to recognize that the program promotes meaningful participation in all occupations and activities. Human populations are diverse. Admissions are open and encourage cultural diversity for the student population and to meet the needs of the community, including primary care and underserved communities. Research and evidence-based practice are promoted for knowledge acquisition and retention. The program will produce competent and critically thinking therapists. The program values integrity, ethical behavior, respect for all people and accountability.




Philosophy of the Division

We believe that humans are complex and active beings whose development is dependent upon participation in occupations. This participation is context dependent and involves the whole person. Humans continually adapt as they grow. When this adaptation process is interrupted, occupational therapy utilizes occupation to facilitate change and renewal. The Division of Occupational Therapy believes that occupational therapy is client-centered and occupation based. It is the role of the occupational therapy educators to promote the use of occupation to assist strength, fitness and wellbeing, growth, change, and adaptation to encourage full participation in meaningful occupation that culminates in general safety, security and appropriate quality of life. Occupational therapy is science driven and based upon evidence. Occupations will be utilized to prevent, habilitate, and rehabilitate, through the intervention planning process to allow maximum participation in occupations.

We believe students should develop a solid base of knowledge that facilitates critical thinking, clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills, all of which are essential to transition from student to competent occupational therapy practitioner. Recognizing that all interventions must be focused on client priorities, we emphasize client-centered evaluation and intervention. We believe that human beings grow and develop through occupation to participate fully in life. Participation in occupations is critical to a sense of well being and health.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with an educational experience which focuses on continuous critical thinking in order that occupational therapy students be well prepared to function and thrive in the ever changing contexts and environments of a diverse and multicultural society. This process acknowledges that skills must be achieved and maintained through research in a self-directed independent manner; foundational knowledge is best retained and applied when learned in a meaningful context of occupations. Graduate education must respect the uniqueness of individuals and honor a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and learning styles that enhance the richness of the graduate experience.

How the Program Philosophy Reflects the Current Philosophy of the Profession

The program philosophy has been revised, with input from the program faculty, to more explicitly reflect the current philosophy of the occupational therapy profession. The program faculty believes that the core philosophy of the profession includes the concepts that occupational therapy is occupation based, evidence-based, client-centered, and addresses health and well-being. The revised philosophy of the program explicitly includes these concepts as evidenced by the use of practical opportunities to screen and assess clients in labs, clinicals, and in the community. 


More about Occupational Therapy


Application Process

If you are interested in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program, keep in mind that you will need to engage in a two-step process to successfully complete your application, and you should be aware of additional requirements relating to our program.


The  Student Occupational Therapy Association  is a dynamic and fun way to meet with other students in occupational therapy and to be associated with the American Occupational Therapy Association.


Occupational Therapy Programs

As part of learning how to assess and treat individuals who may need help performing their occupations, you will develop critical thinking and clinical skills, along with the ability to work with and listen to the needs of diverse patient populations.

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The Health Science Pre-Occupational Therapy undergraduate degree major is a pre-clinical track which includes all of the courses required for application for admission to graduate professional occupational therapy programs.

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To earn a master's, you will need to participate in supervised fieldwork in both traditional and non-traditional settings, including general and psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centers, intermediate care facilities, nursing homes, individual’s homes, school systems, community centers and agencies, and private practice. After you earn your degree, you can take the national certification exam to become a licensed occupational therapist.