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Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is a post-baccalaureate entry-level practice degree intended for students who want to study to become practicing occupational therapists.

The entry level MSOT program is a full-time on-campus graduate program offered at the W.A. Lettinga campus. The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Davenport University provides practice-based education that prepares students to be exceptional practitioners. Classroom education is supported by extensive hands-on training provided through on-campus practical activities and off-campus immersion experiences in practice settings. Small class sizes and individualized instruction by experienced clinicians and educators assist students master skills needed for contemporary and emerging areas of practice.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Program at Davenport University is to provide practice-based education that is knowledge-driven and prepares students to be client-centered practitioners who embody the principles of human occupation in their practice. 

Length of Program

The MSOT program (78 credits) is delivered as a full-time on-campus program. Students enter the occupational therapy program in the Fall Semester and progress through the program as a cohort. The typical program is 28 months in length and is conducted over 7 consecutive semesters (including summers).


Fieldwork experiences are important components of Occupational Therapy education.  Davenport University Occupational Therapy students will participate in fieldwork experiences throughout the program.  Some fieldwork will occur in combination with on-campus classes at locations close to Grand Rapids.  Other fieldwork occurs as full-time immersion experiences where students leave campus for extended periods of time.  The full-time fieldwork immersion experiences may occur nationwide.  Students enrolled in the program cannot be guaranteed fieldwork placements in any specific location including the Grand Rapids area.  Students are responsible for housing and transportation related to education experiences (including fieldwork).  Also, students are expected to be familiar with and comply with fieldwork rules and regulations as outlined in the University Graduate Catalog, the College of Health Professions Handbook, and the 2021-2022 MSOT Fieldwork Handbook.

Timely Completion of the Program

Students must successfully complete all Level-II Fieldwork requirements within 18 months of completion of academic coursework. Alterations to the fieldwork completion timelines, and any alterations to the program plan of study, must be approved by the Department Chair. 

Occupational Therapy Program Philosophy

The field of occupational therapy is concerned with the ability of individuals, families, and societal groups to participate in activities of daily life and engage in personally meaningful occupations. Occupations are all the activities that give our lives meaning and promote health, well-being, and sense of purpose. Due to human diversity, engagement in occupations at any point in the life span is unique. Occupations are as unique as the individuals themselves. Disruption of occupations can be caused by illness, injury, disease, or life events. In situations such as these, functional abilities and independence may be diminished or lost resulting in loss of well-being and sense of purpose.

The primary objective of occupational therapy is to support persons of all ages and with all levels of ability to fully participate in life. Occupational therapy evaluation and intervention focuses on factors impacting participation such as body structure and function; functional abilities; the nature of the activities to be performed; and the context of participation. Engagement in occupations is not just the goal of therapy, but is also a therapy tool. Participation in meaningful activity is therapeutic in itself.

Participation in education is considered part of the human occupational experience. Occupational therapy education programs have the mission of educating students to become practitioners of the future. Students are likely drawn to the field as an educational choice due to alignment of values and envisioning their future roles as occupational therapists.

The Occupational Therapy Department at Davenport University is an academic program focused on student learning and achievement. The program’s curriculum design, course construction, and instructional approach reflect the belief that learning is strongly influenced by intrinsic motivation and that the motivational needs of students can be addressed through a thoughtfully constructed education program. The occupational therapy program teaching approach is founded on a hierarchical structure that builds on prior knowledge and guides students forward and upward through introduction, reinforcement, and mastery of concepts. Implementation strategies include classroom instruction, experiential learning, self-directed study, and self-reflection. Our goal is to provide practice-based education that is knowledge-driven and prepares students to be team oriented and client-centered clinicians who incorporate principles of human occupation into their practice.

Student Learning Outcomes

Four concepts (curricular threads) are emphasized throughout the Davenport University Occupational Therapy program:

  • Professional identity
  • Professional and social responsibility
  • Effective and exemplary practice
  • Knowledge-driven clinical reasoning

The four curricular threads provide the foundation for evaluation of student performance and overall success of the program. At the conclusion of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program graduates will:

  • Interpret the importance of purposeful activity and meaningful occupation to consumers, colleagues, administrators, and policy makers;
  • Integrate concepts of human occupation into evaluation, treatment, goals and documentation;
  • Demonstrate professional and social responsibility through socially and culturally competent communication and interaction;
  • Exemplify professionalism through ethical behavior, advocacy, and leadership supporting the diverse needs of individuals, communities, and society;
  • Appraise and recommend effective interactive, adaptive, and technological approaches intended to facilitate communication, enhance function, and promote participation;
  • Implement exemplary practice utilizing depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities in assessment and treatment;
  • Evaluate options to address challenging issues in practice and the profession through clinical reasoning, creative problem solving, and critical thinking; and
  • Advance best-practice in contemporary and emerging areas of practice by consistently seeking, critically reviewing, and utilizing information from the literature and credible sources.

Application Process:

  1. Apply to the University.  Apply to Graduate Admissions at Davenport University through The DU Graduate Admissions application is separate from and in addition to the OT application. Applications to the Occupational Therapy program will not be reviewed without concurrent application to Davenport University Graduate Admissions.
  2.  Apply to the OT Program Through OTCAS.  Apply to the Davenport University Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program through OTCAS (Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service).    The application process, instructions, required documents, supplemental information, and fees are described on the OTCAS web page:  Notes:  (1)  Applications will only be accepted through OTCAS.  (2) All application materials should be submitted to OTCAS.  The Department will not accept (or review) any application materials submitted directly to the Department during the application process.  (3) Entry into the program is competitive – not all applicants who apply will be accepted.
  3. Complete the OTCAS Prerequisite Section.  The purpose of the Prerequisite Form is for the applicant to identify completed courses ready for evaluation (regarding DU OT course prerequisite requirements) and identify plans for fulfillment of course prerequisites that have not yet been completed.  Note: applications will not be complete and will not be moved forward for review by the Admissions Committee until the requested information has been entered into the Prerequisite Section. 
  4. Assistance.    For assistance with the application process contact the  Admissions Department at Davenport University (phone:  800-686-1600: email: ).

 Application Deadlines:

  • Application for Admissions 2020 is now open through January 7, 2022.


    • Applications must be COMPLETE and VERIFIED through OTCAS by Application Deadline 
    • Note:  Verification by OTCAS may require 4 – 6 weeks.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete and submit their applications in a timely manner in order to meet the verification deadline.  
    • In addition, applicants must apply on-line to Davenport University Graduate Admissions by the application deadline (through  OTCAS applications will not be reviewed without concurrent application to Davenport University Graduate Admissions.

Admission Requirements

At the time of application, students must have:

  • Completed a baccalaureate degree or provide documentation that the baccalaureate degree will be completed prior to the start of occupational therapy classes,  

  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0,
  • A personal statement (essay),
  • Three completed letters of recommendation, and

  • Completed all specific prerequisite courses (with a grade of 'C' or better) or provide documentation that the prerequisite classes will be successfully completed prior to the start of Occupational Therapy classes:
    • Second Level English Composition and Technical Writing
    • Introductory Psychology
    • Abnormal Psychology
    • Introductory Sociology
    • Development Across the Life Span
    • Oral Communication/Speaking Skills
    • Medical Terminology
    • Introductory Statistics
    • Anatomy and Physiology I  (with lab)
    • Anatomy and Physiology II (with lab)

Please see attached file for description of the prerequisites for the OT Program.  Click Here.  

Note:  Prerequisites will not be officially evaluated until applications are reviewed by the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee.  At that time, course descriptions, copy of syllabus and/or original transcripts may be requested.

Evaluation Criteria and Selection of Applicants

Entry into the Occupational Therapy program is a competitive process.  Not all students who apply to the program will be selected for admission.  Many factors are considered in the selection process including academic performance (cumulative grade point average, recent gpa, natural science gpa, and social science gpa); personal statement; extent of occupational therapy observation; and letters of recommendation.  Health related experiences, volunteer/community enrichment, and past employment are not required but will be considered as part of the admission review.  Strengths in these areas will strengthen the application.  

Students who are completing their baccalaureate degree and/or course prerequisites after the application has been submitted can only be considered for provisional admission.  Entry into the Davenport University Occupational Therapy Program is contingent upon successful completion of all requirements prior to the start of Occupational Therapy classes.  Applicants will be notified by email of the Admissions Committee decision.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to respond to an acceptance offer by the designated date of such offer.  Decisions made by the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee are final.  

Time Commitment to the Program

Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program typically attend class 18 – 20 hours per week.   Students can also expect to devote additional time to individual study, group study, and/or participation in fieldwork experiences.  Optional opportunities are also available to students such as participating in student organizations, serving as representative to program/college events, and taking part in university events.   


The Occupational Therapy Curriculum is a full-time commitment.  Even though many students work while going to graduate school, extensive work commitments may jeopardize academic performance and success in the program.   During the main 15 week semesters, the typical number of hours of worked outside of the MSOT program is 8 - 12 hours. 

Technology Requirements

The Occupational Therapy program at Davenport University frequently uses computers to support in-class learning.  Therefore, students who are admitted to the program are required to have their own portable computing device cable of:

sending and receiving email
working with Microsoft processing programs (Word, Excel, and Power Point)
working with Adobe Acrobat Reader
navigating internet sites
interfacing with Black Board (computer-based learning management service)

Information regarding hardware and software requirements can be found on the Davenport University website.

Hardware Requirements

Software Requirements

For more information regarding technology requirements contact:  Davenport University Student Support Center (877-899-1499; ext 1200).

International Students

Students with English as a second language must provide documentation of scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A Total Score of 89 (or greater) and a Speaking Score of 26 (or greater) on the TOEFL are required.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening Policy

Davenport University
All students in the Davenport University College of Health Professions are required to submit to criminal back ground checks (including child abuse and neglect) and drug screenings. The results of the checks/testing, which remain confidential, will be used to determine a student’s eligibility for continued enrollment in the College of Health Professions and the Occupational Therapy program.  Students who refuse to consent to background checks and/or drug testing will be dismissed from the program. The first background check and drug screening occur early in the first semester of the Occupational Therapy program (background checks and drug screenings are not part of the application process).   Applicants who have concerns are encouraged to contact the Davenport University Occupational Therapy Department Chair for more  information.

Felony Convictions (poetential impact on eligibility for certification) 
Persons who have been charged with or convicted of a felony may be barred from being certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). NBCOT certification must be successfully completed in order to apply for a state license to practice and work as an occupational therapist. 

Students with criminal record concerns are encouraged to review their specific situation with NBCOT.  Questions should be directed to: Credentialing Services at NBCOT, 12 S. Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877. Phone: (301) 990-7979; email:; web page:

Rules and Regulations

Students are expected to be familiar with and comply with rules and regulations as outlined in the University Graduate Catalog, the College of Health Professions Handbook, and the Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Handbook. 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program are located on the DU Financial Aid, Tuition and Fees web site.  Click here for more information.

Faculty and Staff

Department Chair: Theresa Leto, DHS, MOT, OTRL

Academic Fieldwork Coordinator: Susan Dee Owens, MS, OTR/L

Core Faculty: 

Jennifer Bingman, OTD, OTR/L

Barbra Katerberg, OTD, OTR/L

Stephanie Tamminga MS OTR, CHT

Adjunct Faculty:  Kelly McCarron Ed.D,OTR/L (Associate Dean Global Campus) 

Administrative Assistant: Holly Hill 

Student Outcomes 

Graduation Rates
The first cohort of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at Davenport University graduated in 2016 - 2017 academic year.

Admission Graduation Year Students Admitted Number of Graduates Graduation rate 
Fall 2015 2017 - 2018 26 26 100%
Fall 2016 2018 - 2019 25 25 92%
Fall 2017 2019 - 2020 29 29 100%

Certification Examination

Following successful completion of the MSOT program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination (NBCOT: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy).  Successful completion of the NBCOT exam is required to practice as an occupational therapist.  The first graduates of the MSOT program became eligible to sit for the NBCOT examination beginning in January 2017.

Davenport Univeristy Master of Science in Occupational Therapy examination results are available through the NBCOT website:


Regional Accreditation

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (30 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602-2504).

Occupational Therapy Accreditation

The entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Davenport University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  The program received 7-year accreditation approval which is granted to new programs that have demonstrated exceptional education quality.  The next full accreditation review is scheduled to occur during the 2022/2023 academic year.

Graduates of the Davenport MSOT program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  After successful completion of this examination, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR).  In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

The Occupational Therapy program at Davenport University adheres to all ACOTE requirements including timely notifications to ACOTE of changes within the MSOT program and/or Davenport University.  The members of the Occupational Therapy Department are responsible for demonstrating honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct in all dealings with ACOTE consistent with policies and procedures for honest and ethical behavior. 

For more information about accreditation contact:
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
c/o American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

6116 Executive Blvd, Suite 200, North Bethesda, Maryland 20852-4929

Web address:
Phone: 301-652-6611 

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