The entry level Master's Program in Occupational Therapy, leading to either a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) or a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT), is for college graduates who wish to become occupational therapists but do not have work experience in the field of occupational therapy. The program, which requires completion of 14.5 units of Occupational Therapy coursework, is two academic years in length plus a minimum of six months of full-time fieldwork experience. In addition to meeting admission requirements for Occupational Therapy, candidates must meet the admission requirements for graduate students at the university.
There are three phases to the Occupational Therapy course of study: pre-professional, professional, and field experience.
The pre-professional phase occurs prior to enrollment in the program. During this phase, applicants complete Occupational Therapy program prerequisites.
During the professional phase, students complete the required Occupational Therapy coursework.
The fieldwork experience phase consists of completion of at least six months of full-time practice under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist in a medical center, school, or health care facility. Following completion of the fieldwork experience, students are eligible to take the written national certification examination. In states with occupational therapy licensure laws, passing the national examination is accepted as evidence of competence to practice.
Students are admitted into one of two degree tracks: the Research track (leading to the MSOT degree) or the Policy, Advocacy, and Leadership track (leading to the MOT).
Research Track (MSOT)
This graduate degree track has existed at Puget Sound for more than 25 years. It was established at a time when it was critically important to test and verify the theoretical foundations and practical techniques of occupational therapy using rigorous, systematic methods of study. The need for such an emphasis today is no less. The health care system requires evidence of effective therapeutic outcomes, and the need to promote evidence-based practice is stronger than ever before. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies are taught and valued in the program. Puget Sound graduates of the research track will have exceptionally strong abilities to critique all types of existing research, and to design and implement a worthwhile research study which contributes to the professional literature.
Policy, Advocacy, and Leadership Track (MOT)
Events of the past twenty years have clearly demonstrated the need for practitioner involvement in the making of health care policy. Occupational therapists have always been strong advocates for their individual clients, but now they must do more, and become advocates for populations of potential clients and for their profession and what it has to offer in the greater health care arena. New leadership skills are required, beyond those of the traditional practitioner working in a stable, unchanging context of care. Graduates of this newly-established (2000) track will have acquired enhanced skills and experiences in the realm of health care policy and advocacy through program design and development. It is anticipated that many of the program plans developed by Puget Sound graduate students will be submitted as grant proposals for funding and actual implementation.