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What makes Occupational Therapy at the University of Worcester special?

Our MSc (Pre-registration) Occupational Therapy course is an accelerated qualifying programme for graduates with a suitable Bachelor’s degree (i.e. BSc/BA).

Occupational therapists play a key role in helping people regain, maintain or improve their participation in life. This course offers you the opportunity to learn from and with peers on other professional courses such as Physiotherapy. This aims to develop skilled and compassionate practitioners who have the confidence to collaborate with other professions and promote professional, social, and political change in health and social care. Our small class sizes ensure that you develop good relationships with peers and staff. Our Occupational Therapy teaching team is dynamic, innovative, and fun and share a variety of clinical, leadership and educational experience. You will be supported to gain more than 1,000 hours of practice-based learning in a variety of practice, leadership, and role-emerging settings.

Successful completion of the course allows you to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and therefore is it not suitable for those who already hold registration.

We look forward to welcoming you to our close-knit University of Worcester occupational therapy community. Our Very Short Guide to Occupational Therapy offers further insights into Occupational Therapy as a career.

Overview

Overview

Key features

  • Access to Ability House, an Occupational Therapy specific simulated learning environment
  • Authentic assessment opportunities including primary research and writing for publication.
  • Regular opportunities to work in partnership with service users and carers
  • Shared modules with MSc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy
  • High quality learning and teaching facilitated by qualified Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, and other professionals
  • Four full time block placements in a variety or practice, research, leadership, and role-emerging settings. See our blog for further information on some of our placements

What is Occupational Therapy

Two students are practising using a hoist which has another student sitting in it.

£5,000 support for Occupational Therapy students

From September 2020, the Government announced that eligible students on Occupational Therapy courses will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year, which they will not need to pay back.

More details about the payment
The health and care professionals council logo and the Royal College of occupational therapist's logo

Approved by the Health & Care Professions Council and accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Successful completion of the course gives you eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical applicant will demonstrate evidence of:

  • A degree at 2:2 or above with evidence of knowledge or experience in the research process and / or completion of an undergraduate dissertation or independent study
  • GCSE English at grade C/4 or above. University of Worcester GCSE English equivalency tests will be accepted. See Admissions Policy for other acceptable qualifications
  • Applicants whose first language is not English and who are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, IELTS level 7.0 with no element below 6.5 (HCPC 2018)
  • A strong interest and demonstrated understanding of the breadth of the role and the skills required to be a registered occupational therapist is necessary

Additional requirements

  • We welcome applications from disabled students. More information and guidance on disability and becoming a health and care professional can be found on the Health and Care Professions Council website
  • Satisfactory Occupational Health Clearance is required including fitness to undertake placement
  • A strong interest and demonstrated understanding of the breadth of the role and the skills required to be a registered Occupational Therapist is necessary
  • Personal attributes and values consistent with the profession including empathy, respect, compassion and the ability to listen
  • No offers will be made without interview
  • Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an interview, or a place on the course

For more information on additional requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Work Experience we recommend downloading this additional requirements information document.

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Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and by feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Module content is continually reviewed to ensure that teaching and learning is evidence based and reflects best practice. Detailed module information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course.

An example of a timetable for a first year MSc Pre-reg Occupational Therapy student is available here.

Year 1

Applied Health Improvement

This shared module critically explores professional and regulatory responsibilities of occupational therapists and physiotherapists in public health and health promotion, through exercise, activity, fitness for work and occupation.

Professional and Collaborative Practice

This inter-disciplinary module introduces occupational therapy and physiotherapy students to the theory and practice of working professionally together as set out by the HCPC, RCOT and CSP.

Evidence-based Occupational Therapy

This module develops students’ application and synthesis of biological, psychological, social and occupational sciences to support evidence-based occupational therapy practice.

Essential Occupational Therapy Practice

This module introduces students to occupational therapy theories and core practical skills required for professional practice. Students will explore the history and philosophy underpinning occupational therapy practice, and its relevance to current day practice. Using the framework of the OT process students will develop core practice skills of assessment, intervention planning and facilitation and evaluation of outcomes.

Year 2

Leading Contemporary Practice

This module is designed to nurture the individual leadership styles of each student and enable them to contribute to service enhancement and innovation across a range of public, private, independent and third sector organisations.

Critical Perspectives in Occupational Therapy

This module engages students in a systematic and critical examination of a chosen aspect of occupational therapy theory and practice that could impact on minority or disadvantaged clients. Critical engagement with the occupational science literature will enable students to identify and challenge culturally unsafe and discriminatory practice.

Essential Occupational Therapy Practice

Building on Essential Occupational Therapy Practice 1, students’ theoretical knowledge of occupational therapy practice in complex and specialist areas will be further expanded. Students will critically analyse competing theories and sources of evidence to discuss alternative approaches to complex interventions that meet occupational needs.

Dissertation

Students will choose a dissertation topic relevant to their profession and apply research knowledge and skills to design and conduct an independent research study. Students can choose to conduct either an empirical study or a systematic review of literature.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and by feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. 

Teaching

This MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) course will be delivered full-time over two years, with each year comprising 45 weeks of learning; this is required to incorporate your practice based learning placements. There will be a minimum of 1,000 hours in practice placements, ensuring that you have enough opportunity to achieve a breadth of experience in a variety of settings, such that successful completion will ensure you can practice as an autonomous newly qualified practitioner.

You are taught through a combination of interactive lectures, practical skills sessions and small group seminars. Teaching will include both online and face-to-face teaching methods. Practical sessions are focused on developing Occupational Therapy specific and professional skills. Seminars enable discussion, developing your understanding of topics covered in lectures.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in the 2nd year of the course.

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.  A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support from Student Services and Library Services, and also the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will help you to flourish and be successful.

Contact time

The MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) programme will be delivered over 2 years, across a minimum of 45 weeks of the year.

In a typical week, students will have around 10-15 hours consisting of a mix of on-campus and some on-line synchronous and asynchronous teaching. The exact blend of on-campus and on-line teaching will vary however, students can expect a minimum of 1-1.5 hours per week of on-line teaching. Students should expect to undertake between 35 and 40 hours of study each week.

Full-time practice learning placement equates to 34 hours for practice learning, leaving students with 3.5 hours academic or placement related study per week. 

Independent self study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 25 hours of personal self-study per week.  Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including The Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources. 

Duration

2 years full-time

Timetables

Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that whilst we try to be as student centred as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week; and some classes can be scheduled in the evenings.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners. Service users and practicing professionals, who may deliver sessions related to their clinical speciality or health condition and experiences, also support your teaching.

Teaching is based on research and consultancy; all permanent members of the Occupational Therapy staff have a higher education teaching qualification and are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Assessment

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments. 

Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, presentations and practice assessments. You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. The assessments will take place both within the University and practice placement environments. Practice-based learning will be pass / fail, while the Level 7 academic work will contribute towards the final grade.

Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate. We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of submission.  

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Terri Grant

Terri Grant

Terri qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1996, just as the education system adjusted to degree-level education. The vast majority of her career was spent as a specialist Stroke Rehabilitation Occupational Therapist, although she enjoyed roles in acute physical health, rheumatology & hand therapy and as a wheelchair therapist before finding a love of all things neuro.

Before leaving the NHS Terri was one of the founder members of the now well-established and successful Community Stroke Service in Worcestershire, and she really enjoyed working to support the development of students, support workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and nurses as part of her team leadership and management role in the service.

In 2014 Terri worked as an associate lecturer on the BSc Occupational Therapy course here at Worcester, which gave her the confidence to leave the NHS and pursue teaching full-time from 2015. Since then, she spent three years as Practice Education Lead for Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy and is currently the course leader for the MSc (Pre-registration) Occupational Therapy course.

Anneka McGee (resized)

Anneka McGee

Anneka has been a qualified Occupational Therapist since graduating in 2005. She initially worked within in a Physical and Mental Health rotation which gave her a great insight into the various roles of an Occupational Therapist. Following this, she spent 13 years working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. During this time, Anneka has held both clinical and leadership roles within the team which allowed her to utilise my Occupational Therapy reasoning and clinical skills.

Whilst working in practice Anneka has completed various qualifications in Play Therapy, Sensory Processing, leadership skills and Coaching and Mentoring which has enabled her to integrate her OT skills and promote the profession in many different environments and within the multidisciplinary team. She is very passionate about Occupational Therapy and the opportunities the profession has to make a difference and encourage dynamic, holistic approaches.

Alison Double (2)

Alison Double

Alison qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1994 and has worked in all sorts of settings and roles since then; inpatient, community, schools, management and abroad.

Her clinical speciality area is the use of sensory based approaches in assessment and treatment; using Ayres Sensory Integration theory.

Emma Clayton

Emma Clayton

Emma qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1997 and since then has predominantly worked in the NHS within the area of Neurology. Emma currently works part time leading an NHS neurology Occupational Therapy outpatient service and has also over the years combined her NHS role with other part time roles including disability assessment, working in a 24 hour care private neurological rehabilitation setting and as a principal investigator for 2 research projects. Emma has been a practice educator for many years and particularly enjoys having students on placement and supporting them to link theory and practice.

Emma started as an associate lecturer with University of Worcester in 2014 and has supported a variety of modules over the years before becoming a permanent member of the team in 2022.

Emma was born, grew up and still lives in St Johns, Worcester and spends a lot of time watching her 2 sons and husband playing football.

Annabel Heaslop (5)

Annabel Heaslop

Annabel qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2005 after graduating from the University of Queensland, Australia. She worked clinically in paediatric Occupational Therapy both in Australia and the UK within a range of settings including acute, community and schools.

Annabel joined the team at University of Worcester in January 2017 and worked within the practice education team, supporting both students and clinicians within the scope of student placements. She loves working within practice placements and feels that she can use skills developed over her career to work with students and clinicians. In 2022, she moved into the role of Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy.

Sophie Smith (4)

Dr Sophie Knight

Sophie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1997 and worked in a variety of settings in practice, predominantly in Adult Social Care. In 2009 Sophie made the move to working in higher education and was a lecturer and Placement Education Tutor at Bournemouth University until October 2018 when she moved to the University of Worcester. She is now a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy and is Admissions Tutor for the degree course. Sophie is working on her PhD part time whilst working full time, the focus of the research is the role and meaning of food for older people. Sophie loves working with students and says that they have taught her a lot over her ten years of university life. Occupational Therapy is one of the most rewarding and exciting professions and being part of the journey for new generations of Occupational Therapists is a privilege.

Mary Archer

Mary Archer

Mary has over ten years’ experience working in the NHS. She began her career working in an acute rotational post, which gave her a good foundation for her OT career.

She gained experience of working within stroke rehab, oncology, surgical and general medicine.

In 2014 Mary entered into a specialist Occupational Therapy role, providing assessment and provision of assistive technology for people with severe physical disabilities and/or communication difficulties.

Derek Kyte (resized)

Professor Dez Kyte

Prof Kyte trained as a Physiotherapist at the University of Bradford, graduating in 1996. He went on to work in the NHS for over 10 years, rising to a position as an Extended Scope Practitioner (Trauma & Orthopaedics) at the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. He moved into academia as a Clinical Tutor at the University of Birmingham in 2007. In this role he was involved in the delivery of under- and post-graduate education within the department of nursing and physiotherapy, specialising in anatomy & physiology and musculoskeletal practice. He completed an MSc in Advancing Practice (Specialist Manipulative Physiotherapy) in 2009. In 2011, he successfully applied for a fully funded NIHR doctoral fellowship, completing the PhD alongside his physiotherapy teaching workload and graduating in 2015.

Qualifications

  • 2019 - PGCert Academic Practice, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 2015 - PhD, University of Birmingham, UK 
  • 2009 - MSc, University of Birmingham, UK 
  • 1996 - BSc (Hons), Physiotherapy, University of Bradford, UK   
Anna Billingham (resized)

Anna Billingham

Anna qualified as a Physiotherapist from The University of Manchester in 2005. She has predominantly worked in clinical practice in the NHS, in both inpatient and community settings. Anna is particularly interested in neurorehabilitation and the management of long-term conditions. More recently she has worked in elderly care supporting care homes to enable their residents to have a meaningful quality of life. Anna has been involved in several service development and service re-design projects. This has developed her interest in teamwork, change management and leadership, and she feels strongly about these principles being encouraged from the beginning of a healthcare professionals' career.

Anna has always enjoyed being a clinical educator for students out on placement. This has led her to make the move across to a teaching role at the University of Worcester and she feels excited to join the team in developing and inspiring the next generation of physiotherapists.

UOW_1032 (002)

Caroline Nelson

Caroline has been an Occupational Therapist since graduating in 2000, working continuously in clinical practice for over 20 years. She initially worked on a rotation consisting of community learning disabilities, orthopaedics and general medical and then went on to spend most of her career working in paediatrics.

Caroline began her paediatric career by working in the community, in schools, homes and a child development centre, helping children who had difficulties with a variety of activities. She then moved to a Special school for children with physical difficulties and sensory needs to complete a project evidencing “The benefits of having an Occupational Therapist based within the school,” the result of which was funding approval for a full-time post.

Following this, Caroline moved to an acute hospital which specialised in trauma and orthopaedics, for just over 13 years.

Alexander Smith better

Alexander Smith

Alex qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2011. Since qualifying Alex has had a varied career mixing clinical and research roles along the way.

In keeping with this, Alex continues to work as a Stroke Specialist Occupational Therapist at Wye Valley NHS Trust. This he feels allows him to remain in touch with the everyday needs of patients, to conduct NHS based research and to be able to translate the most up to date research into practice for patient benefit.

Before joining the team at the University of Worcester, Alex completed a Stroke Association funded PhD fellowship, in which he led the APORIAS study as Chief Investigator for 11 NHS sites in England, recruiting over 200 patients. He is currently analysing the study data for publication and presentation at conferences.

Lauren Edwards 2

Lauren Edwards

Lauren is a Specialist Neurological Occupational Therapist supporting clients, families and carers in rehabilitation from neurological injury. When she is not lecturing, she also works within the rehabilitation technology sector as she believes the future of healthcare is not only in adopting technology but in empowering people by giving them the tools they need for rehabilitation.

Careers

Careers

Occupational Therapists are employed in a wide range of organisations and specialities. Many work for the National Health Service and Social Care organisations but there is a growing body of therapists employed by Charities, Voluntary Organisation and in Private Practice. Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages from childhood through to the end of life and support people with physical and mental health needs, learning disabilities and those whose opportunities are restricted by circumstance.

Students are prepared in the MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) course to work in the constantly changing nature of employment as an Occupational Therapist in the modern world. Practical interview and self-development skills are taught and practised and students have opportunities to meet with local employers to develop an understanding of what makes a successful candidate for a specific job role. Opportunities are provided for students to explore the employment possibilities of the NHS, Social Care, Private Sector and Voluntary Organisations.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC as an Occupational Therapist and to apply for full membership or RCOT. This will enable you to pursue careers within the NHS and private sector. Opportunities exist in hospitals, community settings, uniformed services and the public or voluntary sectors. Some examples of placement experiences can be found in our blog.

Costs

Fees and funding

Course fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements. Students are required to meet all costs associated with placement e.g. travel costs to and from placement.

Essential costs: costs incurred for travelling to, and staying at, placement location. Students who are eligible for Learning Support Fund can reclaim these costs, but they must be paid by the student first. The £5000 NHS bursary is designed to support students with the initial expenditure until such time as reimbursement can occur.

Financial support

Students applying for this course may be eligible for a student loan from Student Finance England. To register and start the application process, please visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance/when

Students studying post-graduate courses in health care, including MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) are eligible to access student finance in line with undergraduate pre-registration courses.

How to apply