Requirements and Curriculum

Undergraduate Component

Students will begin working on program requirements as a freshman and complete the UB Curriculum and requirements and occupational therapy prerequisites in preparation for the professional sequence of the program. Students must complete 70 volunteer/observation hours in a U.S. based occupational therapy setting that provides direct patient care. Volunteer forms must be submitted by January 15.

All students must apply to the professional sequence of the program through Graduate School Application Manager by January 6; prior to the summer they expect to begin the professional component of program. That includes those students who are re-applying to the program.

Students must complete the prerequisite and the UB Curriculum requirements.  Students may not take prerequisite courses more than twice and may not repeat more than two prerequisite courses.

You can learn more about the pre-professional program through the OT Pre-major HandbookDownload pdf(553 KB).

The undergraduate portion of the professional program begins in the summer semester of your third year; it continues through the fall and spring semesters of your third year and it concludes at the end of the summer semester of your fourth year. These semesters provide structured learning experiences that integrate theory, research and evidence-based practice, while developing your clinical and professional skills.

Graduate Component

Following the successful completion of the undergraduate portion of the program, with a minimum 2.8 program GPA, you will progress to the graduate portion of the program.  Students begin the graduate portion of the Occupational Therapy program in the fall semester of their fourth year.  

A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for all graduate semesters.

Coursework in the fall semester of your fourth year will focus on occupational therapy practice skills.

During the spring semesters of your fourth and fifth years, you will register for three months of full-time supervised fieldwork experience.  Our department maintains more than 150 clinical affiliation agreements throughout the United States. Students will choose their fieldwork sites by a lottery system and in consultation with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Students should expect to leave the Western New York area to fulfill this requirement.

During the fifth year of the program students will complete required courses in administration, education, and underserved populations, and also select graduate courses based on their areas of interest. In addition, students will implement a graduate master's project, a major focus of the fourth and fifth years.

Students should note that the graduate component of the professional portion includes multiple fieldwork experiences and does not follow the standard university academic calendar regarding semester start dates, end dates, final exams, and recess. Specific information about each semester will be provided at the time of course registration.

Length of Time to Complete Degree

Students must complete all requirements of the professional component of the program, including fieldwork and the graduate master's project, within a five-year time period.

Awarding of Degrees

Students will be awarded the combined BS/MS degree in occupational therapy upon completion of all program and university requirements. If you do not progress to the graduate portion of the program, you may be awarded a bachelor’s degree in occupational science after the completion of additional coursework in related areas. 

With the BS/MS combined degree, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

After successfully completing the exam, you will be a registered occupational therapist (OTR). All states require licensure in order to practice; state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT exam.

A felony arrest or conviction may affect a student’s ability to participate in fieldwork and a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.