You’ll begin working on program requirements as a freshman and complete two years of general education requirements and occupational therapy prerequisites in preparation for the professional sequence of the program. Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, you’ll also begin working on the required minimum of 70 hours of volunteer/work experience in a U.S.-based occupational therapy setting that provides direct patient care.
All students must complete the Promotion to Professional Sequence Form (PPS) and the volunteer hours by Jan. 15 prior to the summer they expect to begin the professional component of program – including students who are re applying to the program.
Students applying to the program in January, 2016 must complete ES 207, PGY 300, and OT 201 before applying; Students applying to the program in January 2017 must also complete PHY 101 before applying. All students must have at least 8 pre-requisite courses completed before applying to the program and will be able to finish prerequisites during the spring semester after the PPS form has been submitted.
You can learn more about the pre-professional program through the OT Pre-major Handbook.
The undergraduate professional sequence begins in the summer semester of your third year of the program and continues throughout the fall and spring semesters of your third year and the summer of your fourth year. These three semesters provide structured learning experiences that integrate theory, research and evidence-based practice, while developing your clinical and professional skills.
After you successfully complete the 108 credits of the undergraduate component of the program—with a minimum OT Program GPA of 2.8—you’ll be classified as a graduate student. You will still need to apply online to the graduate program during the spring semester of your third year.
A 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 semester of your fourth and fifth years, you’ll register for three months of full-time supervised fieldwork experience each year. Our department maintains more than 150 clinical affiliation agreements throughout the United States. You’ll choose your fieldwork sites by a lottery system and in consultation with the academic fieldwork coordinator. You should expect to leave the Western New York area to fulfill this requirement.
During the fifth year of the program you will complete required courses in administration, education, and underserved populations, and also select graduate courses based on your areas of interest. In addition, you will implement a graduate master project, a major focus of the fourth and fifth years.
Students should note that the graduate component of the professional sequence 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.
You 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.
You 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.