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Postgraduate study
Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)

Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) MSc

This course builds on your academic skills whilst helping you to develop the clinical competence to practice as a newly graduated occupational therapist. You explore the profession across the breadth of occupational therapy practice, experiencing a number of clinical and practice settings including a non-traditional context.


Course overview


In addition to intervention strategies you gain experience in applying sound clinical reasoning and learn something of the professional role within multidisciplinary and multiagency practice.

From September 2020 all new and continuing students on this course will receive a £5,000 maintenance grant each year if they’re eligible. They will not need to pay it back.Full details hereWe include a problem-based approach within our learning and teaching, and learning opportunities with students from other professions. On successful completion you are eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

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Course details

Year 1 outlines what an occupational therapist is. We consider the world as a place of occupational opportunity and people as occupational beings. Through a series of modules you consider the philosophy of the profession, practice skills and beliefs, and the professional knowledge base required to develop strategies for intervention.

Following practice placement experiences you learn to apply the occupational therapy process using evidence from a range of sources. This is supported by input from practice colleagues and service users. You also develop the practical skills needed to demonstrate fitness to purpose. You are encouraged to draw on your placement experience and apply it in your learning. You build on your undergraduate research experience and further explore the research process and its relevance to your interests.

Year 2 helps you understand the professional constructs which determine the scope and viability of occupational therapy. You develop your entrepreneurial and professional skills, and learn about non-traditional practice areas to equip you for an ever-changing workplace. You also start your major project in Year 2, developing academic expertise in your area of research. Your project continues throughout the second year and is submitted in December. You also have additional practice placements.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Doing, Being and Becoming

You critically evaluate the role of occupational performance issues in development and functioning and debate the role of occupation in countering deprivation and dysfunction for the individual and occupational disruption.

Enabling Performance Through Occupation

You gather and evaluate information regarding the individual’s occupational performance and the impact of the environment on function. In addition, you explore the role of the occupational therapist as an enabler in terms of the individual and team contribution to the client’s recovery through focus on community practice.

Occupation and Performance

Using occupation as the basis for learning, you will consider the implementation of theory in common areas of occupational therapy practice. You integrate and synthesise theories of basic science with theories of occupation and consider their combined impact on occupational performance. Learn about theoretical structures and models which organise practice and critique the models and their theoretical underpinnings.

Practical Research Methods for Occupational Therapy

Learn the necessary knowledge and skills to design and manage both empirical and review-based research projects relevant to occupational therapy. You focus on key aspects of the design of qualitative and quantitative studies, including practical data collection, management, and analysis, as well as systematic reviews of literature and documentary analysis. You identify key aspects regarding scientific and ethical credibility of key research paradigms, with an emphasis on qualitative methodologies of occupational science.

Transformation through Occupation

By establishing a greater understanding of the complexity of occupational therapy intervention by focusing on an individual’s ability to engage in occupation you gain an understanding of that experience allows them to develop a meaningful transformation in life. You will also understand how the tacit use of occupation can be used to create change in experience and outcomes in the life of an individual.


Year 2 core modules

Major Project

You will undertake a piece of research and produce a research paper and defend your area of interest through an oral defence of a poster. Demonstrate advanced capabilities in retrieving, critically appraising and developing knowledge and understanding in a topic related to occupational therapy. Develop your skills in consideration of ethical issues and facilitate the demonstration of advanced skills in the presentation of health care research.

Practice Placements

You engage in the occupational therapy process in a practice setting where you will appreciate the philosophy of occupational therapy and identify how theory enhances practice. Experience four placements in a variety of practice settings to develop a rounded profile of experience, in areas including dementia services, forensic services, community paediatric teams and stroke rehabilitation.

Professional Development in Occupational Therapy Practice

You will discuss occupational therapy practice and the current issues arising from it that will affect your transition from student to professional practitioner. Debate professional and ethical issues in relation to best practice, drawing on your professional practice experience, and develop your lifelong learning to self-reflect on your occupational practice.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

This well-established, progressive course incorporates biological, social and clinical sciences with health policy and research methods. You take a problem-based approach to learning and share learning with students from other disciplines across the University.

The course consists of lectures, seminars and practical sessions. We promote teamwork and encourage you to appreciate the many disciplines contributing to healthcare. You are supported through a personal tutor and a range of School and University strategies.

How you are assessed

The course includes oral and written assessments, with the opportunity to create scientific posters and demonstrate practical, professional techniques.


Entry requirements

You should have a 2.1 honours degree.

We are unable to reconsider unsuccessful applicants in the same application cycle. You can, however, reapply in the future and will be required to meet the criteria as if you were a first time applicant.

Admission to the course depends on:

  • academic entry requirements being met
  • satisfactory application form
  • successful interview
  • satisfactory references
  • completed work-based risk assessment process
  • a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check.

During and on completion of your course, you must declare any convictions, cautions or allegations to the University and relevant professional body before applying for registration.

Your personal statement is measured against the following criteria:

  • your ability to complete all sections of the application form fully and correctly
  • the level of all qualifications and grades must be specified
  • appropriate academic entry requirements achieved or predicted
  • evidence of study over the last three years
  • a personal statement supportive of your chosen programme that demonstrates an understanding of the uniqueness of the profession and role of the professional
  • evident motivation for completing the programme

At interview you are measured against the following criteria, mapped against the NHS constitutional values:

  • knowledge of your chosen profession and career
  • an appreciation of the demands of the programme and your chosen profession
  • enthusiasm for the programme and profession
  • an understanding of professional values and attitudes in health and social care
  • an ability to communicate effectively
  • relevant background experience in this area
  • team skills
  • problem solving skills and creative activities.

If you are successful in shortlisting and interview you receive a conditional offer subject to:

  1. evidence of the required academic qualifications
  2. a successful work based risk assessment which reflects the Higher Education Occupational Physicians/Practitioners (HEOPS) recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
  3. an enhanced criminal history (DBS) check may be required for certain modules or placements which involve working with children and/or adults at risk. Where an enhanced DBS check is required, applicants will cover the cost of these checks which can only be processed through the University.
  4. satisfactory references.

Until the steps above have been completed, the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.

International applicants
  • International applicants must have IELTS 7.0 with a minimal score of 6.5 in all sections or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 100/120 (in conjunction with a Teesside University English language test)* before an unconditional offer is made
  • If you are successful at shortlisting you will be invited to attend an interview (which may be in person OR video call) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or through a secure web link (which will be arranged by the University).
  • If you can not attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.

*Students holding TOEFL qualifications at the required grade will be able to combine the qualification with a Teesside University English language test to meet the English language requirement. The English language test will assess listening and speaking competency.

For international enquiries please email

Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credits for previous study or related work experience which can be credited towards the course you want to study.

The maximum amount of the pre registration course that may be considered for RPL for occupational therapy must be less than or equal to one third of the total pre-registration course and may include practice based learning. The hours of practice based learning being considered for RPL must have been successfully completed and must not exceed the scheduled hours for the equivalent point of the course.
Find out more about RPL.

HEOP recommendations

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

Many employment opportunities exist for graduate occupational therapists in health and social care, schools and voluntary agencies. Occupational therapists also work closely with other professionals such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, psychologists and social workers.


Information for international applicants


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Useful information

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Professional accreditation

Our pre-registration occupational therapy provision has been accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.


2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£14,500 a year

a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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