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Postgraduate study
Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)

Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) MSc

This course is a two year fast-track route into a professional career in occupational therapy for those who already hold a degree in any subject.


Course overview


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Fully prepare yourself for the role, build on your academic skills and develop clinical competence to practice as a newly graduated occupational therapist. Focus on professional values, and learn to understand the meaning and importance of occupation to our lives, and the power of occupation to transform lives. Develop your capabilities in key skills such as problem solving, professional reasoning, research, critical thinking and leadership.

Explore the profession across the breadth of practice, experiencing a variety of clinical placements. This allows you to combine academic theory with practical learning and gain an insight into the range of employment opportunities available when you complete the course and are registered.

In year one, you complete taught modules and clinical placement in two settings, helping you gain sound foundational knowledge and understanding of the profession. Explore the world as a place of occupational opportunity and people as occupational beings and study the history and philosophy of the profession, the origins of occupational science and the theories that underpin it. Gain an understanding of the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing. The nature of occupational performance, participation and analysis is central to your learning. Following practice placement, learn about the impact that occupational disruption can have, and the ways it can be prevented or minimised. Your learning is supported by input from practice colleagues and service users.

In year two, you join colleagues from other allied health professions and complete modules which help you understand the professional constructs around the scope and viability of occupational therapy. Develop professional and leadership skills and learn about service improvement to equip you for an ever-changing workplace. Also develop ideas for a major project, gaining academic expertise in your area of research. Your project continues throughout the second year and is submitted in December. You complete your final practice placement, designed to consolidate the core values, beliefs, knowledge and skills proportionate to an entry level occupational therapist.

Study this course and you may be eligible for a £5,000 maintenance grant each year from the NHS Business Service Authority. Find out more.

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Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

Delivered over two years (45 weeks of learning each year) with seven taught modules – four in year one (80 credits) and three in year two (100 credits). All modules must be completed and passed (180 credits in total). There are three full-time practice-based learning placement modules, along with two placements in year one (8 weeks each) and one placement in year two (12 weeks).

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Contexts of Health

Explore occupational perspectives of health in different contexts and settings, with a range of client populations. You focus on the role of occupation in promoting public and global health.

Examine theories that encourage awareness and management of wider health challenges, applying occupational therapy philosophy and practice in a contemporary, inclusive and just way. Concepts related to occupational justice include health inequalities, human rights, and health politics. You consider the importance of multi-disciplinary working in a range of contexts, such as health and social care, public health, education and criminal justice.

Practice of Occupational Therapy

Build your understanding of the complexity of occupational therapy intervention. Working directly with service users, you focus on how occupation helps individuals develop control and change their lives.

Self as an Occupational Being

Gain a critical understanding of individuals as occupational beings and evaluate the impact of occupational performance issues on development and functioning. You also debate the role of occupation in the processes of doing, being and becoming, considering disruption, deprivation and dysfunction.

Theories of Occupational Therapy

Explore the professional philosophy and theory underpinning occupational therapy. Integrate and synthesise science with occupation theories and consider their combined impact on occupational performance. Explore theoretical structures and models which organise practice, considering the skills you need to deliver.


Year 2 core modules

Dissertation Preparation for Health Professionals

Develop your skills to design and manage research projects relevant to health professionals. You gain a systematic and critical understanding of different research approaches and designs, building your ability to evaluate evidence. Select, justify and use appropriate data analysis techniques to develop, plan and manage a research project that meets ethical standards.

Enhancing Professionalism, Leadership and Service Improvement Skills for the Future Ready Practitioner

Develop your knowledge and understanding of healthcare, statutory and professional policies, considering their impact on patient care and service delivery. You explore personal and professional development, evidencing this in an e-portfolio. Demonstrate critical reflection and action planning, ensuring that you are prepared for the demands and expectations of your future role in healthcare.

Major Project for Health Professionals

Demonstrate advanced capabilities in retrieving, critically appraising and developing knowledge of a topic relating to occupational therapy. Consider ethical issues and evidence your skills in the presentation of healthcare research. You produce a research paper, defending your area of interest.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You learn through blended learning methods, underpinned by problem-based learning. Online teaching complements in-person learning activities, delivered using a range of digital platforms which can be completed at your own pace.

You are taught by a highly experienced academic team with extensive knowledge and skills from the fields of occupational therapy, biological sciences, allied health education, leadership and practice. Benefit from interprofessional education, learning alongside other students and practitioners from related health and social care professions. Most of the professional practical skills teaching occurs in your practice placements, but there is an emphasis throughout the course on ‘learning by doing’. Each module consists of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and working in small groups to investigate relevant issues to occupation, using purposefully designed, creative trigger material.

Most teaching takes place in our dedicated, newly designed, occupational therapy teaching spaces. Within our daily living suite, hospital ward and media labs, you develop and practise skills in simulated environments. Your learning is complimented by practical workshops, such as moving and handling, postural management, interview skills and hand splinting, delivered by academic staff and occupational therapists.

How you are assessed

Your professional and academic competencies are assessed throughout to ensure on completion of the programme you meet all the professional and regulatory standards required as an entry-level occupational therapist, and are confident, competent and fit for practice.

A variety of assessments reflect the learner-centred approach that underpins this course, and there is a choice of assessment in some modules. The assessment schedule reflects the breadth of the curriculum and depth of study expected at postgraduate level. You may be assessed through written academic essays, assessed tutorials, group and individual presentations, a research protocol and research study report.

Each module contains assessment and feedback opportunities to help you prepare for final assessments. These final assessments are formally marked and contribute to your progression and final mark. They indicate how well you have met the modules’ learning outcomes, with comprehensive feedback to identify areas for future development.

Academic assessments have a pass mark of 50% and you must pass all academic and practice placements to complete the course.


Entry requirements

You should have a 2.1 honours degree in any subject. This is a conversion course which allows you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career. No prior knowledge is required.

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:

  • 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

There are excellent employment opportunities for graduate occupational therapists.

This course ensures you are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to join the ever-changing landscape of health, social care and wider community services. We help you to develop as a creative, dynamic and innovative practitioner, with the leadership and research skills to shape current and future services.

On successful completion of the programme, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council as well as professional membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. This programme is also recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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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.


2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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