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Postgraduate study
Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)

Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) MSc

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


Course overview


You develop clinical competence to practice as an occupational therapist. You focus on your professional values, and the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing and its power to transform the lives of individuals, groups and communities. You further develop your capabilities in key skills such as problem solving, professional reasoning, research, critical thinking and leadership.

You explore the profession across the breadth of occupational therapy practice, with a variety of clinical placements to integrate academic theory with practical learning. You benefit from an insight into the range of employment opportunities open to you, including registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

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 here

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Course details

You gain an understanding of professional constructs that determine the scope and viability of occupational therapy. You develop professional and leadership skills, and learn about service improvement to equip you for an ever-changing workplace. You also start to create ideas for a major project, developing academic expertise in your area of research.

This full-time programme is delivered over two years, with 90 weeks of scheduled learning in total. All modules must be undertaken and passed.

Three full-time practice-based learning placement modules must be successfully completed.

There are two eight-week placements in Year 1 and a 12-week placement in Year 2.

In Year 2 you join colleagues from other allied health professions. The modules help you understand professional constructs that determine the scope and viability of occupational therapy. You develop professional and leadership skills, and learn about service improvement to equip you for an ever-changing workplace. You also start to create ideas for a major project, developing academic expertise in your area of research. Your project continues throughout the second year.

You complete your final practice placement in Year 2, which consolidates the core values, beliefs, knowledge and skills of an entry level occupational therapist.

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 methods and problem-based study, including online teaching and in-person activities. Online learning is a mix of real-time scheduled and self-directed activities, which you can carry out at your own pace using a range of digital platforms.

You are taught by a highly experienced and professional academic team with extensive knowledge and skills in occupational therapy, biological sciences, allied health education, leadership and practice. You also benefit from interprofessional education, learning alongside other students and practitioners from related health and social care professions. Although most professional practical skills teaching occurs on placements, there is an emphasis on practical learning throughout the course. Each module comprises lectures, seminars and practical sessions where you work in small groups to investigate issues relevant to occupational therapy, using purposefully designed, creative material.

Most teaching takes place in our dedicated and newly designed occupational therapy teaching spaces. You undertake activities in our daily living suite, hospital ward and media labs, giving you the opportunity to develop your skills in simulated environments. You also take part in practical workshops such as moving and handling, postural management, interview skills and hand splinting in our media lab, delivered by academic staff and occupational therapists.

How you are assessed

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

You are assessed through a diverse range of strategies and methods. Academic assessments have a pass mark of 50%. You need to pass all academic and practice placements to complete the course.

Each module contains formative assessment and feedback opportunities, to support you in preparing for summative assessments. The summative assessments are formally marked and contribute to your progression and final mark for the MSc award. Summative assessment indicates how well you have succeeded in meeting the modules’ learning outcomes, with comprehensive feedback to ensure you can identify future development areas.

A variety of assessments have been designed, to reflect the learner centred approach of this course, and there is a choice of assessment in some modules. You may be assessed through written academic essays, group and individual presentations, a research protocol and research study report.


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 or degree in a related subject 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:

  • 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

There are excellent employment opportunities for graduate occupational therapists.

This course ensures you are equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience you need to join the ever-changing landscape of health, social care and wider community services. We support you to develop as creative, dynamic and innovative practitioners, with the leadership and research skills to shape current and future services. On successful completion of the programme, you are eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, and professional membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Our 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

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Professional accreditation

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


2023/24 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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Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

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Telephone: 01642 738801

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Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

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