MSc Occupational Therapy

Full Time
Degree of Master of Science

"The mixture between placements and academic study is something I feel complement each other very well."

In their words

Susan Peet, MSc Occupational Therapy graduate

Key facts

(REF, 2014)


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Occupational Therapists work closely with people who have an illness, injury or disability to help them live their lives to their full potential. You could be helping a young person with anorexia, or an elderly person with mobility issues. The profession is extremely varied and requires a great deal of ‘out of the box’ thinking alongside clinical reasoning. Our course prepares you with the wide range of skills, knowledge and experience you need for an exciting and rewarding career.

We will support you to become the very best Occupational Therapist you can be. You will join a supportive community, working together to gain first-hand experience and deliver first-class care.

We are ranked 19th in the UK for Occupational Therapy (Complete University Guide, 2018). We also have a great reputation with our partner NHS Trusts, and are proud that our students graduate with excellent career prospects and good honours.


The role of an Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists view people as occupational beings. People are intrinsically active and creative, needing to engage in a balanced range of activities in their daily lives in order to maintain health and wellbeing. People shape, and are shaped by, their experiences and interactions with their environments. They create identity and meaning through what they do and have the capacity to transform themselves through premeditated and autonomous action. The purpose of Occupational Therapy is to enable people to fulfil, or to work towards fulfilling their potential as occupational beings. Occupational therapists promote function, quality of life and the realisation of potential in people who are experiencing occupational deprivation, imbalance or alienation. They believe that activity can be an effective medium for remediating dysfunction, facilitating adaptation and recreating identity.

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who are experiencing physical, mental and social difficulties and learning disabilities. Recently occupational therapists have begun to work in non-statutory settings, such as with homeless people and asylum seekers, seeking to enable individuals and communities to establish ways of living that are personally meaningful and sustainable.

Occupational therapists work as members of interdisciplinary and inter-agency teams in a range of different settings including hospitals, community health and social care services, industry, schools, prisons, individual homes, voluntary agencies and private practice. They work with others including carers and planners of social opportunity and change. 

Occupational Therapy training at UEA – a life-changing career

The strength of the programme is enhanced through a shared learning ethos between physiotherapy and occupational therapy students, which reflects the importance of interdisciplinary working. Students have the opportunity to work with a member of faculty on their area of specialist interest, either on a research project involving empirical data collection and analysis, secondary analysis or on a structured literature review.

Course Structure

The whole programme adopts an enquiry-based learning ethos focused on student-centred independent learning, problem solving and decision making, which will be facilitated over the two years of the programme. There will be an evolving level of complexity; from engaging with straightforward case scenarios that develop baseline theoretical and therapeutic understandings, through to complex scenarios addressing service development needs.

Integral to the programme are the Practice placements where students will undertake: one level 1 (7 week) block in year 1, one level 2 (7 week) block in year 2, one level 3 (7 week) block in year 2 and one Level 3 (8 week) block in year 2. 

The first year Occupational Therapy Professional Practice M62X module focuses on the central theme of occupation. It supports the students’ in learning the core principles, knowledge and skills of occupational therapy for practising in current contexts. This will ensure that students are able to engage in professional practice as students. The module is structured around the human experience of occupation, deepening understanding of this concept through the module, beginning with the relationship between occupation and well-being and moving through to facilitating occupation. This understanding will be informed by relevant biopsychosocial theory covered in the Human Sciences module, supported by the exploration of the evidence base in the Research 1 module and complementary to a developing sense of professionalism (professional development module). Learning will be contextualised in contemporary and emerging health, social and community environments.

Professional Development M63X module will frontload academic writing skills, critical appraisal skills, journal club activities, team working, professional communication, and presentation skills. In Year 1, professional development learning will inform the EBL trigger material and in Year 2, once the foundation learning has been achieved, professional development will be fully incorporated into the professional practice modules.

The first year Research M64X module aims to ensure that students are able to engage with the evidence base for their professional practice to become confident consumers of research evidence and incorporating the evidence base into their professional practice. They will have sufficient experience of research methods to carry out research or audit in clinical or academic environments.

The content of the Human Sciences M65X module addresses the foundation anatomical, physiological, sociological and psychological sciences. The learning will be closely aligned to professional practice and so the learning will be applied through EBL activities.

The second year Occupational Therapy Professional Practice M67X continues to focus on the central theme of occupation. The module draws upon the student’s use of CPD tools, quality measures and service development tools, critical enquiry, research methodology and evidence based practice to promote advanced clinical reasoning and creative management strategies for clients in a variety of clinical setting. The students practice placement settings will provide, through negotiation with health trusts, social care services and other providers, opportunities to experience a wide range of settings developing transferable clinical, reflective and managerial skills to prepare them for the modern health and social care setting

On completion of the Research 2 M68X module students will be equipped to contribute to a culture of enquiry within their profession and more widely in health and social care. They will have direct experience of the design and delivery of research so that they can make a significant contribution to developing and potentially delivering the research agenda.

Why choose UEA

When you study in the School of Health Sciences you will receive both an academic and a practice based education which is second to none. We are very proud of our innovative teaching methods and the passion and dedication of our staff will inspire you to be the best you can be.

Students have told us our courses are professionally dynamic and personally transforming. That’s because our approach is creative, challenging and engaging. The course includes the following elements:

  • Interagency Learning – You will meet up with students from other health-related disciplines to exchange knowledge, practice and ideas. You will also have the unique opportunity of working with other community partners.
  • Research - The teaching staff are continually involved in research (92% of our research in the school is world leading (REF 2014)) which means you will benefit from their knowledge of the very latest practices and techniques.
  • Supportive Culture – Teaching groups are small, which encourages a close-knit student body and a supportive learning culture. You will be assigned your own personal adviser who will be there every step of the way to guide you through the course, both academically and professionally.
  • Practice Development Placement – You will have the opportunity as part of your programme to develop theory-practice links outside of our normal placement provision; including possible placements outside the UK.

Our MSc Occupational Therapy course is fully approved by and prepares you for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


Discover more

For more detail about what it is like to work as an Occupational Therapist, please visit the College of Occupational Therapists website.

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


Human Sciences (HS) is a year-long module that is taken by occupational therapy and physiotherapy students together. The aim is to develop your knowledge and understand of how the biological, psychological and social aspects of human sciences interact to affect us as humans, particularly in relation to human movement and occupation; this is the biopsychosocial model. Teaching and learning is focussed on developing your understanding of human function, including exploration of dysfunction and recovery processes through the biopsychosocial model. This is facilitated through engagement with the four key strands of anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology. Teaching is predominantly built around facilitated self-directed study using a range of relevant resources, followed by workshop activities to encourage application of core knowledge. There are some uni-professional sessions where one group requires additional preparation related to the nature of their specific programme. Anatomy and Physiology: The entry requirements for physiotherapy students dictate that they will already have sound anatomy and physiology knowledge from previous studies, therefore the emphasis for learning will be on applying this to physiotherapy theory and practice via case studies encountered during Enquiry Based Learning fortnights. As entrance requirements for occupational therapists do not expect this level of prior knowledge there will be timetabled uni-professional taught sessions with additional supportive resources available to help with this learning. For both professional groups there will be compulsory human dissection sessions to explore and apply anatomical knowledge using pre-dissected specimens. Health Psychology: A selection of core psychological areas will be explored over your first year, with each different topics woven into each Enquiry Based Learning trigger. These will take the form of self-directed preparation followed by workshops to explore the relevance of the topic and thus apply the principles to practice. Health Sociology: A selection of core sociological areas will be explored over your first year, with topics woven into the Enquiry Based Learning triggers in the same way as described above.




Mandatory training is a requirement of for all Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy programmes, stipulated by the governing professional bodies and our clinical practice partners. As an Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy student, you will be required to complete clinical practice hours as part of your degree. In order to prepare you for this, you will complete a mandatory set of core training sessions to prepare you for safe working within a healthcare environment. You will explore areas such as: basic life support, moving and handling of people, methods to prevent and control the spread of infection, supporting vulnerable adults and children, protecting confidential information, managing challenging situations and fire safety. This core set of skills is required by all healthcare professionals and this module will help to ensure your own safety and that of service users, staff and anyone else you encounter.




This module will support you in learning the core principles, knowledge and skills of occupational therapy for practising in current contexts. This module will ensure that you are able to engage in professional practice as students. The module is structured around the human experience of occupation, deepening understanding of this concept through the module, beginning with the relationship between occupation and wellbeing and moving through to facilitating occupation.




This module introduces the concept of continuing professional development and explores the tools which can be employed in lifelong learning. It develops transferable skills, building on existing academic skills of critical enquiry and research practice.




We will introduce you to various health databases and you will be able to engage with the evidence base relevant to your own professional practice. In class, you will learn methods to appraise research quality and relate it back to your clinical practice. You will learn how to scrutinise research evidence presented in the media and have the opportunity to choose a topic of interest for your final dissertation. This may take the form of a structured literature review, a research study, secondary data analysis, or a clinical evaluation/audit. You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor and have meetings one-to-one periodically throughout the course duration. You will also participate in journal clubs and have many opportunities to read and share research evidence with your peers.



Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


As an occupational and physiotherapy student, you are required to complete clinical practice hours as part of your degree. Mandatory training is a requirement of these programmes, stipulated by the governing professional bodies and our clinical practice partners. It is important that you undertake a number of training sessions to ensure your own safety and that of service users, staff and anyone else you encounter.




This module will build on the understanding of occupation gained from Occupational Therapy Theory and Practice 1. It draws upon your use of CPD tools, quality measures and service development tools, critical enquiry, research methodology and evidence based practice to promote advanced clinical reasoning and creative management strategies for clients in a variety of clinical settings. It will encourage you to develop avenues of emerging scope of practice. The practice placement settings will provide, through negotiation with local Trusts, opportunities to experience a wide range of settings developing transferable clinical, reflective and managerial skills to prepare you for the current health and social care settings.




Continue your continuing professional development by examining your own experiences and learning needs as you work towards becoming a practitioner. You will progressively refine your reflective practice skills and continue to collect portfolio based evidence to support your continuing professional development through engagement in, for example, real life service improvement tasks. Your professionalism and employability will be further developed by personal advisors, who will monitor your progress in these areas in line with the UEA Values Charter and Employability Development Portfolio.




This module will follow on from the research module in the first year. You will be able to interpret and evaluate research in your area of professional practice. You will experience how to design and deliver research, and you will learn about essential components of good clinical practice and research ethics. You will complete a research dissertation on a topic of your choosing, We will support you throughout the duration of the module and help you submit your final dissertation. You will develop significant expertise in your chosen research area by working alongside a key member of the academic team.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Classification Minimum 2.1 or the overseas equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements You must have graduated within 10 years of the start date of the course which is in February each year.

Entry Requirement

In order to study on the MSc Occupational Therapy course, applicants should have a good first degree from a recognised higher education institution.

You must also have a strong profile of secondary qualifications in arts and sciences (A-level or equivalent). If your degree is not in a science subject, you will need to have studied a science at A level, or at the very minimum, a grade of CC in GCSE double Science (or C in GCSE Biology). Our admissions criteria also include requirements such as: a clear understanding of the chosen profession; a broad range of relevant work shadowing; an interest in people and a strong academic attainment.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on their attaining a particular class of degree.

International students

We have a number of places available to applications from students outside the UK/EU for Occupational Therapy. The School of Health Sciences offers a high quality educational experience for international postgraduates. Potential international candidates need to be able to demonstrate the high academic credentials required for the course, as well as good English Language qualifications; IELTS level 7.0 with no element below 6.5 and an understanding of the NHS and of healthcare in the UK. All candidates are required to attend UEA for interview, although for international students alternative arrangements such as a skype interview would be considered.

The pre-registration courses offered in the School of Health Sciences are approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and after successfully completing an accredited pre-registration programme such as ours you must apply to register with the HCPC in order to work as a registered healthcare professional in the UK. This course equips you with the skills necessary to practise as an occupational therapist both internationally and in the UK. International students who complete the course will be eligible to apply to the HCPC.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English or those whose degree was not taught in English. 

To ensure such students benefit fully from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. 

Our minimum entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components
  • Pearson (PTE): 68 overall with a minimum of 62 in all components.

All test scores must be less than two years old.


Interviews for candidates shortlisted for our February 2019 intake will take place in June/July 2018.

Telephone/Skype interviews are only possible for overseas students.

Special Entry Requirements

Places on this course are subject to police (DBS) and occupational health checks.

Those invited to attend an interview morning or afternoon will be required to undertake a numeracy test and a short written literacy test. The results of these tests do not form part of the selection process but are a requirement of Health Education England and help the University to plan the level of support we provide to our cohorts.


The start date for this course is in February each year. There is no September intake.

Complete applications must be received by 1 June 2018. This must include the relevant supporting documents and references. 

Fees and Funding

Fees for the course for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £9,250 per year
  • International Students: £15,800 per year

International applicants from outside the EU may need to pay a deposit


How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515