MSc Occupational Therapy

Full Time
Degree of Master of Science


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Key facts

(REF, 2014)

The central theory of occupational therapy is that all humans are occupational by nature. By which we mean that we all engage in meaningful activities and, as such, activity itself can be used to aid rehabilitation.

OTs 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 ‘out of the box’ thinking alongside clinical reasoning. Our course prepares you for an exciting and rewarding career.

You’ll join a community of enthusiastic lecturers and educators and a very active OT Society. You’ll be taught within a multi-professional health school, so you’ll graduate confident in your role and with true insight into the role of others, so that you’re able to contribution to excellent, person-centred, inter-professional practice.


Occupational therapists are qualified to work in a uniquely varied range of settings, and our two-year, full-time course will teach you how to apply clinical reasoning, drawing on human sciences, occupational theory, psychology, sociology and creativity. Respectful relationships with service users are at the heart of OT practice and at the heart of our programme throughout.

Our Master’s programme is open to arts, science, healthcare and humanity graduates. If you’re hoping to pursue a career in occupational therapy, our enquiry based-style of learning will shape your understanding of the job, and underpin it with knowledge of human sciences and therapeutic approaches.

Our active learning approach is designed to engage you cognitively, emotionally and spiritually, so you develop your professional identity as an occupational therapist and gain the skills to use yourself therapeutically. Throughout the programme you’ll have a personal adviser who will help you reflect on your highs and lows, enabling you to learn from both. And you will learn how to use professional development tools to identify your personal learning needs and goals.

Your time with us will be split between university-based learning and practice-based learning. We have a dedicated placement team, which will work closely with our practice partners to set up a balanced range of placement experiences for you. While on placement, you will be allocated a dedicated educational supervisor; a qualified occupational therapist, who will support you as you apply your knowledge and gain skills and confidence. They will be experienced in judging your needs, and will help you to challenge yourself.

You will take ownership of your professional development and arrange your final eight-week placement in a specialist field you are passionate about or haven’t yet experienced. 

Course Structure

Our two-year, full-time programme encompasses 45 weeks of learning each year. They include three to four weeks of reading to prepare for assessments and placements, as well as time to consolidate knowledge.

Each year your learning will be divided into three blocks, which will help you to see how different topics relate to and build on one another, and let you appreciate how your knowledge and experience are deepening.

We use the concept of occupation to structure your progressive learning. For example, you will begin by learning about humans as occupational beings, moving on to understand how occupation both effects – and is affected by – health. Teaching and assessment will be structured into the following modules:

Occupational Therapy professional practice  

This first year module focuses on the central theme of occupation. It will help you learn the core principles and develop the knowledge and skills of occupational therapy practice, giving you the confidence to engage in your first professional practice as a student. 

Human sciences

Our Human Sciences module addresses the foundation anatomical, physiological, sociological and psychological sciences. Your learning within it will be closely aligned to professional practice and applied through enquiry-based learning (EBL) activities.

Professional development 

Our Professional Development modules will help you develop Master’s-level academic skills, as well as team working and professional communication abilities, and an understanding of how health and social care services work and improve. By the end of the programme you will begin to see yourself as a potential leader, capable of managing change. 


Our Research modules will help you engage with the research evidence for your professional practice. You will apply research to EBL, through which you will learn how to confidently incorporate the evidence base into your professional practice. You will also apply these techniques to your in-depth individual dissertation, which you will work on with your dedicated dissertation supervisor. 

Teaching and Learning


Qualified occupational therapists need to integrate their knowledge and apply it to patients, so we mirror this in our teaching by focusing on enquiry-based learning (EBL). And you’ll be involved in a combination of occupational therapy-specific activities and sessions working with physiotherapy students. 

You’ll take part in fortnightly EBL sessions, working with a small group of fellow students on a scenario drawn from real-world experiences. From each scenario you will need to work out your learning goals: imagine you have to treat this person, what do you need to know? This, in turn, will trigger the learning activities for the following fortnight. 

In each fortnight will include a combination of self-directed study, staff-facilitated learning and student-led feedback sessions. During this time you will work on a learning goal, typically with another student, looking for important information and searching for evidence. You will then pass your learning onto your peers in the way you feel is most appropriate. For example, you could run an experiential activity, facilitate a critical discussion, or give a presentation. Your staff facilitator will then provide individual feedback on what went well and how you could develop.

Independent study

Self-directed study and collaboration with peers is an integral part of our Master’s programme. Your lecturers will provide resources to facilitate the core activities via our Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), but a healthy desire to integrate knowledge from a wide range of sources will be actively encouraged.

The accelerated nature of our programme means that you will also need to manage your time effectively.


Our assessments are designed to develop and test your communication skills, and your ability to synthesise and articulate knowledge at Master’s level.

Assessment methods will include practical skill oral examinations, written essays, reflective accounts, posters and case-management presentations. Your assignments will be marked against the Senate Scale for Master’s-level work, but your practice placements will be marked at undergraduate level as pass/fail, with feedback offered on performance.

Study abroad or Placement Year

Practice placements are integral to the programme. You will arrange your own final eight-week placement, which could take place in the UK or abroad. However, overseas travel can put additional demands on students, so we ask to be consulted on any such plans and may advise against overseas travel in some circumstances.

After the course

Complete your programme successfully and you will be eligible to apply to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Once registered, you will be able practice as an occupational therapist.  

A typical first job will consolidate your skills and may offer opportunities to progress into a specialist role or to take on management responsibilities. Alternatively you may decide to progress your career into clinical research or private practice. 

Career destinations

  • National Health Service
  • Charitable organisations
  • Social services departments
  • Private health services
  • Own start-ups
  • Clinical research

See our career pages for more information

Course related costs

We want to help you to develop excellent depth and breadth of experience and, due to the diversity of occupational therapy practice and the broad geographic area, practice placements will be located in a variety of locations around East Anglia and you will be responsible for covering additional costs of transport and accommodation. You will also need to pay for a DBS check and health screening, plus any necessary vaccinations.

Please see course related costs here

Course Modules 2020/1

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 understanding 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 focused 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 contemporary health and social care contexts and emerging areas of practice. 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. You will have the opportunity to choose a topic of interest for your final dissertation from a wide variety available. 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 therapy or 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.




This module further develops the concept and ownership of your personal continuing professional development. You'll be expected to continue to examine your own experiences and learning needs to facilitate your transition from student to autonomous practitioner. You'll be encouraged to progressively refine your skills of reflective practice and to continue to collect portfolio based evidence to support your continuing professional development through engagement in real life service improvement tasks, for example. Professionalism and employability will be further developed and facilitated by your personal advisers to monitor development in these areas. This will be done by using MyEvolution and related portfolio resources.




You will undertake 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. Through the experience of working alongside a key member of the academic team, you will develop significant expertise in your chosen research area. When you complete the module, 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 learn about essential components of good clinical practice and research ethics. This module will follow on from the research module in the first year.




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 Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent. Applicants with a 2.2 or equivalent may be considered if they have strong relevant work experience.
  • 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. If you already are a qualified Occupational Therapist this course is not suitable and you may wish to consider our other professional health courses delivered at Degree and Master’s level.

You must also have a strong profile of secondary qualifications in arts and sciences (A-level or equivalent). You need to have minimum grade C in GCSE Biology or CC in GCSE Double Science. 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): 65 overall with a minimum of 58 in all components.

All test scores must be less than two years old.


Interviews for candidates shortlisted for our February 2021 intake will take place in June/July 2020. 

We interview using a ‘multiple mini interview’ format. You will spend approximately 7 minutes at each of four different ‘interview stations’ as part of this process. The interviews will explore a range of issues, including your suitability for the profession and the NHS values (as reflected in the NHS constitution).

Please note that we do not disclose interview questions.

Special Entry Requirements

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



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

The closing date for receipt of complete applications has been extended from 1 June 2020 to 17 July 2020. Applications must include the relevant supporting documents and references. 

Fees and Funding

Fees for the course for the academic year 2019/20 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £9,250 per year
  • International Students: £16,100 per year

Fees for the course for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £9,250 per year
  • International Students: £16,400 per year

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

From August 2018 new postgraduate pre-registration nursing and allied health professional students are able to access loans from the Student Loan Company. Please note there will be eligibility criteria which must be met to receive this financial support. 

How to Apply

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

The closing date for receipt of complete applications has been extended from 1 June 2020 to 17 July 2020. Applications must include the relevant supporting documents and references. 

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

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