Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

More Information

Department Chair

Jody Bortone, OT/L, EdD
Clinical Associate Professor

Contact Department

Center for Healthcare Education
4000 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel: 203-365-4771
Fax: 203-396-8206

> Staff Directory

Founded in 2000, Sacred Heart University’s Graduate Occupational Therapy Program was the first in Connecticut to meet the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education’s (ACOTE) requirement that all entry-level occupational therapy education programs award a post baccalaureate degree. The occupational therapy program is housed within the College of Health Professions along with physical therapy, speech-language pathology, athletic training, exercise science, healthcare informatics, and physician assistant studies graduate programs. Sacred Heart University is Connecticut’s only university that offers educational programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology; the three core rehabilitation professions considered critical to restoration of patient’s functioning. Occupational Therapy participates with the other College of Health Profession’s programs and the College of Nursing to provide students with distinctive interprofessional learning opportunities that replicate the treatment team. Located just 55 miles from New York City in beautiful Connecticut, the area offers a wide variety of clinical and employment opportunities as well as exceptional recreational and cultural activities.

The College of Health Professions and College of Nursing are located in the new Center for Healthcare Education building. The new building includes state-of-the art laboratories such as occupational therapy sensory integration and pediatric laboratory, a fully-equipped home suite inclusive of a room-to-room lift tracking system, a Drive Safety driving simulator, a human cadaver laboratory, an audiology laboratory, simulation laboratories replicating hospital and ambulatory care settings, a motion analysis laboratory, a musculoskeletal laboratory, and a human performance laboratory. The building also includes a flexibly designed team-based learning auditorium allowing for a traditional auditorium audience with the capability to instantly transform and create eleven, collaborative work group tables, each with its own LCD monitor.

Our superb faculty include authors, recognized scholars, advocates, and expert practitioners. Year after year, program evaluation results identify faculty excellence, availability, and relationships with students as our most outstanding outcome. Sacred Heart University graduates perform extremely well on the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy exam. Also see Outcomes and Assessments.

The master’s degree program in Occupational Therapy is fully accredited through 2016/2017 (see Certificate of Accreditation)‌ under the “Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist—2006” by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number is 301-652-AOTA. The program has refined its curriculum to comply with ACOTE’s 2011 Standards that went into effect July 2013. The program’s next ACOTE reaccreditation site visit is scheduled for July 2017.

More information on Program Accreditation.

View Program Brochure

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Why Occupational Therapy at SHU?

Sacred Heart University, located in Fairfield, Connecticut, offers an entry-level, master’s degree program in occupational therapy (MSOT). This graduate program is for people with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than occupational therapy. The program prepares students to master entry-level clinical practice skills and develop beginning-level skills in leadership and scholarship in occupational therapy.

  • The curriculum design is highly unique, utilizing a developmental approach and strongly reflecting a philosophy of humanism, service to others, and community-based practice.

  • The program allows students to develop their skills in a progressive sequence throughout the curriculum under the guidance of experienced faculty and practitioners.

  • The curriculum utilizes problem-based learning (PBL), incorporating small group tutorials led by expert faculty members, designed to bridge course content with practice by having students actively engage in the clinical reasoning process through case studies.

  • Students are provided with a strong educational background to address the spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs of their clients to design occupation-based interventions that enable clients to participate in their own work, school, play, home, society, and community lives.

  • The curriculum incorporates fieldwork, community-based practice, and service learning opportunities where students actively use clinical reasoning in the design of assessment and intervention strategies based on evidence, leadership, supervision and management, research and entrepreneurship.

  • The program actively prepares students to develop proactive and entrepreneurial skills in marketing occupational therapy services and program development in new practice areas. Faculty/student/practitioner collaborations and mentorships are structured into the program to facilitate this unique undertaking.   

  • Dr. Jody Bortone, chair of the
    Occupational Therapy Department, &
    Professor Heather Miller Kuhaneck took
    the first year master of science in
    occupational therapy students on a field
    trip to KidAbilities, an outpatient
    occupational therapy clinic
    that specializes in Ayres Sensory Integration

    Faculty pursue continued development in evidence-based, engaged, team-based, and digital pedagogies, which they have implemented throughout the curriculum.

  • The faculty systematically seek students’ feedback about the program and tracks student learning outcomes through graduation. For information on progression, retention, graduation rates, please see our Outcomes and Assessment data.

  • Throughout the program’s growth, the faculty have maintained their commitment to the mission of creating an intimate and engaging culture. This has been accomplished through the use of faculty-student ratios appropriate to the teaching/learning strategies in each course, regular student advisement, mentored small group work, an open door policy regarding office hours, and faculty availability outside the classroom.

  • Faculty embrace the College of Health Professions’ commitment to interprofessional education and collaborate with the other College of Health Professions’ programs in Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Physician Assistant Studies, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Health Science and Healthcare Informatics, as well as the College of Nursing and the Social Work Programs, to involve students in interprofessional education activities.

  • The program lives its mission and belief that learning emerges from interactions among students, faculty, and staff. Program outcomes indicate that student-faculty relationships and available and excellence of faculty are consistently its most outstanding outcomes.

NBCOT Pass Rates

For information on our NBCOT pass rates, view the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) program data results.

‌Information about Accreditation

The Occupational Therapy program is fully accredited through 2016/2017 (see Certificate of Accreditation) under the “Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist–2006” by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. The curriculum has been refined to meet the revised 2011 ACOTE Standards that went into effect July 31, 2013. 

For more information, contact:

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE)
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449.
Tel: 301-652-AOTA (2682)                                                                                                               

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states, including Connecticut, require licensure in order to practice; however, most initial state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.

Please note that a felony conviction might affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT exam or attain state licensure.

CT State Occupational Therapy Licensure

Occupational Therapists are required to hold a CT State License to practice in the state. Sacred Heart University’s Graduate Occupational Therapy program meets Connecticut’s occupational therapy licensure eligibility requirements permitting graduates to apply for a licensure in the state.

  • Licensure applicants must meet all of CT’s general licensing policies for applying for licensure

  • Licensure applicants must hold a degree in occupational therapy from an ACOTE accredited program

  • Licensure applicants must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 24, FTE weeks of supervised clinical fieldwork at a recognized institution where the academic requirements were met

  • Must successfully pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination

  • Recent graduates of occupational therapy programs are eligible for a temporary permit to practice under supervision.  

State-by-State Occupational Therapy Licensure

All 50 states and the jurisdictions of Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico have licensure laws for occupational therapists. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) website provides links to state regulations regarding qualifications and licensure, continuing competency requirements, regulations, supervision, and telehealth.

NBCOT offers an interactive US map with links to each state’s OT State Regulatory Board Contact List and AOTA links to each state’s licensure requirements.

AOTA provides a list of the states that offer temporary licensure to graduates from ACOTE accredited programs who have not yet passed the NBCOT exam. 

AOTA’s Student Guide to Registration and Licensure offers a self-directed “tour” for graduates seeking information on the NBCOT exam and obtaining state licensure.  

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

Sacred Heart University has been approved by Connecticut to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

For information regarding professional licensure by state, visit Disclosures and Student Complaints.

Latest News

Sacred Heart University to Celebrate Opening of Center for Healthcare Education

August 4, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—After nearly two years of construction, Sacred Heart University’s new Center for Healthcare Education is ready to open. Staff and faculty from the College of Health Professions and College of Nursing have moved into the state-of-the-art building, and students will begin their studies with the latest technology and modern features there this fall. The official unveiling will be Friday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m., and health-care workshops and lectures will take place throughout the year to celebrate the new facility and inform the community about the importance of health care.

Graduate Students and Faculty Explore Educational Opportunities in Uganda

April 11, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Faculty members and graduate students from Sacred Heart University’s College of Health Professions and College of Nursing visited Kampala, Uganda, recently to investigate potential educational opportunities for students studying to be physician assistants and family nurse practitioners.

Occupational Therapy Graduate Students Reveal Capstone Project Work

January 3, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University’s occupational therapy (OT) capstone program was the focus of attention when graduate students showed the results of their work at the University’s Trumbull facility. Forty-seven students who were enrolled in the 2016 spring/summer and fall semesters collaborated in teams of three to six to develop 11 projects. “Topics were initially chosen lottery-style from a list and included experiences in school or clinical settings, service trips, pilot studies to help improve current practice, current curriculum and interprofessional collaboration,” said Elizabeth Kloczko, adjunct professor in the OT program.