Occupational Therapy FAQs
- What is the length of the program and when does it begin each year?
The program is 24 months and begins only in the fall semester in late August. The program consists of six trimesters including summers. The first four trimesters are academic and the last two trimesters consist of two, 12-week, FTE supervised clinical fieldwork. Visit the curriculum page for details.
- Is the program full time and can I still work?
The program is only offered full time with classes scheduled during the day and evenings. It is our experience that students do best if they work a maximum of ten hours per week while in the program. Most students find that jobs with flexible schedules make it easier to manage time and academic demands.
- What are the unique features of the curriculum?
Faculty pursue continued development in evidence-based, engaged, team-based, and digital pedagogies, which they have implemented throughout the curriculum. These pedagogies include problem-based Learning (PBL) team-based learning, and digital pedagogies.
The faculty has taken leadership among the College of Health Professions’ programs in its collaboration with Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Physician Assistant Studies, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Health Science and Healthcare Informatics, the College of Nursing, and the Social Work Program, to involve students in interprofessional education activities.
The faculty are committed to the mission of creating an intimate and engaging culture. We do this through modifying faculty-student ratios specifically to teaching/learning strategies used in each course, regular student advisement, mentored small group work, and faculty availability outside the classroom. Year after year, since the program’s founding in 2000, students’ program evaluations give faculty the highest ratings in the areas of faculty “enthusiasm”, “knowledge and expertise”, “passion”, and “willingness to help outside the classroom”.
For more information visit http://www.sacredheart.edu/academics/collegeofhealthprofessions/academicprograms/occupationaltherapy/
- How do I apply?
If you are a Sacred Heart University undergraduate, apply through the Office of Graduate Admissions http://www.sacredheart.edu/academics/collegeofhealthprofessions/academicprograms/occupationaltherapy/applynow/
If you are a Sacred Heart University alumni or external student, apply through the Occupational Therapy Common Application System (OT CAS) https://otcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login
- Is the GRE required?
Beginning with applicants for fall 2019 entry into the Graduate Occupational Therapy, the GRE will be required. A 3.5 Analytic Writing score will be required and a combined Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning score of 300 will be recommended.
- Is shadowing required?
Observation, shadowing, or volunteer work in health care with exposure to occupational therapy is recommended. You want to see enough occupational therapists at work in different settings to know that occupational therapy is the right career choice for you. The written essay on the online application asks you to reflect on your experience. You need enough experience to offer a depth and breadth of perspective in your reflection. Documented hours of these experiences are not required.
- Will Sacred Heart University’s program move from a master’s degree (MSOT) to a clinical doctorate (OTD)?
The program and University have made the decision to not move to an entry-level doctorate degree (OTD) at this time. We concur with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education’s (ACOTE) August 2015 decision that the entry-level occupational therapy degree remain at both the master’s and doctoral levels to allow for maximum flexibility of the profession to address society’s health care needs. ACOTE also noted that there were “limited outcomes that differentiate master’s and doctorally-prepared graduates” and the profession did not have adequate academic infrastructure to meet ACOTE’s doctoral degree standards at this point in time. See ACOTE’s full statement regarding its decision.
- What is the tuition?
Since the number of credits each semester is highly varied, the University calculated the total cost of the program and divided it over the course of the six trimesters of the program. Tuition is paid in equal payments each trimester regardless of the number of credits taken. This allows for better financial planning and allows students to obtain two and one half years of financial aid for the two-year program. View the tuition and fees page for more information on the program estimated costs.
- What is the program’s accreditation status?
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. The program’s next reaccreditation site visit is scheduled for July 2017.
- What is the program’s NBCOT pass rate?
- Is an interview required?
Yes. Only highly qualified applicants will be invited for an interview, which is required for admission. The interview consists of multi-mini interviews and a group PBL experience. Since the program heavily uses PBL, team-based, and small group pedagogies, these interview formats provide both the applicant and the admission’s committee with information as to how well the applicant’s learning and interaction style might fit with the program’s pedagogies.
Only students who were admitted directly into the program as freshman and who meet the program’s admission criteria at the time of application, are exempt from the interview. All other applicants including Sacred Heart University undergraduates and external students applying through early or regular decision must complete the interview upon invitation.
- What happens in the interview?
The interview begins with faculty and staff introductions followed by a program overview. Applicants are then given the opportunity to ask questions about the program, admissions, and admission decision process. The PBL experience follows, which consists of applicants assigned into small PBL groups with two faculty. Each PBL group is given a case and the group discusses and identifies the critical issues and concerns inherent in the case. The faculty do not facilitate the group but take notes and complete the scoring rubric.
The multi-mini interview follows the PBL experience. The faculty developed five standard interview questions that each applicant will have an opportunity to answer. Each member of the 5-person admission’s team will ask all applicants one question. Applicants will have two minutes to answer each question followed by a 1-minute break during which the admission’s team member completes the rubric. The applicant then moves to the next admission’s team member and is asked another question. The process repeats until all applicants have been asked all 5 questions by 5 different members of the admission’s team.
While applicants are waiting their turn for the multi-mini interview, they will have the opportunity to speak with a Graduate Assistant of the program to get a student’s perspective and have their questions answered. Following the multi-mini interview, applicants may leave. The entire process takes about three and one half hours. Since this is a graduate program, we ask that friends and family not be present during any part of the interview process.
We expect applicants to maintain confidentiality of the process and not share the questions or the PBL case with other potential applicants. Scoring rubrics are applied to both the interview and PBL experience, so it is to the applicant’s advantage not to share this information.
- How does the admission’s committee make the decision regarding acceptance?
The admission’s committee considers multiple criteria in making its admission decisions: cumulative GPA, prerequisite GPA, prerequisite science GPA, essay, multi-mini interview, PBL interview experience, and the number of prerequisites re-taken. As of fall 2019 entry, GRE scores will be added to these criteria. Scoring rubrics are applied to the online essay, multi-mini interview, and PBL interview experience. Scores for all criteria are listed on a spreadsheet and 1-point is deducted for each re-taken prerequisite. All scores are totaled then ordered from highest to lowest. The admission’s committee makes offers of admission to the top scoring applicants.
- Who do I contact with additional questions?
Senior Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Eva Magnuson at firstname.lastname@example.org.