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Occupational Therapy

Programs Offered: M.S., O.T.D., Certificate

The Master of Science (M.S.) in occupational therapy is an entry-level or a post-professional master's degree. The entry-level program is for students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than occupational therapy, while the post-professional program is designed for practicing occupational therapists looking to advance their education and expand their knowledge in specific areas.

The entry-level master's degree is a 2.5 year, full time program. The program consists of 4 semesters of course work and six months of unpaid internships. Students have the option of completing a thesis (18 credit) or non-thesis track (16-18 credits). Core courses include content in science, theory, research and occupational therapy practice. Fieldwork occurs after academic requirements have been met and can be completed in a variety of settings, including clinics, hospitals, school systems, and nonprofit organizations.

The post-professional master's degree is designed for occupational therapists seeking specialization in areas such as pain management, aging, education, mental health, school-based practice, and upper extremity rehabilitation. Therapists enrolled in the post-professional program may work with their faculty adviser to design a self-directed course of study based on their career development needs. Courses in research and clinical reasoning are core components of the post-professional program. The post-professional program also offers a thesis and non-thesis track and can be completed on a full or part-time basis (*all International Students must complete the program with full time residency).

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program prepares occupational therapists to fulfill leadership roles, expected to make a real impact in such areas as health functioning, wellness, and quality of life. The OTD consists of eight credits, with courses covering topics ranging from outcomes measurement and monitoring to clinical reasoning. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

A key component of the OTD program is developing and implementing a community or practice-based leadership project, focused on an area of need or specialty the occupational therapy profession can address. As part of this requirement, students are expected to perform a needs assessment and feasibility study; interface with potential organizations, stakeholders, and service recipients; and develop the appropriate methodology for evaluation and implementation of the project. Examples of past OTD student leadership projects include, Long-Term Community Integration Needs of Survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury, Inclusion of Students with Learning Differences in Higher Education, and Ethics Education in the Occupational Therapy Curricula.

The culmination of the OTD program is an integrative paper, through which students reflect on what they have learned, synthesize coursework with a critical examination of the literature, and articulate how the project demonstrates leadership and expertise in the chosen specialty. The integrative paper must be approved by a committee of occupational therapy faculty members before the degree is awarded.

The Certificate Programs provide occupational therapists and occupational therapy students a means of acquiring increased specialization to meet the growing need in the profession for continuing education in rapidly expanding areas.

Our school-based practice; hand and upper extremity rehabilitation (in collaboration with specialists from Mass General Hospital); and advanced professional study specialization certificate programs require four course credits.

Our certificate of advanced study in pain topics in occupational therapy is designed for health care professionals looking to fill a gap in knowledge on pain management. This certificate consists of 5 course credits and is administered in collaboration with Tufts' School of Medicine.

Occupational Therapy: Full-Time Faculty

Gary Bedell, Chair
Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, New York University
Outcomes measurement, pediatric and community-based rehabilitation, promoting participation and health across the lifespan

Janet Curran Brooks
Ed.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell
Upper extremity rehabilitation, physical disabilities

Jessica Harney
DPT, PT, OTR/L, MGH-Institute of Health Professions, Boston University
Physical Disabilities, Community Health Promotion, Management

Keren Ladin
Ph.D., Harvard University
Social networks and their effects on health and health care decision-making; ethics and health disparities, immigrant health, transplantation policy, and aging

Margaret L. Morris
O.T.D., OTR/L, BCP, Tufts University
Pediatrics, school-based services, collaborative consultation

Michael Roberts
M.S., OTR/L, Tufts University

Sharan L. Schwartzberg
Ed.D., OTR, FAOTA, Boston University
Group theory, research, and practice; interactive reasoning; leadership; interprofessional pain team functioning

Linda Tickle-Degnen
Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Harvard University
Evidence-based practice; health-related quality of life in Parkinson's disease and expressive disorders; social psychological aspects of health, disability, and intervention

Occupational Therapy: Part-Time Faculty

Jennifer Connors Buxton
M.A., OTR/L, ATP, Tufts University
Assistive technology, physical disabilities

Jean Lyons Marten
M.S., OTR/L, Boston University
Neurological and sensory processing across the lifespan

Paul Leavis
Ph.D., Tufts University
Cancer, embryo, and chemical messengers; immune response; biochemistry of muscle contraction and regulation

Monica A. Pessina
Ph.D., M.Ed., OTR, Northeastern University
Outcome studies in acute care, quantitative analysis of hand function after injury

Sarah Everhart Skeels
B.S., University of Virginia; MPH, George Washington University
Community services, rehabilitation and health promotion for neurological disabilities

Stephen N. Sarikas
Ph.D., Boston University School of Medicine
AIDS/HIV awareness among college students

Scott A. Trudeau
Ph.D., OTR/L, Boston College
Factors contributing to successful aging, issues of adaptation for elders with chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease

Elizabeth Ratcliff Whitney
Ph.D., Boston University School of Medicine
Examining the cerebellar pathology in infantile autism

Full-Time Staff

Mary Alicia Barnes
B.S., Tufts University; M.S., Tufts University
Fieldwork Coordinator

Dora Kaluma
B.A., Pine Manor College
Staff Assistant, Fieldwork Office

Michelle Molle
B.S., Northeastern University
Department Administrator

Elizabeth Owen
B.S., University of Massachusetts
Administrative Assistant

Part-Time Staff

Jill Rocca
OTD, OTR/L, Tufts University; University of New Hampshire
Recruitment and Admissions

Contact the Graduate Studies Office

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

School of Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

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