Click here for information about the Graduate Occupational Therapy Department
Barbara Schell, Associate Dean, College of Health Sciences; Director, School of Occupational Therapy
Wendy Holmes, Chair Occupational Therapy-Gainesville
Mary Shotwell, Chair Occupational Therapy-North Atlanta (Norcross)
Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Preparation
Occupational therapy is a health profession which is committed to helping all people participate in necessary and meaningful activities of life. The School of Occupational Therapy provides graduate education programs preparing students to become occupational therapists who excel in Practice, Inquiry and Advocacy. Building on and continuing the values of liberal education, students are guided to become excellent practitioners in diverse settings; to improve the profession by engaging in practice scholarship; and to provide leadership and advocacy ranging from local to international levels. In conjunction with its educational mission, the School engages with the larger professional and client community to encourage high quality services and to advocate for the health and participation of people, organizations and populations through meaningful occupation.
Degrees Offered Please see a detailed list at the end of this section of majors and courses offered by the School of Occupational Therapy.
Undergraduate Information/ Preparation for the M.S.O.T.
Students enter the Occupational Therapy program at the graduate level. There are several majors at Brenau specifically designed to provide the undergraduate preparation for entry into the M.S.O.T. program. Students who take the substantial portion of their undergraduate work at Brenau are given preference in admission. Please click on the links below for the information specific to these options .
Accreditation The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program is accredited 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 c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Graduates of the program will be 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). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
Center for Productive Living
The Center for Productive Living (CPL) housed within the School of Occupational Therapy provides services to the community while at the same time providing educational opportunities for Brenau students. The Center reflects the School’s commitment to promote health through engagement in life by facilitating opportunities for all individuals to participate in the occupations of their choice. Further, the center provides students and faculty members, as well as clients and community members, the opportunity to engage in activities which help remove barriers to social participation.
The mission of the Center for Productive Living is to provide services to individuals, organizations, and populations in local and international communities so as to promote individual and family health by facilitating engagement in purposeful and meaningful occupations and consequently, optimal participation in society. Further, the Center seeks to provide life-changing educational experiences to students so as to prepare practitioners who are creative, leading, and inspiring citizens of the 21st century and who provide life-changing experiences for others.
Services are provided by occupational therapy students with supervision from licensed occupational therapists. The program is scheduled each semester based on both community and student learning needs. The CPL is located at the School of Occupational Therapy at Brenau East located at 999 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville, GA 30501, with additional programs offered at the North Atlanta (Norcross) Campus Occupational Therapy Department located at 3139 Campus Drive, Norcross, GA 30071. For information about services, please call (678) 707-5010.
Center for Professional Reasoning
The mission of the Center for Professional Reasoning is to promote effective professional practice through educational activities designed to stimulate systematic examination of current practices, as well as to promote the infusion of reasoning practices most likely to result in efficient and effective client outcomes. Students are engaged into a professional process of reflection practice through coursework, fieldwork and research. Practitioners are engaged in practice improvement through collaboration with Brenau faculty members in research, workshops, seminars and consultation experiences, some of which result publications and presentations to national and international organizations. The Center is located in the School of Occupational Therapy, at Brenau East, 999 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville, GA 30501. For information about the Center, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (678) 770-5007.
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Occupational Therapy Graduate Information
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
The School of Occupational Therapy offers its entry level degree program at the graduate level, the Master of Science Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T) which is a professional entry program. The program is offered in three program tracks at two different locations: Gainesville and Norcross. All programs are cohort programs.
The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) is for students who have a bachelor’s degree and who wish to become occupational therapists. The program is designed to meet the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) standards for entry level professional education and to provide advanced graduate education in occupational therapy.
About Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy is a health profession which is committed to helping all people participate in the activities of life. Occupations are activities that bring meaning to the daily lives of individuals, families, and communities and which enable them to participate in society. Examples of occupational activities include self-care, home management, work, play, education and community life. The profession is based in the belief that all individuals have a need and right to engage in meaningful occupations throughout their lives. Participation in these occupations influences human development, health and well-being across the life course, and is fundamental to a just and equitable society. Occupational therapy practitioners conceptualize occupations as both a means and an end to therapy. That is, there is therapeutic value in occupational engagement as a change agent, and engagement in occupations is also the ultimate goal of therapy.
Educational Outcomes: Professional Entry M.S.O.T Program
Together with our Community of Practice—faculty, alumni, clinical educators, and students—the M.S.O.T. program prepares its graduates to excel in Professional Practice, Scientific Inquiry and Advocacy. Brenau graduates are reflective, pragmatic scholars who use effective professional reasoning to engage in innovative, ethical, science-driven and culturally-relevant therapeutic practice. Our graduates value life-long personal and professional growth, and share a commitment to contributing to the wider body of professional knowledge through scientific endeavors and scholarship. Finally, we endeavor to educate occupational therapists who will provide transformative leadership at the local, state, national and international levels within the profession and society at large.
Specific educational goals are to develop occupational therapists who can:
1. Provide high quality professional occupational therapy services in diverse practice environments including medical, educational and community settings.
- Collaborate with individuals and groups in the identification of service goals:
- Evaluate occupational performance history, capacities and limitations;
- Identify the influence of personal factors and developmental status affecting performance;
- Evaluate contextual factors affecting occupational performance;
- Design and provide services to maintain, improve and prevent limitations in occupational performance; and
- Develop programs to promote healthy access and participation in society.
2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in:
- Program design and development,
- Community and population-based care and,
- Selected specialty practices.
3. Communicate professionally in written and oral form using applicable technological resources.
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of occupational therapy and occupational science theories and their utility for guiding practice and research.
5. Conduct and use research to inform practice:
- Understand and use a range of research designs and methods
- Access and critically evaluate evidence to inform practice decisions and program planning.
- Collaborate in designing and conducting research relevant to practice
- Communicate research findings in order to contribute to client and professional knowledge.
6. Participate in life-long professional development through:
- Critical reflection on practice,
- Identification and implementation of professional development plans
7. Participate in life-long personal development related to self-awareness, spirituality, and life-time fitness
8. Contribute to the development of the profession through ongoing professional activities
9. Reflect the values and attitudes of the profession through ethical practice
10. Analyze socio-cultural factors affecting practice, including organizational, legal and global/political issues.
11. Advocate for societal acceptance of individuals with occupational performance problems in order to support access to and participation in desired activities
Please see the Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) program for prerequisite and graduation requirements.
M.S.O.T. Program Locations The program is offered at two different locations with three program tracks: Gainesville-day program, and North Atlanta (Norcross)-day program, North Atlanta (Norcross)-weekend program. All programs are cohort programs. All program tracks are full time, and students can expect to devote 30-50 hours each week to class meetings, fieldworks, and assignments regardless of the program track selected
The Day Program Track-Gainesville is a weekday program in which students take 9-17 credit hours a semester over seven semesters. Students attend courses 3-5 days each week on-ground and complete significant online work supplementing the on-ground courses. Students enter in the Fall Semester (August), and deadlines for admission to this program track are in the preceding December.
North Atlanta/Norcross: There are two M.S.O.T. program tracks in North Atlanta/Norcross, a weekend program and a day program. Both program tracks are designed for students with significant work or other responsibilities during the week.
The Weekend Program-North Atlanta/Norcross is a hybrid program, in which students take an average of 8-13 credits per semester over nine semesters. Students attend on-ground classes on Friday evenings and Saturdays for 8 weekends per semester and complete most coursework assignments online between class meeting times. Some fieldwork is required during the week, and there are two full time fieldwork semesters at the end. Students enter in the spring semester and deadlines for admission to the program are in June of the preceding year.
The Day Program-North Atlanta/Norcross is a hybrid program in which students take 9-17 credit hours each semester over 7 semesters. Students attend class 2.5 to 3 weekdays each week on ground and complete a significant amount of coursework online between class meeting times Students enter in the summer, and deadlines for admission to the program are in the preceding October.
The Brenau School of Occupational Therapy participates in the Occupational Therapy Centralized Applications Service, known as OTCAS. Students wishing to be considered for admission to the occupational therapy program need to complete a full application package including both the online OTCAS application and the Brenau Graduate Application and must submit both completed applications by the published deadlines scheduled approximately 6-8 months prior to the start of any of the MSOT programs. The OTCAS application requires each applicant to include the following: 1) three professional references, 2) documentation of observation/shadowing hours in at least two different occupational therapy practice settings, and 3) a copy of official transcripts from all previous institutions. To learn more about the OTCAS application process, visit the OTCAS website. The Brenau Graduate Application also requires each applicant to submit a copy of all official transcripts to Brenau University.
Due to the competitive nature of the program applications, meeting admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Students who meet the admission requirements may be invited to participate in an interview and to submit an additional writing sample. Applications are evaluated based on the admission requirements and continue until the class is filled. A wait list of qualified students is maintained until the program track cohort is filled.
Admission Requirements Admission to the M.S.O.T. program is highly competitive. There is no graduate entrance examination (GRE/MAT) requirement, but the following academic and other admission criteria must be met for consideration.
- Overall GPA of 3.0 in college course work.
- Successful completion (no grade below C) of all prerequisite courses by the end of the semester before starting the program. Combined GPA of 3.0 in these prerequisites.
- Basic understanding of the profession
- Evidence of sustained volunteer, work or life experience with individuals who have disabilities.
- Evidence of volunteer or observations of occupational therapy (no minimum number of hours required).
- Evidence of strong interpersonal skills and potential to work in a therapeutic relationship.
- Three recommendations, using OTCAS form. One must be from an occupational therapist, and all from individuals who are knowledgeable of the applicants work and potential for occupational therapy.
- Evidence of strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Writing sample.
Accelerated M.S.O.T. admission for those without a bachelor’s degree
This accelerated admission entry is designed for academically strong undergraduates who meet all program requirements except the Bachelor’s degree. In this program, students will proceed from the end of their junior year (or equivalent 90 hours) directly into graduate studies. At the completion of the occupational therapy program, they will be awarded an M.S.O.T.; no bachelor’s degree is awarded. Students interested in this option are advised that there may be financial aid implications associated with an early move to graduate status; therefore they are encouraged to work with their financial aid and academic advisors prior to deciding on this option.
Admission criteria for accelerated program:
- 90 hours of completed coursework with an overall GPA of 3.4 or better
- 9 of the 90 undergraduate credit hours must be upper division courses (300-400 level).
- 75 credit hours must be completed at time of application.
- B or better in all completed pre-OT requirements:
- A minimum 18 of the required 25 pre-requisite hours completed at time of application.
Factors that would be considered for such students would include a strong GPA (3.4 or better), a prior OTA degree and/or other relevant work experience.
The following requirements must be met for students to remain classified in good standing in the occupational therapy program, therefore earning the right to continue in the program:
- Consistent with Graduate School requirements, a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA must be maintained while at Brenau to be considered in good standing. Refer to the Brenau Catalog for procedures.
- Students who achieve below a C in any occupational therapy course, with the exception of fieldwork courses, will be terminated from the program with the option to reapply. Readmission is not automatic. If a student fails a fieldwork course, the School of Occupational Therapy’s policy on Fieldwork failure, will be followed. Courses within the M.S.O.T. curriculum may have specific grade requirements published in the course syllabus which must be met in order for students to progress within the curriculum.
- Students must maintain satisfactory professional behaviors in all classes and field work. Documentation of unsatisfactory ratings of professional behaviors in two or more semesters can be grounds for termination from the program.
- Successful completion of Level I and II Fieldwork: Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of academic program completion.
- Successful completion of the graduate thesis prior to graduation: The thesis must be completed within 6 months of completion of other academic coursework.
Readmission after Dismissal After being dismissed from the occupational therapy program, a student may be readmitted one time. Formal requests for readmission must be submitted to the Department Chair one semester prior to the desired readmission date. Documents submitted must include a letter requesting readmission as well as transcripts and other documents deemed necessary by the Progression Committee. The Program Chair and the student’s advisor determine the documentation required for the Progression Committee to consider student readmission. The Progression Committee will make a recommendation to the Program Chair after a review of the submitted information. Students may be required to complete additional coursework or meet specified criteria in order to be readmitted. All readmitted students will be on probation for one semester. Readmission is not automatic.
OT Grading Scale
Criteria for grading will be discussed at the beginning of each course and will be included in the course syllabi. Unless otherwise specified, the grading scale is:
||100% to 90%
||89% to 80%
||75% to 79%
||69% to 74%
All grades and evaluations earned by the student and issued by the faculty are based upon the quality of the student’s overall academic performance both in and out of class. Students are expected to attend and participate in class regularly and to contact course instructors for any absence. Within the M.S.O.T. program, the instructors and course syllabi may incorporate stricter attendance policies which supersede those described below. Students are to assume responsibility for meeting all requirements as specified in the course syllabus.
Gainesville and Norcross Day Programs
Students who miss more than 20 percent of the scheduled class sessions for whatever reason may be removed from the class with a failing grade due to non-attendance and non-participation. When lack of attendance and/or participation detrimentally affects the student’s quality of work or performance, the instructor is encouraged to notify the student, the academic adviser and the Dean of Students.
Norcross Weekend Program
Any student who misses more than one class period or the equivalent (which is four hours), must drop the course or receive a failing grade. Students who must withdraw from a course due to absences must complete a drop form.
Special Fees and Expenses
In addition to the University tuition and fees, students are responsible for additional expenses for fieldwork, lab fees, and textbooks for selected courses and other required certifications, examinations, coverage, and memberships needed for completion of the M.S.O.T. program.
- Textbooks tend to be expensive, but are used across the program and as professional references once in the field. Each semester, students must check the Campus Web schedule where there is a feature to assist in generating the textbook list. Direct questions regarding textbook editions and formats to the course instructor.
- E*Value database Students are charged a onetime $300 fee for the E*Value web database to maintain health records and other professional resources including a professional portfolio. Students retain access to E*Value for a period of time after graduation from the program.
- Fieldwork Expenses Students must be able to provide their own transportation to fieldwork sites. Level I Fieldwork sites may occur within a 90 minute drive of the campus or student’s home. Students should plan early in their curriculum for potential future costs associated with Level II fieldwork, to include travel (at least one Level II will occur out of area/state), housing, site required clothing, additional background requirements, immunizations, etc. as listed below
- Students may have to pay transportation, parking and meals during fieldwork experiences.
- Students may have to pay for random drug tests required either by the program or the fieldwork site.
- Students are expected to pay for criminal background checks at the beginning of the program for Brenau University and possibly for the fieldwork sites.
- Students are also expected to cover tuition costs and living expenses related to the two required full time (typically 12 week) fieldwork experiences (OT 715 and OT 716). In addition, these fieldwork experiences typically require working over 40 hours per week, making it extremely difficult to work during the completion of these experiences. Therefore, students must plan well in advance to cover all of their costs for these summer semesters.
- Laptop computer Students will find that the program practices necessitate a laptop computer which meets specifications consistent with Brenau IT guidelines available on the Brenau IT web page. The University charges a Technology Fee each semester. For fee costs and what is covered refer to that section of the Catalog. Students are expected to own a computer that has sufficient memory for the use of streaming video or audio, as well as significant word and data processing. At present, the Microsoft Office Suite is the standard product used by all instructors, so students are expected to have computers that have compatible software for all coursework.
- Liability Insurance is included in the onetime $300 E*Value fee and is not valid after the student leaves the program.
- Tuition and University Fees are the same as those published in the Catalog.
- Lab/Course Fees are assigned as needed to cover consumable materials, such as supplies, assessments, and NBCOT tests used in the course of teaching. These are posted online in the course listings. Fees are paid at the time of registration.
- State and National Professional Organizations Students are expected to become members of the student, state and national professional organizations, and can obtain fee costs from the relevant organizations as noted in the School of Occupational Therapy Handbook.
- Thesis Project expenses typically range from $200-600 per thesis team member which includes costs associated with conducting the research. Depending upon the Thesis delivery method chosen by the Thesis Chair, there may be costs for creating posters and/or presentations and/or duplicating and binding the finished thesis.
- Graduation fees are posted by the registrar and listed in the Catalog.
- NBCOT Certification Examination fees currently are approximately $700. This examination is taken after program and all fieldwork completion.
If for any reason a student is unable to comply with required fees and deadlines, the student is expected to notify his or her advisor in a timely manner, so that the student may be referred to the appropriate financial support resources.
Health and Other Special Requirements
Because of the intensive clinical work in a variety of health settings, the following additional requirements must be met upon admission to the program and renewed as needed throughout the program. Students will be notified of due dates for fees and documentation for these requirements. Students must pay these fees in order to start classes each year.
- Record of immunization (PPD, MMR, Hepatitis B, varicella/chicken pox, and DPT)
- TB Testing
- Results of a yearly physical examination
- CPR at the basic healthcare provider level
- Health Insurance
- Documentation supporting reasonable accommodations for fieldwork (if needed).
- Completed Background Check (must be completed with Advantage student prior to first semester in program)
- A signed copy of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Student” form.
- Universal Precaution/OSHA and Safety Training
- Student Data Form (must be updated yearly)
Course Sequence and Requirements The professional entry program tracks are scheduled as cohort programs and courses are generally offered only once a year in each program site. Course sequences for each program track location are available on the web site.
Essential Functions Admitted students are required to meet essential functions necessary for an occupational therapy student. A list of these is available from the School of Occupational Therapy and is also on the School website. Reasonable accommodations are provided consistent with Brenau Policies.
General Certification and Licensure Requirements Graduates of the program will be 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). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination. All applicants should be aware that the certification and licensing boards have the right to refuse to grant occupational therapy certification and/or licenses to any individuals regardless of their educational credentials under circumstances of:
- Falsification of application for certification/licensure
- Conviction of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
- Other moral and legal violations specified in relevant state laws.
Any applicant who thinks they may have an applicable situation should talk with the Occupational Therapy Department Chair for their program location. This should be done either prior to admission or shortly thereafter.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
The School of Occupational Therapy offers a post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. The program is primarily online, with students required to attend one four-day weekend each semester on campus.
This doctoral program is based on the belief that advanced practice within occupational therapy requires a synthesis of expert knowledge, skills and effective professional reasoning. The program curriculum integrates the philosophy of the Brenau University School of Occupational Therapy by preparing students to advance and excel in their ability to engage and lead in practice, inquiry and advocacy. In this program, a mindful and ongoing examination of the experiences and assumptions underlying current practice is undertaken in light of emerging theories, research and clinical expertise.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is designed for practicing occupational therapists who want to advance in the profession by becoming leaders; being more evidence-based practitioners; opening their own therapy business and/or developing and managing new programs; educating co-workers, clients, families, communities and students; promoting, developing and managing clinical research; and/or gaining funding and support for their goals.
Educational Outcomes: Post -Professional OTD Program
Upon completion of the OTD program, students will be able to:
- Provide facilitative and ethical leadership in practice, education and research.
- Find, evaluate and use the latest research evidence in making practice and programmatic decisions.
- Clearly articulate their professional reasoning and support the development of professional reasoning in others.
- Develop new programs that meet societal needs for participation in occupational.
- Successfully discover, advocate for and solicit funding and support for advanced practice, research and/or educational initiatives.
- Critically consider and synthesize the multiple and complex factors inherent in all practice environments and roles.
- Develop and provide education to adults in diverse health and education contexts based upon best practices in learning theory and teaching methods.
OTD Program Location This program will be conducted primarily online. Students will be required to attend one four-day weekend once each semester, on either the Gainesville or the North Atlanta/Norcross campus. All programs are cohort programs.
Students who meet the following admission requirements will be required to participate in an interview. Applications are evaluated based on the admission requirements and will continue until the cohort is filled.
Admission Requirements Admission to the OTD program is competitive. There is no graduate entrance examination (GRE/MAT) requirement, but the following academic and other admission criteria must be met for consideration.
- Currently practicing and licensed occupational therapist
- Master’s degree or at least 30 credits of graduate coursework, and official transcripts
- Minimum overall GPA in college and graduate coursework of 3.0
- Letter of application
- Three letters of reference addressing professional abilities, and academic and leadership potential.
The following requirements must be met for students to remain classified as in good standing in the OTD program, therefore earning the right to continue in the program:
- Consistent with Graduate School requirements, a minimum 3.0 GPA must be maintained while at Brenau to be considered in good standing. Refer to the Brenau Catalog for procedures.
- Courses within the OTD curriculum may have specific grade requirements in order for students to progress within the curriculum. The course syllabus provides information about specific grading requirements.
Readmission after Dismissal After being dismissed from the occupational therapy program, a student may be readmitted one time. Formal requests for readmission must be submitted to the Department Chair one semester prior to the readmission date. Additional documentation may be required. The Program Chair and the student’s advisor determine the documentation required for the Progression Committee to consider student readmission. The Progression Committee will make a recommendation to the Program Chair after a review of the submitted information. Students may be required to complete additional coursework or meet specified criteria in order to be readmitted. All readmitted students will be on probation for one semester. Readmission is not automatic.
Special Fees and Expenses
- Concierge Fee: In addition to the University tuition, students in the OTD program will pay a fee each semester to cover University IT services, textbooks, lodging and most meals during on-campus weekends.
- Professional Organization Memberships: Memberships in the American Occupational Therapy Association and the student’s state or regional organization are required. Information from these organizations is routinely used in coursework.
- Laptop computer: Students are expected to have a laptop computer which meets required specifications.
- Course Sequence and Requirements The post-professional doctoral program courses are offered only once a year. Course sequences are available on the web site.
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