2012-2013 Brenau University Catalog 
    May 28, 2024  
2012-2013 Brenau University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Occupational Therapy

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Departments

Click here for information about the Graduate Occupational Therapy Department

Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Preparation

Barbara Schell, Associate Dean, College of Health & Science; Director, School of Occupational Therapy
Robin Underwood, Chair Occupational Therapy-Gainesville
Mary Shotwell, Chair Occupational Therapy-North Atlanta

Degrees Offered  The occupational therapy program leads to a M.S.O.T. degree .

Mission  Occupational therapy is a health profession which is deeply embedded in the liberal arts and committed to helping all people participate in the activities of life that they want and need to do. We embrace the University’s commitment to preparing students for extraordinary lives, the School’s focus on integrating liberal education with professional preparation and the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Centennial Vision which sees occupational therapy as a “powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.” Drawing from these sources, the mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy follows.

The School of Occupational Therapy prepares students to become occupational therapists who excel in Practice, Inquiry and Advocacy. The intent is three-fold: to prepare students for entry level and advanced level practice in diverse settings; to provide leadership related to advocacy at the local, state, national and international levels; and to contribute to the body of knowledge through inquiry, and scholarly activities.

Undergraduate Information/ Preparation for the MSOT

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 MSOT 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 .

  • Post Baccalaureate Pre-Occupational Therapy Program  for those with prior degrees: Students who already possess a bachelor’s degree and who wish to take program pre-requisites may enroll in the Pre-OT Preparatory Program which consists of all program pre-requisite courses. Students may choose this option if they wish to complete some or all of the required MSOT pre-requisite courses at Brenau.
  • Health Science (B.S.) [pre-OT]   is available in both Gainesville and North Atlanta
  • Psychology (B.S.) [Pre-OT]  is available only at the Gainesville campus through the Women’s College.
  • Students with any undergraduate major will be considered for admission to the MSOT program, as long as they have met the program pre-requisites.
  • Accelerated MSOT admission for those without a bachelor’s degree: Highly qualified applicants without a bachelor’s degree who meet program criteria may to apply directly to the M.S.O.T. program 

Accelerated MSOT admission for those without a bachelor’s degree

This accelerated admission program is designed for academically strong Brenau undergraduates who meet all program requirements except the Bachelor’s degree requirement. All students who are considering this program should be following an undergraduate program of studies which leads to a degree, until such time as they are awarded accelerated admission into the MSOT program. See the health science or psychology options above for appropriate programs to consider at Brenau.

In this program, students will proceed from the end of their junior year (or equivalent hours) directly into graduate studies. At the completion of the occupational therapy program, they will be awarded an MSOT; no bachelor’s degree is awarded. Students remain eligible for undergraduate financial aid, until they complete 120-127 hours (varying depending on their programs of study).

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, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. 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 Occupational Justice

The center for occupational justice (COJ) housed within the School of Occupational Therapy provides services to the community while at the same time providing educational opportunities for Brenau students. The title of the center reflects the School’s commitment to support justice in 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 Occupational Justice 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 COJ is located at the Occupational Therapy Department at Brenau East located at 1001 Chestnut Road, with additional programs offered at the North Atlanta Campus Occupational Therapy Department located at 3139 Campus Drive, Norcross, GA 30071. For information about services, contact Jennifer Allison at jellison@brenau.edu or by phone at 678-707-5012.

Center for Professional Reasoning

Professional reasoning is a term that is used to describe the thinking that individuals use in the course of planning, performing, directing and reflecting on the services provided to clients. 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 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, 1001 Chestnut Road, Gainesville, GA. For information about the Center, contact bschell@brenau.edu or by phone at (678) 770-5007.

back to top

Occupational Therapy Graduate Information

The School of Occupational Therapy offers 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 at two different locations: Gainesville and Norcross. All programs are cohort programs.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) is for students who have a bachelor’s degree and who wish to become occupational therapists. The program is designed to meet the ACOTE standards for entry level education, as well as to provide an advanced graduate degree in occupational therapy. The program focuses on the development of entry-level clinical skills, with extensive Level I Fieldwork Experiences in medical, educational and community-based practices. Additionally, the program addresses the development of applied clinical research skills, advanced theory in practice and administration and the acquisition of selected post-entry level practice skills. Two full-time Level II Fieldwork Experiences are required.

Program Philosophy
The occupational therapy curriculum integrates effectively with the philosophical base of occupational therapy
Occupations are activities that bring meaning to the daily lives of individuals, families, and communities and enable them to participate in society. All individuals have an innate need and right to engage in meaningful occupations throughout their lives. Participation in these occupations influences their development, health and well-being across the lifespan. As such, participation in meaningful occupation is a determinant of health.

  • Occupations occur within diverse social, physical, cultural, personal, temporal, or virtual contexts. The quality of occupational performance and the experience of each occupation are unique in each situation due to the dynamic relationship between factors intrinsic to the individual, the contexts in which the occupation occurs, and the characteristics of the activity.
  • The focus and outcome of occupational therapy are individuals’ engagement in meaningful occupations that support their participation in life situations. 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.
  • Occupational therapy is based on the belief that occupations may be used for health promotion and wellness, remediation or restoration, health maintenance, disease and injury prevention, and compensation/adaptation. The use of occupation to promote individual, community, and population health is the core of occupational therapy practice, education, research, and advocacy. (AOTA, 2011)

Occupational therapy practice requires an appreciation of the many personal and environmental factors which transact in the performance of occupational tasks associated with activities of daily living, education, work and productive activities, a play and leisure, rest and sleep and social participation. Personal characteristics affecting performance include sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional attributes. These characteristics are assessed within temporal contexts which include life course development and the acuity or chronicity or risk of the health problem affecting performance. Environmental factors affecting performance include physical, social, and cultural arenas in which performance occurs. Occupational therapy interventions are often aimed at several of these variables, in order to improve performance. Therefore, students require extensive opportunities for recognizing the complexities associated with performance problems, as well as selecting and combining interventions likely to be effective

This curriculum is designed to provide the student with opportunities to use these fundamental principles as a basis for clinical reasoning in professional practice.

Educational Outcomes: Professional Entry M.S.O.T Program

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.
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in:
  • Program design and development,
  • Community and population-based care and,
  • Selected specialty practices.
  1. Communicate professionally in written and oral form using applicable technological resources.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of occupational therapy and occupational science theories and their utility for guiding practice and research.
  3. 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.
  1. Participate in life-long professional development through:
  • Critical reflection on practice,
  • Identification and implementation of professional development plans
  1. Participate in life-long personal development related to self-awareness, spirituality and life-time fitness
  2. Contribute to the development of the profession through ongoing professional activities
  3. Reflect the values and attitudes of the profession through ethical practice
  4. Analyze socio-cultural factors affecting practice, including organizational, legal and global/political issues.
  5. 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.

MSOT Program Locations  The program is offered at two different locations: Gainesville and North Atlanta. All programs are cohort programs.

Gainesville: The Day Program-Gainesville is a typical weekday program in which students take 14-17 hours a semester over seven semesters. Students in this program need to be able to devote 40-50 hours a week to coursework, fieldwork and assignments. Students enter in the Fall and deadlines for admission to the program are in the preceding January.

North Atlanta: There are two MSOT programs in North Atlanta, a weekend program and a day program. Both programs are designed for students with significant work or other responsibilities which are not compatible daily weekday course obligations.

  • The Weekend Program-North Atlanta is a hybrid program, with an average of 9-13 credits per semester over nine semesters. Students attend on ground on Friday evenings and Saturdays for 7-8 weekends per semester. Some fieldwork is required during the week, and there are two full time fieldwork semesters at the end. Students in this program should plan to devote 20-30 hours a week to coursework, fieldwork and assignments. 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 will be available summer 2013, when the first cohort will start. This program will also be a hybrid program, with students attending 2-3 weekdays each week on ground, with the rest of the program online. Students in this program should plan to devote 40-50 hours during the week and weekends to coursework, fieldwork and assignments. Students enter in the summer and deadlines for admission to the program are in the preceding December.
Admission Process

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 apply online using the OTCAS application and submit the completed application by the published deadlines scheduled approximately 8 months prior to the start of either the day or weekend program. The Brenau OTCAS application requires the following each applicant to complete the following: 1) the OTCAS application, 2) three professional references, 3) documentation of observation/shadowing hours in at least two different occupational therapy practice settings, 4) two copies of official transcripts from all previous institutions. To learn more about the OTCAS application process visit the OTCAS website.

Students who meet the admission requirements will be required to submit a writing sample and to participate in an interview. Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applications are evaluated based on the admission requirements and continue until the class is filled. An alternate list of qualified students is maintained until confirmation is obtained on all vacant positions in the class.

Admission Requirements  Admission to the MSOT 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.

  1. Overall GPA of 3.0 in college course work.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. Evidence of strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Writing sample on admission form and on site.
  • Interview.

Progression Requirements  The following requirements must be met for students to remain classified as in good standing in the occupational therapy program, therefore earning the right to continue in the program:

  1. Consistent with Graduate School requirements, students are required to maintain a B or better in all coursework.
  2. 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.
  3. Successful completion of all Level I and II Fieldwork prior to graduation. Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of academic program completion.
  4. 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 Program 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 department. The Program Chair and the student’s adviser determine the documentation required for the Progression Committee to consider student readmission. 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  In addition to the University tuition and fees, students are responsible for additional expenses for lab coats or uniforms, lab fees for selected courses and required health and other requirements 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.
  • E*Value database  Students are charged fees 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.
  • Travel & living expenses during fieldwork  Students must be able to provide their own transportation to fieldwork sites. Level I Fieldwork sites may occur in a 60 mile radius from the program site and for students in the evening/weekend program, Level I Fieldwork placements may require similar distances from the student’s home. Level II Fieldwork experiences may be out of state for all students. Note that students are also expected to cover living expenses related to the required two semesters of full-time Level II Fieldwork which may occur at a distance from student residence.
  • Laptop computer  Students will find that program practices necessitate a laptop computer which meets specifications consistent with Brenau IT guidelines available on the Brenau IT web page.

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 fees in order to start classes each year.

  • Annual physical
  • Annual T.B. Titer Test or Chest X-Ray: T.B.
  • Tetanus shot done during past 10 years
  • MMR shot or documentation of having illnesses in past
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine Series or Waiver (Students may not be able to go to certain fieldwork sites if they do not receive the vaccine)
  • C.P.R. Training
  • Health Insurance
  • Malpractice Insurance in the amount of $1,000,000/$3,000,000
  • Criminal background check
  • Additional information, such as drug screening, may be required by some facilities. This cost is the student’s responsibility.

Course Sequence and Requirements  The professional entry programs are scheduled as cohort programs and courses are generally offered only once a year in each program site. Course sequences for each program 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:

  1. Falsification of application for certification/licensure
  2. Conviction of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
  3. 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.




Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Departments