Masters of Science Occupational Therapy Program Description

Our mission is to prepare OT professionals who continually strive for the highest standards of professional practice as they prepare for roles as experts in enabling occupation, demonstrating strong clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, and innovative leadership with a special attention to community development.

The MSc(OT) curriculum consists of a combination of required academic and fieldwork courses. There is an emphasis on the integration of basic science and social science with theory and practice and a focus on what it means to be a professional within a complex and rapidly changing health care system. Consequently, each course:

  • integrates and builds on the foundational material (e.g. anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, etc.),
  • evaluates knowledge and practice within the context of current evidence and clinical reasoning, and
  • engages students in the application of this knowledge to their fieldwork and other health-related experiences.

The intent is to encourage self-directed learning, transformative learning, team-based learning and reflective practitioner behaviours.

The overall aim of the program is to ensure that each graduate acquires the essential competencies required to become a practicing OT as well as has the ability to provide leadership within complex and ever-changing practice environments. The program offers a dynamic curriculum that will meet and exceed professional and practice standards. It will prepare students with graduate-level knowledge, skills, competencies, and professional behaviours required for practice in the contemporary health care arena.

The program is organized into the following five themes:

    • Theme I
    • Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy
    • Theme II
    • Dimensions of Occupation
    • Theme III
    • Communication Skills
    • Theme IV
    • Community Development
    • Theme V
    • Critical Enquiry

The five theme areas are horizontally integrated which allows students to start with the basic material and then progress to more complex ideas over the course of the two-year curriculum. Accompanying this integration is an increasing emphasis on the development of independent and self-directed learning. The themes are also vertically integrated, thereby allowing students to clearly incorporate their academic and fieldwork experience. The curriculum is inquiry-based, in that the investigation of problems or key questions forms the basis for all course development. This progressive, integrated, inquiry-based curriculum allows for the development of increasing competencies in the field of OT and encourages deeper understanding of OT practice. All students emerge from the program with an in-depth exposure to the full spectrum of communication skills required to support both practice and leadership interactions and the field of community development. All students develop skills and knowledge in the area of clinical reasoning, critical inquiry and evidence-based practice, which serve as a foundation for all educational experiences in this curriculum.

The MScOT curriculum consists of a combination of required academic and fieldwork courses. The curriculum is based on a recognized theoretical framework and taxonomy for occupational therapy, developed by Queen's occupational therapy faculty and colleagues (McColl, Law, Stewart, Doubt, Pollock & Krupa 2003). There is an emphasis on the integration of basic science and social science with theory and practice and a focus on what it means to be a professional within a complex and rapidly changing health care system. Consequently, it is expected that each course will build on the foundational material required (e.g., anatomy, physiology, psychology, application to this knowledge to their fieldwork and other health related experiences. The intent is to encourage self-directed learning, transformative learning, team-based learning and reflective practitioner behaviours. The MSc(OT) curriculum promotes increasing levels of complexity and understanding and thus we expect students to demonstrate higher levels of learning throughout the educational process. We also intend to capitalize on their considerable intellectual and reflective capabilities (gained through their undergraduate studies) immediately. For example, we expect students to engage in interpretation, application and critique as soon as they begin with coursework and we will expect the application of evidence in their practice upon graduation.

Fieldwork is a critical aspect of the curriculum, with 1000 hours designated by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists accreditation standards as the minimum required level. Within the Queen's curriculum the student is exposed to a well-rounded fieldwork experience through a variety of planned experiences that are integrated, through the themes, with academic coursework. The majority of students are placed within the Queen's University catchment area (east to Cornwall, west to Oshawa and north to Peterborough, Smiths Falls and Perth). Placements may also be obtained elsewhere in Ontario, across Canada, or internationally. Students are responsible for the costs associated with clinical placements. While every effort is made to place students in their location of choice, this is not always possible.