Master of Science in OT Program

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program curriculum is designed for students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than occupational therapy. It enables the student to obtain the education and degrees necessary to be eligible to practice as an occupational therapist. This program is offered primarily on the San Jose State University campus but students will also have fieldwork and practicum experiences off campus. Once the Master of Science degree in occupational therapy is completed, the student is eligible to sit for the national certification examination. Successful completion of the examination qualifies the candidate to apply for national certification and state licensure.
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MS in OT Graduate Admissions Coordinator
MS in OT Graduate Admissions Assistants


Criminal background check
A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination and may preclude attainment of state licensure. Some practicum and fieldwork sites may also perform background checks and refuse internships to students with a felony conviction. Students who have a prior felony conviction are urged to contact the above mentioned certification and licensing boards prior to the start of the program to determine their potential to practice as an occupational therapist. While we recognize this to be a privacy issue, it is recommended that the student disclose this information to the Fieldwork Director before fieldwork placements are sought.

We accept applications once per year beginning on October 1st. The deadline for submitting applications and application materials is on February 1st of each year. However, we recommend submitting the application as soon as possible as we admit on a rolling basis and can therefore fill the class before February 1st. In that event, we will close the application process.

You may begin the application process on OTCAS beginning in mid July.

Students must also apply to the university via Cal State Apply (separate from the program application). Please see deadline dates on the Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) website. For Fall 2022 program, applications will become available October 1st.

Program Resource Links:

Curriculum Design

The curriculum is organized around the core principle of participation in occupation to promote health, well-being, and social inclusion. The curriculum is designed to enable students to acquire the knowledge and competencies necessary to become qualified as a generalist in occupational therapy practice within four semesters of graduate academic study and six months of supervised fieldwork experience. There is broad exposure to current and emerging practice areas with a wide range of populations, conditions, and ages.

Students receive a strong foundation in the concept of occupation early in the program and subsequent coursework is structured to provide a holistic orientation to occupational therapy practice.  Participation in occupation is the desired outcome for all recipients of occupational therapy services. Participation in occupation is broadly defined, so courses address practice in a variety of settings, both traditional and emerging. The addition of a two-course sequence in community-based practice provides strong linkages to the local community, including programs where occupational therapy has not traditionally been available, and provides students with a variety of opportunities to engage with clients and service providers in creative problem-solving contexts.

A lifespan orientation to occupational therapy practice was chosen rather than organization according to traditional practice areas in order to emphasize the holistic nature of contemporary practice. Course content addressing professional behaviors and research/evidence-based practice provided throughout the curriculum assists students in advancing critical analysis and leadership skills. The curriculum supports the mission and vision of the department and the university in preparing occupational therapy leaders who serve their communities through both scholarship and practice.

Students in each cohort are assigned to one of two tracks for study.   Most courses are taken concurrently. The clinical/community practicum courses (OCTH 276, 234, 286) are offered in both semesters to provide continuity of services in the on-campus clinics and for the clinical and community partners. Therefore, students may enroll in these courses in either the Fall or Spring semester, depending on the track to which they are assigned. The lifespan-based practice courses (OCTH 226, 236, 246, 256, 266) are designed so that they do not need to be taken in sequence.  See the Degree Roadmap below for an overview of sequencing.

The curriculum is composed of six clusters:

  1. Occupation—the core of the profession
  2. Foundations for occupational therapy practice
  3. Professional development
  4. Practice in the Community
  5. Research and knowledge development
  6. Practice of occupational therapy.

Six curricular threads reflect knowledge and skills that run through all courses in the curriculum. They include the following (see Curriculum Threads section below for more detail):

  1. Integrating affective experiences: Skills in perceiving, understanding, and responding to the emotional contexts of interactions and performance of self and others
  2. Embracing diversity: Self-reflection and awareness of one’s own identity, values, attitudes, and prejudices. Skills in perceiving, understanding, respecting, and responding to others’ diverse experiences, values, attitudes, and prejudices
  3. Developing professional identity & leadership capacity: Understanding oneself as a professional through self-reflection, development of professional behaviors and engagement in professional activities
  4. Becoming creators of knowledge: Understanding the development of knowledge and how one can contribute to the evolution of knowledge. Be a self-directed, independent learner and scholar
  5. Understanding humans as occupational beings: Knowledge of the complexity and uniqueness of occupation in the human experience and the facilitation of occupational participation
  6. Engaging and serving communities of practice, scholarship, and learning: Connecting, collaborating, and serving department, university, local, and global communities.

icon for word important  Notice for re-applicants 2021-2022 [pdf]

All students in the OT program will be required to participate in an international experience as a part of their academic program. For students seeking an alternative to the study abroad requirement or students who have substantial international experience within 5 years of entering San Jose State University please see the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) website for petition forms.

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