Jul 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Occupational Therapy

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Chairperson and Program Director: Julie Kunisch, OTD; Clinical Associate Professors: Julie Kunisch, OTD, Laura Poleshuck, Ph.D., OTD, and Lisa Sykes, OTD; Clinical Assistant Professors: Will Soles, MS, and Térése Betts, OTD

Occupational Therapy Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Program is consistent with the mission of Nazareth University and the College of Interprofessional Health and Human Services in that it will develop equity-minded, innovative, and empathic changemakers who are adept at critical reasoning and creative problem-solving. As future leaders, our OT graduates will be strong advocates of collaborative teamwork, community service, and evidence-based practice to enhance the occupations of culturally diverse individuals, communities, and global populations.

Occupational Therapy Program

The Occupational Therapy Program at Nazareth University is a professional entry-level five-year program.  The combined baccalaureate/master’s (BS/MS) program requires 165 credits for completion of the degree (131 credit hours at the undergraduate level; 30 credit hours at the graduate level). With the exception of a few courses, courses are taught in person. The Occupational Therapy Program was granted accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in December 2014 and reaccredited for 10 years in 2023.

“As an inclusive profession, occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living.” ( American Occupational Therapy Association).

Preparation includes a strong background in the sciences and liberal arts and an intensive professional education. Through community engaged learning, active learning in lectures, labs, on and off-campus clinical opportunities, and community-based fieldwork experiences, students learn to support individuals in developing and/or regaining the skills they need for meaningful participation in daily life.

Occupational therapy undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B). In addition, they must achieve a 2.7 (B-) or greater in each occupational therapy course and a 2.0 (C) or greater in each science course and statistics to continue in the major.

In the Nazareth Occupational Therapy Program, students actively engage in learning how to support the development of a person’s sensory, physical, cognitive/perceptual, and/or psychosocial abilities. They also learn to modify the environment, tasks, and to recommend equipment/technology to help each person to maximize their quality of life. The program prepares students with the clinical reasoning needed for entry-level general practice, and develops initial skills in specialization areas such as early intervention, school based practice, developmental disabilities, neurological rehabilitation, environmental analysis and modification, sensory processing, and the treatment of upper extremity and orthopedic conditions. All students engage in collaborative research with occupational therapy faculty members and share their discoveries with other faculty, students, and community members in a poster presentation.

The diversity of the profession will allow the graduate the opportunity to provide occupational therapy in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, clinics, and the community.

Accreditation Information

Nazareth University’s entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program was granted initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in December 2014, and was re-accredited for 10 years in April 2023. ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA. Its web address is www.acoteonline.org. Accreditation of the program allows its graduates to be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Certification Board for Occupational Therapists (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). NBCOT pass rates can be accessed at https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance. In addition, New York State, and all other states require licensure in order to practice, however state licenses are contingent 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 exam or attain state licensure.

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