Apr 17, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy, M.O.T.

Phone: (540) 568-2399                                                                   Website: http://www.healthsci.jmu.edu/occupationaltherapy

Interim Academic Unit Head
Dr. Özlem Ersin

Graduate Program Director
Dr. Twylla Kirchen

Assistant Professors
T. Kirchen, J. Wenos, A. Russell Yun

E. Richardson


Academic preparation for the occupational therapy profession currently occurs at the master’s level. The Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) is a professional master’s program designed to prepare students for entry-level practice. This program prepares students to be general occupational therapy practitioners.

One cohort of students is admitted each year. Classes begin in June. The design of the program is a 2.5 year model.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree must submit application directly to the JMU graduate school. Visit the following website for instructions: https://www.jmu.edu/grad/prospective/index.shtml  

JMU students applying during their senior year must submit an application to the JMU graduate school. Refer to the occupational therapy program website for updated information: http://www.healthsci.jmu.edu/occupationaltherapy/index.html  

Application Deadlines

Applications submitted by the due date are reviewed first and given earliest consideration for admission into the program. Applications received after the deadline will only be considered if enrollment permits. (Incomplete applications will not be reviewed).

The application deadline is December 1, 2017. Applications must be submitted online to the JMU graduate school.

Check the OT program website for updated information. At this time, the JMU M.O.T. program does not participate in the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).

For additional information, contact the occupational therapy program office at 540-568-2399.

Admission Requirements

Admission is limited and competitive. Students applying to the program with a baccalaureate degree will enter the program directly as graduate students. Successful completion of 79 graduate credits will result in earning the M.O.T. degree.

JMU students admitted as juniors under the early-entry (Occupational Studies) option will complete all required classes in the occupational studies concentration (35 credits) as undergraduate students to complete their bachelor’s degree.

To progress into the M.O.T. Program, students must meet all of The Graduate School requirements and all academic and professional behavior standards within the Occupational Therapy Program. Students may be fully admitted. In situations where there are concerns about a student’s academic performance, (e.g. earning grades below a “B”) or adherence to ethical or professional behavior standards, students may be dismissed, put on probation or conditionally accepted into the M.O.T. Program.

Students in the occupational studies concentration must apply to The Graduate School during the fall of their first year in the occupational therapy program. Additional information will be provided during the fall term.

To be considered for admission to the M.O.T. program, prospective students must:

  • Have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree prior from a regionally accredited university prior to classes beginning in June.
  • Earn satisfactory Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in verbal, quantitative and writing sections. GRE scores should be submitted to the JMU graduate school. (Code 5392)
  • Submit an application and fee to and be admitted to the JMU graduate school.
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Meet all prerequisite course requirements with a grade of “C” (2.0) in the courses noted below. NOTE: JMU course numbers are provided. Students not attending JMU as undergraduates may request that courses with similar content be substituted for the specific courses listed. Transcripts and syllabi of the courses should be supplied for the review of content. The admissions committee of the occupational therapy program will determine if the courses meet the prerequisite requirements. Refer to the OT program website for details on how to initiate this process.
  • Submit documentation of a minimum forty hours of observation of occupational therapy services. Hours must be completed with an Occupational Therapist. Forms available on the OT program website must be used.
  • Submit three reference forms documenting strong academic skills, professionalism, inter-personal skills and intra-personal skills. Students often submit references from employers, volunteer supervisors and instructors. Do not ask relative and friends to complete these. Request references online while completing The Graduate School application. Use forms available on the occupational therapy program website.
  • Submit an autobiographical statement of 1,500 words or less. Refer to the JMU M.O.T. program website for specific instructions regarding this assignment.
  • Graduate applicants must demonstrate computer competency information-seeking skills.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform essential functions required of occupational therapists. Students will receive additional information during orientation. Should an applicant have questions prior to applying, he/she should contact the occupational therapy program directly.
  • Demonstrate proficiency communicating in English. If the student completed course work internationally, he/she must submit an official copy of the TOEFL or IELTS.

Contact the OT program with any questions.

While JMU’s occupational therapy program does not require criminal background checks, drug screens, sex offender screens, credit checks, etc. as a condition of acceptance or enrollment, applicants should be advised that in order to protect clients, multiple affiliation sites where students complete clinical fieldwork do require these types of clearance.

Regulatory boards such as the NBCOT or state licensing boards require background checks as part of the application process. To remain qualified to participate in the M.O.T. program, students will be asked to pay for and complete these prior to starting their clinical affiliations.

In order to protect vulnerable clients, students will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination or immunity to certain conditions.

Students will need to complete CPR training prior to starting level I fieldwork and must keep credential active.

Applicants may be completing prerequisite courses when they apply to the program but may have no more than three prerequisite courses left to complete during the spring semester following the submission of their application. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning course work in the M.O.T. program.

A visit to the JMU occupational therapy program is strongly recommended for candidates who plan to apply. Applicants should be familiar with the JMU M.O.T. program, the curriculum and length of study, as well as all financial responsibilities as an in-state or out-of-state student. Information sessions will be held for interested students. Call the occupational therapy program office for details.

Prerequisite Courses

These courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.

Prerequisite Requirement
Names and numbers may vary at different institutions.

  • Social Science Content (minimum of 6 credit hours)

Content from courses submitted must address how social, cultural & diversity factors affect individuals.

  • Human Development Across the Lifespan (minimum of 3 credit hours)

Content must address human development across the lifespan birth-old age. Read course descriptions carefully.

  • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (minimum 6 credit hours)

Must include a lab component. Students may take a semester course in each topic or by taking the entire sequence from the same university. Courses must have been taken within the past seven years.

  • Biomechanics: Physics or kinesiology course

Content must cover physical aspects of movement.

  • Statistics and an additional math/statistics course
  • Medical Terminology
  • Research Methods


JMU Courses that Meet Requirements
This list is not fully inclusive.

  • ANTH 195. Cultural Anthropology
  • SOCI 140. Microsociology: The Individual in Society
  • SOCI 110. Social Issues in a Global Context
  • PSYC 160. Life Span Human Development
  • PSYC 250. Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
  • BIO 270. Human Physiology
  • BIO 290. Human Anatomy
  • HTH 441. Rehabilitative Biomechanics
  • PHYS 140. College Physics + 140 L
  • KIN 407. Rehabilitation Biomechanics
  • KIN 306. Human Biomechanics + 306 L
  • MATH 220. Elementary Statistics
  • HTH 320. Statistical Methods for Health Science Research
  • HTH 210. Medical Terminology
  • HTH 408. Health Research Methods

Application Evaluation Criteria

Candidates are evaluated through review of their written application. The following characteristics, skills and accomplishments are assessed:

  • Academic preparation (overall GPA, prerequisite GPA).
  • Autobiographical statement (See program website for further information).
  • Written communication skills.
  • Volunteer/health and human services experience (Volunteer Form – 40 hours minimum).
  • Three references using reference form (not letters).
  • Thoroughness and timeliness of application submission (date and status of application material when received).
  • Level of commitment and desire to enroll in graduate occupational therapy education at JMU.
  • Degree of professional behavior and maturity during the student’s advising and application process.


The mission of the occupational therapy program is to provide a well-rounded educational experience to students that will prepare them to effectively practice in a variety of service areas within today’s health and human service arena. Each graduate will:

  • possess a thorough understanding of occupation.
  • be able to articulate and demonstrate the theoretical and practical application of occupational therapy.
  • be comfortable and competent working with individuals in a variety of practice settings.
  • be committed to continuous professional growth and the evolution and validation of the profession as human needs change.
  • be able to systematically locate and evaluate available evidence-based literature to formulate assessment and intervention decisions to guide professional practice.

Faculty participating in the program will contribute through service and education to professional circles and the local community. They will maintain high standards of professional knowledge while offering quality education to students.

Occupational therapists work with individuals whose ability to participate in the occupations of life is disrupted or unable to develop due to injury, disease, developmental difficulties or environmental factors. Occupational therapy is a health and human service profession whose name is reflective of the time that it was formally founded (1917) when the term occupation collectively referred to activities people engage in throughout their day. Based on the centuries-old belief that there is health in doing, active client-centered participation is both the focus of the professional and its main avenue of intervention.

Occupational therapists work in hospitals (inpatient and outpatient programs), rehabilitation centers, early intervention programs, schools, mental health programs, home health care agencies, industrial medicine/rehabilitation programs, skilled nursing facilities, private practices, correctional facilities, shelters, community-based programs or at colleges or universities as faculty.

Program Policies

Academic Standards: Satisfactory progress for graduate students enrolled in the occupational therapy program is defined as earning a grade of “B” or 3.0 in all courses. Students who earn a grade of “C” will be referred to the OT Program Academic Review Committee. The Graduate School policies also apply.

Adherence to Professional & Ethical Codes of Conduct: As is the case within any professional program, students admitted into the occupational therapy program must agree to abide by and uphold professional and ethical codes of conduct. These include the JMU Honor Code and the NBCOT Code of Conduct (refer to http://www.nbcot.org/certificant-code-of-conduct for additional details.)

Scheduling: The occupational therapy program is carefully designed as a full-time curriculum. It is a lock step curriculum that must be taken in the sequence and semester assigned. There is no part-time or extended time option. Exceptions are extremely rare and are made at the discretion of the OT Program Academic Review Committee.

Academic Fieldwork: These are assigned at the discretion of the academic fieldwork coordinator. Students are responsible for transportation costs. Two types of academic fieldwork are completed in the Occupational Therapy Program.

  • Level I experiences are designed to expose students to different areas of practice. There are three of these embedded within the curriculum.
  • Level II experiences are full time, twelve week affiliations. These experiences are designed to prepare to be at entry level within the particular practice area.

Students should be advised that successful completion of the program does not equate to becoming credentialed as an occupational therapist. Students must be eligible to take the NBCOT exam and meet criteria for obtaining license in their state of other jurisdiction.


Effective December 6, 2013, the occupational program was granted full accreditation for a period of ten years (2012/13- 2022/23) by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Contact information for ACOTE: Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education ACOTE c/o AOTA; 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200; Bethesda, MD 20824-3449. AOTA’s phone number is (301) 652-2682 and the website is www.acoteonline.org.

With full ACOTE accreditation, graduates of the program can register to take the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  

Satisfactory performance on this exam is the basis for regulation of practice of occupational therapy in most states and allows the graduate to become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR).

Students are advised to check the requirements for practice for any state they are interested in. The licensing and regulatory authority in Virginia is the Virginia Board of Medicine-Department of Health Professions.

A prior conviction for crimes that involve harm to others as well as certain issues with background checks may affect the graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT exam and/or attain state licensure.

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
Phone: (301) 990-7979
Website: www.nbcot.org

Virginia Board of Medicine
Occupational Therapy Advisory Board
9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23233-1463
Phone: (804) 367-4600
Website: https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/medicine/advisory/ot/Curriculum

All of the following courses are required and must be taken in the sequence specified. Students must be enrolled full-time. Exceptions to this requirement are rare and are only granted by the program coordinator. Students must perform satisfactorily from an academic and ethical standpoint in a manner that is consistent with JMU Graduate School and Occupational Therapy Program policies.

Total: 9 Credit Hours

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 14 Credit Hours

Additional Information

Students enrolled in the program at the undergraduate level would receive a Bachelor of Science degree in health sciences at this time.

Total: 3 Credit Hours

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 10 Credit Hours

Total: 9 Credit Hours

Total: 9 Credit Hours


Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of didactic course work.

Additional Information

Students would receive a master’s of occupational therapy degree at December commencement once they conclude all academic and clinical course work.