Department of Occupational Therapy

Diane Long, Associate Professor and Chair

The mission of the occupational therapy program is to prepare competent, skilled, and ethical professional occupational therapists, who will enable their clients to achieve productive and satisfying lives. The Department of Occupational Therapy offers two programs to meet this mission: a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s program and a professional-entry master’s program. The curriculum of the five-year combined B.S./M.S. program in occupational therapy is designed to provide a strong foundation in the liberal arts, sciences, and humanities; to offer a comprehensive and rigorous professional education; and to develop attitudes and skills for lifelong learning and leadership. Academic instruction is complemented by clinical fieldwork experiences, including 32 weeks of full-time clinical affiliations. Students are provided with a strong general education and the opportunity to explore special interests in academic, clinical, and research arenas. The professional-entry master’s program is described in the Ithaca College Graduate Catalog.

The occupational therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA, 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220; telephone, 301-652-AOTA). (

Graduates of the MS occupational therapy program are 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 New York and most other states, a professional license is also required for practice. The NBCOT examination serves as the licensing exam in most states. Students are, however, required to apply separately for licensure and certification upon graduation. The BM/MS program is five years in length and leads to a master of science degree in occupational therapy. Students in this program receive a bachelor of science degree in occupational science at the completion of four years of study. They are not eligible for licensure or certification, however, until they complete the fifth (graduate) year. The department also offers a professional entry level master’s degree program for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another area of study. The master’s degree programs are further described in the Ithaca College graduate catalog. Graduate Catalog

Undergraduate occupational science majors are required to take a comprehensive anatomy course by no later than the summer of their third (junior) year. They may take either a 5-credit Functional Human Anatomy course on the Ithaca College campus or a 6-credit Human Anatomy course at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY. Students wishing to take the Human Anatomy course must meet the requirements to take a graduate level course. The fifth (graduate) year of the combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program consists of two academic semesters and two summers, during which three full-time clinical fieldwork experiences are completed at sites throughout the country. Travel and housing arrangements for fieldwork are the responsibility of the student. Students typically enter the BM/MS program as freshmen, but transfer students may also be accepted as described in the "Policies and Procedures" of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

Transfer into the School

Special Academic Status Policy for Students in the Combined B.S./M.S. Occupational Therapy Program

Students in occupational science and occupational therapy must obtain a grade of at least C- in all professional courses, including major courses and required courses outside the major.

Students majoring in occupational science must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.70 by the conclusion of the sophomore year in order to continue in the major. Progression through the remainder of the undergraduate program depends on maintenance of a 2.70 cumulative GPA and successful completion (C- or better) of all courses in each sequential semester. A student who fails to complete a required course with a grade of C- or better must repeat the course (see “Repeating a Course" in the “Credit and Grade Information” section). Since professional courses are offered once per year and are specifically sequenced, course failure may result in the delay of fieldwork and graduation.

Repeating a course

Students in the combined B.S./M.S. wishing to progress into the master of science program in occupational therapy must have completed the B.S. program in occupational science with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better. Students must complete all requirements for the B.S. in occupational science and be approved by the faculty before taking clinical fieldwork courses. Students must earn satisfactory grades in all courses and fieldwork in order to be awarded the M.S. degree and to be eligible for certification and licensure. All level-II (graduate) fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of the academic portion of the program.

Academic Warning and Dismissal

A student who fails to meet any of the minimum requirements stated above may be placed on academic warning, suspended, or dismissed from the program (see the discussion in the “Academic Affairs Information” section). Students who have been placed on academic warning or suspension will be expected to meet department standards for all subsequent semesters.

Warning, Suspension, and Dismissal

Undergraduate students in the combined B.S./M.S. program will be placed on academic warning if

  1. they earn less than a C- in any course required for the major;
  2. they fail to complete at least 12 credits in a semester;
  3. they earn a cumulative GPA below a 2.7 in any semester during the freshman and sophomore years.

Undergraduate students will be dismissed from the program in the following academic or professional standards cases:

  1. a student on academic warning who earns less than a C- in a required course in the subsequent semester or summer session;
  2. a student who earns less than a C- in two or more courses in the same semester;
  3. a student on departmental warning who fails to complete at least 12 credits in a semester with a C- or better;
  4. an occupational science major who has less than a 2.70 cumulative GPA at the completion of the spring semester of the sophomore year or any subsequent semester;
  5. a student who significantly violates the professional code of ethics published in the Occupational Therapy Department Student Manual

Graduate students in the combined B.S./M.S. program will be dismissed from the program in the following cases:

  1. an occupational therapy (graduate) student in the combined B.S./M.S. program who earns more than 6 credits of C (C+, C, C-) or more than 3 credits of F;
  2. a student who fails two clinical fieldwork experiences;
  3. an occupational therapy (graduate) student who fails to complete level-II fieldwork/internship (OTMS 60000, OTMS 69000, and OTMS 69500 or OTMS 69600) within 24 months of completing all didactic coursework; or
  4. a student who significantly violates the professional code of ethics published in the Occupational Therapy Department Student Manual.

A student who is subject to dismissal from the program may, under extenuating circumstances, be granted a suspension from the program in lieu of dismissal. For readmission to the program, the student may have to fulfill certain conditions, such as remedial coursework or clinical assignments prescribed by the faculty at the time of suspension. Readmission may be contingent on the availability of space in succeeding classes.

In an exceptional case, a student who has been dismissed may be readmitted to the program upon satisfaction of conditions determined by the department faculty. Dismissal from the occupational therapy program does not always mean dismissal from Ithaca College. In some cases, students may be eligible to pursue other Ithaca College majors. Specifics with regard to these policies and the appeals procedures are available in the Occupational Therapy Department Student Manual.

Housing and Travel for Clinical Fieldwork

Clinical fieldwork is an essential part of professional training. Students are assigned to Level I and Level II fieldwork sites locally, and at locations around the United States based on a lottery system. Assignment to specialty fieldwork or elective internship is done based on student interest and site availability. Students can expect that at least some of their placements will be at a distance from home. Students are responsible for making their own housing and travel arrangements for clinical fieldwork experiences. Information about housing options for affiliations is available from the fieldwork coordinator. For more information on student expenses for the final year, see the “Expenses” section.


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