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Course content

Our MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) programme helps you to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to enable you to work with clients of all ages who have physical, mental health or learning difficulties. If you already have a degree, and have carried out some relevant experience, then this programme could be your route into occupational therapy.

This pre-registration course is a two-year accelerated programme which enables you to take advantage of interprofessional learning (IPL), encouraging professionals to learn with and from each other – an understanding that helps to ensure you have the expertise to respond adequately and effectively to the complexity of your clients’ needs, and ensures that care is safe, seamless and of a high standard.

Central to the philosophy of our programme is the value attached to ‘occupation’ and ‘activity’ as a means to achieving the health and wellbeing of individuals, which enhances their quality of life, thus enabling them to achieve their desired goals.

Placement Opportunities

In order to prepare you for the work-place and enrich your learning, we organise the practice placement education for you with multi-professional health care teams in a wide range of settings. You will gain experience of working as part of a multidisciplinary team with people who have physical and mental health care needs.

Over a thousand hours will be spent in the practice environment, where you will apply the theory and practice of occupational therapy.

Whilst on placement you will have an educator allocated to you, and contact with a member of the academic team.

Placements encompass a variety of multidisciplinary health and social care settings based within the NHS, the Private Sector, Social Services, Voluntary Organisations and Primary Health Care Services.

Professional accreditation

Completing our course enables you to become an occupational therapist, and makes you eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and professional membership of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT).

HCPC registration is required to work as an occupational therapist in the UK, and once you are registered you are able to practice in a wide variety of clinical settings.

We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.

We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS, but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard and as such we expect that anyone who has any aspect of their work which ultimately cares for others will aspire to uphold these values.

For us, involving not only our students but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non NHS professionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School is that most of our staff work or have worked within clinical practice. This enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and real-life practice.

Occupational Therapy is taught by registered experienced staff with a variety of different backgrounds. The course is led by Dr Wendy Bryant, who is also the university’s subject lead for occupational therapy. Wendy practised as an occupational therapist in a range of health and social care settings from 1984 until becoming an academic in 2003. She was awarded the UKOTRF Institute of Social Psychiatry Scholarship for research into mental health service-user experiences of occupational therapy facilities in an acute mental health unit in West London.

We also have expertise in the areas of dementia, occupation therapy for children, and the assistance of dogs in treatments. Specialist guest lecturers additionally lend external expertise to our academic staff.

Specialist facilities

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, we have a range of specialist clinical laboratories and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills; for students of our MSc Occupational Therapy, we have a specialist lab at our Colchester Campus which provides you with access to kitchen, bedroom, and wheelchair facilities to help develop your skills in helping people in the home.

We also arrange off-site visits to farms and other specialist external facilities to assist in your learning, and offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials.

Our student-run Occupational Therapy Society is also involved in many internal and external events.

Your future

Successful completion of our MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) programme leads to eligibility to apply for registration as an occupational therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which then allows you to practise as an occupational therapist in the UK.

If you are a self-funding international student interested in working outside of the UK we would advise that you check registration procedures with the relevant professional body in that country.

Example structure

Year 1
-Interprofessional Collaboration and Development
-Research in Health Care
-Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice
-Occupational Performance in Practice
-Learning in Practice 1
-Learning in Practice 2

Year 2
-Research Activity
-Transformation Through Occupation
-Contexts of Occupational Therapy Practice
-The Competent Occupational Therapist
-Learning in Practice 3
-Learning in Practice 4

Visit the Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) - MSc page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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