Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy (B.S./M.S.)

Occupational therapists make a critical difference in the lives of people with injuries or disabilities. During our five-year program, you'll learn the skills to help people cope with physical, developmental, emotional, and cognitive disabilities. You may teach a patient injured in a motorcycle accident how to use his electric wheelchair, demonstrate voice-recognition software to help a disabled student operate a computer, or use sensorimotor equipment to encourage a toddler to develop balance and coordination.

Ithaca received the rare honor of being accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's accreditation council on its first try (and has been reaccredited since). Highlights of our program include an assistive technology lab and an activities-of-daily-living area containing a real kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and laundry space. There you experience firsthand the difficulty your clients may have negotiating the demands of daily tasks.

You'll have the chance to collaborate with students from our physical therapy, therapeutic recreation, gerontology, and speech-language pathology and audiology departments; that collaboration may occur in research projects, in our on-campus PT and OT clinic, or at the nearby Center for Life Skills, designed to help patients with chronic neurological problems. It's the same way you'll work once you have your license, pooling expertise and designing the best program for each client.

During the summer following your junior year, you'll take an anatomy course which will prepare you for the next phase of study -- clinical fieldwork. You’ll find our enthusiastic faculty members are eager to mentor you every step of the way. Our extensive fieldwork requirement offers you invaluable real-life experience, and you can choose from hundreds of national and international sites. Those clinical experiences occur during the summers preceding and following your year of graduate studies.

The OT program at Ithaca provides excellent preparation for the national certification exam. After passing, you'll be a registered occupational therapist. Better still, you’ll be a flexible, creative problem-solver who can work in a wide variety of places, including clinics, schools, and homes. In the end, you'll have not only learned practical skills but also gained a holistic view of the human experience.