Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you will find the answers to questions frequently asked about occupational therapy, Ithaca College, and living in Ithaca, NY.

I've heard that Occupational Therapists will have to have a Doctoral degree in order to practice. Is this true?

No! There was a mandate issued that said the entry-level doctorate was going to be the only degree accredited as of July 2027. This mandate was reversed on April 4, 2019 when the Representative Assembly of the American Occupational Therapy Association voted to keep both the Master's and Doctorate entry level degree options. The ruling means that a master's degree allows an individual to sit for the NBCOT certification exam, and become a registered occupational therapist.

How does the occupational therapy program work?

Students are typically accepted into the program as first year college students after graduation from high school.

First two years: Students complete a set of prerequisite courses including one introductory course in occupational science, and a two course sequence in human development that emphasizes development of motor skills and occupations across the life span. Students must also take courses required for completion of the Integrated Core Curriculum at Ithaca College. Other required courses include chemistry, biology, and psychology.

Junior year and summer: Course work in the junior year emphasizes knowledge that will be needed for a thorough understanding of the body, and the psycho-social needs of individuals. The psycho-social Level I fieldwork is part of the fall semester in the junior year of the program. Students study functional anatomy during the summer between junior and senior year.

Senior year: The fall of the senior year focuses on adult assessment and intervention and includes a one-week Level I fieldwork that is embedded into the semester. The spring of the senior year focuses on pediatric assessment and intervention and includes a one-week Level I fieldwork that is embedded into the semester. Woven throughout the junior and senior year are courses that prepare the student to conduct research in the graduate year. .

Students graduate with a bachelor of science in occupational science at the end of the first four years of study.

Graduate year: The graduate year begins with a 3-month fieldwork over the summer. Students return to campus for the fall semester and work on advanced skills and research. Students begin the spring semester of the graduate year in early January and continue their research and take advanced courses until the middle of March. Students then complete a second 3 month fieldwork (also determined by lottery) from April to June. Students then take an additional specialty fieldwork or elective internship for 2 months in July and August at a site that is determined in collaboration with the academic fieldwork coordinator on an individual basis.

Provided that all coursework is completed, students officially graduate in mid-October with a master of science degree in occupational therapy, and are eligible to take the national registration examination to become a registered occupational therapist.

Do I have to maintain a specific GPA?

Students in occupational science must obtain a grade of at least C in all courses required for the BS in Occupational Science. Students 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, a minimum of a 2.70 semester GPA in the junior and senior year, and successful completion (C or better) of all courses in each sequential semester. Details about grade requirements can be found in the Undergraduate and Graduate catalogs under the heading Special Academic Status Policy.

Who will be my academic adviser?

All incoming students are assigned to an occupational therapy faculty member who will serve as adviser for the 5 years of study. This allows the student and adviser to know each other well, and makes it easier to problem solve if a problem arises.

What are tuition costs?

Tuition rates can be found on the Financial Aid webpage. Please be advised that tuition rates and fees are subject to change.

I already have a bachelor's degree, can I transfer into the master's-level only?

It is not possible to transfer into the 5th year of the combined B.S./M.S. program. Individuals who have earned a B.S. or B.A. in a field other than occupational therapy can apply to our professional entry-level master's program. The program is a full two-year program and begins in the summer. Specific prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the program. For more information about this option, please visit https://www.ithaca.edu/hshp/depts/ot/mastersprogram/.

What is available in the city of Ithaca?

Ithaca is a small city nestled in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. The city merchants work hard to create a lively downtown area for students from Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College. There are many shops and restaurants downtown, and shopping malls on the north and south ends of the city. There are numerous cultural events during the year, and many opportunities for volunteering to work with local agencies. The natural beauty of the area is perfect for hiking and outdoor sports. Visit the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.visitithaca.com. Check out the Ithacan at http://theithacan.org/, or the Ithaca Times at http://www.ithaca.com.

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