Occupational Therapy


Degree Offered

  • Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


In the fall of 1993, the West Virginia Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a new master’s degree program at WVU, leading to an entry-level master’s degree in occupational therapy. WVU accepted its first students into the professional program in the fall semester of 1996. The academic and fieldwork program requires three years to complete. Prior to application, students are required to complete approximately fifty to fifty-five hours of prerequisite courses, which in most instances will take two years to fulfill.

The Profession of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession which provides services to people of all ages, and addresses physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, communication, and other areas of performance in various contexts and environments in every day life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life (AOTA, 2004). Occupational Therapy is a caring profession designed to help people regain and build skills that are important for health, well-being, security, and happiness. The purpose of occupational therapy is to help individuals achieve a maximum level of independence and function through engagement in occupation in order to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives. The focus is on assisting and enabling individuals to develop the capacity to function in all activities (occupations) of daily life, including self-care, work, and leisure. Hence the name occupational therapy.

Occupational therapists work in schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, skilled nursing homes, and private practice.

Accreditation Status

WVU’s Division of Occupational Therapy has been granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200,  Bethesda, M.D. 20814-3449. ACOTE’s phone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA. The OT program at WVU was initially awarded accreditation in 1998 and awarded re-accreditation in 2013. The next scheduled onsite visit for accreditation will be in 2023-2024. ACOTE information may be accessed at www.acoteonline.org.

Graduates of the program are able to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Inc. (NBCOT). The address for NBCOT is: National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc., 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150. For more information, NBCOT can be contacted at (301) 990-7979 or at http://www.nbcot.org/. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note: A felony conviction may impact a graduate’s ability to take the NBCOT examination and/or obtain a state license. For further information on NBCOT’s Character Review Program, interested parties can obtain information from the licensing board in that particular state.

Prospective students, applicants, and interested parties can review program data results for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam at: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

What to Expect

Like many professional programs, the curriculum in the entry-level master’s occupational therapy program is fairly fixed and intense. The first professional year, which begins in the summer, will include courses in basic sciences relevant to the profession and practice of occupational therapy along with introductory professional courses. The second and third professional years will deal more specifically with training in occupational therapy theory and practice as administered across a wide variety of settings. The professional curriculum includes two off-campus, full-time clinical experiences known as Level II Fieldwork. Students are financially responsible for transportation, housing, and meal expenses related to clinical assignments. Students in the program are required to participate in the School of Medicine’s laptop computer purchase lease-to-own program, which provides each student with a state-of-the-art computer that contains course and program-relevant software.

All OT coursework must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher. Further, OT students must maintain an OT coursework GPA of 3.0 or higher while in the OT Program.

Students in the OT Program must complete all didactic coursework and all fieldwork within a period of five years after commencing the occupational therapy program. Furthermore, all Level II Fieldwork must be completed within eighteen months following completion of academic coursework while remaining within the five-year time frame.

Admission Standards

Normally, students apply to the program during their second year of college. They must have a minimum of fifty to fifty-five hours of college credit which includes the prerequisites. Students who already have a degree in another field are also eligible to apply. All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0, including overall GPA and prerequisite GPA, is required (a higher GPA may be necessary given the competitive nature of the program).
  • All OT prerequisite & GEF courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher.
  • Minimum of sixty (60) hours of volunteer experience with at least two licensed occupational therapists (Students should contact the Division of Occupational Therapy to determine the type of experience required. Students should keep a record of dates/hours, locations, and names of supervising occupational therapists. Forms to record volunteer/ shadowing experiences can be found online at http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ot )
  • Recommendations are required from two Occupational Therapists who supervised the volunteer/shadowing experience. These OTs must be from 2 different clinical facilities. Specific recommendation forms are available at the time of application within the on-line application packet.
  • You may be enrolled in NO MORE THAN TWO OT prerequisite courses in Spring semester of your application year.  All other OT perquisites courses must be completed prior to this Spring semester. All OT prerequisite courses and WVU GEF courses must be completed by June 1st prior to starting the OT Program.
  • *Note:  Some OT prerequisite courses have their own course specific prerequisites.  For example, physics courses at WVU require that students have completed college algebra and trigonometry. Students must check with those departments for specifics.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants must have completed all but a maximum of 2 OT prerequisite courses by the end of their Fall semester prior to the close of the Spring application period. Those applying to the OT Program will not be considered in the application review process if they are taking more than two OT prerequisite courses in the Spring semester prior to their anticipated start of summer classes in the OT Program. In other words, for those applying to the WVU OT Program, all but a maximum of two OT prerequisite courses must be fully completed by end of the Fall semester. Thus, applicants who are taking three or more OT prerequisite courses in the Spring semester will not be considered for acceptance into the OT Program. Applicants must plan on taking no more than two OT prerequisite courses in the Spring semester prior to the summer start of the Program for which they are applying. This requirement does not apply to WVU non-OT prerequisite general education (GEF) course requirements. Note: Courses with a required lab, including those courses that have labs with a separate course number, may be considered one course for purposes of this requirement, i.e., a course plus its lab equal one course. Students are strongly urged to contact the Division of OT for clarification or if they have any questions on this requirement.

Application forms are available online on the program homepage at medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ot Questions regarding application materials may be directed to The Division of OT at (304) 293-8828 or to the OT Program Academic Advisor at (304) 293-1690. Application materials are traditionally available November 15 through February 15.  The deadline for submission of application materials is typically February 15. The official deadline will be posted on the occupational therapy website and printed in the admissions packet.

Course information for the master of occupational therapy degree can be found on the following website: http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/ot

Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

GEF Requirements: GEF 63
Pre-Major Requirements
ENGL 101Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric3
ENGL 102Composition, Rhetoric, and Research3
or ENGL 103 Accelerated Academic Writing
WVUE 191First Year Seminar1
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC 241Introduction to Human Development3
PSYC 281Introduction to Abnormal Psychology3
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology3
or SOCA 105 Introduction to Anthropology
Select one of the following:4-8
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
and General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
Principles of Biology
PHYS 101Introductory Physics4
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference3
Select one of the following (Students who take COMM 100 & 102 will need to complete GEF 5 & 6): 3
Principles of Human Communication
and Human Communication in the Interpersonal Context
Public Communication
PSIO 241Elementary Physiology4
or PSIO 441 Mechanisms of Body Function
OTH 201Medical Terminology for Occupational Therapy1
Undergraduate Occupational Therapy Courses
Minimum grade of C required.
Minimum GPA of 3.0 required
OTH 301Professional Foundations of OT2
OTH 303Functional Movement Across the Lifespan2
OTH 304Physical Impairment and Function 14
OTH 307Neurobiologic Foundations4
OTH 308Evaluation Procedures3
OTH 309The Brain and Occupation in Occupational Therapy1
OTH 310Critical Reasoning in Occupational Therapy3
OTH 311Anatomic Foundations of OT4
OTH 312Functional Kinesiology in Occupational Therapy2
OTH 321Development Life Tasks3
OTH 360Research Methods in Occupational Therapy3
OTH 361Qualitative Research in Occupational Therapy1
OTH 370Principles of Occupational Science3
OTH 384Level 1 Fieldwork 12
OTH 386Level 1 Fieldwork 32
OTH 387Level 1 Fieldwork 42
OTH 401Physical Impairment and Function 24
OTH 405Upper Extremity Rehabilitation4
OTH 408Physical Impairment and Function 33
OTH 416Professional Decision-Making2
OTH 417Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics3
OTH 419Professional Values3
OTH 430Occupational Therapy in Mental Health3
OTH 432Occupational Therapy Interventions in Mental Health3
OTH 435Therapeutic Activity3
OTH 440Cognition and Perception in Occupational Therapy2
OTH 480Current Topics in Occupational Therapy2
OTH 493Special Topics2
OTH 497Research2
Total Hours122

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Human Performance and Health

Students are awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Performance and Health at the end of the senior year (year two in the OT program).  In order to receive this degree, students must have successfully completed a minimum total of 122 hours of college credits, including completion of the GEF requirements.  

Master of Occupational Therapy

The master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree is awarded upon completion of all required graduate work (typically the end of the third year in the OT program).  Requirements for the MOT are found in the Graduate Catalog.

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
BIOL 101
BIOL 103 (GEF 2)
4BIOL 102
BIOL 104 (GEF 8)
4PSIO 2414
MATH 126A3MATH 1283 
PSYC 101 (GEF 4)3PSYC 241 (GEF 8)3 
COMM 100
COMM 102
3SOCA 101 or 1053 
WVUE 1911  
 14 13 4
Second Year
ENGL 1013ENGL 1023OTH 3012
PSYC 281 (GEF 7)3PHYS 1014OTH 3114
STAT 211 (GEF 3)3GEF 63 
OTH 2011Elective3 
GEF 53  
 13 13 6
Third Year
OTH 3032OTH 3074 
OTH 3044OTH 3083 
OTH 3122OTH 3091 
OTH 3603OTH 3103 
OTH 3703OTH 3213 
OTH 4353OTH 3611 
 OTH 3842 
 OTH 4801 
 17 18
Fourth Year
OTH 3872OTH 3862 
OTH 4014OTH 4054 
OTH 4173OTH 4083 
OTH 4303OTH 4162 
OTH 4402OTH 4193 
OTH 4971OTH 4323 
OTH 4932OTH 4801 
 OTH 4971 
 17 19
Total credit hours: 134

Major Learning Goals

Occupational Therapy

  • Program content based on a broad foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. A strong foundation in the biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences supports an understanding of occupation across the lifespan.
  • The basic tenants of occupational therapy including its history, philosophy, foundation in occupation, and models of occupational performance.
  • The process of screening, evaluation, and referral as related to occupational performance and participation that is culturally relevant and based on theoretical perspectives, models of practice, frames of reference, and available evidence.
  • The process of formulation and implementation of the therapeutic intervention plan to facilitate occupational performance and participation that is culturally relevant; reflective of current occupational therapy practice; based on available evidence; and based on theoretical perspectives, models of practice, and frames of reference.
  • Context of service delivery information and skills including the knowledge and understanding of the various contexts, such as professional, social, cultural, political, economic, and ecological, in which occupational therapy services are provided.
  • Leadership and management skills including principles and applications of leadership and management theory.
  • Promotion of scholarly endeavors including describing and interpreting the scope of the profession, establishing new knowledge, and interpreting and applying this knowledge to practice.
  • Professional ethics, values, and responsibilities, including an understanding and appreciation of ethics and values of the profession of occupational therapy.

OTH 100. Introduction to Occupational Therapy Profession. 1 Hour.

Provides students with an introduction to the profession of occupational therapy including knowledge base, practice areas, professional education and professional organizations. Intended for pre- and non-majors.

OTH 201. Medical Terminology for Occupational Therapy. 1 Hour.

The study of medical terminology with a focus on how terminology is used in the field of occupational therapy.

OTH 301. Professional Foundations of OT. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Introduction to fundamentals of professional behavior for the occupational therapist. Includes units on history, communication, documentation, ethics, interdisciplinary teamwork, and licensure requirements.

OTH 303. Functional Movement Across the Lifespan. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Including acquisition of developmental patterns, motor control, motor skill acquisition. This course also provides an overview of the effects of normative processes of aging on neuromotor patterns in occupational performance.

OTH 304. Physical Impairment and Function 1. 4 Hours.

Introduction to disease and injury and its functional implications on OT treatment. Emphasis is placed on the impact of orthopedic and general disorders on performance in areas of occupation, remediation, or compensation of these impairments.

OTH 307. Neurobiologic Foundations. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Basic and clinical applications or neuroanatomy and neurology. Includes lectures on neurophysiological basis of physical and occupational therapy practice.

OTH 308. Evaluation Procedures. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Theory and practice in evaluation procedures used by therapists. Includes Manual Muscle Test, isokinetic muscle testing, and assessment of components of movement, posture, balance, and hand function.

OTH 309. The Brain and Occupation in Occupational Therapy. 1 Hour.

Introduction to brain-behavior relationships and the study of cognitive, behavioral, and perceptual impairments that accompany common adult neurological conditions. Emphasis is on these impairments and the manner in which they impact human occupation and societal participation.

OTH 310. Critical Reasoning in Occupational Therapy. 3 Hours.

An introduction to critical reasoning analysis, and review relevant to Occupational Therapy. Students will critically analyze research articles and editorials specific to Occupational Therapy, in combination with additional writing assignments.

OTH 311. Anatomic Foundations of OT. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH Student Status. A study of the anatomical foundations of human occupational performance and movement. Emphasis is placed on understanding how impairments and disruption of anatomical structures impacts occupational performance.

OTH 312. Functional Kinesiology in Occupational Therapy. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH Student Status. Study of movement used in occupational performance using of the principles of kinesiology including statics, dynamics, and biomechanics. Emphasis on conducting functional movement analyses of occupational performance.

OTH 321. Development Life Tasks. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Life-span human development across cognitive, psychosocial and neuromotor domains with particular emphasis on applications to physical or occupational therapy interventions. Includes focus on cultural influences in health and illness.

OTH 360. Research Methods in Occupational Therapy. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. An introduction to principles of research methodology and data analysis in the realm of occupational science/occupational therapy. Includes a focus on scientific methodology, research design, data collection, data analysis, and ethical considerations.

OTH 361. Qualitative Research in Occupational Therapy. 1 Hour.

This course will introduce students to qualitative research methodologies, data collection and data analysis techniques within occupational therapy.

OTH 370. Principles of Occupational Science. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Students will review concepts associated with human behavior from the behavioral sciences, social sciences, and occupational science. This course will introduce students to the developing discipline of occupational science, occupational therapy’s role in health, wellness, and prevention, and global issues effecting the profession.

OTH 384. Level 1 Fieldwork 1. 1,2 Hour.

Clinical instruction in the occupational therapy process. OT documentation, basic measurement skills, experiences with people with disabilities, and participation in professional activities. (Grading will be pass/fail.).

OTH 385. Level 1 Fieldwork 2. 1,2 Hour.

PR: OTH student status. Optional third short-term fieldwork experience, minimum 40 hours. Student will assist in collaboration of learning objectives. (Grading will be pass/fail.).

OTH 386. Level 1 Fieldwork 3. 1,2 Hour.

PR: OTH student status. Students will be provided with fieldwork experiences in occupational therapy processes. (Grading will be pass/fail.).

OTH 387. Level 1 Fieldwork 4. 1,2 Hour.

Clinical instruction in the occupational therapy process, OT documentation, basic evaluation and assessment skills, experiences with people with disabilities, and participation in professional activities.

OTH 401. Physical Impairment and Function 2. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH 304 and OTH student status. Study of neurological injury and its functional implications on occupations. Emphasis is placed on evaluation of performance in areas of occupation and performance skills and remediation, or compensation of these limitations or impairments.

OTH 403. Intro to Pediatrics in OT. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH 303 and OTH 321. Orientation to pediatric practice. Examines pediatric development beginning in utero, treatment techniques, standardized and non-standardized pediatric evaluations, documentation, and programming.

OTH 405. Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. This course provides a holistic approach to occupational therapy evaluation and treatment of the upper extremity including common diagnoses and appropriate interventions, and splinting.

OTH 408. Physical Impairment and Function 3. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH 304 and OTH 401 and major status. Study of chronic neurological diseases and the functional implications on occupation. Emphasis is placed on evaluation and Occupational Therapy treatment in areas of performance skills, occupations and participation. Students complete the capstone client care experience.

OTH 416. Professional Decision-Making. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Students are provided with opportunities to develop critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and decision-making skills in occupational therapy. Emphasis is on autonomous practice and referral decisions.

OTH 417. Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Overview of normative aging using an occupational therapy frame of reference. Common problems of seniors are discussed.

OTH 419. Professional Values. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. An introduction to ethics and how it specifically applies to rural health and life in West Virginia. Students will be given an opportunity to explore their own conceptions of ethics in health care.

OTH 430. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Clinical and functional science lectures pertaining to OT practice in mental health environments. Course includes introduction to occupational therapy clinical and functional assessment, and management protocols.

OTH 432. Occupational Therapy Interventions in Mental Health. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Occupational therapy interventions in mental health commonly used by occupational therapists in the field of mental health. Emphasis on group processes, life skills, reintegration strategies.

OTH 435. Therapeutic Activity. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Students will develop skills in performance component analysis, performance context analysis, and occupational performance analysis.

OTH 440. Cognition and Perception in Occupational Therapy. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Study of cognitive and perceptual impairments that accompany common adult neurological conditions. Emphasis is on application of occupational therapy assessment and treatment principles to understand the impact of impairments on functional performance and societal participation.

OTH 480. Current Topics in Occupational Therapy. 1-3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. (Not to exceed 18 hours.) A seminar course designed to provide a forum for discussing the frontiers of the occupational therapy profession. Topics may include: research in progress, new developments, and salient professional issues.

OTH 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

OTH 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

OTH 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

Independent research projects.



  • Randy P. McCombie - Ph.D., OTR/L (Loyola University of Chicago)
    Chair, Program Director - Associate Professor

Associate Professors

  • Anne Cronin - Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA (University of Florida)
  • Diana Davis - Ph.D, MA, OTR/L (West Virginia University)

Assistant Professors

  • Amy Burt - M.O.T., OTR/L (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Amanda Acord-Vira - M.O.T., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
  • Brandy Brown - O.T.D., OTR/L (Chatham University)
  • Garth Graebe - M.O.T., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
  • Brian Scaife - OTD, OTR/L (Chatham Univeristy)
  • Sue Ann Woods - MOT, OTR/L, CHT (West Virginia University)