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. 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.



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 and 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 listed previously. 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 normally required (a higher GPA may be necessary given the competitive nature of the program).
  • 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://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/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.
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses by the end of the semester of application (normally, second semester of sophomore year) is required. All OT prerequisite courses and WVU GEC 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.
  • 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 (GEC) 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 www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/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:www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/ot.

Note: The following list of prerequisite courses requirements is subject to change without notice.

ENGL 101Composition And Rhetoric3
ENGL 102Composition And Rhetoric3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC 241Intro to Human Development3
PSYC 281Intro to Abnormal Psychology3
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology (OR)3
SOCA 105Introduction to Anthropology3
BIOL 101General Biology3
BIOL 103General Biology Laboratory1
BIOL 102General Biology3
BIOL 104General Biology Laboratory1
PHYS 101Introductory Physics4
STAT 211Elemntry Statistical Inference3
COMM 100Principles-Human Communication1
COMM 102Human Comm-Interprsnl Context2
PSIO 241Elementary Physiology4
PSIO 441Mechanisms Body Function4
OTH 201Medical Terminology for OT1

*Check for prerequisites for PHYS 101, PSIO 241, and STAT 211 by checking the department course offerings in the catalog.  

Fulfillment of WVU’s General Education Curriculum (GEC) are not covered by the above. It is the student's responsibility to complete all WVU GEC requirements prior to starting the OT Program. Applicants must complete all of the WVU General Education and all OT Prerequisite requirements (by June 1) prior to starting the OT Program.

(See the WVU Undergraduate Catalog)

These include one three-credit course in each of the following (GEC) objectives: 3, 5, 8, and 9, - plus the one-credit university orientation.

Note: Applicants holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution are exempt from the GEC requirement.

WVU students must consult the university college prior to enrolling in prerequisite courses. These courses may also be taken at any institution which offers equivalent courses. Any questions regarding pre-requisite courses may be directed to the university college, (304) 293-5805, and/or the Division of Occupational Therapy (304) 293-8828. Equivalence may be determined by contacting the Transfer Desk, Admissions Office, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506-6009.

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 128 hours of college credits, including completion of WVU's GEC reqruirements.  To achieve this, the student typically completes 40 hours of OT prerequisite coursework, 12 hours of GEC coursework (not covered by OT prerequisites) one hour of University Orientation and 77 hours of undergraduate OT coursework, a total of 130 hours.  It is the student's responsibility to insure sufficient approved hours of coursework are completed in order to fulfill the requirements for awarding the Bachelor's degree.  It is the student's responsibility to insure all prerequisite coursework and GEC courses are completed prior to starting the OT program.  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).  the total nhumber of credit hours of graduate OT work (including both academic and clinical fieldwork) is 38-41 hours, allowing for elective courses.


OTH 100. Intro to OT 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 OT. 1 Hour.

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

OTH 300. Essentials of Clinical Anatomy. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. A study of human gross anatomy, micro anatomy and embryology with major emphasis on the musculoskeletal system.

OTH 301. Professional Foundations. 3 Hours.

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

OTH 302. Surv:Clin Prblm-Solv/Sci Inqry. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. An introduction to analysis of clinical and research problems, including strategies for problem analysis and outcome.

OTH 303. Functnl Movmnt Across 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. Phys Impairment & 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 306. Kinesiologic Foundations. 4 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Functional anatomical correlations and human movement. Statics, biomechanics, dynamics and functional movement analysis.

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 310. Critical Reasoning in OT. 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 321. Developmental 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 OT. 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 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/Fxn 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 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 406. Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitatn. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Lectures on cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions including medical interventions. Discipline specific laboratory sessions include stress testing, physical capacity assessment, ecological analysis, use of monitoring equipment, and evaluation and planning rehabilitation protocols.

OTH 408. Tests/Measures-Occupatnl Thrpy. 3 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Presentation of tests and measures used by occupational therapists in the assessment of various conditions. Emphasis will be placed on the clinical and functional evaluation of clients within the domain of occupational therapy practice.

OTH 414. Developmental Disabilities. 2 Hours.

PR: OTH student status. Overview of occupational therapy approaches toward developmental disabilities, including focus on etiology, pathology, and progression of conditions specific to various developmental disabilities.

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. Occupationl Therapy-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. Occupatnl Therapy-Mental Hlth. 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. OT Interventions-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 OT. 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-Occupatnl Thrpy. 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 493A-Z. 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:Capstone. 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)
    Associate Professor
  • Stephen D. Wheeler - Ph.D., OTR/L (Virginia Commonwealth University)
    Associate Professor

Assistant Professors

  • Amanda Acord-Vira - M.O.T., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
    Assistant Professor
  • Amanda Kessler - M.S., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
    Assistant Professor - Fieldwork Coordinator
  • Amy Burt - M.O.T., OTR/L (University of Pittsburgh)
    Assistant Professor
  • Brandy Brown - O.T.D., OTR/L (Chatham University)
    Assistant Professor
  • Diana Davis - M.A., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
    Assistant Professor
  • Donna Colaianni - Ph.D., OTR/L (Duquesne University)
    Assistant Professor
  • Garth Graebe - M.O.T., OTR/L (West Virginia University)
    Assistant Professor