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Otago Polytechnic


Otago Polytechnic

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Master of Occupational Therapy

Key information

Level of study:
Master's Degree
Tuition fees:
18 months
Start date: Expected February-2022
Otago Polytechnic
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Course details


Are you keen to develop your professional practice and research skills to a very high level? Do you want to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific aspect of occupational therapy knowledge?

The Master of Occupational Therapy is a qualification of excellence which will provide you with the knowledge and skills that are relevant for international practice. With appropriate experience, you may enter higher positions of responsibility in occupational therapy or become involved in areas of policy or research. Alternatively, you could pursue an academic career in occupational therapy education or apply for enrolment into PhD programmes to take you to the top of your field.

With a strong practice and research focus, this programme will enable you to build a broad range of knowledge to justify your practice. Gain the confidence to not only share current research in your practice area with other members of health teams, but to systematically plan and carry out detailed research to internationally-recognised standards. Choose to complete your qualification through coursework and a smaller project or by the research thesis option.

Both domestic and international students will study online and have the opportunity to interact regularly through a weekly online group forum. This gives everyone the chance to fit their study around other commitments. Domestic and international students will also enjoy the chance to interact with each other at the compulsory Masters School held in Dunedin in February and July. They are also welcome to come to any of the four Masters Schools held throughout the year.

If you already hold a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma, then your costs are only for the Level 9 project or thesis.

Examples of thesis titles

Should I stay or should I go? Factors influencing retention of occupational therapists working in mental health services New Zealand

Occupational therapists understanding of autonomy for people with dementia when making placement decisions

Examples of Masters' projects

Changing the delivery of chronic pain management education: an action research study

Social Media and Mental Health: A Narrative Literature Review

Occupational Therapy in Primary Palliative Care; Understanding the here and now

Self-regulation, scooters and low vision: The practice of self-regulation by older adults with low vision when they use a mobility scooter


Online with one compulsory block course in Dunedin (two to three days) at the beginning of the research process.

Entry criteria

To enter the first year of the Masters:

You must hold a Diploma OR Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from a World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) approved programme (OR equivalent), OR a Certificate of Registration (New Zealand).

If you hold a Diploma or Certificate of Registration, you must also provide evidence of commitment to further education and two confidential referees attesting to your ability to manage postgraduate study.

You must provide evidence of registration as an occupational therapist (Annual Practicing Certificate), although this can be waived in certain circumstances.

To enter the second year of the Masters of Occupational Therapy:

You must hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Occupational Therapy or Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice OR equivalent, with a B grade average across a total of 60 credits

You must have successfully completed a Research course

OR you must have successfully completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours endorsed second class, OR equivalent.

To enter both the first or second year:

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet entry requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an Overall Academic IELTS 6.5 with no individual band score lower than 6.5 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR

TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT): Score of 590 (with an essay score of 5.5 TWE)

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 79 (with a writing score of 21)

Cambridge English Qualifications: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a score of 176. No less than 169 in each skill;

PTE (Academic) score of 58 with no band score lower than 50

1 January or 31 May (international)


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