School of Health Professions

MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)

Do you want to promote and restore people’s health and well-being? On this two year masters programme you'll learn how to enhance people’s occupational engagement in everyday life in order to meet their biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs through exploration and adaptation. You will become a highly skilled, reflective and confident occupational therapy practitioner, able to critically evaluate the importance of occupational engagement for every stage of an individual’s life.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.
  • A 10 per cent discount on home tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.
For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our fees policy

Careers with this subject

Understanding where your degree subject could take you is an important first step in career planning. Due to the transferrable nature of the skills you gain from your studies, you may discover that there is a much wider range of opportunities open to you within this profession that you may first appreciate. 

Key features

  • Study full time over two years and gain an MSc as your entry qualification to the profession.
  • Join an enthusiastic team of occupational therapists and undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students who are pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge on occupational therapy and occupational science.
  • Take the opportunity to study on the only programme of its kind in the South West.
  • Cover the required 90 weeks of pre-registration study in two years, instead of the usual three years, on the full-time accelerated programme, to qualify and gain employment more quickly.
  • Develop your understanding of the philosophy of the profession and the relevant sciences that guide practice, as well as the creative reflexivity for effecting necessary change.
  • Benefit from the experience of being out on placement for 29 weeks – gain invaluable knowledge, skills and industry contacts which will help boost your future career prospects.
  • From 2023, students in Plymouth can train and practice their professional healthcare skills in an inspiring purpose-built environment,InterCity Place.
  • Looking for a change of career? Prepare yourself for a new future role. Your first degree does not have to be from a health profession background to study on this programme.
  • Successfully complete the programme and you’ll be eligible to apply for registration as an occupational therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council and to be a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists.
  • Your qualification will be recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, meaning you may be eligible to apply to work overseas.

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • To successfully complete the programme and be eligible to apply for a professional registration as an occupational therapist you must complete a specified number of practice placement hours along with your theoretical study. This is a requirement of the Health and Care Professions Council. As such, you will only be able to take personal holidays during specified leave periods including induction week, where it is vital you attend all sessions. You will experience interprofessional learning and explore your role in preparation for placement or as a potential leader and manager in future practice. You will develop the core understanding of occupational theory, occupational science and skills, and understand and appraise evidence-based practice issues and the applicability of a wide range of research methods. Placement opportunities will enable you to develop professional practice skills in distinctive service settings under supervision. 

    Core modules

    • Practice Placement 1 (OCTP403)

      This module enables students to experience occupational therapy within wider contexts of inter-professional or multi-agency practice. Students will experience collaborative working with colleagues from other disciplines. Through supervised practice, students will develop basic skills underpinning occupational therapy, relating this to campus based study.

    • Occupational Studies Core Skills 1: Foundations for Occupational Therapy Practice (OCTP717)

      This module aims to evaluate theoretical foundations of occupational therapy. Links will be made between the impact of occupation, the person and the context on occupational engagement in different life stages. Core skills for professional practice that promotes occupational engagement will be analysed.

    • Occupational Studies Core Skills 2: Applying Theory for Occupational Therapy Practice (OCTP718)

      Building on knowledge of occupational performance and analysis, and foundational sciences, this module explores application of occupational therapy tools for practice, including digital literacy. Students will demonstrate critical understanding of the causes and impact of occupational challenges. Students will learn how to promote continued engagement in occupation that contributes to health and wellbeing.

    • Preparation for Practice (SOHP701)

      This inter-professional module will introduce students to professional practice and evaluation of the inherent standards expected of them. Critical analysis of the characteristics and identity of allied health professionals, as evidence based practitioners, will underpin learning.

    • Project Design for Research (OCTP715)

      Students will explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module will formulate a research proposal. The module will explore defining and refining a research question, selecting and appraising methodology, ethical considerations, selecting and appraising data collection and analysis techniques.

    • Occupation as the Focus of Contemporary Practice (OCTP722)

      This module explores occupation in contemporary occupational therapy practice. This includes current and emerging theory and research on occupation, occupational performance and models of practice. The module develops students ability to reflect on, challenge and articulate application to practice.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Practice Placement 2 (OCTP503)

      The module builds on occupational therapy knowledge, skills and experience gained. Students will actively participate in the occupational therapy intervention process, demonstrating increased autonomy whilst being supervised. Knowledge and skills underpinning inter professional working will be further developed.

    • Practice Placement 3 (OCTP603)

      This module will require the student to demonstrate a range of core skills that will be required of a competent entry level practitioner. The student will develop increasing autonomy, working at times independently demonstrating professional reasoning skills and decision making relevant to clients’ needs and contexts of practice.

    • Occupational Studies Core Skills 3: Occupation for Health and Wellness of Communities (OCTP719)

      This module evaluates the importance of applying health and wellness principles to contemporary occupational therapy practice. It analyses current and emerging theory and research on the impact of occupation to promote health and wellness of communities. Students will consider how to help empower communities to find ways of facilitating meaningful occupations in a sustainable manner.

    • Research Dissertation (SOHP703)

      Over the course of this module students will complete their dissertation as part of their Masters programme under supervision from the module team and a named dissertation supervisor.

    • Contemporary Leadership (OCTP723)

      This module aims to share the contemporary thinking in relation to leadership theory and its relevance to professional practice. Students will be supported to relate this theory to their own personal and professional development in addition critically exploring its capacity to impact on global, organisational and team dynamics.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) programme specification_6943

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Bachelor (honours) degree at 2:1 or above in a relevant subject area. 
GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above in Mathematics and English. Consideration may be given to Functional Skills Level 2 in Mathematics. Please note we do not accept Functional Skills Level 2 in English, or Key Skills in Maths or English, or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. If you are unsure whether you meet this criteria, or you have qualifications not listed here, please contact
Extended entry requirements
  • In addition to the above, evidence of academic study within the last five years is required. 
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. Applicants must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further. Applicants should demonstrate evidence of their interest in Physiotherapy and the seeking of work experience in Occupational Therapy is encouraged.
  • We will require an academic reference as part of the application process.
  • Attend an interview.
  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this course.
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C/4 or above you will have to achieve an IELTS (or equivalent qualification) at the grade of at least 7.0 (at least 6.5 in all elements sections). International students – English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £11,450 £11,450
International £17,500 £19,000
Part time (Home) £1,270 £1,270
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact
If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

Postgraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one. 
You may also receive:
  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
To be eligible you must:
This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

NHS Learning Support Fund

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. Please be aware that this funding is provided by the NHS and is reviewed periodically, which means levels of funding could be subject to change. For more information, please see the guidance available:

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
Apply for this course on the UCAS website.
For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
The deadline for the receipt of international applications is 31 May 2024 for entry in September 2024. 
All NHS funded professional courses are required to select and interview their applicants using a ‘values based’ approach. As part of this process, your UCAS personal statement requires this additional information, which will demonstrate insight into your understanding of the importance of NHS values in your chosen professional discipline.

Health students may be eligible to receive an additional £5000 each year

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. The training grant is for £5,000. 

Occupational therapy practice placements

While on the programme you will complete the minimum requirement of one thousand hours of practice placement during three full-time placements of nine to ten weeks. Placements can be in statutory or voluntary sector settings across the South West region.
At least one placement will be in a physical health setting and one will be concerned with social issues, mental health, or learning disabilities.
With placements being an integral part of the programme you will have plenty of opportunity to build on your skills and professional confidence in a variety of settings. We will be on hand to support and guide you throughout your placement learning. 
Occupational Therapy session

Occupational therapy careers

On graduation, you will have the opportunity to work in a wide range of settings including hospitals, social care, schools and voluntary agencies, and there are also options to specialise in areas such as mental health, neurology, paediatrics, learning disabilities, vocational rehabilitation or research.
Once qualified, you will be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and be a vital contributor to the work of health and social care teams, promoting health and well-being through occupation. 
Skills you can develop during this programme include:
  • the use of occupation as a therapeutic intervention 
  • health promotion with individuals and communities
  • clinical reasoning
  • critical appraisal of research 
  • multi-agency working 
  • evaluation using assessments and outcome measures.
Professional accreditation
On successful completion of the course, you are eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council
Your qualification will be recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, meaning you may be eligible to apply to work overseas.
Professional practice
It is preferred that you become a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists before you enrol on this programme.
Relevant work experience
Placements are an integral part of the programme so there will be plenty of opportunity for you to build on your skills and professional confidence in a variety of settings.
Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy research
Occupational therapist works with an elderly woman.

Research in this area

Study a broad range of cutting-edge theory and research from occupational science and occupational therapy. You will learn how to search for, critique and apply research evidence to your practice and how to develop yourself and others.
You will learn about research and plan and carry out your own research project with the support of experienced occupational therapy tutors.
MSc Occupational Therapy - research in this area
MSc Contemporary Healthcare (Community Nursing)
Plymouth Hoe

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.
These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.