Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)

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Course overview
(MSc) Master of Science
Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Health Studies
MSC B93024

Professional accreditation

Accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) for the purpose of ensuring graduates are fit for the profession.

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an occupational therapist.

Admission criteria

You should have:

  • An honours degree, the minimum classification: Lower Second (2.2)
  • For those students for whom English is not your native language, you need to successfully complete the IELTS testing with a score of 7.0 or above, with no element below 6.5.
  • Successful performance at interview
  • Evidence of recent academic study (By this we mean a course or module with an assessable component taken in the last 5 years)

You must also have: one satisfactory reference (either an academic reference or a work based one). Don't worry if you cannot provide your reference when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide this at a later stage. References should be recent and verifiable, on official institution paper, signed and dated by the referee.

If a referee wishes to provide an email reference, it must be sent from the referee’s email account.

You must also have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) and a Occupational Health Check - both of these are organised by the University.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.Where it is not possible to obtain an Overseas Check a relevant professional reference may be accepted

The following documents should be submitted with your online application:

  • A personal statement, no more than 500 word in length
  • A current CV, no longer than 2 pages
  • Academic transcripts
To be considered for October 2019 entry you must submit a complete application by 31 July 2019

International Students

Applications will be considered from full fee-paying international students for 2018 entry. As an international applicant you will be expected to meet the same minimum entry criteria as all other applicants, including evidence of a satisfactory work health check and enhanced criminal clearance prior to the start of the course – please contact us for further information ipl@essex.ac.uk. If you aim to work as an occupational therapist in a country outside of the UK, you will need to check with the relevant regulatory body of that country to confirm suitability.

NHS Constitution and Values

As part of the selection process, students will be expected to demonstrate good knowledge and a clear understanding of the scope of work that an occupational therapist is required to undertake as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages.


Interviews will take place from January 2019 for the September 2019 intake. If you are selected for interview, then you will also be required to sit a Literacy & Numeracy test.

Interviews for international applicants will be via Skype, details of which will be provided in advance.

Continuing Professional Development

If you are already a registered occupational therapist, please see Continuing Professional Development on our Health and Human Sciences web pages.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in each component.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Mrs Bethan Collins

Principal Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

The University of Liverpool

Dr Roshni Khatri

Subject Leader

UNiversity of Northampton

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 27 January 2020 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 HS810-7-FY Interprofessional Collaboration and Development Core 15 Core
02 HS858-7-FY HS858-7-SP Core 15 Core
03 HS891-4-SP Practice Placement One: EXPLORE Core 0 Core
04 HS892-7-AU Foundations for occupational therapy Core 15 Core
05 HS893-7-SP Occupational performance and process Core 15 Core
06 HS897-5-SU Practice Placement Two: INITIATE Core 0 Core
07 HS894-7-SL Advancing Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy Core 0 Core

Year 2 - 2020/21

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 HS859-7-FY Research Activity Core 30 Compulsory
02 HS895-7-SP Mastering occupation Core 30 Core
03 HS896-7-SU The thinking therapist Core 30 Core
04 HS899-6-SL Practice Placement Four: MANAGE Core 0 Core
05 HS894-7-AU Advancing Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy Core 30 Core
06 HS898-5-AU Practice Placement Three: LEAD Core 0 Core

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To produce students who are competent occupational therapy practitioners with sound reasoning skills able to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team.

To provide a challenging learning environment including practice placements for students to build on their critical enquiry and independent learning skills in the passage to becoming occupational therapy practitioners who are responsive to current and future health care needs.

To enable students to construct personal theoretical frameworks for occupational therapy practice drawing on the evolving evidence base.

To draw on students high level of motivation, their confidence to challenge and pursue learning needs to master complex areas of knowledge.

To enable students to become creative, autonomous professionals committed to their own and the occupational therapy profession's development.

To develop students capacity to lead and initiate change within, and on behalf of the occupational therapy profession

To provide opportunities for shared learning with other pre-registration health care professionals

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: Critical understanding of the scientific knowledge base of occupational therapy practice, including its gaps, uncertainties, defining features, contexts and the evolving nature of occupational therapy

A2: Significant understanding of the theories, principles and concepts underpinning activity and occupation as a means of restoring and maintaining function.

A3: A highly developed understanding of the political, cultural and professional issues that hinder and facilitate team working including an understanding of social and cultural diversity and influences along with their implications for practice

A4: Critical understanding of psychological and sociological processes and the role of emotion in personal effectiveness.

A5: Advanced understanding of the theories and practice of reflective learning and its role in personal and professional development

A7: Extensive, detailed knowledge and understanding of one or more aspects of occupational therapy practice, informed by current research and scholarly activity

A8: A critical understanding of occupational therapy research

Learning methods

Learning methods Lectures, seminars and workshops, which introduce material in a structured manner with opportunity for class discussion.

Individual assignment and group work, utilising inquiry based approaches A5 is further supported by directed personal reflection of critical incidents and through tutorial support and supervision.

A6 & 7 are achieved through group work, course assignment, literature review and research proposal, case studies, placement experience and tutorials.

Assessment methods

A1, 2, 3,4 & 5 are assessed by course work, viva and portfolio.

A6 & 7 are assessed by an extended literature review, a detailed research proposal and case studies.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise occupational therapy practice/education/health and social care issues, informed by current and innovative developments, with recognition of the need to promote equality for all occupational therapy service users

B2: Critically use a range of occupational therapy skills, techniques and approaches thus being able to respond to the individual needs of occupational therapy service users, demonstrating client centred practice

B3: Deal with complex ethical and professional issues, making informed judgements on matters that may not explicitly be addressed within existing codes, standards and protocols

B4: Begin to develop original and creative responses to problems and issues

B5: Practice in ways that draws heavily on critical reflection of practice and evidence

B6: Pose research questions and develop a research plan

B7: Reflect and learn in order to identify personal and professional goals for life long learning within a framework of continuing professional development

Learning methods

B1-B5 are achieved through a combination of group and individual activities.

Lectures and seminars are used to introduce new material and explore within a group setting.

Workshops and practical sessions are used to integrate the theory and practice of occupational therapy.

Directed personal study time enables the student to deepen and strengthen this learning through enquiry based learning

Assessment methods

B1-B7 are assessed by course work, vivas, DVD, portfolio and research including a substantive literature review, detailed research proposal and case study

C: Practical skills

C1: Demonstrate competence in the core areas of occupational therapy practice

C2: Demonstrate autonomy and initiative in professional activity

C3: Act autonomously in planning, implementing and evaluating the outcomes of professional activity, inviting and using feedback from others to inform this process

C4: Identify and discuss the management of clinical risk in a range of occupational therapy practice settings

C5: Demonstrate originality and creativity in applying knowledge, understanding and approaches in occupational therapy /education/management

C6: Practice in a range of contexts, including those within which there is uncertainty or unpredictability

Learning methods

C1-C6 are placement based learning supported by clinically based tutorials and portfolio development.

C6 is achieved through reflective learning using portfolio and supported by personal tutorials

Assessment methods

C1-C6 are assessed by practice based assessment forms, media presentations, viva and portfolio

D: Key skills

D1: Use a range of advanced communication skills that are appropriate to occupational therapy and multidisciplinary team working; demonstrate effective and confident communication with a range of different audience

D2: Interpret statistical information; Use statistics to analyse data

D3: Interpret statistical information; use statistics to analyse data; use software packages to support data analysis

D4: Identify and analyse problems emerging from theory and practice.

D5: Motivate and engender partnership working; demonstrate a strong awareness of personal limitations and scope of practice; take responsibility for one's own work and significant responsibility for the work of others

D6: Demonstrate an aptitude for continuing to advance knowledge, understanding and skills in line with identified learning needs; Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract ideas within professional practice/education/management

Learning methods

D1 is supported in small group discussion and seminars.

Tutorial time is allocated for individual discussion.

D2 commences on the pre-registration induction day and through seminar presentations.

D3 is supported in seminars where students present and analyse work.

Tutorial time is allocated for individual discussion and problem solving.

D4 is practised throughout the course.
Students work through given problems or derived from the student's practice.

D5 is facilitated by the use of collaborative group work and during seminars.

D6 is achieved through feedback on coursework and individual tutorial time.

Assessment methods

D1 is assessed by course work, essay, portfolio, viva presentation, literature review, research proposal and case study.

D2 is assessed through use of word-processing and ability to cite references from internet sources.

Compilation of a multimedia presentation D3 is assessed through course work, essay, portfolio and dissertation.

D4 is assessed through course work, essay, portfolio and dissertation.

D5 & D6 are assessed through course work, oral presentations and clinical assessment forms.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: crt@essex.ac.uk.