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Occupational Therapy Degree

Occupational Therapy Degree

Entry-Level Degree Program

Occupational therapy is the use of occupation-purposeful activity or interventions to promote health and achieve functional outcomes. Achieving functional outcomes means to develop, improve, or restore the highest possible level of independence of any individual who is limited by a physical injury or illness, a cognitive impairment, a psychsocial dysfunction, a developmental or learning disability, or adverse environmental condition. Occupational therapists work cooperatively with other members of the healthcare team.

The Occupational Therapy Entry Level Master’s Curriculum (MS) at ATSU-ASHS is a 27-month, full-time residential program.

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The mission of the Occupational Therapy program is to prepare highly-competent entry-level occupational therapy practitioners committed to holistic, client-centered, science-informed practice who value health equity, diversity, team-based healthcare and community-based practice designed to enhance the life participation and social inclusion of individuals, families, groups and vulnerable populations across the lifespan.

The Occupational Therapy Program provides a strong foundation of critical inquiry applied to the practice, education, and administration of healthcare. The program is committed to integrating technology in instructional processes and occupational therapy treatment. Inherent to this mission is the commitment to prepare graduates to work with individuals who have differing healthcare needs and diverse cultural backgrounds.


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  • Department of Occupational Therapy, ATSU | Dr. Jyothi Gupta
  • Accreditation +

    • A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

      230 S. LaSalle Street; Suite 7-500
      Chicago, IL 60604

      Phone: 800.621.7440 | Fax: 312.263.7462

      The MSOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA is 301.652.2682. ACOTE website:

      Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for occupational therapists administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) following the completion of their academic coursework and fieldwork experiences. NBCOT is located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, phone: 301.990.7979, fax: 301.869.8492, web After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). All states within the United States require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

      ACOTEInformation about ACOTE including upcoming events, advocacy & policy, publications, and how to file a complaint can be found at

  • NBCOT Examination Rates +

    • The total number of new graduates who completed and passed the NBCOT certification examination in the years 2014 to 2017 was 132/128 which is an overall pass rate of 97%.

      Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
      2014 32/31 97%
      2015 32/32 100%
      2016 34/33 97%
      2017 34/32 94%
      Total 132/128 97%
  • FAQs+

      1. How long is the program? The OT program is 27 months, full-time, continuous, in length.
      2. Will I be able to work while I am in school? Some students manage to work part-time while enrolled in the program. Job flexibility is extremely desirable.
      3. When do I need to complete my prerequisite courses? Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning classes at ATSU.
      4. Can I take prereqs at a community college? Is there a preference? You may take your prerequisite courses at the community college, and there is no preference.
      5. Can I take prereqs at your institution? No, prerequisites are to be taken at a community college and/or four year university. Our courses are only open to students enrolled in our programs.
      6. What undergraduate majors do you recommend to be a more competitive applicant? A student may have any degree, as long as all admissions requirements and prerequisite courses are fulfilled. There is no preference for any particular major.
      7. Do you offer financial aid? Where can I find scholarship information? Yes, we offer financial aid to our students. Learn more about financial aid.
      8. Does ASHS have on campus housing? We do not have on campus housing, however we do assist students in finding housing and roommate matching. Learn more about housing.
      9. How many hours of experience do I need? How do I document hours? You are required to have 20 hours of observation with an OT. Observation hours in multiple settings are recommended. This will be documented on your application.
      10. What are the clinical opportunities in the program? We have over 250 clinical sites throughout the US, in a variety of both rural and urban settings.
      11. I’d like to visit campus, who should I contact? Contact the admissions office at to set up a visit to campus.
      12. Why do you require contact hours with an occupational therapist as part of the admission requirements? Exposure to various settings provides students with an enriched understanding of the role of OT with different age groups, different healthcare systems and different diagnoses. In addition, this experience is advantageous to students to reinforce their selection of this profession prior to commencing the program and making the financial commitment.
      13. When do you start accepting applications for the upcoming fall admission class? Applications are accepted beginning in mid-July and continue until the class is filled.
      14. How many students do you usually admit each year? Each year we target accepting 38 students. Our goal is to keep class size small to enable us to give the individual attention to each student. An alternate list is maintained to fill any last minute open slots.

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Degree Faculty

  • Dean +

      • Randy D. Danielsen, PhD, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus Randy D. Danielsen, PhD, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus
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        Dr. Danielsen is dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Since graduating from the University of Utah Physician Assistant (PA) Program in 1974, Dr. Danielsen has distinguished himself as a clinician, PA educator, author, and editor. He received his BS in health science (cum laude) from the University of Utah in 1978, his master’s in PA studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska with an emphasis on internal medicine in 1997, and his PhD from the Union Institute & University in 2003 with an emphasis on medical education. He completed sixteen years with A.T. Still University as academic coordinator (1995-1997), chair of physician assistant studies (1997-2004), and as dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences (2004-2010) and recently returned as Dean of ASHS. He was honored in 2010 by A.T. Still University with Emeritus Professor status. He has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and as a board member and chairman for National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

        Earlier in his career, Dr. Danielsen served as president of the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants, the Arizona State Association of PAs, and as chair of the Arizona Regulatory Board for PAs. Retired after 28 years of service in the US Air Force and Army National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Danielsen also is a former president of the Veterans Caucus of the AAPA and was honored with the Caucus’ Civilian PA of the Year Award in 2003.

        Dr. Danielsen was named Outstanding PA of the Year by the AAPA in 1993 and by the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants in 2011. He currently serves as PA editor-in-chief for Clinician Review. Dr. Danielsen has published over sixteen peer-reviewed articles, eighteen journal editorials, two book chapters, and most recently his first book, entitled The Preceptor’s Handbook for Supervising Physician Assistants, published by Jones & Bartlett Learning. Recently he was selected as a Senior Consultant with the Academy for Academic Leadership.

  • Vice Dean +

      • Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD
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        Dr. Burch is Vice Dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Her primary responsibility is to serve as Chief Operating Officer of the School under the direction of the Dean. In addition, she leads several University- or School- wide initiatives including the Diversity Initiative Task Force and the ASHS Adelante Project. In her role, Dr. Burch represents the School in the Dean’s absence. Dr. Burch received her doctor of education (EdD) from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2005. She received her master’s of public health (MPH) from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health in 2002 and her master’s of physical therapy (MS) from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. She was a postdoctoral fellow with the Research Group on Health Disparities at Teachers College, Columbia University.

        Dr. Burch received her BA in psychology from the University of Rochester. Prior to her appointment as Vice Dean, Dr. Burch served as the Chair of Physical Therapy from 2008-January 2012. Prior to coming to ATSU, Dr. Burch was the Director of Physical Therapy at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has held administrative and/or faculty positions at the International Center for the Disabled in NY, NY, Mercy College in NY, and Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Chair and Program Director +

      • Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

        Jyothi Gupta PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a tenured full professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. Dr. Gupta received her doctorate in biological sciences at the University of Windsor, Canada and has held post-doctoral Fellowships at various Canadian universities in biology (University of Waterloo), pharmacology (Dalhousie University), biochemistry and pathology (McMaster University). She obtained her occupational therapy degree from McMaster University.

        Prior to taking up her current position, Dr. Gupta was tenured professor at St. Catherine University in the Department of Physical Therapy, and held a joint appointment in Occupational Therapy. She developed many local, national and global community partnerships during her tenure at St. Catherine University for inter-professional service learning courses, and for her scholarship.

        Dr. Gupta’s primary scholarly interest is understanding the contextual influences on participation and their impact on community health and well-being. Some of her published studies include workplace experiences of individuals with disabilities, women and children living in chronic poverty, and cross-cultural occupational issues of immigrants and refugees. Naturally, her studies led her into social justice arena and social determinants of health; her current focus is on bridging public health and occupational science, in particular, the life course health development model in the context of racial segregation in rural Mississippi. Her passion for social inclusion and strong interest in sociocultural issues culminated in Culture and Occupation, 3rd Edition (AOTA Press).

        Dr. Gupta has been elected to various positions in the American Occupational Therapy Association. She has served as the research liaison and chair of the Education Special Interest Section, and as chair of the Commission on Education. She served on the lead team for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute (2013-2017) and serves on the Multicultural Diversity Initiative. She has authored many official documents of the association. Dr. Gupta was conferred the Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA) in 2013.

  • Faculty +

      • Rachel Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, B.C.P. Rachel Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, B.C.P.
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      • Tania Shearon, MOT, CHT, PYT-C Tania Shearon, MOT, CHT, PYT-C
        Assistant Professor
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      • Mica Rutschke, MS, OTR/L Mica Rutschke, MS, OTR/L
        Assistant Professor
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      • Aaron Bonsall, PhD, OTR/L Aaron Bonsall, PhD, OTR/L
        Assistant Professor
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      • Rebecca L. Wolf, JD, MPH, OTR/L Rebecca L. Wolf, JD, MPH, OTR/L
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Michael Gerg, DOT, OTR/L, CHT, CEES, CWCE Michael Gerg, DOT, OTR/L, CHT, CEES, CWCE
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • Natasha Smet, OTD, OTR/L Natasha Smet, OTD, OTR/L
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio
      • spacer image for page layout Sandra Rae, MS, OTR/L
        Assistant Professor
      • Kellie C. Huxel Bliven, PhD, ATC Kellie C. Huxel Bliven, PhD, ATC
        Associate Faculty
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      • Chelsea Lohman, PhD, ATC, CSCS Chelsea Lohman, PhD, ATC, CSCS
        Associate Faculty
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      • Sarah Everman, PhD Sarah Everman, PhD
        Associate Faculty
        Read Bio
  • Staff +

      • Darien Belluomini, BS Darien Belluomini, BS
        Program Coordinator

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      • Tami Lofland Tami Lofland
        Administrative Assistant

Occupational Therapy Admissions

  • Requirements +

    • Admission Requirements

      1. Candidates accepted for admission will have earned a baccalaureate degree from an U.S. regionally accredited institution prior to matriculation.
      2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA, and a 2.75 science GPA (on a 4.00 scale). Applications will not be considered unless both the cumulative and the science GPA scores meet the stated minimum requirements. Additionally, the ATSU Admissions department does not recalculate GPA.
      3. Applicants are required to submit all official college or academic transcripts.
      4. Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 20 contact/observation hours in the occupational therapy field. More than one setting is recommended.
      5. Applicants must secure three (3) letters of reference. One of these letters must be written by: a present or former faculty member, academic advisor, or employer. One reference letter should come from a professional from the occupational therapy field or another clinical supervisor. The final letter can come from a reference of your choice, but may not be from a friend or family member. Letters from an educational consulting service will not be accepted. New letters of reference must be submitted for each application year.
      6. Applicants who are considered potential candidates will be invited to participate in an applicant interview process.
      7. Applicants must complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the academic term prior to matriculation at ATSU.
      8. Applicants are expected to be computer literate and experienced in word processing. All curricula require extensive computer usage. Accepted applicants are required to have a laptop computer prior to the first day of class.
      9. Students must obtain and maintain Health Care Provider level of CPR certification from either the American Heart Association (Basic Life Support, CPR and AED for Healthcare Professionals) or the American Red Cross (CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer & Health Care Provider). Verification must be submitted to the Occupational Therapy department prior to enrollment.
      10. Applicants are required to submit to a criminal background check at their own expense. Applicants need to be aware that having a felony conviction might impact a graduate’s future ability to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam and/or ability to obtain state licensure to practice
      11. All students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to the Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T Still University. You can find information on the methods by which you can demonstrate your English Proficiency in the General Admissions section International Admissions Requirements
      12. Applicants who wish to be considered for more than one ATSU-ASHS program, including both Occupational Therapy programs, MSOT and OTD-entry level (and including Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Audiology), must submit separate application fees, transcripts and references. Acceptance to ATSU-ASHS is to a specific program and is not transferable to any other program. Application materials are not transferable from one application year to another.
      13. Applications for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy-entry level program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, which means that seats are offered to qualified applicants beginning in October and ending when all seats are filled. For that reason, applicants are encouraged to apply early as seats fill quickly. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.

      Prerequisite Courses

      1. Human Anatomy: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours.
      2. Human Physiology: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours (Note: Human Anatomy/Physiology I and II may be substituted for the above courses).
      3. Science: In addition to numbers one and two above, one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours from one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.
      4. Statistics: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours. Course must be behavioral, education, psychological or mathematical statistics. Business statistics does not fulfill this requirement.
      5. Lifespan Human Development: This requirement can be met by having one course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours that covers human development from birth through gerontology. It can also be met by having a child development or child psychology course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours, in addition to a gerontology or psychology of aging course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours.
      6. Introduction or General Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
      7. Abnormal Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours.
      8. Introduction to Sociology OR Cultural Anthropology: One course either in Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Anthropology or Cultural Anthropology for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours.
      9. English: Two courses of composition, grammar/literature, for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours.
      10. Humanities: Two courses (e.g., philosophy, religion, literature, art, dance, music, logic, ethics, or foreign language), for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours.
      11. Medical Terminology: one course for a minimum 1 semester hour/1 quarter hour.

      Review minimum technology requirements

      For questions, please contact Residential Admissions office at 480.219.6000 or email

  • Application +

    • Applicants will apply online via the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Applications for the entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, which means that seats are offered to qualified applicants beginning in October and ending when all seats are filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as seats fill quickly. Applications can be submitted to OTCAS beginning in July. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.

      Once ATSU-ASHS receives a completed OTCAS application and determines that minimum requirements are met, the applicant is notified by email to submit a secondary application fee of $70 for final processing. Upon receipt of this fee, the application then receives full consideration by the Occupational Therapy department.

      For additional information contact an Enrollment Counselor: 480.219.6000 or

  • Tuition+

    • Current tuition for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is listed below. Students are also responsible for annual educational supply fees as follows: $1,150 for each full year of course work; $350 for the year of partial course work. These fees are not included in the tuition figures below and do not include the cost of books and other supplies.

      Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
      $33,434 $33,434 $13,732

      Tuition and fees are subject to change.

  • Request Information+

    • stethoscope

      Have a question for ATSU?

      Connect with ATSU regarding any question you may have regarding our schools or curriculum and a representative will respond to you quickly.

      For more information on programs at ATSU/Occupational Therapy, please contact a representative at 866.626.2878 x2237 (toll free), 660.626.2237 (direct dial), or via email at

  • Financial Aid+

    • Investing in your future as a student is one of the most important steps you will take in your life. ATSU can help you put together a financially sound aid package that will let you focus on your education instead of worrying about how you will finance it.

      Learn more about your Financial Aid options.

      The Office of Enrollment Services helps with your finances so you can concentrate on your academics. We are here to serve you. Email us at or call 660.626.2019.

The Family and Culture

Three medical students wearing white lab coats smiling, posed for a picture. Female medical students wearing white lab coats, smiling while consulting with a patient. Students gathered around a woman lying underneath an x-ray machine. Three medical professionals examining the ear of an elderly man. Physical Therapy students working together. A young woman wearing a white lab coat, talking with a small boy holding a teddy bear. Male medical professional examining a mouth mold. Physical therapy doctor examining the knee of a young woman. Group workshop featuring people seated in rows of chairs with their arms stretched out.


  • Blackboard Demo Course +

    • An iPad logging into ATSU's app with an open book displayed in the backgroundATSU has set up a demo course of our Blackboard
      Learning Management System for interested students.

      Please go to our guest demo site, and login with:

      Username: demo
      Password: atsudemo

      Connect Now

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Curriculum Overview

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