Why is the Occupational Therapy Program at Clarkson Unique?

The Occupational Therapy program at Clarkson is committed to fostering therapists who are prepared to respond to both current and emerging societal needs that influence individuals' occupations.

  • We integrate experiential learning to help students develop internalized working models for practicing occupational therapy in culturally diverse, innovative practice settings.
  • We have a state-of-the-art Smart Simulation Lab and Assistive Technology lab, both of which offer simulated living experiences and cutting edge technology. Between the labs, we can simulate an actual living space and incorporate high-tech solutions to everyday challenges, such as low vision supports, adaptive driving equipment, simulators, assistive technology devices and environmental controls.
  • We have a robust research program affording students the opportunity to engage in practical, clinical research that holds promise of impacting clinical practice.
  • We partner with our engineering colleagues to design new products for clients in the community.

The Occupational Therapy Department at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., serves the health needs of the community by preparing you to engineer occupational therapy solutions that enable health and well-being throughout an individual’s lifespan.

Instead of asking, "What's the matter with you?" occupational therapists ask, "What matters to you?"

Life is composed of “occupations,” day-to-day activities that we find meaningful and purposeful. Occupations vary from person to person and may include roles such as being a parent, a friend, a student, a spouse, an athlete, a painter, a traveler and so on. We tend to take occupations for granted until we encounter challenges that prevent us from doing them. Occupational therapists help people re-engage in the occupations they value.

What is the Role of an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapists are holistic, healthcare professionals who have learned how to apply evidence-based interventions to improve a person’s psychological, physical, emotional and social participation. They assist individuals in setting achievable goals; staying healthy, productive and independent and participating in everyday activities. Occupational therapists enjoy the satisfaction of helping people live life to its fullest!



General Admission Requirements

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Clarkson University is a full time graduate program. In order to be considered for admissions, applicants must:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Take all the necessary pre-requisite courses. The overall grade point average in all pre-requisite courses should be a minimum of 3.2 with no grade lower than C.
  • Submit documentation of a minimum of 40 hours of observation/volunteer work or work experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member from a university or college who can speak to your academic or professional character, and at least one letter must be from an occupational therapy professional. Letters from family or friends will not be accepted.

Applications may be submitted through the Occupational Therapy Common Application Service (OTCAS).
The deadline for submission of applications is April 18th

However, please note that the department uses a rolling admissions process, and as such, applications will be reviewed and students offered admission on an on-going basis. 

For more information, contact Jennifer A. Zoanetti, Graduate Admissions Coordinator & Academic Support Assistant at (315) 268-4476 or jzoanett@clarkson.edu.

Pre-Requisites for the MSOT Program Costs and Scholarships



Occupational Therapy Program

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy consists of 92 credit hours for completion and can usually be completed in 27 months.

Occupational Therapy MS Curriculum

Infographic: Best College for Getting a Job


Fieldwork can be likened to the Thomas Edison of academia at Clarkson University’s Department of Occupational Therapy! It is a time where “light bulbs” go off as students begin to make connections between didactic instruction and occupational therapy practice. Fieldwork provides an opportunity for students to synthesize didactic coursework with clinical skills by applying theoretical and scientific constructs throughout the occupational therapy process, understanding and integrating the occupational needs of various client populations, refining clinical skills through evidence based practice and establishing professional collaborative relationships with supervisors and future colleagues.  

Students engage in two Level I fieldwork experiences. The first is a 2-week full-time rotation and the second is embedded during the fall or spring semester of the second academic year to allow simultaneous classroom and clinical education opportunities. This fieldwork experience runs one day per week for 10 weeks. Students will enhance their understanding of occupation across the lifespan and explore factors, including psycho-social, that influence occupational performance. Students begin to cultivate not only professionalism but their professional identity. 

Level II fieldwork experiences occur at the end of all academic coursework. Students are required to complete two 12-week fieldwork experiences. Level II fieldwork experiences are designed to promote practice skills reflective of current evidence, enhance clinical reasoning skills and to develop entry-level competence.

More Info for Students      More Info for Educators


Cindy Hammecker-McLean, OTR/L
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator/Clinical Assistant Professor
Phone: (315) 268-7692  Fax: (315) 268-7743

Jennifer A. Zoanetti
Graduate Admissions Coordinator & Academic Support Assistant
Clarkson University Occupational Therapy Program
Box 5883, 8 Clarkson Avenue
Potsdam, NY 13699
Phone: (315) 268-4476 Fax: (315)268-7743


Assistive Technology

Assistive technology (AT) has been defined as any item, device or system, whether purchased, customized or fabricated, that can be used to improve the functional capabilities of an individual with a disability.

AT solutions can range from low-tech (simple) to high-tech (complex), depending on the unique needs of the individual. For example, one person might need to add foam to a pencil to make it easier to use, while another person requires a specialized computer system in order to "write".

What areas are addressed by AT?

  • Mobility & community access
  • Communication & social participation
  • Education & academics
  • Workplace modification
  • Supported employment
  • Recreation
  • Self-help
  • Aging in place
  • Environmental modifications & controls

Visit AT Website      2018 AT Expo Photos




The Clarkson University Master of Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association.  ACOTE awarded the program a 7-year, full accreditation in August 2017. The next evaluation will be in 2023–2024.

ACOTE is located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's telephone number is 301-652-6611 x2914, email is accred@aota.org and its website is www.acoteonline.org.

Clarkson University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680, 215-662-5606. In addition, the University is accredited by the United States Civil Service Commission, and its curricula are approved by the New York State Board of Regents.  The Occupational Therapy Program has been registered by the New York State Education Department.

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). Graduation from an accredited program is a requirement of NBCOT for certification. It is also required for most states for licensing. For more information on the requirements for certification, see the NBCOT website at http://www.nbcot.org/. For more information on license requirements for New York State, see the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions website at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/ot/.

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination or attain state licensure.

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found at NBCOT Program Performance Data.

Data below is reflective of a calendar year.

Graduation Rates   Total Graduation Rates
Graduation Year 2017 2018 Total
Number of Students in our Graduating Class 20 17 37
Number of Students Graduated 18 17 35
Graduation Rate 90% 100% 95%
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