Our department prepares you for today's world, tomorrow's challenges and future careers. We help you master fundamental academic abilities, personal and social development, and the philosophical values of occupational therapy (OT).

Our programs emphasize the core philosophy of Clarkson University, with four components serving as common threads through multiple courses:

  • Learn to communicate effectively
  • Develop an appreciation for diversity in both working and living environments
  • Recognize the importance of personal, societal, and professional ethics
  • Understand how science and technology can be used to serve humanity.

Instead of asking, "What's the matter with you?" our 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!

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How 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 vigorous science-based curriculum that gives students in-depth knowledge of the human body through cadaver dissection and classroom instruction. 
  • 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.

Clarkson's Occupational Therapy's  "curricular threads" represent the themes that are interwoven throughout all of the coursework. They reflect the values and priorities of our department, as well as the unique philosophy and mission our University.

  • Professional Identity
    Students will value and assume an identity of service and contribution, by promoting occupation and participation in multiple contexts through the identification of barriers to and providing supports for occupational roles and performance patterns.
  • Innovation
    Students will develop the ability to meet the needs of local, regional, and global society, including a focus on rural communities, through research and scholarship.
  • Technology
    Students will learn to engineer solutions through technology including telehealth, assistive technology, and virtual contexts.
  • Education & Research
    Students will develop problem-solving abilities through science-driven practice and the use of practice-based evidence, with a focus on occupation as both intervention and outcome.
  • Interprofessional Practice
    Students will exhibit strong leadership and collaborative skills as they assume roles of advocacy and activism for both clients and the profession.

Each of these components is introduced early in the curriculum and reinforced in subsequent courses. The curriculum emphasizes the importance of collaboration during the learning experience; since OT's do not work in isolation, we believe they should not learn in isolation either.


General Admission Requirements

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Clarkson University is a full-time graduate program. To be considered for admission, applicants must:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree, with preference given to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Take all the necessary prerequisite courses, with preference given to students with a prerequisite grade point average of 3.2 or higher with no grade lower than C.
  • Submit documentation of a minimum of 20 hours of observation/volunteer work or work experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant. If you are unable to complete observation hours, please contact us for a supplemental essay prompt, and the observation hours requirement will be waived. 
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. Letters from family or friends will not be accepted.

Applications are made via the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy (OTCAS) https://portal.otcas.org. A rolling acceptance policy is used. Internal applications from Clarkson University Direct Admit students can be submitted directly to the department and must meet all requirements.

The class size is approximately 30 students.

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, please contact otadmissions@clarkson.edu.

Prerequisites for the MSOT Program Financial Aid and Costs An Approved SARA Institution



Clarkson Class of 2020 97 percent employment

Academics: Curriculum & Facilities

Occupational Therapy M.S. 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

Curricular Threads and Goals

The Clarkson Occupational Therapy Program has five curricular threads and related goals that are interwoven throughout the curriculum. The threads and goals reflect the values and priorities of our program, as well as the unique philosophy and mission of Clarkson University. Each goal is introduced, applied, and synthesized by the end of the didactic curriculum. 

Thread 1: Professional Identity

Goal 1-1: Demonstrate professional behaviors, attitudes, and actions that are reflective of the ethical standards, values, and scope of the profession. 

Goal 1-2: Advocate for the profession through participation and membership in community and professional organizations.

Goal 1-3: Develop a plan to ensure lifelong learning.

Thread 2: Innovation and Technology 

Goal 2-1: Implement innovative solutions to barriers using technological resources. 

Goal 2-2: Educate clients and their families in the safe use and maintenance of assistive technologies and adaptive equipment.

Thread 3: Evidence-informed Practice

Goal 3-1: Critically appraise qualitative and quantitative research.

Goal 3-2: Use a combination of research evidence, professional expertise, and data driven decision making to inform assessment and intervention decisions throughout the continuum of care.

Thread 4: Occupation-based practice

Goal 4-1: Articulate the value of occupation as means and ends, which is integral to the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and populations.

Goal 4-2: Develop and implement occupation-based interventions that support clients’ habits, routines, and roles within their contexts. 

Goal 4-3: Exercise sound professional judgment and clinical reasoning.

Thread 5: Interprofessional Practice 

Goal 5-1: Collaborate skillfully with clients, interprofessional team members, families, and community members to ensure high quality client- and population-centered care.


Fall I

OT 501- Gross anatomy (4 credits)

OT 511 Development and Occupational Performance Across the Lifespan (2 credits)

OT 521 Mental Health and Occupational Performance (2 credits)

OT 531 Theory and Practice (3 credits)

OT 541 Evidence-based Practice I (3 credits)

OT 551 Fundamentals of Occupational Performance (3 credits)

OT 591 Professional Communication and Practice (2 credits)

Total: 19

Spring I

OT 503 Neuroscience (4 credits)

OT 533 Applied Kinesiology for Occupational Therapists (2 credits)

OT 553 Cognition and Occupational Performance (2 credits)

OT 563 Adult Conditions I (2 credits)

OT 583 Experiential Learning Lab: Adult Assessment and Intervention (3 credits)

OT 603 Activity Analysis (3 credits)

Total: 16

Summer I

OT 605 Assistive Technology (2 credits)

OT 595 Interprofessional and Emerging Practice (2 credits)

OT 630, 631, 632 Engineering Pathways to Clinical Practice I (2 credits)

OT 700a Fieldwork Level I (2 credits)

Total: 8

Fall II

OT 537 Experiential Learning Lab: Pediatric Assessment (2 credits)

OT 557 Upper Extremity Rehabilitation and Orthotics (2 credits)

OT 567 Adult Conditions II (2 credits)

OT 587 Experiential Learning Lab: Adult Neuro Assessment and Intervention (3 credits)

OT 597 Special Topics in Advanced Practice (2 credits)

OT 640, 641, 642 Engineering Pathways to Clinical Practice II (2 credits)

OT 700b Fieldwork Level I (2 credits)

Total: 15

Spring II

OT 539 Professional Practice, Leadership, Management and Activism (3 credits)
OT 549 Evidence-based Practice II (3 credits)

OT 579 Group Dynamics (3 credits)

OT 589 Experiential Learning Lab: Pediatric Intervention (3 credits)

OT 599 The Lifelong Learner (2 credits)

OT 650, 651, 652 Engineering Pathways to Clinical Practice III (2 credits)

Total: 16

Summer II

OT 705 Fieldwork Level IIA (9 credits)

Total: 9

Fall III

OT 710 Fieldwork Level IIB (9 credits)

Total: 9

                                                         Total Program Credits: 92

Specialty Tracks

Students will have the opportunity to pursue one of three Clarkson OT Specialty Tracks of study, which will allow them to become immersed in advanced study in their area of interest.

  • Technology for Health-Related Quality of Life Track: Students will become clinicians who can design and implement new products utilizing cutting edge technology to assist with client participation in desired activities.
  • Occupational Therapist as a Researcher Track: Students will become clinicians who can design and implement research studies that enhance the profession.
  • Innovative Practitioner Track: Students will become clinicians who can use innovative principles and inter professional collaboration to design new products, new programs, or a new way of delivering occupational therapy services.



All students are required to complete supervised fieldwork experiences as part of the Clarkson Occupational Therapy program. Fieldwork provides an opportunity to complement your academic preparation with the application of theory and course content to practice, to further develop and refine clinical skills, and to establish professional relationships with supervisors and future colleagues. Fieldwork consists of Level I placements after the first two semesters of instruction and Level II placements following the completion of all coursework. The student fieldwork manual and related information (i.e. fieldwork dates and site data) will be available to students through our Clarkson OT E-Value website, as well as the OT 700, 705 & 710 Moodle sites.  

Fieldwork experiences occur in sequence throughout our program and are designed to give the student the best learning opportunity. Students must participate in the fieldwork experiences in the appropriate sequence (refer to the curriculum). Students must complete all Level II fieldwork requirements within one year after completion of the academic coursework. If circumstances arise and a student needs to complete fieldwork outside of the one-year timeline, students can petition and the case will be reviewed by the faculty. Approval is needed to extend fieldwork placements.

Our Facilities & Resources

Students in our OT program benefit from state-of-the-art educational facilities and labs in a building dedicated to graduate health sciences. Take a self-guided tour through our 360 Occupational Therapy Virtual 360 Tour to see where our students learn. 

View the OT Virtual 360 Tour



Our program gives students all-important "aha!" moments, as they 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.

Learn More about Fieldwork     

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

Options for Undergraduate Clarkson Students

For high school students who already know they're interested in a career as an Occupational Therapist, Clarkson offers two programs: direct entry, in which students apply for admission into both an undergraduate bachelor's degree program and the MS in Occupational Therapy at the same time, and the pre-occupational therapy professional advising track.

Learn more about options for undergraduate students



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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. 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 Year Students Entering/Graduating NBCOT Exam Pass Rate
2019 17/16 (94%) 100%
2020 17/16 (94%) 93%
2021 22/21 (95%) 100%
Total 56/53 (95%) 97.66%


The total number of graduates from the Clarkson University Master of Occupational Therapy program during the 3-year period 2019-2021 (most current) was 50, with an overall graduation rate of 97.7%. 

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