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. In order to be considered for admission, 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. If you are unable to complete observation hours due to COVID, please contact us for an alternative essay, and the observation hours requirement will be waived. 
  • 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 June 1st. 

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, 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

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 2018 2019 2020
Students Entering Program 17 17 17
Students Graduated 17 (100%) 16 (94%) 16 (94%)
 Annual NBCOT Exam Pass Rate 83% 100% 93%
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