Graduation and Credentialing

Everything you need to know about degree and credential requirements.

Progression and retention requirements

Students must maintain a minimum Graduate Degree grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0/4.0 (B average) in order to remain in good academic standing.  The Graduate Degree GPA is the average of grades earned by OT MS students, whether or not the courses are part of degree requirements. In addition, an earned grade of less than “C” in any required course, including a grade of Unsatisfactory, will result in a recommendation to the Graduate College for dismissal of the student from the MS in Occupational Therapy program, even if the cumulative grade point average is above 3.0. Students may appeal their dismissal to the department’s Academic Standing Committee.

Earning a cumulative grade point average below a 3.0 will result in being placed on academic probation.  Students have two terms of enrollment (including summer, if registered) after the term in which their Degree GPA falls below 3.0 to remove themselves from probation.  Students who fail to raise their average to 3.0 or to otherwise fulfill the terms of their probation within the deadline will be dismissed from the University. The Graduate College monitors cumulative graduate GPA and the Department of Occupational Therapy monitors all other aspects of academic progress.

Exceptions to the above may be considered by the Academic Standing Committee on a case-by-case basis.

Graduation requirements

Students must complete the 72 credits required for graduation as listed in the Graduate Catalog  while meeting the GPA requirements above.   Students must be in good academic standing in order to graduate, even if all other requirements have been met. Students on probation (Degree GPA less than 3.0) will not be allowed to graduate unless good academic standing is achieved by raising the Degree GPA to 3.0 or greater.

To ensure that students apply didactic coursework within the curriculum in a timely manner, the following time limits for completion of the program are imposed:

  1. All elements of the program must be completed within 5 years.  The program is normally completed on a full-time basis and part-time status is only granted by petition to the Academic Standing Committee.  A formal plan for progressing in the program on part-time status must be part of the petition to the Academic Standing Committee.
  2. Students must start Fieldwork II within 12 months of completing all prerequisites for Level II fieldwork.
  3. Fieldwork Level II must be completed within 24 months of beginning fieldwork.
  4. Leaves of absence beyond one year are not routinely considered at any point in progression in the program.

Exceptions to the above may be considered by the Academic Standing Committee on a case-by-case basis.

Requirements for clinical experiences, fieldwork, certification and licensure

To begin course-related clinical experiences and fieldwork individuals must satisfy requirements including but not limited to drug screening and background checks for history of criminal offenses; results may affect a student’s ability to participate in clinical and fieldwork experiences.

Following graduation, a national examination is required to obtain initial certification with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Graduates of the MS program offered by the UIC Department of Occupational Therapy 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). In addition, all states require licensure to practice. State licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure. To ensure that occupational therapy practitioners meet standards of professional conduct prior to entering the profession, all applicants for NBCOT® certification are required to provide information and documentation related to affirmative responses to character questions on the examination application (e.g., Have you ever been convicted of a felony?)  See more at on NBCOT website.

NBCOT® requires background checks for certification examination applicants with affirmative responses to Character Questions on the exam application. NBCOT® uses a third-party vendor to provide these background checks. A detailed, written explanation regarding the incident(s) as well as documentation pertaining to probation or parole are also required as part of the NBCOT® Character Review.

The Early Determination Review process is an option for prospective and current OT students who have an affirmative answer to one or more of the 4 Character Review questions. The Early Determination Review offers an opportunity to have the incident(s) reviewed prior to applying for the exam. Those who take advantage of this option appreciate the opportunity to find out if a past issue would affect their exam eligibility before beginning or completing their course of study and applying for the exam.  NBCOT® utilizes background checks with subjects seeking Early Determination Review.  See more on the NBCOT website.

Each state has specific requirements for licensure as an Occupational Therapist. Prospective applicants and students are directed to the websites of the agencies in the state(s) where they are seeking licensure to learn more about state-specific licensure requirements.