MS in Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Attention Fall 2017 Applicants

UIC has a number of fieldwork sites in the Chicago area, and also has relationships with fieldwork sites in several other states. There is currently a shortage of fieldwork sites nationally due to unprecedented increase in the number of new OT schools and a significant growth in the class size of existing OT schools. This fieldwork site shortage is particularly apparent in several states (for example, but not limited to, California, Texas, New York, Colorado) leading to very limited fieldwork opportunities for UIC students in these states.

Although the UIC Department of Occupational Therapy is fortunate to be able to offer MS students many fieldwork placement options, the Department is unable to guarantee placement at specific fieldwork sites or at sites located on Chicago public transportation lines. All students must be prepared to arrange and pay for transportation from their residence to a fieldwork site. Likewise, all students must be prepared to pay for all parking fees associated with their fieldwork placement, when applicable.

The Level IA fieldwork placement occurs concurrently with OT 516 during the first Spring semester, and no students will be asked to relocate for that fieldwork placement. However, all students must be prepared to relocate out of the Chicago area for one fieldwork placement occurring after the Spring 1 semester, and students must be prepared to bear any costs associated with relocation. These costs include, but are not limited to, transportation to city where the fieldwork site is located and housing. Students must also be prepared to travel more than an hour each way to assigned fieldwork sites.

Students may request an exemption from relocation if they have extenuating situations that would make relocation impossible, such as caring for dependents or personal medical reasons.

The Department of Occupational Therapy offers an entry-level Master of Science (MS) degree for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another subject. This course-only program prepares students to be eligible for a national certification examination and for practice as an occupational therapist.

The mission of the MS program is to graduate entry-level generalist practitioners who will become leaders and advocates in the profession. We seek to educate a wide-range of students to integrate theory, research and practice, and to transform practice in a wide variety of settings. To this end our curriculum focuses on developing graduates with the skills to engage in ethical, reflective, and high quality practice. Our aim is to provide students with an education that prepares them to be consumers of research and use the principles of evidence-based practice to serve individuals, families, and communities across the life-span and in diverse contexts. We are committed to preparing culturally responsive practitioners who are able to meet their clients’ diverse occupational needs with the goal of full participation in society, especially within underserved and urban communities.

The 23-month, full-time MS program features a variety of innovative courses that emphasize embedded, real-life learning. For example, our problem-based learning courses provide students with opportunities to work in small groups with faculty facilitators to analyze a number of case studies.  The case studies reflect the variety of settings where occupational therapists work, and the range of clients who receive occupational therapy services.

In addition, we offer a post-professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD). This clinical doctorate degree is designed for students who desire advanced clinical skills, or wish to gain preparation for management, leadership and teaching roles. Students applying to the MS program can apply to the OTD simultaneously, or wait and apply to the OTD after beginning MS coursework. Earning the OTD, in addition to the MS, requires that MS students enroll for an additional year of elective coursework, advanced fieldwork, and a final project. For the currently practicing occupational therapists, an OTD offers opportunities for career development and advancement.

For all matriculated students, the OTD program provides a closely mentored learning experience that will advance their knowledge and provide opportunities to contribute to the field. Students work closely with faculty members within their lines of inquiry, which assures that students have top-quality experiences doing mentored work that is relevant, forward-thinking, and that will make a difference in practice and in the lives of diverse occupational therapy clients. Students are admitted to this competitive program only when there is a good match between student interest and faculty scholarship and expertise. In comparison to a PhD, the OTD focuses less on conducting research and more on applying existing research and evidence to improve everyday OT practice.

The Department also offers a PhD in Disability Studies jointly with the Department of Disability and Human Development and a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences with the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition. These research focused doctoral degrees provide the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor and prepare for an academic or research career.

Download and read further information about the
OT department and the admissions process


The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

Program Outcomes

The following shows program outcomes for students enrolled in our Master of Science program leading to certification for the past three years. Students that complete the program as designed typically graduate from the program in July following 23 months of full-time study. Occasionally students are delayed in completion of the program or delayed in taking the certification examination. Consequently, the number of students matriculating into the MS program in a given year may be different from the number of individuals graduating or taking the certification exam.

Refer to the tables below for important program outcomes.

Table 1. MS Graduation Rates by Calendar Year

Graduation Year
Students Entering/Graduating
Graduation Rate


38 students in the Class of 2014 began the MS program in 2012.
Each of those students graduated in 2014.

The graduation rate for the 38 students who began the MS program in 2012 was 100%



38 students in the Class of 2015 began the MS program in 2013.
Each of those students graduated in 2015.

The graduation rate for the 38 students who began the MS program in 2013 was 100%



38 students in the Class of 2016 began the MS program in 2014.
With one exception, each of those students graduated in 2016.

The graduation rate for the 38 students who began the MS program in 2014 was 97%




**Reflects overall graduation rate for the three cohorts of 38 students who entered the MS program in 2012, 2013 and 2014.


Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at: