MS in Occupational Therapy

UIC has submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI) to enter the process of accreditation to establish a new entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program that we expect to be 2 years and 9 months in length. This LOI has been acknowledged by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). If Candidacy Status is granted by ACOTE, the first admission cycle for the entry-level OTD program will begin by August 2021, with enrollment starting in August 2022.  Currently, UIC is only accepting applicants to the MS occupational therapy program, which is accredited by ACOTE.

Our current MS program has an option for students to apply to co-enroll in our MS program and our post-professional OTD program. The post-professional OTD is completed after completing the MS, and students can earn both degrees in about three years if a full-time student.  The post-professional OTD program will continue to be available after the entry-level OTD is launched.

How UIC prepares you to be the best occupational therapist you can be

UIC’s Master of Science in occupational therapy is designed for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another subject. Our curriculum prepares you for the national certification exam and practice as an OT.

Learn to integrate occupational therapy practice, theory and research using our Scholarship of Practice model. Gain skills to engage in ethical, reflective, and high quality practice. Get ready to become a leader and advocate, and learn to deliver best practice in a wide variety of settings.

We’re committed to helping you become a culturally responsive practitioner, able to meet your clients’ diverse occupational needs and achieve full participation in society, especially within underserved and urban communities. You’ll get an education that prepares you to engage in evidence-based practice to serve individuals, families, and communities across the life-span and in diverse contexts.

Stats and Facts

Vivian Villegas head shot
Vivian Villegas '19 Recipient of the MS Emerging Leader Award
Sam Boyer head shot
Sam Boyer '19 Recipient of the MS Emerging Leader Award
ranked occupational therapy program among public universities according to U.S. News and World Report
pass rate for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam within 12 months of graduation for the past 3 years
ScreenABLE attendee standing up holding a sign that reads "I am screeable"
Empowering women with disabilities
ScreenABLE Saturday event provides free mammograms to women with disabilities
Ricardo Ramirez headshot
Ricardo Ramirez '19 Recipient of the MS Achivement Award
of all students receive scholarships or travel awards to attend professional conferences

Your career

If you’re an analytical thinker, a “people person,” and enjoy solving problems creatively and collaboratively, you’ll find occupational therapy to be an extremely rewarding career. OTs work to maximize the function and life satisfaction of persons whose daily life performance has been, or might be, affected by a health condition, disease, disability, life stress, and other factors.  Occupational therapy consists of facilitating participation in roles and activities that are important to the patient, client, or family.

Consistently ranked as one of the top professions, occupational therapy is a growing and in-demand field. Many OTs work within hospital and clinical settings, but there’s an increasing need for OTs in non-medical settings such as:

  • School systems: Working to support students’ ability to successfully participate in their classrooms and other school environments
  • Community-based organizations that support older adults: Collaborating with older adults—and their families—to support their efforts to successfully age in place and participate in their communities
  • Home and community-based settings that serve pediatric clients: Working in natural settings to promote a child’s development and the occupational performance of children, families and communities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 median pay for OTs was $84,270 per year.

Learn from the best

  • Elizabeth Walker-Peterson

    Elizabeth Peterson

    Director of Professional Education for the entry-level master’s program and recipient of numerous campus level teaching awards

  • Heidi Fischer

    Heidi Fischer

    Recipient of the 2019 OT Excalibur Teaching Award for providing guidance towards achievement of students’ goals and being a role model in the field

  • Catherine Killian

    Jenica Lee

    Students appreciate our faculty for their mentorship and approach to learning

Understanding by doing

Our 23-month, full-time MS program features innovative teaching, student participation and teaching strategies that emphasize embedded, real-life learning. Problem-based learning courses provide you with opportunities to work in small groups with faculty facilitators to analyze case studies. These studies prepare you for the variety of settings where occupational therapists work and the range of clients who receive occupational therapy services.

Maria Larson

We're here for you

Still wondering what an MS in occupational therapy can do for you? Advising is available by email, phone or through individual appointments.

You can contact Maria Larson at:


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 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.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
Academic Year 2015-2016 38/38
38 out of 38 students graduated in Academic Year 2015-2016, including summer 2015.
The graduation rate for the 38 students who began the MS program in 2013 was 100%
Academic Year 2016-2017 38/37
37 out of 38 students graduated in Academic Year 2016-2017, including summer 2016.
The graduation rate for the 38 students who began the MS program in 2014 was 97%
Academic Year 2017-2018 46/44
44 out of 46 students graduated in Academic Year 2017-2018, including summer 2017.
The graduation rate for the 46 students who began the MS program in 2015 was 96%.
TOTAL 122/119

The total number of students graduating in Academic Years 2015-2016, 2016-2017 & 2017-2018 is 119 out of 122.

Reflects overall graduation rate for the three cohorts of students who entered the MS program in academic years 2013, 2014 & 2015.

Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at HTTPS://WWW.NBCOT.ORG/EN/EDUCATORS/HOME#SCHOOLPERFORMANCE