MS in Occupational Therapy

Admissions for the MS Program have been suspended as we are preparing for the launch of the Entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program pending approval from (ACOTE (R)).  Please check back in June for updated information.  

UIC is planning to transition to an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program in Fall 2022. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (R) (ACOTE (R)) has acknowledged UIC’s submission of a Letter of Intent to enter the process of accreditation to establish a new entry-level OTD program that we expect to be 2 years and 9 months in length. 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.

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.

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Stats and Facts

program in the country (tied with 2 other programs)
Danielle Roe
Danielle Roe '20 is the recipient of the 2020 Chancellor’s Student Service Award
of all students receive scholarships or travel awards to attend professional conferences
Founded 77 years ago, one of the most longstanding and well-known OT programs in the U.S.
Bethany Marshall
Bethany Marshall '21 is the recipient of the 2020 Chancellor’s Student Service Award

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.

Occupational therapy is rewarding field that provides job opportunities in a variety of settings.  Many OTs work within hospitals and outpatient clinics, but many  OTs work 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, 2019 median pay for OTs was $84,950 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 2020 AHS Educator of the Year Award

  • Ashley Stoffel

    Ashley Stoffel

    Recipient of the 2020 Excalibur Award for Teaching

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.

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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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE®’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs satisfy the states’ educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Students graduating from an ACOTE® accredited occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification exam and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the AOTA State Licensure webpage.

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.

The total number of graduates for the University of Illinois Chicago Master of Science Occupational Therapy program during the 3-year period of 2018-2020 was 133, with an overall graduation rate of 96%.

Refer to the tables below for important program outcomes.

Graduation Year (Academic Year)Students Entering/GraduatingGraduation Rate
201846 (# of students in the cohort that entered in 2016)/4598%
201946 (# of students in the cohort that entered in 2017)/46100%

One student who matriculated in 2017 graduated in 2020.
202046 (# of students in the cohort that entered in 2018)/4291% to date

Four students who matriculated in 2018 remain in progress.
Reflects overall graduation rate for the three cohorts of students who entered the MS program in academic years 2016, 2017, 2018

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

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Rates are for students entering August 2021
2021-2022 tuition & fee rates per semester and for the total program
Per SemesterEstimate for total 2 yr MS program (based on 4 full-time semesters and 2 summers that are one half as long as a fall/spring semester. Includes a 2% estimated increase in tuition and fees for year 2.)
Resident of IllinoisNon-residentResident of Illinois Non-resident
Graduate Base Tuition$5,935$12,369$30,331$62,213
OT Tuition Differential$2,483$2,483$12,690$12,690
Student Fees
(General, Health Service, Academic Facilities Maintenance, Library and Information Technology Assessment, Student to Student Fee, Sustainability)
Average cost of books, supplies, and lab fees, including Electronic Health Record (EHR) software (EHR Go)$300$300$1,200$1,200
*Note: This is an approximate per semester average cost for books and supplies. The cost of books and supplies vary per semester, with the first semester costs being greater and with very low supply costs in the last 6 months. The EHR Go software is a one-time $155 subscription purchased in Fall 1 and covers the duration of the program. There is a $25 lab fee for disposable supplies for the assistive technology course in Summer I.
Average of Exaat Profile Fee: covers review, validation and storage of all of your health documents and other forms $25$25$151$151
Note: Additional costs for doctor visit co-pays, any out-of-pocket costs for visits, tests, and immunizations may also apply. Also, students must pay co-pays for doctor visits and any out of pocket costs for health services, tests, or immunizations. Accepted students will be required to set up a personal account with Exaat, and all required documentation must be submitted before new student orientation in mid-August.
HMO Insurance
(This can be waived with proof of insurance)
CTA U Pass Transportation Fee
(provides free bus and el train rides)

Tuition and fee rates are posted on the UIC website at While the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has set these tuition and fees for the 2020-21 academic year, tuition and fees are subject to change without notice any time prior to the first day of instruction.

Additional Expenses for the 2 year MS program

Fieldwork: All students must be prepared to relocate for one fieldwork experience or have travel time of one hour or more to their site. Costs may include transportation to and from fieldwork site, travel, parking, housing, and meals. Costs may approximate $4,000, depending on where the site is located and if the student must pay for airfare and double rent during fieldwork.

Cost of Living: Housing costs vary greatly around the Chicago area and are hard to predict, as it depends on the kind of neighborhood a student lives in and whether they have roommates. An information packet is provided to accepted students about housing options and costs in a variety of neighborhoods.