Admissions to the Occupational Therapy, M.S. was suspended as of summer 2020 and will be discontinued as of fall 2023. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

The MS–OT program is a two-year professional program designed to prepare students for practice. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE—6116 Executive Blvd, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852). At the master's level, two years of didactic classroom learning is followed by 24 weeks of supervised fieldwork experiences in a variety of settings. This program meets the requirements for OTR certification set by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

The occupational therapy program resides in the Department of Kinesiology and now offers two graduate professional programs, an entry-level doctorate (entry-level OTD) and a post-professional doctor of occupational therapy (post-professional  (OTD) for therapists with earned Masters degrees. Occupational therapists interested in pursuing advanced research training may also apply to the M.S./Ph.D. in Kinesiology–Occupational Science Track. The purpose of the graduate programs is to prepare clinicians, researchers, and teachers who possess a solid foundation in both the theoretical and applied aspects of the disciplines of occupational therapy and science.

Admissions to the Occupational Therapy, M.S. will be suspended as of summer 2020 and will be discontinued as of fall 2023. If you have any questions, please contact the department

This program is no longer admitting and is not accepting applications.

For students interested in Occupational Therapy, see the admitting program of Occupational Therapy: Entry Level, OTD.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial assistance, sometimes available to graduate students in occupational therapy, consists of scholarships, fellowships, and teaching, project or research assistant positions. Financial assistance is limited; opportunities vary by program and from year to year. Students who are considering applying for financial support should see the OT Program Tuition, Scholarship & Financial Aid webpage for further information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.


Minimum Credit Requirement 61 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (31 credits out of 61 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires students maintain a graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for courses numbered 300 and above (excluding research) to receive a degree. Conditions for probationary status may require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations No formal examination specific to the M.S. is required. Curricular requirements (all didactic courses) must be passed, in conformity with GPA and grad requirements.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

ANATOMY 622 Human Anatomy for Physical and Occupational Therapy Students6
OCC THER 610 Professional Skills I: Professional Practice in Occupational Therapy2
OCC THER 611 Professional Skills II: Communication & Interpersonal Skills in OT2
OCC THER 612 Professional Skills III: Organization and Management in OT Practice3
OCC THER 613 Professional Skills IV: Community-based OT Practice2
OCC THER 620 Occupational-based Theory and Practice2
OCC THER 621 Assessment of Occupational Participation3
OCC THER 622 Infant and Childhood Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 623 Adolescent and Young Adult Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 624 Middle and Late Adulthood Occupations and Therapeutic Interventions4
OCC THER 625 Level-I Fieldwork: Infants and Children1
OCC THER 626 Level-I Fieldwork: Adolescents and Young Adults1
OCC THER 627 Level-I Fieldwork: Middle and Late Adulthood1
OCC THER 629 Medical Lectures for Occupational Therapy2
OCC THER 640 Applied Neuroanatomy for Allied Health Professionals3
OCC THER 662 Level II Fieldwork A6
OCC THER 664 Level II Fieldwork B6
OCC THER 671 Scientific Inquiry in OT I: Evidence-Based Practice.2
OCC THER 672 Scientific Inquiry in Occupational Therapy II: Research Design and Methods2
OCC THER 673 Scientific Inquiry in OT III: Data Collection and Analysis.3
OCC THER 674 Scientific Inquiry in OT IV: Scientific Writing for Publication2
Total Credits61

The MS–OT has a prescribed curriculum of 61 credits, with potential for electives.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of graduate course work from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of course work numbered 300 or above taken in UW–Madison University Special student status. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. See Probation on the Graduate School website.


All students must have an assigned advisor to meet UW information management needs, and accordingly, and of its own volition, the department assigns an advisor to each student. Assigned advisors in the M. S. in Occupational Therapy (MS–OT) program are graduate research or clinical faculty. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master's degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of completion of coursework.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Any student who feels that they have been treated unfairly by a faculty or staff member has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing of the grievance, following these grievance procedures. The complaint may concern course grades, classroom treatment, program admission, or other issues. To insure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect both the rights of the student and the person at whom the complaint is addressed, the procedures below are used in the School of Education.

The person whom the complaint is directed against must be an employee of the School of Education. Any student or potential student may use these procedures unless the complaint is covered by other campus rules or contracts. The following steps are available within the School of Education when a student has a grievance:

  1. The student should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant, and the student is not satisfied, the next step would be to talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may continue to step 2.
  2. If the complaint does not involve an academic department, the procedure outlined in Step 4 below should be followed. If the complaint involves an academic department, the student should contact the chair of the department. The chair will attempt to resolve the problem informally. If this cannot be done to the student's satisfaction, the student may submit the grievance to the chair in writing. This must be done within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  3. On receipt of a written complaint, the chair will refer the matter to a departmental committee, which will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The chair will provide a timely written decision to the student on the action taken by the committee.
  4. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the department, they have five working days from receipt of the decision to contact the dean's office (at the number below), indicating the intention to appeal. If the complaint does not involve an academic department in the school, the student must contact the dean's office within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. In either case, there will be an attempt to resolve the issue informally by the associate dean. If this cannot be done, the complaint can be filed in writing with the dean's office. This must be done within 10 working days of the time the appealing party was notified that informal resolution was unsuccessful.
  6. On receipt of such a written complaint, the associate dean will convene a subcommittee of the school's Equity & Diversity Committee. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and may hold a hearing at which both parties will be asked to speak separately. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the dean of the School of Education who will render a decision. Unless a longer time is negotiated, this written decision shall be made within 20 working days from the date when the grievance was filed with the dean's office.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, 361 Bascom Hall, 608-265-6018,



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. (Foundational Knowledge) Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, psychological and contextual substrates of human occupation in typical and nontypical development.
  2. (Foundational Knowledge) Discuss the role of personal and environmental factors on involvement in daily activities and community participation.
  3. (Foundational Knowledge) Critically examine and apply theories associated with the science of human occupation and models of interprofessional practice to service delivery.
  4. (Foundational Knowledge) Demonstrate knowledge of one's own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address the needs of clients and populations served.
  5. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Articulate current problems facing the profession of occupational therapy in an interprofessional context with respect to theory, knowledge and practice.
  6. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Identify and critique current knowledge, theories and evidence to inform practice.
  7. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Demonstrate necessary skills for designing a scholarly proposal that includes a research question, relevant literature, samples, design, measurement and data analysis.
  8. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Participate in scholarly activities that evaluate professional practice, service delivery, and/or professional issues.
  9. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Appropriately assess clients' participation in daily life activities and employ an interprofessional approach to determining clients' needs within the context of family and society.
  10. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Identify factors within the environment that influence participation in home and community life.
  11. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Plan for discharge in collaboration with the client and family and terminate occupational therapy when appropriate.
  12. (Professional Conduct) Articulate the values of the occupational therapy profession.
  13. (Professional Conduct) Work with individuals of other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.
  14. (Professional Conduct) Describe the varied roles of the occupational therapist as practitioner, educator, researcher, and entrepreneur,
  15. (Professional Conduct) Establish appropriate therapeutic relationships with individuals, groups, organizations and systems,
  16. (Professional Conduct) Use effective interpersonal communication and demonstrate effective and culturally sensitive group communication.
  17. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate use of safety precautions with the client during the process of practice.
  18. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate knowledge of legal and ethical issues related to care in health, education, and community settings.


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education

Accreditation status: Accreditation. Next accreditation review: 2028


National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: First Attempt National: First Attempt  
2020 100% 84%
2019 100% 82%
2018 100% 81%

Note: The table shows pass rates on the national certification exam. Licenses are awarded at the state level.  

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:

The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:


The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands