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Occupational Science BS/Occupational Therapy MS

(HEGIS: 12.01 HEALTH PROFESSIONS- GEN, CIP: 51.2306 Occupational Therapy/Therapist)

School of Public Health and Health Professions

501 Kimball Tower
South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214-3079

Sue Ann Sisto
Rehabilitation Science Department Chair

Janice Tona
Occupational Therapy Program Director

Turquessa Francis
Occupational Therapy Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

MaryAnn Venezia
Occupational Therapy Program Coordinator

Why study Occupational Science BS/Occupational Therapy MS at UB?

Our accelerated combined BS/MS program allows students to enter the field as occupational therapists in five years while studying at the Flagship University of the SUNY system. In the first two years, a liberal arts education allows flexibility to meet student interests while preparing for study in the professional program. Once in the accelerated OT professional program, students develop clinical evaluation and intervention skills to work with individuals of all ages with physical, psychosocial, and cognitive challenges to work toward improving their health and function.  In addition, students design, develop, implement, analyze, and present group research projects under the mentorship of seasoned faculty. OT students also benefit from interprofessional activities with students across the academic health center.

We prepare students for a variety of settings including medical, home care, community, vocational, educational and underserved settings that do not currently have OT. The strength of our program is evidenced by our NBCOT pass rate has been very high within one year of graduation for several years.

Fully Accredited

The BS/MS program in occupational therapy at UB is accredited through the 2026-2027 academic year 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, Maryland 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA is (301)652-AOTA.

Learning Outcomes

In keeping with the vision, mission, and philosophy of the University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions, Rehabilitation Science Department, and Occupational Therapy Program, graduates of the BS/MS program will:

  • Demonstrate entry-level occupational therapist clinical skills.
  • Analyze trends in occupational therapy service delivery areas, anticipate changes that may have an impact on practice, and advocate for positive change.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to evidence-based practice by both utilizing and contributing to the occupational therapy body of knowledge through research, writing, presentations, or other scholarly activities.
  • Value the role of occupation in public health for wellness and health promotion among individuals and populations.
  • Recognize the role of culture, socioeconomic status, and other contextual factors on occupational performance and participation of all members of society and promote social and occupational justice to reduce health disparities.
  • Become leaders among their peers through professional service and advocacy.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

The Learning Environment

Our students engage in learning activities designed to meet varying learning styles. Typically, we combine classroom lecture with hands-on laboratory experiences, clinical observations, and field training to optimize student learning.  Our position in the School of Public Health and Health Professions offers a unique perspective on the role of occupation in promoting health for individuals and communities. Our position in the Academic Health Center allows interprofessional learning experiences with students from other programs, promoting interaction with all members of the healthcare team. The diverse Buffalo, NY region allows opportunities to develop OT interventions for individuals from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Our students benefit from an includsive environment with an emphasis on research and evidence-based intervention, access to a world-class library system, and experienced faculty with a broad array of specialty areas with the field of occupational therapy.

About Our Facilities

Our students benefit from the large and small lecture rooms afforded by the University. Our recently updated lab space allows students to experience OT evaluation and intervention techniques including plinths and mat tables for whole –body interventions, swings, scooter boards and other equipment for sensory interventions, moveable tables for table top interventions, and multiple stations for orthotic fabrication. Our newly-renovated rooms also include space for simulation of living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry activities of daily living.

About Our Faculty

Our students are taught by 10 full-time and one part-time core faculty dedicated to occupational therapy and several adjunct faculty members. Our experienced and dedicated core faculty bring a broad range of specializations to our program. Research interests of our faculty include improving rehabilitation interventions for individuals with acquired brain injuries, understanding the needs of caregivers, studying usability of a variety of assistive devices, developing the role of OT in primary care including dental offices for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, effectiveness of falls prevention programs, modifying dental office environments for individuals with developmental disabilities, the role of occupational therapy in the development of literacy, understanding brain injury in intimate partner violence, assisting refugees to develop activities, occupations, and daily routines, effectiveness of classroom-based sensory and cognitive interventions for children with behavioral problems, helping teachers to effectively use assistive technology with students, and developing assessments of participation for individuals with mental health diagnoses.

Faculty List Directory

Each faculty member is committed to teaching, research, and community service as part of his/her responsibilities to fulfill the mission of the department, school, and university.

Please visit the Rehabilitation Science department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

As described on the American Occupational Therapy Association website, occupational therapy helps people live life to its fullest. Occupational Therapy practitioners do this by helping people of all ages who have sustained an illness, injury or other challenges develop or relearn the skills of daily living. By focusing on physical, psychological, and social needs, OT helps people function at the highest possible level, concentrating on what's important to them to rebuild their health, independence, and self-esteem. Occupational therapists are specially trained and credentialed in the field and rely on evidence-based best practices and science-driven data to constantly improve patient outcomes. In an era where consumers want to increasingly be empowered and maximize life's potential, more and more people are recognizing the value of occupational therapy and as a result the field is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase much faster than average for all occupations and a shortage of occupational therapists is expected in the workplace through 2030. Occupational Therapy is consistently rated as one of the top 10 health careers and top 20 careers overall in a variety of reports, including US News and World Report..

Work settings include:

Occupational therapists work in all types of private, nonprofit, and public settings including schools, job training services, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, and community health agencies.

Salary Information

Salaries vary depending on the work setting and on the region of the country. Information regarding the occupational therapy profession and current salaries is available from the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Post Graduate Opportunities

After graduation, students may elect to pursue a post-professional degree for advanced clinical skills, teaching, or research. A post-professional OTD (Doctor of Occupational Therapy) or DHS (Doctor of Health Sciences) prepares students for advanced clinical practice and for clinical teaching at the college level. A Ph.D., Ed.D., or other research-intensive degree prepares students for post-professional teaching and for research.

Additionally, many post-professional opportunities are available through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) including the Emerging Leaders Development Program and board certification in Gerontology (BCG), Mental Health (BCMH), Pediatrics (BCP), Physical Rehabilitation (BCPR), Driving and Community Mobility (SCDCM), Environmental Modification (SCEM), Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing (SCFES), Low Vision (SCLV), and School Systems (SCSS).

Academic Advising

Academic advising for Occupational Therapy students in the pre-professional phase of the program, is available through the Office for Academic and Student Affairs (OASA) in the School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP).

Students who are accepted into the professional portion of the Occupational Therapy program are assigned to a faculty advisor for the three years of the program.

Effective fall 2021, all students will be entering the program as Pre-OT students. This means that their official major code in HUB will be listed as Public Health BS with a Pre-OT student group. Once students formally apply to and are accepted to the professional portion of the program their HUB code will be changed to the BS/MS in Occupational Therapy.

Academic Advising Contact Information

For academic advisement during the pre-professional phase of the program (years 1 and 2), all students should contact the Office for Academic and Student Affairs (OASA) at 716-829-5000 or by email. Upon promotion to the professional portion of the program, each student is assigned a faculty advisor from the Occupational Therapy program.

Scholarships and Financial Support

A number of scholarships and awards are available each year to occupational therapy students. Scholarship amounts range from $150 - $5,000 within the University.  Students may apply for the Rehabilitation Science Diversity Award upon applying to UB. Other awards include The Kathleen M. Shaffer Memorial Scholarship, the Jerry Flaschner Humanitarian Spirit Award, the Maureen R. L. Mussenden Scholarship, J. Warren Perry Scholarships, and Stonegraber Scholarships. Outside of the University, students can apply for the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) scholarship, and the, the AOTA E.K. Wise Scholarship. Additionally, all students are able to apply for funding from the Dr. Susan Nochajski Travel Fund to attend conferences and related events outside of the Buffalo region.

Please see a complete list of scholarships and award information.

Published: Nov 16, 2022 15:56:10