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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 Associate Program Director

Kimberley Persons
Occupational Therapy Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

MaryAnn Venezia
Occupational Therapy Program Coordinator

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

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

Our 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 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 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 which has been at 100% within one year of graduation for several years.

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. 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 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

We currently have 8 full-time and one part-time core faculty dedicated to occupational therapy and approximately 10 adjunct faculty. Our dedicated core faculty have, on average, 18 years of experience in teaching at the college level and bring a broad range of specializations to our program including assistive technology, adult physical disabilities, geriatric intervention, mental health intervention, and pediatric intervention. Research interests of our faculty include understanding the needs of caregivers; studying usability of a variety of assistive devices; effectiveness of falls prevention programs; modifying dental office environments for individuals with developmental disabilities; the role of occupational therapy in the development of literacy; assisting refugees to develop activities, occupations, and daily routines; effectiveness of classroom-based sensory and cognitive interventions for children with behavior problems; and development of a functional evaluation of upper extremity skills in individuals with multiple sclerosis.

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 some form of debilitation 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 15 careers in a variety of reports including Forbes magazine 2019, Glassdoor 2019, and US News and World Report 2018.

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.

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, 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.

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Oct 13, 2020 13:06:03