BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

Why choose this course?

HCPC and College of Occupational Therapists logos together for use on certain Health pages.

  • ‌In the 2014 National Student Survey, 95% of our students said that they were satisfied with the overall quality of the course, placing us joint seventh out of 29 institutions in the UK and in the top four in England for student satisfaction. 100% of our students identified staff were enthusiastic about the subject they taught.
  • This course is accredited by the College of Occupational Therapists and approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
  • You will be able to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) who have ‌approved this course, for registration to practise when you graduate.
  • We have a significant number of places that are funded by the NHS, so you may not have to pay any tuition fees. You may also be able to apply for a means tested bursary to help with your studies.
  • We've got a proven track record of helping and supporting our students to achieve good results and move into successful careers in diverse areas of occupational therapy practice.‌
  • If you are a compassionate and considerate individual who has a positive outlook on life, who sees solutions rather than problems and is highly motivated to help others reach their potential, then the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme at the University of Derby could be for you. 

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Fact file

UCAS code: B920

Start date: September

Course length: full time: three years

Campus: Kedleston Road site and Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

College: College of Health and Social Care

About this course

Occupational therapists help people to overcome barriers that are preventing them from reaching their full potential in areas such as their paid or unpaid work, self-care activities or sports and leisure. You'll go on three placements, which could be in the NHS, Social Services or private and voluntary sector  health and social care environments. You'll also have a personal tutor who will guide and support you to reach your full potential.

Specialists in areas of occupational therapy practice, service users, patients and carers will come in to the University to share their first hand experience with you. By studying alongside other health and social care students, you'll develop a wide knowledge of the work of an occupational therapist in different settings. Through the practical skills based sessions, you will also develop valuable skills to take into your future practice.

We've got great teaching facilities, including a rehabilitation kitchen and bathroom, and replica hospital ward, which you'll use to develop your practical skills.

What you will cover

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are usually 280 UCAS points at A Level, excluding General Studies, of which at least 240 Points (grade A-C) will be from your core A2s (full A levels) or equivalent qualifications such as BTEC Diploma, International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers etc.

We'll accept up to 40 points towards the total from level 3 qualifications such as AS levels (where those AS levels are not taken on to A2 level), the Extended Project or Music qualifications. We don't accept points from Key Skills Level 3 or NVQ. Your points at level 3 will be in addition to 5 GCSEs at grade A-C  including Maths and English, or equivalent level 2 qualifications.

Students with life and work experience will need evidence of academic achievement at level 3 or above within the last two years.  This can include A Levels, BTEC, Access courses or Open University modules. Other qualifications may also be considered, but NVQ qualifications are not accepted. Including older qualifications and more recent qualifications, this would need to equate to 280 points/24 credits at merit for Access courses. We accept general Access as well as health-related Access qualifications. You will also need Maths and English at GCSE Grade C or above. Access qualifications are currently under review for 2015 applications, details will be available shortly.

You'll need to be familiar with at least two areas of occupational therapy, shadowing experience with an Occupational Therapist, ideally in more than one setting is desirable.

You’ll need to be fluent in English, for overseas students the IELTS at level 7 or equivalent is also required.

If you are offered a place on this course you will need to undergo health screening. On application you will need to undergo an enhanced criminal record check which is done through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This course is ‘exempt’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore you are required to declare any convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that are not "protected" (i.e. filtered out) as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013). The amendments to the Exceptions Order provide that certain ‘spent’ convictions and cautions are ‘protected’ and are not subject to disclosure and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service website. Further information can also be found on the Nacro website.   

We welcome applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Your criminal record will not, in itself, debar you from being offered a place on the Occupational Therapy programme. All cases will be examined on an individual basis.

How to apply

UK/EU students

  • Full time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

International students

Information for international applicants

Applying for an undergraduate degree

Fees and finance

UK/EU students

We have a significant number of places on our pre registration courses in Occupational Therapy which are NHS funded. This includes having tuition fees paid in full and a £1,000 grant each year. If you're offered and accept one of these NHS funded places, you'll also be eligible to apply for an additional means-tested bursary of up to £4,395 per year. Please visit NHS Student Bursaries for more information.

We also welcome enquiries from potential applicants who are interested in self funding a place on this course. Alternatively if your employer would be interested in supporting you financially rather than obtaining NHS funding please get in touch.

International students

The fee for 2014 entry was £10,736.25, please get in touch for the 2015 fees


How you will learn

How you'll learn

Our teaching team are registered occupational therapists who have worked in a variety of settings. They’ll teach you through a mixture of theory and practical work to prepare you for starting work when you graduate. Practitioners from specialist areas in occupational therapy, service users, patients and carers will also come into the University to share their experiences with you. You will be taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials, group activities, workshops, experiential learning and online learning.

How you're assessed

You will be assessed through assignments, presentations, practice placement assessments, one written and one practical exam, case study work and producing a promotional leaflet.

Work placements

There are three periods of practice placement, where you will work full time in practice for a set number of weeks. You'll work in three separate areas of practice ensuring you have the optimum range of skills for becoming a qualified practitioner.

Gary Scott, who is one of our Practice Placement Educators at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield comments about our students from this course:
''In my experience students from the University of Derby are well prepared for placement experiences. They have a good practical understanding of basic therapeutic processes. They understand the requirements of the assessment process and are able to prepare learning contracts independently.''

Careers and employability

As a qualified Occupational Therapist you could work in many areas of the NHS such as acute medical care, orthopaedics, cardiac rehabilitation, paediatrics, mental health and secure environments.

Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings in both the private and voluntary sector, in areas such as industry, prisons, schools, hospitals, health centres, charities and universities. So you'll have a wide range of careers to choose from.

As this course is accredited by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, you will also be eligible to apply for registration to work overseas.

One of our graduates Claire Richardson worked for the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary as a Band 6 Occupational Therapist working in Outpatient Rehabilitation. Claire now works at Royal Derby Hospital. She helps a wide range of people, from sports injuries to orthopaedic conditions including knee and hip replacements. She also carries out a lot of vocational rehabilitation by helping people return to employment following an injury.

What our students say

Susan Metheringham, current student

"The course constantly requires you to reflect upon your learning and really come to know your own strengths and weaknesses. The emphasis is upon developing yourself so that you can go forward and be the best practitioner possible to help other people and the placements are a brilliant opportunity to put this into practice." Read Susan's full story here.

Thomas Hawksworth, current student

"The course provides a safe and nurturing environment with staff that are genuinely investing in your progress. Theoretical knowledge is complimented by group workshops and placements that will develop, challenge and enhance your capabilities." Read Thomas' full story here.

Alex Kerry, current student

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the course; the tutors are incredibly supportive, as are the whole cohort. We all support each other and know we can contact each other if ever we feel a bit lost or need some motivation. I feel very proud and grateful to be an OT student at the University of Derby!"

Nikki O’Brien, current student

"I felt more than ready for placement which resulted in me being able to go into my setting with enthusiasm and confidence in my abilities. It was an amazing experience, I learnt an awful lot but all the time felt very much in my own skin, confirming that this was the right career path for me. A fantastic course! I will always be grateful for the opportunity."

Amy Brown, graduate 

“I had the chance to see how the Occupational Therapy Process helps to encourage clients and make everyday occupations both meaningful and achievable for the therapist and client.”

Linda Marie Dale, graduate

“The best element is the placements as you can implement the theory (sometimes) into practice to know that what you have learnt was relevant and worth the studying.”

“As I wasn’t sure what field I wanted to work in Occupational Therapy it has helped me to look at all aspects both working with physical and mental illness.”

Jennifer Forman, graduate

“My OT degree has a mixture of different modules regarding experience and skills needed to practice in today’s ever-changing professional practice area.”

“Practice placements are so rewarding and important regarding hands on experience with patients/service users which all contribute towards our degree experience.”

Sarah Cross, graduate

"The best part of the degree has to be placement as you are putting theory into practice and gaining so much experience." Read Sarah's full story.

Key Information Sets

Full time

Course enquiries

Contact name: Heather Bullen
T: 01332 594028

Where will I study?

Kedleston Road site and Britannia Mill, Derby Campus