A career in occupational therapy offers variety, purpose and immense job satisfaction. This Masters level qualification qualifies you for a rewarding profession where you can help people facing physical and mental challenges to overcome barriers to their independence.
- Accelerate your career plans: because this programme is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, upon completion of the programme, you’ll be eligible to apply to register to practise as soon as you graduate, as long as you meet the HCPC’s requirements, and join a rewarding profession
- Boost your professional credibility on a course accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists
- Gain invaluable experience through practice-based learning which makes up almost half of the course
- Learn from a dedicated and skilled team who have worked in a broad spectrum of occupational therapy roles
- Improve your practical skills in our superb facilities ranging from a rehabilitation kitchen to virtual learning opportunities
Study Occupational Therapy at Derby. Our outstanding heritage, accessible and supportive lecturers and professional networks which help you find your dream job are just some of the reasons our students voted us one of the top courses in the UK in the National Student Survey.
With outstanding subject knowledge and a wealth of industry experience, our lecturers including Karen Newberry provide you with the opportunity to fulfil your potential:
Join the thousands who have benefited from Derby’s high-quality, distinctive and innovative Occupational Therapy courses. Ours was the first Occupational Therapy School set up under the auspices of the NHS back in 1948 so we have a strong heritage and reputation in this important field.
A worthwhile and rewarding career
As an occupational therapist, you’ll support people who have a range of difficulties to perform the everyday activities which are key to their health and wellbeing – from work, sport and leisure to aspects of self-care.
This is a profession with a huge reach. It could mean adapting elderly people’s living environments so they can stay in their own homes, devising strategies to assist people with dementia, helping patients adjust to life after a stroke or surgery, or ensuring children with disabilities can take a full part in school life or at play.
Our course equips you for the challenge. You’ll gain the practical, theoretical and interpersonal skills to help people with disabilities, illnesses and long-term conditions to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential.
A career in occupational therapy delivers huge satisfaction – and that starts with your degree.
A course with professional credibility
Our degree is designed to meet rigorous professional standards. It is accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). When you graduate, you’ll be able to apply to the HCPC for registration to practise, as long as you meet the HCPC’s requirements.
We have exceptionally strong links with employers which open doors for you.
Hone your skills through practice-based learning
There are three periods of practice-based learning, which you usually undertake full time to enhance your skills in real-world settings. These are normally for ten weeks in the summer term of first year and autumn term of second year, with a twelve week placement at the end of the second year.
Primarily in the East Midlands, the settings for practice-based learning range from the NHS and social services to the private and voluntary sectors. You’ll experience how occupational therapists work with people in different age groups and with different physical and mental health concerns. This builds the optimum range of skills for becoming a qualified practitioner and helps you make more informed decisions about your future career direction.
We find all three placements for you so we can ensure you’ll be supported by qualified occupational therapists who are trained to assess and develop your practical skills.
An inspiring learning environment
We offer superb training facilities for practical sessions in realistic settings. They include an NHS standard six-bed hospital ward and a rehabilitation kitchen.
We have also invested in latest technology so that you can benefit from a variety of virtual and immersive environments which will enrich your learning experience.
Expertise, commitment and enthusiasm
You’ll be inspired by a dedicated and highly skilled teaching team. They are all registered and experienced occupational therapists who can give you insights into the many different aspects of the profession. Throughout your studies you’ll benefit from the support of a personal tutor too.
Our team is also research active so will keep you informed about latest thinking and trends. We are involved in national special interest groups and have expertise in areas such as posture management, hand therapy, mental health recovery and working with patients who have dementia. You could even conduct noteworthy research yourself: some students have work featured in OT News and other leading publications.
In tune with new developments
This course is closely mapped against the needs of employers to ensure your learning is meaningful and relevant. In delivering the programme, we respond to national changes such as latest government policies. As a result, some of the information about the course may change.
As health care is increasingly delivered by multi professional teams, we offer inter-professional learning opportunities at each stage of the course so that you learn with, and from, students from other disciplines. This is really important in helping you understand how occupational therapists work in partnership with other professionals in different settings. By learning to work together, you can help achieve the best outcomes for patients and clients.
On the MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) you will cover core modules such as:
You will explore the underpinning sciences, philosophies and theories of Occupational Therapy, and apply these to real life situations:
- Underpinning Occupational Therapy
- Occupational Performance and Impact of Pathologies
- Research for Practice
- Therapeutic and Intentional Use of Self
- The Occupational Therapy Process
- Practice Based Learning 1
Practice-based learning is a core element of this stage, and there will be opportunities for you to integrate theory and practice. And you’ll have opportunities to learn alongside students from other disciplines.
- Practice Based Learning 2
- Practice Based Learning 3
- Professional Reasoning in Practice
- Public and Global Health
- Independent Scholarship
You will undergo two further practice based learning experiences in stage two, and have opportunities to explore contemporary OT practice in more detail. The Independent Scholarship is an excellent opportunity to focus on area of practice in which you have specific interest.
Assessment is through a range of methods that are closely linked to the skills you’ll need for your future career and learning. This includes assessments such as written assignments, reports, oral presentations, practice based learning, and personal reflections.
We support you to prepare for these assessments in various ways including assignment tutorials and internet-based resources.
There are three periods of practice placement, where you’ll work full time in practice for a set number of weeks. Working in three separate areas of practice will ensure you have the optimum range of skills for becoming a qualified practitioner.
Our teaching team is made up of registered occupational therapists who have worked in a variety of settings. Practitioners from specialist areas in occupational therapy, ‘experts by experience’, patients and carers will also come into the University to share their insights with you.
If you have additional needs, support is available centrally within the university on our student support page.
You will receive feedback on your work within three working weeks so that you can be learning and developing form the feedback before submitting your next assessment.
Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week and up to 9pm in an evening.
You will need a 2.1 Honours degree or above, gained preferably within the last five years.
Experience and references
- You will need to be familiar with at least two areas of occupational therapy. Shadowing experience with an Occupational Therapist is desirable, ideally in more than one setting. You should also demonstrate what you have learnt from this.
- You will need to provide a satisfactory reference from an education establishment, a previous employer or person of standing that should demonstrate ability to manage the academic demands of the programme, as well as personal suitability.
English language requirements
- You’ll need to be fluent in English. For overseas students the IELTS at Level 7 or equivalent is also required.
Screening, DBS and criminal convictions
- If you are considered for a place on this course you’ll need to undergo health screening.
- On application you’ll 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 automatically, debar you from being offered a place on the Occupational Therapy programme. All cases will be examined on an individual basis.
You will be invited to a selection day which includes an interview and a range of other practical and written activities.
2018/19 Fees (August 2018 - July 2019)
Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.
This course will now be eligible for funding via the Student Loans Company under the same terms and conditions as undergraduate tuition fee and maintenance loans. Please see the following webpage for more information.
This course is currently not eligible for any further discounts on fees, including the Alumni discount on postgraduate courses.
Additional Fee Information
Additional financial support is available from the NHS for this course. Please see their webpage for more information.
*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.
|Postgraduate Certificate||60 Credits|
|Postgraduate Diploma||120 Credits|
|MA or MSc||180 Credits|
This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out about the Alumni discount
Scholarships and bursaries
We also offer a number of funding opportunities for all International students, including discounts, scholarships and bursaries.
Find out about scholarships and bursaries
On successful completion, you’ll be well placed within the employment market as a self-directed, reflective, proactive and initiative driven practitioner, capable of influencing the development of others and the profession.
When you’ve completed this fast-paced two-year professional Masters course, you’ll be able to apply for exciting and diverse career opportunities within occupational therapy in this country or abroad.
You could work with people of all ages facing different challenges in a wide range of settings such as:
- Health services
- Social services
- Care homes
- Prison services
- Charity sector
- Legal services
- Social enterprises
- Schools and community
- Independent practice
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.