Two OT students working in a lab with one student icing the other's arm.
Graduate & Professional | Hybrid

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, MSOT

Develop and enhance your leadership and professional reasoning skills to serve others through engagement in meaningful occupations.

Why choose a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy? 

The MSOT program at Belmont has a long history of success! We are fully accredited through ACOTE and our NBCOT pass rate is consistently high. The MSOT program offers opportunity to advance your knowledge and skills in a profession you love in a flexible hybrid model! Continue working while advancing your degree. Join a diverse group of learners as you explore ways to enhance your practice and transition into the role of OTR!

You will engage with a robust faculty team who represent various practice areas and specialties. Several faculty hold advanced certifications in pediatrics, seating and mobility, aging in place and assistive technology. Explore emerging practice areas such as pelvic floor health and primary care.

You will join a vast network of Belmont OT alumni who are making a difference in their communities as entrepreneurs, professional leaders, researchers, advocates and educators!

What You'll Learn

  • You will learn to advocate as a professional for the occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services.
  • You will experience broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • You will achieve entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education.
  • You will acquire the ability to plan and apply occupational therapy interventions to address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts and environments to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life.
  • You will become lifelong learners who keep current with and contribute to evidence-based professional practice.
Three OT students working with a child

Career Possibilities

  • Occupational Therapy Practitioner
  • Educator
  • Advocate
  • Researcher
  • Entrepreneur

Program Details

The curriculum is delivered through a variety of lecture, lab and seminar formats, fieldwork experiences, and web-based instruction. As a student, you will be required to demonstrate proficiencies in problem solving, psychomotor, behavioral and clinical competencies as you progress through the program.

High-speed internet access is strongly recommended since you must be able to download large files and view videos in this program. Access to a scanner is also strongly recommended as students will need to submit program materials to faculty and staff throughout the program. A distance learning platform, Canvas, is used for on-line coursework. Since technology is constantly evolving, students should contact the program assistant for technology requirements needed to participate in the program before purchasing new computer software or hardware.

During your first weekend on campus you will receive a comprehensive orientation to the Weekend MSOT Program. The first semester of the program provides course work in kinesiology; neuroscience; and physiology and clinical pathophysiology to ensure that you and your peers, regardless of professional background, have a firm understanding of client factors (body functions and body structures).

During the second semester, the study of occupation is intensified by examining occupational issues that are relevant from birth through adolescence. You will also begin formal preparation for your research project. In the first summer semester, you will focus on the roles of the occupational therapy practitioner in the assessment and treatment of adults and initiate your research project under the supervision of a faculty member.

In the fall semester of the second year, you will focus on occupational performance issues and use of therapeutic occupation related to older adults. You will also engage in a Level I fieldwork experience, actively participating in a setting under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist or other health care professional, and complete your research project.

Upon successful completion of you academic course work, research project, and Level I fieldwork, you are then prepared to begin the Level II fieldwork to be completed during the final two semesters. The program consists of three (3) Level I field placements and two (2) Level II placements. Our students may choose from over 800 clinical sites, or they can work closely with the fieldwork team to develop sites in their own geographic region.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is offered in an accelerated format combining intensive, in-person weekend classes in Nashville, held approximately every 3 weeks, with an online component supplementing classroom activities. This is a demanding full-time program that builds on the education and skills that OTAs and PTAs have already accomplished.

Master of Science of Occupational Therapy
Weekend Course of Study

Fall Semester Year 1: 14 Hours

OTW 5000 Physiology and Clinical Pathophysiology, 3 Hours
OTW 5010 Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy, 3 Hours
OTW 5011 Neuroscience in Occupational Therapy Lab, 1 Hours
OTW 5030 Kinesiology in Occupational Therapy, 3 Hours
OTW 5031 Kinesiology in Occupational Therapy Lab, 1 Hours
OTW 5040 Foundations of Occupational Therapy, 1 Hours
OTW 5050 Developmental Influences on Living, 2 Hours

Spring Semester Year 1: 17 Hours

OTW 5130 Research Methods, 3 Hours
OTW 5150 Occupational Performance I, 4 Hours
OTW 5151 Occupational Performance I, Lab 1 Hours
OTW 5152 Clinical Studies I, 1 Hours
OTW 5153 Level I Fieldwork I, 1 Hours
OTW 5154 Seminar I, 1 Hours
OTW 5250 Occupational Analysis, 2 Hours
OTW 5260 Assistive Technologies for Human Performance I, 2 Hours
OTW 5270 Mental Health in Occupational Therapy, 2 Hours

Summer Semester Year 1: 13 Hours

OTW 5160 Occupational Performance II, 4 Hours
OTW 5161 Occupational Performance II Lab, 1 Hours
OTW 5162 Clinical Studies II, 1 Hours
OTW 5163 Level 1 Fieldwork II, 1 Hours
OTW 5164 Seminar II, 1 Hours
OTW 5230 Research Project, 2 Hours
OTW 5370 Contemporary Practice Issues, 3 Hours

Fall Semester Year 2: 14 Hours

OTW 5170 Occupational Performance III, 4 Hours
OTW 5171 Occupational Performance III Lab, 1 Hours
OTW 5172 Clinical Studies III, 1 Hours
OTW 5173 Level I Fieldwork I, 1 Hours
OTW 5174 Seminar I, 1 Hours
OTW 5320 Professional Issues, 3 Hours
OTW 5360 Assistive Technologies for Human Performance II, 2 Hours
OTW 5420 Professional Portfolio Seminar, 1 Hours

Spring Semester Year 2: 9 Hours

OTW 5400 Fieldwork Level II (part 1), 9 Hours

Summer Semester Year 2: 9 Hours

OTW 5410 Fieldwork Level II (part 2), 9 Hours

Total: 76 Hours

Fieldwork is viewed as an integral part of the MSOT educational experience. Fieldwork provides opportunities for students to integrate and apply academic learning. It is during the fieldwork experience that the student can learn, practice and refine skills of observation, evaluation, treatment planning, implementation and communication. In the fieldwork setting the student begins to define his or her future roles as a practicing occupational therapist and can develop the necessary self-confidence and affective characteristics essential to meeting the demands for this challenging field. Fieldwork provides many opportunities for feedback which promotes professional behaviors and attitudes and clinical expertise.

Fieldwork is an integral part of the education of an occupational therapist and must occur in an environment that provides those experiences which reinforce previous learning and which challenge and motivate the student to develop professionally and adapt to clinic situations.

The School of Occupational Therapy coordinates fieldwork opportunities for students at locations in Tennessee and across the United States within regulatory guidelines established by each state. International opportunities may also be available. Belmont University is part of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) which guides placement in most states.

The curriculum design is based on an adult learning model. Thus, each student must be able to determine what constitutes "current” and “emerging” practice in his/her geographic region. While the MSOT program supports the definition and examples of emerging practice provide by AOTA, the geographic diversity of MSOT students requires that the program's definition of emerging practice is flexible based on a student's geographic location. Thus, community-based practice, rural practice, and school-based practice are “emerging” practice in some geographic areas and a student must be able to provide support for what he/she identifies as “emerging” in his/her geographic region.

The academic fieldwork coordinator is responsible for the planning and implementation of integrated and sustained fieldwork experiences. The experiences occur under the supervision of and with the support of occupational therapists or other qualified individuals. To ensure that the fieldwork activities support and enhance the goals of the program there is continual collaboration by clinical educators, academic faculty, and the academic fieldwork coordinator.

Level I Fieldwork

Level I fieldwork is highly integrated with the curricular framework and supports the two curricular themes of critical thinking and clinical reasoning and professional and leadership development through engagement. The three level I fieldwork experiences progress developmentally and support developmentally-focused coursework for each semester, beginning with pediatrics in the second semester, continuing on with adults in the third semester, and ending with older adults in the fourth semester. While all fieldwork rotations include psychosocial student learning objectives, the second level I experience specifically emphasizes the psychological and social factors influencing engagement in occupation.

In support of the ACOTE standards, all level I experiences support the overall curriculum design, reflect each semester’s developmental focus, and expose students to occupational therapy practice across the lifespan and in numerous areas of practice. In support of the MSOT “bridge” students’ existing professional healthcare experiences, level I experiences specifically highlight skills necessary to transition from an assistant to a therapist, with an emphasis on evaluative and clinical reasoning skills. Level I experiences include a mix of live and virtual simulations, with debriefing to support learning. These experiences are supported in the Seminar courses, where students participate in synchronous and asynchronous discussions, and additional didactic learning activities designed to support professional growth and development.

Level II Fieldwork

Students participate in two consecutive twelve-week level II fieldwork rotations following successful completion of the fourth academic semester. Students participate in online Canvas discussion boards geared toward heightening their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills, and their professional and leadership development throughout both level II fieldwork rotations. Through this platform, students support one another with resource sharing, and they are able to stay in close contact with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Successful completion of their Level II Fieldwork fulfills the requirement for graduation and enables students to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination.

Students in the MSOT program at Belmont have opportunities to earn additional leadership certificates through Belmont's GOLD program. Students also hone their professional leadership skills through participation in our student organizations BSOTA and COTAD. A primary focus at Belmont is developing a heart for service. Students are afforded opportunities to participate in global missions and international fieldwork placements. Students also are equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop programs and advocate for underserved populations in their home state or regions.

The MSOT program is designed for practicing occupational therapy assistants (OTA) and, as space is available, practicing physical therapist assistants (PTA). Applicants must have at least one year of work experience as a fully credentialed occupational therapy assistant or physical therapy assistant working with an occupational therapist (OTR) by the application deadline of January 1.

The School of Occupational Therapy annually admits a class of 40 students to the weekend bridge program leading to the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT), who begin study in August each year. The program is 22 months (or six semesters) in length, and students attend classes on campus every third weekend for in-person instruction.

Serious candidates are encouraged to submit application materials early, well in advance of indicated deadlines. Preference is given to applicants who have completed all prerequisites prior to application. Before you begin the application process, please review the Minimum Application Requirements page to be sure you meet the minimum qualifications to be considered for admission to the MSOT program. Also, before applying, please review the Distance Learning Model Self-Assessment to be certain you are prepared with the skill set required for this program.

Click here to learn more about the admissions process

Program graduates are eligible to apply to take the NBCOT national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). 

Application procedures for taking the national board exam for occupational therapy can be found at:

In addition, most states require licensure to practice, which is a separate process from NBCOT certification. Licensure requirements vary by each state.  However, state licenses are usually based, in part, on successful completion of NBCOT Certification Examination For specific state licensure requirements always consult the state occupational therapy regulatory agency. - See more at:

Some states allow therapists to practice on a temporary license while waiting to take or receive the results of the NBCOT certification exam. If you fail the exam, you may not be able to continue to practice on the limited permit.

Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to be eligible to take the national certification examination or obtain state licensure. 

Doctoral (OTD) and Master’s (MSOT) Programs in Occupational Therapy
Belmont University's OTD and MSOT programs meet the state educational requirements for Licensure as an Occupational Therapist in the states listed under Positive Licensure Determinations.

Positive Licensure Determinations

Negative Licensure Determinations

No Licensure Determinations

Educational Requirements for State Licensure
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • 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
  • Virgin Islands
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
None Educational Requirements for State Licensure
  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • Virgin Islands
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Republic of Palau

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree program at Belmont University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE); 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929; 301-652-2682; Program performance data on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) National Certification Exam for all schools is available on the NBCOT website. The cost of attendance is included on the Cost & Financial Aid page.

Alumni Testimonial

"Belmont’s MSOT program provided me with clinical and professional reasoning skills and support and opportunity to grow deeper in my faith while preparing me to become a more faithful participant in God’s mission in the world.

My experience as a graduate student in Belmont’s MSOT program, prepared me for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, my role as a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and an Adjunct Instructor.

Attending Belmont University to receive my Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree, was one of the best decisions I have ever made and for that, I am thankful."

Amber Malone, Class of 2019

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