• Occupational Therapy (Pre-reg).jpg

Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)


Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

HCPC approved and RCOT/WFOT accredited

Occupational therapy practice is concerned with enhancing the daily lives of individuals with a very broad range of physical, mental health or social needs. As an occupational therapist you will work with clients to improve function and enable them to fulfil the demands of their daily lives with greater satisfaction. You will work with people of all ages from all walks of life, in hospital, in the community, in their place of employment or in their home, and have the opportunity to work in a very wide variety of professional practice areas.

The fundamental aim of the MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) programme is to enable you to graduate with a master’s degree in occupational therapy and be eligible to apply for registration as an occupational therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the UK.  The Degree does not provide eligibility to practice in any other country although the degree is WFOT recognised.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road site

Course length

  • Full time: 2 years

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • You will develop a profound understanding of the potential for occupational therapy to promote the health and wellbeing of the population.
  • On successful completion of the degree and 1000 hours of clinical practice education you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council as a registered  Occupational Therapist in the UK. 
  • Our lecturers are experienced in their specialist practice areas and have reputations for excellence with established links with colleagues, organisations and institutions at national and international level.
  • Our ongoing investment in a new technology infrastructure is enabling the teaching team to exploit successful technology-enriched learning throughout the programme. We have a large and dedicated building in Oxford (Marston Road) equipped with state-of-the-art classroom and clinical skills and communication suites and resources.
  • The Department have a strong research profile, with experienced researchers working in established areas of cancer care, children and families, drug and alcohol, physical rehabilitation and enablement, inter-professional education and collaborative practice.
  • Established in 1938, we are the oldest School of Occupational Therapy in England, and have one of the best occupational therapy library collections in the country. Based in Oxford, the environment for learning is rich with diversity, culture, specialist health and social care resources, academic resources as well as close commuting links to London.

Professional accreditation

This course is currently approved by the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) and accredited by Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) / World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT). Please note that this approval and accreditation is subject to review and can be withdrawn at any time.

The spiral model of education has been used to design a framework to design the curriculum and structure of this master’s degree.  Graduate students already practiced in independent learning and with high levels of self-motivation will be able to capitalise their pre-existing study skills will be able to use enquiry based learning approaches to meet the demands of the intense format of this programme.  
Year 1 is where you will use the fundamental conceptual models of occupational therapy practice, alongside the therapeutic use of self, in order to develop the procedural and interactive reasoning skills needed to apply the occupational paradigm. You will examine human performance and function within the context of Occupational Therapy and apply your understanding of anatomy and physiology to medical conditions that have an impact on the skills and abilities of clients. You will use their investigation skills to examine the evidence base for occupational therapy in module P40306 (Applied Research Methods) and prepare your ideas for an occupational therapy focused dissertation. Students then take a 6-week practice education module. Over the summer period students are required to take P49413 MSc dissertation and begin their research in a self directed way with remote supervision if not in the UK. 
Semester one of Year 2 is the ‘application’ of the curriculum where you will have the opportunity to analyse disruption to occupational performance and use your analytical skills to plan, implement and critically evaluate the evidence underlining  occupation-focused interventions to support performance, participation and engagement across the lifespan. In the new programme there is an explicit move away from separating mental health and physical health, to a focus on the whole person in the context of their diverse occupations and environments throughout the lifespan. You will complete a practice education module (2 days a week) to reinforce theoretical learning called ‘Professional Development 2b’. 
The final semester of Year 2 provides you with opportunities to consolidate your learning and critically evaluate occupational therapy in different contexts of practice. Considering the provisional nature of your knowledge professional reasoning skills will challenge you to help you develop the skills to analyse and respond to the complexities of practice. There is the opportunity for inter-professional learning in relation occupational therapy leadership and entrepreneurship in ‘Partnerships 3’. This course will end with a 13 week practice education module ‘Professional Development 3’  in Semester 3 where you are expected to demonstrate autonomous practice and manage a case load independently.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from those shown here.

Teaching and learning

MSc in Occupational Therapy is taught alongside the well-established and highly-regarded BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy. 

Pre-registration master's students will be taught alongside the undergraduate students in all occupational therapy specific modules. These will be identified with different module numbers and names to those of the undergraduate programme. This dual level teaching in classroom will provide you with the opportunity to learn the core skills and specific attributes of occupational therapy alongside the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy students. 

However, the pre-registration master's students are provided with an enhanced level 7 learning experience with module specific tutorials to explore a more critical and evidence based approach to the subject matter and thus develop professional competence in academic, research and digital literacy, critical thinking and personal self-awareness. 

Our approach will require you to actively engage in these Masters level tutorials and become self-directed, innovative, creative and critical learners. Teaching will assist you to construct knowledge through the analysis, synthesis and conceptualisation of your learning experiences, thus developing a lifelong approach to learning. This supports employability in a marketplace that demands adaptability, continuous development and leadership.

You will have the opportunity for face-to-face and virtual learning activities. Our inter-professional module is taken alongside other health and social care pre-registration master's level students, enabling you to prepare for the interdisciplinary work you will encounter in the health and social care environment.

Working at master’s level, you will focus on developing your knowledge in occupational therapy, which is evidence-based and strongly underpinned by research. 

This master's degree will:
  • Enable you to be a reflective, proactive, innovative and adaptable occupational therapy practitioner, with the ability to critique research and evaluate the effectiveness of evidence in a wide variety of practice settings.
  • Develop a critical understanding of the theory of occupation and teach you to challenge existing models and approaches used in occupational therapy from an informed perspective.
  • Provide opportunities to develop your ability to work both independently and as part of a team in the context of social, technological, administrative and policy changes.

Approach to assessment

The MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) uses a variety of assessments so that each student will find one that gives them an opportunity to perform at their best. We retain examinations in the degree but also assess you using coursework. This could be in the form of verbal presentations, posters and/or case reports on clients. Students are provided with an opportunity for practice  using formative assessment tasks to enable them to prepare for the final summative module assessment. After each assessment period you receive timely feedback on your performance and advice for future assessments. Many of our assessments are submitted online with one line feedback in a digestive format.

Specialist facilities

There is an occupational therapy activities of daily living skills suite that has two bathroom areas and two kitchen areas for ambulant and wheelchair level access. A range of small aids for daily living are displayed and used for teaching purposes. Our hand function skills lab is used for the hand therapy clinic and is available as a teaching laboratory for student learning on hand function upper limb assessment and orthotics (splinting).

As a student in Oxford you will be at the heart of the UK's most successful economic region and in a centre for leading industries which provides you with a host of learning opportunities. Because Oxford is one of the world's great academic cities, it is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects. In addition to our own excellent libraries and resource centres, our postgraduate students have access to the world-renowned Bodleian Library, the Bodleian Law Library and the Radcliffe Science Library at the University of Oxford.

Additional costs

Placement costs

In addition to  the tuition fees, there are costs that need to be paid for by students in travelling to and from practice placement and potential accommodation costs.

These could  be as much as £3,000 per placement depending on the location and type of placement.  However currently the average accommodation cost per month is £550 and average travel cost is £250 per month. Students will spend up to 30 weeks on placement. 

Other costs

  • books and electronic resources - approx £100
  • deposit for anatomy resources - £10
  • shoes for practice to be worn with uniform - approx £50
  • suitable clothing for the Labs - approx £30.

Attendance pattern

All aspects of occupational therapy education are compulsory so 100% attendance is required and a class sign in sheet is used. If you are unable to attend classes you will be asked to email the programme team and undertake make-up classes or coursework in your own time. 

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £9,950 (new students) £13,160 (continuing students) 2020/21: £10,000

International - full time: 2019/20: £15,400 2020/21: £15,400

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

From 1 August 2018, new students from England starting this course will have access to the standard government undergraduate student finance support package which consists of a means-tested loan for living costs and a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250. Please note fees above this level will need to be paid directly by the student.

Find out more from the Student Loans Company about accessing loans for new postgraduate pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students.

For general sources of financial support, see funding for Postgraduate students from outside the EU

Entry requirements

  • BA or BSc (Hons)  minimum of a 2:2 or above, in a subject relevant to Occupational Therapy - for example: Sociology, Psychology, Biological Sciences, or Anthropology. All applicants must have taken and passed a module or course on research methods, addressing both qualitative and quantitative study designs and statistics.

  • Three A-level subjects adding up to 120 UCAS Tariff points.
  • Five GCSE passes to include grade C in English Language, Maths and Science.
  • An ability to communicate clearly in English; both the spoken word and in writing. Applicants whose first language is not English must have the following or an equivalent qualification acceptable by the University and the HCPC:
In addition to these, you will be expected to demonstrate a range of specific qualities and aptitudes appropriate to occupational therapy within the specific recruitment process which may include an individual and/or group interview and a written test.

Securing a place is subject to both a satisfactory DBS and an Occupational Health clearance. If neither clearance has been completed prior to enrolment or a DBS issue has been declared on application, then enrolment may not be possible. If enrolment has been agreed, then continuation on the programme will be contingent on satisfactory clearances.


All applicants will be screened for fitness for practice and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will be required to achieve an average score of 6.5 in an IELTS test with no less than 6.5 in any component.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

All offers are conditional on successful completion of medical and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. 

We are pleased to offer a number of places to international applicants. For more details, please contact us.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

International applicants will:

  • need to apply early to allow enough time for obtaining visas if offered a place
  • be asked to pay a deposit of £1,000 to secure a place on the course.

Applications are dealt with on a first come, first served basis, so please act early to avoid disappointment.

Selection process

All Oxford Brookes University Health and Social Care Programmes conduct Value Based Recruitment (VBR). We recognise that values and attitudes have the greatest impact on the quality of people's care and their experiences.

VBR is a way of helping our Programme recruitment teams to assess the values, motives and attitudes of those who wish to work with people in health and social care settings. When we refer to values we mean, for example, the values included in the NHS constitution.

VBR focuses on 'how' and 'why' an applicant makes choices in how they act and seeks to explore reasons for their behaviour. Further details about the VBR framework can be found here.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

This course is mapped against the University's postgraduate attributes so that all occupational therapy graduates are equipped with the skills of academic literacy, digital and information literacy, global citizenship, research literacy, critical self awareness and personal literacy. These attributes are in addition to the NHS core values of respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion, and aspiring to improve the lives of others where everyone counts and we work together for patients. 


The majority of graduates from the occupational therapy degrees work as qualified and registered occupational therapists, but there are increasing opportunities to work in non-specified professional roles in mental health and community settings. There are also increasing numbers of employment roles that are not explicitly described or advertised as an ‘occupational therapist’ but match the skills specification of an occupational therapist. This is due to the changing nature of health and social care practice and the new and emerging roles and opportunities for occupational therapy.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

We offer a very friendly and supportive environment in which to learn and consistently receive very high satisfaction ratings for our student support and learning resources in student surveys. We have excellent teaching facilities including classrooms and a lecture theatre, dedicated clinical skills suites and simulation resources, an extensive range of anatomy models and fully networked computer rooms. 

We have excellent library resources, accessible both through the web and through a range of locally-based facilities on university and NHS sites.

All our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning and are strongly focused on encouraging each individual to attain their full potential as lifelong learners. You will be supported throughout the course by academic skills sessions, an allocated academic adviser and module and dissertation support. Student support co-ordinators provide a drop in service for any queries you may have about any aspect of student life, covering both academic and personal welfare.

Our support services include Upgrade which provides advice on study skills such as planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations, research, or preparing for an exam. We also give advice on statistics and maths. There is a dedicated Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, mental health problems and medical conditions. They offer advice and support on a range of issues, including physical access, funding, alternative assessment arrangements and liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

Information technology plays an important role in health care courses and a very extensive range of learning resources can be accessed through ‘Brookes Virtual’, an online repository of lectures, handouts, information and learning exercises.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

The Centre for Rehabilitation within the Department of Sport and Health Sciences has strong leadership in the director, Professor Helen Dawes. The Centre brings together research, education and care. It is underpinned by a strong, well-published research group, the Movement Science Group, along with clinical expertise, rehabilitation, knowledge and care of adults and children with neurological conditions. Within the Centre, staff, students and alumni across the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences are engaged in a number of research projects.
Examples of ongoing research projects within the faculty: 
  • Driving rehabilitation - cognitive mechanisms of driving and performance implications for clinical populations
  • Fatigue management – Central and peripheral fatigue and mechanisms in clinical populations
  • Dual task control in Stroke -  influence on community mobility
  • Efficacy of Intensive motor learning programmes – Themed (Magic) camps for children with hemiplegia
  • Arts in Health Research – collaboration with Breathe Arts Health Research with research opportunities across many arts related activities
  • Virtual Reality (VR) technologies – development and implementation of VR technologies in rehabilitation 
  • Early identification of motor and sensory processing impairments in children
  • Sensory processing disorders and impact on function and behaviour in children with autism
  • Measurement and monitoring of rehabilitation participation- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Systematic Review of Vocational Rehabilitation for people with TBI
  • Therapy for hand writing in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  • Monitoring movement in people with neurological conditions – mechanisms and impact e.g. head drop in Parkinson Disorder
  • Physical activity impact on sleep, behaviour cognition, health and wellbeing in children with neurodisability
  • Falls in people with learning disabilities – an understanding of the impact of anxiety
  • A Functional Electrical Stimulation Plantar flexion System for Bone Health Maintenance in Spinal Cord Injury Patients
  • Professional development Perspectives of Occupational Therapists working in the NHS and concepts of Occupational Balance, Cultural perspectives and attitude change in professional identity acquisition.

Research areas and clusters

Our staff are involved in research both independently and collaboratively.