NYC Occupational Therapy Universities with Degree Program Info

Jan 03, 2019

Research occupational therapy degrees in New York City, which currently has at least six universities offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 15 miles of downtown and decide which one is right for you.

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Universities in New York City with Occupational Therapy Programs

This article looks at three schools no more than 15 miles from downtown New York City and the degree programs in occupational therapy they offer. All three schools are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). A table of information about these schools, such as tuition, enrollment, acceptance rate and graduation rate, can help prospective students figure out their best option. At the end of the article is information on a few more schools in the area with occupational therapy programs.

  • About 11 miles from downtown New York City, York College in Jamaica, Queens, is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). Students there can earn a Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.
  • New York University, a little more than a mile from the city center, offers two master's and two doctoral programs in occupational therapy.
  • The Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) and offers a master's degree program in occupational therapy.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals who are looking for an occupational therapy program in New York City can refer to this table to get important statistics about these three schools.

CUNY York College New York University SUNY Downstate Medical Center
School Type* Four-year; public Four-year; private not-for-profit Four-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 8,533 51,123 1,792
Campus Setting* Large city Large city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018)* $6,958 in-state; $14,348 out-of-state (undergraduate) $43,848 (graduate) $11,474 in-state; $22,814 out-of-state (graduate)
% of Students Receiving Grant or Scholarship Aid (2016-2017)* 82% 45% 41%
Acceptance Rate (Fall 2017)* 44% 28% N/A
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 71% for full-time students; 66% for part-time students 93% for full-time students; 71% for part-time students N/A
Graduation Rate (For students who began their studies Fall 2011)* 29% 84% N/A

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.

CUNY York College

The Department of Occupational Therapy is one of six in the School of Health Sciences and Professional Programs. Through the school, students can pursue undergraduate programs in health movement science, health services, physical education, social science and teacher education. In the Department of Occupational Therapy, students have access to four full-time faculty members and a department chair.

Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

This program takes 3.5 years to complete. Prerequisites include 60 credits in general education and pre-major coursework and 50 hours of relevant volunteer work in a therapeutic setting. Students must also attend an interview and submit letters of reference, a resume and a writing sample.

The degree requirements include 98 credits of major coursework, including a community capstone experience, one semester of full-time fieldwork and a practicum. Once students have been accepted into the program, they take courses in clinical kinesiology, common medical issues and human anatomy. Subsequent coursework covers topics in neuroscience, physical intervention and systems management.

New York University

The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development is composed of 11 different departments, including those devoted to the study of applied psychology, communication disorders, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The faculty includes over ten full-time members. In addition to the degree programs, the department provides opportunities for mentoring and internships.

Professional Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Admission to the Master of Science program includes prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, psychology and statistics. Students must also submit letters of recommendation, a resume and a statement of purpose. The 69-credit program includes instruction that takes place over the course of five traditional and one summer semesters (2.5 years).

In addition to studies in occupational therapy, the program covers topics in research design, methodology and interpretation. Students also learn how to conduct a number of targeted evaluations, including those associated with cognitive, orthopedic and rehabilitative abilities. Clinical observations begin during the first semester of study and include two full-time internships and part-time rotations in a therapeutic environment. This program is approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

Post-Professional Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy

The admission requirements for the post-professional program include interviews, letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement. Students who apply to the Master of Arts program must also be certified or eligible for certification as occupational therapists.

The degree requires a total of 30 credits or one year to complete, including a summer session. The core curriculum consists of four courses in intervention guidelines and theory, ethics and research.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

The 36-credit doctoral program provides students with the chance to pursue a clinical concentration in pediatrics or upper quadrant disorders. It requires a minimum of two years of full-time study, and students have up to seven years to finish the program. The core curriculum is similar to the one found in the Master of Arts program, and students pursue topics in advanced assessments and evidence-based practice. This program is available online.

Coursework specific to the pediatric specialization includes the study of contemporary issues and the meaning of disability in a familial context. Students also learn about school-based interventions and the treatments associated with sensory regulatory dysfunction. Those who specialize in upper quadrant disorders will have the chance to pursue anatomical studies of the face and neck. In addition to six credits of electives, final degree requirements include a professional portfolio.

Ph.D. in Research in Occupational Therapy

At the time of its debut, the doctoral research program was unique to the field of study. Now in its 45th year, this advanced degree program provides graduate students with the academic training they need to work as educators, researchers and therapeutic leaders. Occupational therapists who already hold a post-professional master's degree must complete 42 credits of coursework and a dissertation. The requirements for those with a graduate degree in another field of study include 52 credits of coursework and a thesis.

The advanced core is identical to that of the Doctor of Professional Studies program. Students also take six credits of related courses and pursue topics in applied science philosophies and scientific inquiry. The remainder of the program is devoted primarily to the dissertation; in addition to research, it includes a proposal seminar, a tutorial and 15 credits of relevant coursework.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

In addition to occupational and physical therapy, the College of Health and Related Professions offers undergraduate and/or graduate programs in diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, medical informatics and midwifery. Certificate and continuing education programs include those in mammography and medical billing. Students in the occupational therapy program have access to active lab experiences and research opportunities, as well as nine faculty members.

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

To be admitted to the graduate program, students must have a bachelor's degree that may be in any field of study from an accredited four-year school. Prerequisites include a letter grade of 'C' or higher in coursework related to anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, psychology, social science and statistics. Volunteer experience in a therapeutic setting is preferred, but not required, and students who have participated in academic and co-curricular activities will be given special consideration.

The degree requires 81.5 credits of courses and fieldwork that can be completed in two and a half years, full-time. Students begin their studies at the start of the summer semester and take two introductory courses in human anatomy and occupational therapy. Beginning with the fall semester and throughout the rest of the program, they explore cognition and perception, orthotics and prosthetics, psychiatry and psychosocial intervention. Additional degree requirements include a four-semester master's project and three courses in community practice.

Other School Options

In addition to the schools listed above, Columbia University offers an entry-level Master of Science and a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Also, a combined Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is available at Touro College. Both schools are located in New York City. Long Island University in Brooklyn also offers a combined degree program, and students at this school can earn a Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

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