2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    Feb 27, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy MS, (Entry Level)

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Occupational Therapy Major

College of Health Sciences and Education
Department Chair Lori Anne Charney, OTD, OTR/L

Faculty and Staff

Gwen Bartolacci, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Director of the Weekend Entry Level Master’s Program in Occupational Therapy; AS Mount Aloysious College; BS University of North Dakota; MS The Pennsylvania State University; OTD Nova Southeastern University

Lori Anne Charney, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, College Misericordia; MS, OTD Misericordia University

Joseph A. Cipriani, Professor of Occupational Therapy, BA Wilkes College; BS College Misericordia; MA Wichita State University; EdD Nova Southeastern University

Jennifer Dessoye, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MS College Misericordia; OTD Misericordia University

Dawn M. Evans, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS and MS College Misericordia, OTD Misericordia University

Grace S. Fisher, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy; BA Wilkes College; Post-Baccalaureate Certificate University of Pennsylvania; MS College Misericordia; EdD Temple University

Christine German, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MSOT, OTD Misericordia University

Kathleen Hughes-Butcher, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MS Misericordia University

Cheryl Jayne, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MSOT, OTD Misericordia University

Ellen McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Director of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program; BS and MS College Misericordia; EdD Rutger’s University

Lalit J. Shah, Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS University of Bombay; MS College Misericordia; EdD Nova Southeastern University

Orley Templeton, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MS Boston University; OTD Misericordia University

Since the first ACOTE accreditation in 1985, the occupational therapy department has been preparing occupational therapy practitioners to utilize theory-based, occupation-focused assessment and intervention strategies to assist the individual in improving functional performance. Recently, the curriculum has been refined with an increased focus on occupations, evidenced based practice, community leadership and dynamic reasoning to promote professionals who provide meaningful and effective OT practice. Upon successful completion of the Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Science (OS) degree, students will continue into the Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree track or the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree track. Upon completion of the entry level degree and passing the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists examination, graduates can expect to practice successfully in a variety of traditional and non-traditional health care delivery settings with clients across the lifespan.

The MSOT degree is completed in 5 years and entry level OTD program is six years (plus a summer session) in length that combines the foundation of a liberal arts education with professional occupational therapy coursework to produce a holistic practitioner who has a strong background in the use of occupation and critical inquiry skills to the benefit of both clients and the profession. 

Another option exists for non-traditional students who have already completed and earned a baccalaureate degree in another discipline. Non-traditional weekend students will attain a second BS degree in Occupational Science and continue into the Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy degree track in a three-year time frame. Classes meet on alternating weekends year round. Some weekend classes are offered in a hybrid campus/distance learning format. Applicants for the weekend MS program must possess an initial, earned baccalaureate degree in another field.

The Occupational Therapy Department has received full accreditation status for the professional entry-level Master of Science program by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education through the 2010 - 2020 academic school year. The occupational therapy program at the university has been fully accredited since 1985, the year of the first graduating class in OT. The program is accredited by ACOTE- Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education c/o Accreditation Department American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, phone: 301-652-AOTA. www.acoteonline.org.


The mission of the Occupational Therapy Department at Misericordia University is to provide an educational environment that reflects values and attitudes of justice, mercy, service, hospitality, and dignity in order to promote development of highly skilled professionals who are culturally competent, ethical, innovative, responsible, and involved occupational therapists serving diverse communities. We strive to emphasize quality graduate education through the use of evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning to achieve client-centered outcomes.  Our graduates will be prepared as leaders to work interprofessionally and advocate for health maintenance and promotion within changing environments.


Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education 

Humans are complex beings who engage in occupations that occur in diverse social, physical, temporal, cultural, personal and virtual contexts (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2017). Humans are also therefore occupational beings, with occupation representing the primary means through which we interact with these environments. The desire to engage in occupations is innate (Wilcock, 2006) and is fundamental to health promotion and wellness, remediation or restoration, compensation and adaptation, health maintenance, and disease and injury prevention (American Occupational Therapy Association,  2017). An understanding of how humans engage with their world as occupational beings is an essential component of education for occupational therapy professionals. The learning context includes the curriculum and pedagogy, and a dynamic transaction exists between the learning context and the teaching learning process as students learn (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2015). 


The quality of occupational performance and the experience of each occupation are unique and situational, and reflect the dynamic factors intrinsic to the person, the contexts in which the experience occurs, and the characteristics of the occupation (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2017). Dysfunction in occupational performance is an individually determined state of being (Velde & Fidler, 2002).  The use of occupation to promote individual, community and population health is the core of occupational therapy practice, education, research and advocacy (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2017). The challenge exists to educate a generalist, within a foundation of the liberal arts and an understanding of issues related to diversity, who can impact each client through using the power of occupation.


The education of the occupational therapy student is guided by several beliefs. The essence of knowledge is tentative, fluid, and contingent with specific moments within practice (Hooper & Wood, 2014). We believe that individuals construct knowledge based on their unique interpretation of meaningful experiences. Education is not a product to be delivered, but rather is a process to be facilitated with each student. Faculty can encourage the construction of knowledge by setting the stage for meaningful interactions, reflections, and experiences; however, students are the architects of their own learning (Shapiro, 2013). The role of the student is to actively engage in occupations during the learning process, engage in self-assessment and collaborate with other students in an increasingly self-directed manner. Involvement of the student in community based initiatives that reflect the values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality lead to the development of role emergent and creative professionals who are capable of taking the initiative to respond to the needs of their clients and communities. Engaging students in contributions that add to the profession’s body of knowledge provides a means for them to be developers of knowledge rather than merely recipients of information. Through this active process, the student develops the ability to critically think, develop professional behaviors, and integrate the skills necessary to become a lifelong learner. The reasoning process becomes refined over time, and is always guided by the principles of being client-centered, occupation-based, theory driven and evidence-based (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2015). 



American Occupational Therapy Association (2017). Philosophical base of occupational therapy. 

American Journal of Occupational Therapy,  71(Suppl.2), 7112410045. 

American Occupational Therapy Association (2015). Philosophy of occupational therapy 

education. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(Suppl. 3), 6913410052. 

Hooper, B. & Wood, W. (2014). The philosophy of occupational therapy: A framework for practice. . In B.A. Boyt Schell, G. Gillen, and M.E. Scaffa (Eds) Willard & Spackman’s 

Occupational Therapy (12th ed., pp. 35–46). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Shapiro, A. (2013). A theory and practice of constructivist curriculum. In B. J. Irby, G. Brown, R. Lara-Alecio, and S. Jackson (Eds.) The Handbook of Educational Theories (pp. 317-328). Information Age Publishing, Inc. 

Velde, B & Fidler, G. (2002). Lifestyle performance: A model for engaging the power of 

occupation. Thorofare, NJ: Slack.

Wilcock A.A. (2006). An occupational perspective of health (2nd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: Slack.

Three Year Entry-level MS Weekend Program - Overview

The weekend program utilizes a three-year model, with classes meeting on alternating weekends year round. This program is specifically designed for individuals who possess a baccalaureate degree in another discipline. The weekend program presents professional occupational therapy coursework in an adult learning model to produce a holistic practitioner who has a strong background in the use of occupation and critical inquiry skills to advance the profession. Some courses include the use of Blackboard as a distance learning component, with reduced face to face meeting time. Applicants to the three year entry level weekend program must complete pre-requisite coursework prior to submitting an application. Pre-requisite courses are PSY 290 Psychopathology , MTH 115 Basic Statistics , PHY 117 Physics Introduction I , BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology I , and BIO 212 Anatomy and Physiology II 

This program is specifically designed for individuals who possess a baccalaureate degree in another discipline.

Required Sequence

First Year Weekend Program

Second Year Weekend

Third Year Weekend


Please Note: Classes meet on-campus for eight weekend sessions during the fall and spring semesters and seven weekend sessions during the summer session. Some courses include the use of Blackboard as a distance learning component, with reduced face-to-face meeting time. An *asterisk indicates that courses will have a reduced number of on-campus sessions.

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