2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    Jul 02, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Occupational Science (Traditional and Weekend Programs) BS

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Occupational Therapy Program

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

Faculty and Staff

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

Julia K. Corsi, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS, MSOT, OTD Misericordia University; MBA Moravian College

Dawn M. Evans, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS and MS College Misericordia, 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, Professor of Occupational Therapy; 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 of Science in Occupational Science (OS) degree, students will continue into the Master 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 or an associate 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. Non-traditional weekend students will attain a BS degree in Occupational Science and continue into the Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy degree track in a three-year time frame. Classes are delivered in an hybrid format with four, on-campus weekends per semester year round. Applicants for the weekend program must possess an initial, earned baccalaureate degree or associate degree in another field. Students must have the following pre-requisites: BIO 211 Anatomy and Physiology I   with lab component; BIO 212 Anatomy and Physiology II  with lab component; MTH 115 Basic Statistics  ; PHY 117 Physics Introduction I  with lab component; PSY 290 Psychopathology  (or the equivalents of these courses, if earned at another postsecondary institution). For those who are entering the program with an AS degree, those students will take the above pre-requisite courses and remaining core courses to fulfill the requirements of BS in Occupational Science degree at Misericordia University. Students may transfer in credits from another college/university, but this must comply with Misericordia University transfer policy.

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 2029-2030 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. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-6611. ACOTE’s web page is located at 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.

BS in OS Program and Student Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcome 1: Students will demonstrate dynamic clinical reasoning.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

SLO 1: Students will apply the foundational knowledge from anatomy and physiology, occupational science, sociology, human development, neurology, and psychology to the analysis of the human as an occupational being.

SLO 2: Students will compare and contrast models and theories that inform the discipline of occupational science and are applied in the profession of occupational therapy.


Program Learning Outcome 2: Students will design and implement occupation-focused practice.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

SLO 1: Students will analyze the concept of balance in occupation and how this influences an individual’s life satisfaction, health status, and quality of life.

SLO 2: Students will evaluate the impact of physical, mental, behavioral health conditions and environment on occupational performance.

SLO 3:Students will identify individual strengths and limitations in developing a therapeutic relationship when providing service to others.


Program Learning Outcome 3: Students will utilize evidence-based practice.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

SLO 1: Students will critically evaluate basic research that investigates occupation and its impact on health and wellness


Program Learning Outcome 4:  Students will demonstrate community leadership skills.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):

SLO 1: Students will design, implement, and evaluate a group process based on a community based needs assessment.

Related Expenses

Additional expenses for occupational therapy students typically include lab fees, which cover lab/splinting supplies, AOTA membership, HIPPA training, medical record hosting site,  etc. As a fieldwork requirement, students must complete all measures for clearances to participate in fieldwork experiences, which are dependent on the site. Costs to complete these health clearances are the responsibility of the student. All students in the final year have the opportunity to complete an additional certification examination preparation course for which there is a fee. As part of professional development, students are encouraged to become members of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA has reduced student rates; details are available in the occupational therapy office). Attendance at professional conferences is encouraged as students may have the opportunity to disseminate scholarly projects and continue their lifelong commitment to learning. Students should plan on regular use of a computer for course communications and assignments. There are several state-of-the-art computer laboratories on campus.


Retention requirements for the occupational therapy program can be found in the MUOT student handbook. Retention criteria for overall GPA and individual course grade minimums vary at different levels of the program. Refer to the MUOT student handbook for further details.

Specific policies related to grades for pre-requisite courses are as follows:

POLICY: Required “C-” or better in BIO 211/212, PHY 117, MTH 115, and PSY 290 

All traditional BS in OS students must obtain a grade of “C-” or better in the above-named courses (as required by their respective weekday or weekend programs) in order to progress through the OS/OT program. (Please note: A grade of C- or better in these prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission to the weekend program). Students may grade replace up to two of these courses one time (one grade replacement per course) in order to obtain the required “C-” or better. Students who do not successfully grade replace and obtain the required “C-” in the course within one year will be dismissed from the Occupational Therapy program. It should be noted that some of these courses may be a prerequisite to other courses and the catalogue should be reviewed to determine the proper course sequence for progression in the program. For those who are entering the non-traditional program with an AS degree, those students will take the above pre-requisite courses and remaining core courses to fulfill the requirements of BS in Occupational Science degree at Misericordia University. Students may transfer in credits from another college/university (must comply with Misericordia University transfer policy).

Specific policies related to grades for OS/OT courses are as follows:

POLICY: Retention and Grade replacement regarding a “D” or an “F” in an OS/OT Course. 

All OS/OT courses must be completed with a grade of “C-” or better. The student who fails an OS/OT course or obtains a “D” in an OS/OT course may retake the course for a grade replacement if the student has not exhausted the grade replacements allowed by the respective university undergraduate and graduate policies. A student who gets below a C- may need to fall back a year, if the class is a prerequisite for a course in the following semesters. If a student is in a situation where they have received an F in more than two OS/OT courses during the same semester, then they may request permission from the OT Chair to grade replace up to five of those OS/OT courses from that semester only. They may only be granted this exception if they have not had any prior OS/OT grade replacements and if there are extenuating circumstances. The OT Program Chair will determine student eligibility for this opportunity. The same course, per university policy, can be repeated only one time. Prior to such grade replacement, the student may continue with other required courses so long as the course is not a prerequisite of such studies. Courses may only be grade replaced if they are retaken at Misericordia University. Students who are planning grade replacement should contact Student Financial Services well ahead of time to determine how it may affect their financial aid.

Sequence of Required Courses (Traditional Program)

First Year


Total Credits 15

Total Credits 17

Second Year


Total Credits 18


Total Credits 18

Third Year

Fourth Year

Total Credits 17


Students in the spring semester of the fourth year will enter either the entry-level MSOT program  or Entry level OTD  .

Total Required for Graduation 120

Sequence of Required Courses (Weekend Program)

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