Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy (MAOT)

Program Description

Occupational therapy practitioners are credentialed professionals who work with individuals and organizations, using occupation in all its forms to help them develop to their fullest potential. Occupations are skills for the job of living, including care of oneself and others, work/education, social participation, and play/leisure. Occupational therapy practitioners work with people of all ages and ability levels in a variety of medical, educational and community settings, providing individual, group, or population-based services. For more information on the profession, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website at

The MAOT program prepares students for dynamic careers as occupational therapists in a range of settings with individuals, groups, and populations of all ages. The curriculum is offered in a weekday format.

The program provides learning experiences to enable students to meet the following goals:

Leadership and Collaboration

  • Develop leadership competencies through participation in professional associations, conferences, and curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Collaborate on intra- and inter-professional teams.

Ethics and Social Justice

  • Demonstrate personal and professional conduct consistent with the AOTA Code of Ethics, St. Catherine University Policies, and other related documents. 
  • Demonstrate ethical decision making and behaviors in classroom and experiential learning.

Diversity and Global Perspectives

  • Use person-centered approaches to meet occupational performance and participation needs of diverse persons, groups, and populations.
  • Identify international contributions to occupational therapy scholarship and practice.

Critical and Creative Inquiry

  • Demonstrate competency in information search, critical analysis, synthesis and application of evidence to occupational therapy practice.
  • Apply clinical reasoning in evaluation, interventions, and discontinuation of occupational therapy services in a variety of practice settings.

Effective Communication

  • Demonstrate professional written, oral, virtual, and non-verbal communication.
  • Demonstrate therapeutic use of self with individuals and groups.

Discipline-Based Competence in Occupational Therapy

  • Describe human occupation across the life span, for persons, groups, and populations.
  • Evaluate personal, environmental, and contextual factors that support or limit occupational performance and participation.
  • Develop and implement intervention plans to address the occupational performance and/or participation needs of persons, groups, and populations.
  • Evaluate the outcomes of occupational therapy services at the person, group, and population level.
  • Apply, evaluate, and critique underlying models, theories, frames of reference, and core concepts for occupational therapy practice.
  • Analyze the influence of healthcare, education, and social service systems and policies and their influence on occupational therapy practice.

Purposeful Life-long Learning

  • Create a plan of life-long learning and professional development.

Program Philosophy

The philosophy of the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Graduate Occupational Therapy Programs regarding human beings and how they learn is consistent with the philosophical base of the occupational therapy profession; that human beings learn through engagement in meaningful occupations. The department's philosophy is published in the MAOT Student Handbook.


The graduate program for occupational therapy at St. Catherine is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. They may be contacted at 6116 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda, MD 20852; phone (301) 652-6611 x2042.


The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) conducts a national certification program. To be certified as a registered occupational therapist (OTR), a person must be a graduate of an accredited program and pass a national certification examination, which is administered by the NBCOT. Completion of all academic, thesis/project, and fieldwork requirements is necessary to be eligibile for the examination. When graduates apply to take the certification examination with NBCOT, they will be asked questions related to the topic of felony convictions. A felony conviction may have a potential impact on a graduate's eligibility for certification and credentialing. A student who is concerned about whether something in his or her background could affect eligibility to sit for the national certification examination can request an Early Determination Review directly from NBCOT.  For more information, visit the NBCOT website at

NBCOT may be contacted at 800 South Frederick Avenue, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150; phone (301) 990-7979. The NBCOT website is

In addition, all states have licensure for occupational therapy. In these states, it is mandatory to have a current occupational therapy license to practice. All states use the NBCOT examination as part of the qualifications for a license/registration.

Degree Requirements

Academic Course Work

Students must complete 72 graduate credits in occupational therapy courses and fieldwork credits. Students will usually take 13-14 credits in fall and spring terms and 3-6 credits in the summer and must be prepared to do additional work outside of class time.


Fieldwork provides opportunities for students to experience working with a range of ages, conditions and in a wide variety of settings. Students complete two types of fieldwork. Level I Fieldwork is attached to two Seminar courses in the first two years of the program. Level II Fieldwork (10 credits) occurs following the completion of academic course work. It involves six months of full-time clinical experiences in the field. Students may elect to take an additional (4 or 6 credit) Level II (Specialty) Fieldwork experience in a specialty area of interest.

Years to Complete the Program

The MAOT program takes approximately 2.5 years to complete, but must be completed within five years.  All MAOT graduate students have up to five years from the initial term of enrollment to complete all program requirements for a graduate degree.  Level II fieldwork must be started within one year of the date of the last course in the curriculum. The two required level II fieldwork experiences must be completed within 18 months of the start of the first level II fieldwork.

Transfer Credits

Requests for transfer of credit are considered on an individual basis and only graduate courses will be eligible. Students must request a review of previous coursework upon admission to the program if they wish to receive credit for previous work.

Progression Policy

Standards for Progression

To remain in good standing in the MAOT program, students must:

  • maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the MAOT Program for each semester.
  • earn a grade of C or better in each graduate course.
  • successfully complete each Level I Fieldwork assignment.
  • successfully complete Level II Fieldwork requirements.
  • demonstrate satisfactory professional attitudes and behaviors as defined by the program.

Conditions for Academic Probation

Students are placed on academic probation by the MAOT program if:

  • a grade of C has been earned in any MAOT course.
  • the grade point average for an academic term falls below 3.0.
  • the overall GPA for the MAOT Program is less than 3.0.
  • The student has a pattern of needing multiple retakes in order to achieve a B- or better on written work or tests.
  • The student fails one Level II fieldwork experience.

The MAOT Program Director, in consultation with the faculty, will identify the written conditions of academic probation.  Failure to meet the written conditions for academic probation by the end of the next semester/term may result in automatic dismissal from the program under ordinary circumstances.

Removal from Academic Probation

Students will be removed from academic probation if the conditions are met by the end of the following semester/term. Failure to meet the written conditions for academic probation or to bring the grade point average to 3.0 by the end of the next semester/term may result in automatic dismissal from the program.

Academic Conditions for Program Dismissal

Students are automatically dismissed from the program for academic reasons if:

  • a grade of C- is earned in a required occupational therapy course including Level I Fieldwork
  • more than one grade of C or lower is earned in a required occupational therapy course
  • conditions for removal from academic probation are not met
  • overall GPA in the MAOT Program is less than 3.0 by the end of the semester/term on probation or the semester GPA for the term of academic probation is below 3.0.
  • failure of one Level I fieldwork experience.
  • failure of two consecutive level II fieldwork placements.
  • Under extraordinary circumstances, you may petition in writing to repeat a course or fieldwork, but you may not take the next courses in sequence unless the petition has been approved and you agree with the conditions for continuance.

Conditions for Professional Behaviors Probation

Professional attitudes and behaviors will be considered in the student's overall evaluation and your progress in the program. Students may be placed on probation for demonstration of unprofessional behavior(s). Failure to improve specific behaviors identified by the faculty as problematic will result in dismissal from the program.

Conditions for Professional Behaviors Program Dismissal

Students will be automatically dismissed from the MAOT program for the following unprofessional behaviors:

  • violation of the Code of Ethics of the American Occupational Therapy Association
  • violation of the Institution's policy on academic integrity
  • violation of the Institution's policy on student conduct

(The complete document on student conduct, including the process for implementation, may be found on the University Policies website.) Students may appeal an academic probation or dismissal from the MAOT program by following the Student Complaint Process outlined on the University Policies website and identified in the MAOT Student Handbook.

Entry Level Masters Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy — Entry Level Masters (ELM) program is available for women and men with a baccalaureate degree. It is offered in a weekday format. It prepares students to be certified as a registered occupational therapist.

OCTH 5010Human Occupation3
OCTH 5200Mental and Behavioral Health3
OCTH 5210Mental and Behavioral Health: The OT Process3
OCTH 5410Children, Adolescents, and Families3
OCTH 5450Children, Adolescents, and Families: The OT Process3
OCTH 5500Neuroscience3
OCTH 5560Participation and Technology3
OCTH 5600Kinesiology for Rehabilitation3
OCTH 6000Foundational Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice3
OCTH 6010Seminar A: Entering the Profession1
OCTH 6020Seminar B and Level I Fieldwork - Psychological and Social Factors Impacting Performance1
OCTH 6030Seminar C and Level I Fieldwork Practice Reflection1
OCTH 6040Seminar D: Readiness for Level II Fieldwork1
OCTH 6045Community and Advocacy3
OCTH 6060Physical Assessment and Intervention Planning3
OCTH 6310Evidence Based Practice3
OCTH 6410Foundations of Research3
OCTH 6610Rehabilitation Concepts3
OCTH 6615Rehabilitation Practices3
OCTH 6620Ethical Management3
OCTH 6700Older Adults in Context3
OCTH 6710Older Adults - The OT Process3
OCTH 7000Master's Project Seminar1
OCTH 7500Master's Project3
OCTH 7700Level II Fieldwork5
OCTH 7710Level II Fieldwork5
Total Credits72