Postgraduate Taught

MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration)

This course will give you the knowledge and practical skills that you need to develop a new career as an occupational therapist in two years. It is delivered full-time and you will complete a number of placements which enrich the learning experience and prepare you for a diverse practice context.

This course attracts people holding a relevant undergraduate honours degree who wish to change career and become an occupational therapist. It is an intensive professional programme of study in developing theoretical, analytical, practical, evaluative and reasoning skills as well as professional values. The course is unsuitable for applicants already holding a qualification in occupational therapy.

NB There was an error in the PG Prospectus /course leaflet text for this course. It is a 2-year course and you cannot study single modules. 


Why QMU?

  • The course is well grounded in practice by integrating and applying practical examples throughout the course eg case scenarios linked to assignments, vivas and problem-based learning tasks and visiting lecturers. This integrates placement and coursework and therefore makes learning relevant to practice.
  • Critical thinking is encouraged throughout the course, helping learners to develop professional reasoning skills. Learners are facilitated to explore and justify their thinking and decision-making, as well as considering the bigger picture.

Course overview

Occupational therapists assess individuals’ and communities’ disruption and disengagement from their occupations. They facilitate alternative ways for people to re-engage and participate in their occupational roles to improve their quality of life, wellbeing and sense of belonging. Modules reflect contemporary and prospective occupational therapy practice. The course is underpinned by person-centred, evidence-informed and occupation-focused occupational therapy practice.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)


To obtain this MSc you must complete a number of credit-bearing modules. 

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course philosophy integrates academic and placement study. It employs adult learning perspectives including; learner responsibility, active participation, collaborative, autonomy, and learning as a community. Problem-based learning using practice scenarios is a major feature of the learning experience where students work to develop professional reasoning, evidence-informed decision making, and interpersonal and team working skills. Learning is thus a facilitated process of acquiring enquiry skills, interpreting information, group discussion, exchanging of perspectives, creation of knowledge and arriving at a position or judgment. Teaching methods incorporate self-directed study, practice scenarios, group work, workshops, eLearning modules, digital technology, reflection, lectures and placements. Assessment methods include peer and self-assessment, written assignments, viva voce, presentations, projects and placements. Practice placements form a core element of the course and your personal performance is also assessed. 

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module studied on campus will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Academic modules require you to attend QMU from 9.15am – 6.15pm. You should be aware that services may operate over seven working days. 

Placements may involve evening and weekend attendance. You will be expected to mirror the working hours of practice educators and be required to purchase professional indemnity insurance.

Class sizes

Normally, there are around 15-25 students undertaking the course each year.

Links with industry/ professional bodies

Upon successful completion of the course, you can apply for membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council to work as an occupational therapist.


  • 0 credits: Manual Handling
  • 30 credits: Occupational Therapy Theory, Values and Skills for Practice/ Occupational Therapy Process and Practice/ Advancing Scholarship and Professional Practice
  • 15 credits: Occupational Choices and Narratives in Context/ Research Methods
  • 60 credits: Research Project
  • You will also complete undergraduate level professional practice placements 1-4 (1,000 hours in total) in order to be eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council.

The modules and placements listed are correct at time of posting (September 2019) but are subject to change following validation. In the event that modules are changed, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.


There are four placements in total:

  • Placement 1 – full-time, 6 weeks
  • Placement 2 – full-time, 6 weeks (summer)
  • Placement 3 – part-time, 14 weeks
  • Placement 4 – full-time, 8 weeks

Placements can take place anywhere in Scotland, with international opportunities also in Canada and Portugal. QMU allocates all placements in collaboration with students. Placements are situated in health, social care, education and the third sector.

There will be additional travel and accommodation costs for every placement, and these expenses are the responsibility of the student.


Occupational therapists are employed in a diverse range of settings including the NHS, public health, education, employment services, local authorites, prison service, third sector organisations and private practice. Outside the UK, graduates of this course have gone on to work in Hong Kong, Australia, Europe, Canada, USA and New Zealand.

Entry requirements

  • Evidence of a first degree at honours level 2:2 or above in an appropriate area including: Health, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Education or Humanities.
  • Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.
  • Evidence of knowledge and commitment to occupational therapy as a positive career choice.
  • Evidence of a written research project, a research module or research experience.
  • Evidence of direct contact and responsibility with marginalised people or those with impairments in a personal, paid or voluntary capacity, for a minimum of six months in a health, social care, education or third sector context.
  • Mature applicants who graduated more than ten years ago will be considered if they have experience and evidence of equivalent CPD.
  • Mature applicants who graduated more than ten years ago will be considered with the condition that they engage in a module at master’s level study (SCQF level 11) if they do not have equivalent CPD.
  • Two satisfactory references

All successful applicants will participate in a values-based group interview.

NB The entry requirements listed here may be subject to change following validation. Please check back to this page for updates. 

Application deadline

18th October 2020

This course is highly competitive with limited places. We advise applicants to apply early to be considered. 

More information and contacts

Single modules for CPD

Not available.

NB There was a misprint in our paper PG prospectus 2020 which said it was possible to study single modules from this course. 

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU and on practice placement
Full-time: 2 years
Start Date
January 2021
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies


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A Student Story (see bottom of page for more)

Alexis Stein - MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Reg) “I think more than anything, my experience at QMU taught me to think differently. It taught me to reason, critique and challenge assumptions - this is a mode of thinking that is very important in my line of work. I still feel I have so much more to learn, but I think this comes with hands on experience.” Read my story