Occupational Therapy
Location: Forrest Building
5869 University Avenue
Room 215
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3H 4R2
Telephone: (902) 494-8804
Fax: (902) 494-1229
Website: www.occupationaltherapy.dal.ca
Email: occupational.therapy@dal.ca


The Atlantic School of Occupational Therapy was established in 1982 as the only occupational therapy education program in Atlantic Canada. The School exists in response to strong regional advocacy, particularly since 1958 when a School was approved in principle by the University Senate. The regional orientation of the School fosters collaborative teaching, research and professional activities linking those at the university with occupational therapy and other service providers, government workers, and citizens in the four Atlantic Provinces. This regional mandate is combined with an international perspective linking Dalhousie with universities and communities for fieldwork and research.

Occupational Therapy is a health profession concerned with social inclusion. Practitioners enhance the occupational performance engagement, health and well-being of individuals, groups, and organizations, particularly where inequities or injustice limit opportunities for meaningful participation in daily life occupations.

Occupation is viewed broadly to include everything we do to “occupy” ourselves in enjoying life, looking after ourselves and others, and contributing to the social and economic productivity of our communities.

Health is viewed broadly as having the ability, opportunity and resources, for quality of life with meaningful occupations in supportive environments.

Occupational therapists use their understanding of occupation, enabling processes, justice and systems to enable individuals, groups and organizations to overcome obstacles that limit their ability to do things they need and want to do. Obstacles addressed by occupational therapists may include illness, injury, physical or mental disability, developmental delay, social disadvantage, old age, cultural, and physical barriers in the home, community and workplace. Using a “partnership” approach, occupational therapists work with individual families, groups, communities, organizations, populations, businesses or governments. The focus can be either on enabling individual change, or enabling change in physical and social environments, policies or legislature to enhance occupational performance and engagement in society. Practice may enable change in skills, attitudes, routines, design of buildings, use of assistive technology, policies, etc.

The role of an occupational therapist is varied and challenging. Occupational issues are never the same because no two people or environments are ever exactly the same. The challenge for occupational therapists is to plan and implement the “just right” program or strategy for each and every client so that everyone can achieve just opportunities to participate in society.

Degrees Offered

In concert with national standards and requirements for occupational therapy education, the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University only offers graduate level degree programs. For further information on our occupational therapy degree programs, please refer to the Graduate Calendar.

Certificate in Disability Management

The School of Occupational Therapy offers a Certificate Program in Disability Management to students currently enrolled in an academic program at Dalhousie or another Canadian university. The Certificate Program is built around the philosophy of disability management and early assistance as the most effective means by which to assist injured and ill workers to attain their maximum level of functioning and ability to return to work. Disability Management is designed to benefit injured workers through its participatory and proactive problem-solving process incorporating strategies that ensure workers timely and safe return to work. All courses in the Certificate Program are offered completely on-line.

Please refer to the Disability Management section in this calendar for additional information.

Post Professional Certificates

These certificates are for people who are working in health, social, or community services whose professional preparation has normally included a bachelor’s degree or higher in a relevant field. The following certificates are being offered in the School:

  • Chronic Condition Self-Management
  • Aging and Continuing Care
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Please refer to the Occupational Therapy section in the Graduate Calendar for additional information.

Master of Science (Occupational Therapy) - MSc (OT): Master’s Program to Enter the Profession

MSc (OT) First class accepted into the program in September 2006.

Master of Science (Occupational Therapy–Post- Professional): Post Professional Master’s program for qualified occupational therapists.

  1. Research Thesis Stream
  2. Practice Leaders Stream
  3. Single graduate courses (with instructor’s permission)


Faculty in the School of Occupational Therapy welcome applications for PhD studies focused on occupational therapy or occupational science. Interested persons should contact individual faculty at the School. Applications will be submitted through the most suitable program, such as the PhD in Health, Interdisciplinary PhD program, or Biomedical Engineering PhD program. Prospective students may be eligible for funding through scholarship programs at NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, or from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF). Within Dalhousie funding possibilities include Killam scholarships.