Master of Science (Occupational Therapy) (MSc OT) to enter the profession


The MSc (OT) program is a full-time, on-site program of study that is designed to prepare students to enter into the profession of occupational therapy. The program is fully accredited by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. The program is 22 months in total, beginning in September and concluding in June. Following the completion of their program, students are eligible to write the CAOT national certification examination in July or November, which in turn provides eligibility for licensure by provincial, territorial, and international regulatory bodies. Graduates have a wide range of employment options in Canada and abroad.

  1. MSc (OT) Program: 78 credit hours full-time study, 22 consecutive months (six semesters)
    a) Academic component: 57 credit hours
    b) Interprofessional health education component: Within the 22 month program, students will engage in a constellation of required interprofessional collaborative learning experiences. Students are required to maintain continuous registration in the Interprofessional Health Education Course (IPHE 5900) for the duration of the program.
    c) Fieldwork component: 21 credit hours for a minimum of 1000 hours. Students may be assigned to fieldwork sites in any of the four Atlantic provinces. Normally, a student will complete no more than one fieldwork course in the Halifax/ Dartmouth area. Applicants who anticipate difficulty meeting fieldwork requirements are strongly encouraged to contact the School Fieldwork Education Coordinator to explore options early in their first academic term. National and International fieldwork options may be available.

Admission Requirements MSc (OT)

  • Candidates must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Admission to the MSc (OT) program requires the completion of a four year Bachelor’s degree in any field of study at a recognized academic institution, with a minimum B average (73-76%), calculated on the last 60 credit hours of the degree.
  • Two prerequisite courses are required.
    • Three credit hours in human physiology and 
    • Three credit hours in human/vertebrate anatomy.

One three-credit course will not be considered to meet the requirements for both anatomy and physiology.  You must apply with three-credit hours in each.

The three-credit hour human physiology prerequisite course should contain study of the following system content: cell, endocrine, neural, muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and gastrointestinal.

The three-credit hour human anatomy prerequisite course should enable the student to explain and describe, at a basic level, the gross anatomy and histology of the human body. Content topics of the course should include study of the following: development, cells, tissues, skeletal, muscular, integument, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems.

  • Reference Letters - two academic confidential letters
  • Admission into the program is limited, typically ranging from 60 to 70 students. Admissions is on a competitive basis with preference given to residents of the Atlantic Provinces. The provincial quota system defines a specific number of allocated seats for students from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.


All applicants must complete

  • The Faculty of Graduate Studies Application for Admission Forms which are available at and,
  • The School of Occupational Therapy’s Supplementary Occupational Therapy Application form, available at _Application_Form.pdf
  • Affirmative Action: The School of Occupational Therapy is committed to the professional advancement of qualified occupational therapists who are persons with disabilities and/or who are members of the African Canadian or Aboriginal communities of the Atlantic region. Fully qualified applicants from these groups will be given preference in admissions. If you belong to one of these groups and wish to take advantage of this policy, you may voluntarily provide this information about yourself on application. Please note that students who request accommodations for a disability of any type are required to be registered with the Dalhousie Advising and Access Services Centre.

Application Deadline MSc (OT) Program:

  • January 31 is the deadline for submission of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Application for Admission Forms and the Supplementary Occupational Therapy Application Form to the School of Occupational Therapy. All final transcripts for courses that are still in progress must be received by June 15 of the admission year in order for the application to be considered by the Admissions Committee, even if a student has been placed on the waitlist for acceptance.

Program Information

Pre-placement Requirements

Fieldwork education, the practice component of the educational program, takes place in a variety of practice sites where students may be exposed to, or be carriers of communicable diseases which are vaccine preventable. Prior to fieldwork, students must meet the immunization requirements as indicated in the "Immunization Record" and "Mandatory Tuberculosis Skin Test" - see:

The School also requires students to complete CPR (level C), and to provide a Criminal Record Check, a Vulnerable Sector Check, and proof that they are not on the Child Abuse Registry.  Additional requirements may be requested by individual sites, and are the responsibility of the student.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are not granted for OCCU courses.

Academic Dismissal

A student may be dismissed from the School of Occupational Therapy for academic reasons/non academic reasons without prior permission. See also Regulation 5.4

Fieldwork Costs

Students enrolled in entry-to-practice graduate programs of study in the Faculty of Health Professions are advised that they may have to do some or all of their required clinical education/fieldwork at sites outside Halifax, and hence may have to incur additional personal expenses for travel and temporary accommodation.

In some situations, sites may require a payment to the site for support of clinical education/fieldwork supervision, and some sites may require separate disability insurance in lieu of eligibility for Worker Compensation coverage. Such costs are the responsibility of the student.

The School of Occupational Therapy is committed to rural health practice. Students may receive some travel and accommodation support through the School’s Rural and Remote Fieldwork program.

Awards, Scholarships, Bursaries

Refer to for information regarding awards, scholarships, and bursaries for the entry-level MSc (OT) program.

Policy Statement on Interprofessional Health Education

Students in the Faculties of Dentistry, Health Professions and Medicine are required to participate in interprofessional health education activities. These activities, together with specific program requirements, are currently evolving and in transition and are integrated into the curricula of individual programs. Participation is mandatory. The objectives of interprofessional education in the Faculty of Health Professions include developing:

  • knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the expertise, roles and values of other health and human service professionals.
  • understanding the concept and practice of patient/client/family-centred care.
  • effective communication, teamwork and leadership skills applied in interprofessional contexts.
  • positive attitudes related to the value of collaboration and teamwork in health and human service contexts.
  • an understanding, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, of the Canadian health and social systems, the legal and regulatory foundation of professional practice, how health and human service institutions are organized and operate, and how different health and human service professions contribute to the systems and institutions.

Required Program of Study for MSc (OT) students

Students admitted to the MSc (OT) program will enroll in the full time program of study documented in the Table below. Progression to each semester of the program is contingent upon completion of all program courses in the previous semester. While each student will maintain continuous enrollment in IPHE 5900 for the duration of the MSc (OT) program, the grade (pass/fail) for this course will not be submitted until the final term of the student’s program. Please register in IPHE 5900.00 (section 3). Students must successfully complete all program courses to meet the requirements for graduation. (Note: Student pays program fee for two academic years = six terms).

Year 1- 45 credit hours - 12 months September - August
Fall Term: Sept - Dec (On-Site) 18 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 5000.03: Theories of Occupation, Enabling and Justice (3 cr hr)
OCCU 5011.05: Enabling Occupation 1: Mental Health (5 cr hr)
OCCU 5012.04: Health Conditions, Pharmacological Management and their effect on Occupational Performance (4 cr hr)
OCCU 5003.03: Dimensions of Professional Practice (3 cr hr)
ANAT 5000.03 Clinical Anatomy (3 cr hr)
Winter Term: Jan - mid-Apr (On-Site) 18 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 5004.03: Occupational Assessment and Occupational Analysis (3 cr hr)
OCCU 5015.05: Enabling Occupation 2: Musculoskeletal Therapeutics (5 cr hr)
OCCU 5006.03: Wellness and Inclusion by Design and Technology (3 cr hr)
OCCU 5112.03: Fieldwork I: (3 cr hr)
OCCU 5017.04: Research Approaches and Evidence-Based Practice for Occupational Therapists (4 cr hr)
Spring Term: (flex delivery): May-August 9 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 5222.06: Fieldwork II: (6 cr hr)
OCCU 6002.03: Social Influences on Occupational Peformance (3 cr hr)
Year 2 - 33 credit hours - 10 months September - June
Fall Term: September-December (On-Site) 14 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 6001.05: Enabling Occupation 3: Neurotherapeutics (5 cr hr)
OCCU 6140.06: Neuroscience for Occupational Therapy (6 cr hr)
OCCU 6006.03 Applied Research for Occupational Therapist (3 cr hr)
Winter Term: January-April (Off-Site) 12 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 6111.06: Fieldwork III (6 cr hr)
OCCU 6222.06: Fieldwork IV (6 cr hr)
Spring Term: May - June (On-Site) 7 credit hours
IPHE 5900.00: Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio (0 cr hr)
OCCU 5043.03: Program Evaluation for Occupational Therapists (3 cr hr)
OCCU 6013.04: Advanced Practice Issues (4 cr hr)