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Occupational Therapy (MSc)

Please note that this course is currently under review. Therefore the details shown are subject to change and indicative only. The review is expected to be completed by July 2019. This page will be updated after that date and will then represent the basis on which the University intends to deliver the course.

This course, for practicing occupational therapists, aims to develop your knowledge and essential skills to help you progress your career; we will encourage you to utilise evaluative, critical thinking skills to explore your profession, enabling you to make a meaningful contribution to the improvement of patient care.

One of the few MSc courses in Occupational Therapy in the UK for qualified professionals, our Masters provide a sound grounding in the theory and models of the profession and occupation focused practice.

The programme focuses on the acquisition of high quality reasoning skills and the development of innovative ideas based on evidence based practice.  With an emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment, the programme offers an opportunity to develop your evaluative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Working with both clinical and research-active staff, you will have the opportunity to develop your professional expertise across the four pillars of advanced practice: management and leadership, education, research and advanced clinical practice.

As a full-time student, you will undertake five taught modules to complete the postgraduate diploma, and undertake a choice of one dissertation module to complete the MSc.

Distinctive features

  • We are well respected within the profession, with close links with the College of Occupational Therapists. We are ranked 1st in the UK for Occupational Therapy for our pre-registration programmes by the Complete University Guide 2018.

  • We run an occupational therapy clinic on-site, providing you with the opportunity to observe and assist with assessment and treatment of clients with developmental disabilities.

  • Our MSc is delivered flexibly, enabling you to pursue your professional career whilst studying part time, or to take a career break and complete on a full time basis 

  • You will study alongside students from a range of professions, reflecting the ways in which inter-disciplinary teams work in practice

  • Our MSc emphasises the acquisition of high quality clinical reasoning skills and the development of innovative ideas based on evidence based practice.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration18 months
Other ways to study this course
Academic Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

The course is for qualified occupational therapists.

To be admitted to the course, students must be in possession of either:

  • A BSc honours degree in Occupational Therapy (with or without post registration clinical experience) recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.


  • A Diploma in Occupational Therapy recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, plus two years' practice experience.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test. Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

Please Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

The personal statement on your application form will be considered when a judgement is made on your suitability for the programme for which you have applied. You must address the following points in your personal statement. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Why have you selected this programme?
  • What interests you about the programme?
  • Any relevant experience related to the programme or module content.
  • How you plan to use the qualification in your career.
  • How you and your profession will benefit from your studies.
  • Why you feel you should be given a place on the programme.

Please submit your application via the Cardiff University Online Application Service.

Application deadline: End of July of each academic year.  Your application will be considered after this date but it may be for a later intake.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

The course is modular, and you will undertake a selected number of modules per year, leading to a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits). A dissertation module (60 credits) then leads to an MSc (180 credits total).

You must take a generic 30 credit modules and at least two other 30 credit profession-specific or shared modules. To include HCT236 Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Theory and Application. You may then choose one additional optional module in order to make up the 120 credits required for a Postgraduate Diploma.

On the full-time MSc course, you will take the taught modules in one academic year and have up to a further six months in which to complete the dissertation module for your MSc.

The running of the modules is subject to sufficient students selecting the modules.

Contact days vary depending on the module. They may be arranged in blocks of two to three days spread over the semester, or one day a week for twelve weeks. Please check the School of Healthcare Sciences website for details.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is mainly through discussions, practitioner-led sessions, student-led seminars, presentations and individual tutorials. There are also some lectures.

Self-directed study forms an important part of the course, and you will be directed in study skills and guided in the areas for study.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support students. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, crèche and day facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

This programme gives you the opportunity to share ideas with health professionals. As well as developing your own intellectual abilities, this sharing of ideas enables you to learn and benefit from the experiences of others. Opportunity is given for this sort of discussion and exchange of ideas through seminars and tutorials.

All students are given a named personal tutor following registration onto the programme, who is able to assist with any pastoral care as well as advice on writing style, grammar and academic mentoring.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars.

For students whose first language is not English there are open access English Language courses available. These are five week courses run on a first come first served basis and cost an administration fee of £25.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark.  You can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor. 

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a variety of assessment procedures, such as written assignments, oral presentations, poster presentations and small projects. This enables you to demonstrate your ability at analysing and evaluating a situation but also to use a variety of ways to present your ideas and abilities. The research project is a culmination of the development of all these skills.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging in the course, you should develop skills and knowledge which will enable you to:

  • Use an analytical and problem-solving approach and show advanced skills in implementing the Occupational Therapy process.
  • Evaluate practice and critically appraise advances or changes in professional practice.
  • Develop standards of practice based on reflective thinking and problem-solving.
  • Initiate change and lead in the management of change and the advancement of the profession through research.

The MSc offers an opportunity to develop your evaluative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and to increase your practical and theoretical knowledge of occupational therapy, so that you can apply these skills in the further advancement of your profession.

A professional postgraduate qualification can lead to opportunities to develop your career in a number of directions, from advanced practice in your clinical area,   into management or leadership roles, or to positions in education. An MSc is also an ideal stepping stone to undertaking further study or research.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Full time - Fees will be invoiced by module. Normally, invoices will be released shortly after enrolment for all of the modules that you will be undertaking. For more information please refer to our tuition fees pages.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need to provide any specific equipment.