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Occupational Therapy (BSc)

Entry year

The School of Healthcare Sciences is the leading provider of education and research for Allied Health Professionals in Wales, and one of the leading Schools in the United Kingdom.

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Occupational Therapy student with patient

Course overview

The BSc Occupational Therapy course aims to provide you with a qualification enabling you to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Occupational therapy is based on the humanistic view of a person’s ability to influence their own health, roles and quality of life. It views the active involvement of the individual as paramount, helping people reach their maximum potential in all areas of work, leisure and daily living activities.

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and accredited by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, this degree offers excellent career opportunities. You will spend much of the course – at least 1,000 hours – on clinical placements throughout Wales and beyond, applying your skills alongside practising professionals.

During your application to the course you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) good health and character, fitness to practise requirements. This will be achieved by providing a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this course which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. There will be a need to adhere to any immunisation requirements identified. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: We regret that this course is unable to accept applications from international fee-status applicants because of its association with the National Health Service (NHS) and the restrictions on funding and clinical placements.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • The Complete University Guide 2018 ranked Occupational Therapy at Cardiff University first in the UK, based on student satisfaction, entry standards, student-staff ratios and graduate prospects.

  • The School of Healthcare Sciences has recently invested in new facilities and equipment, including a Clinical Simulation Suite, aiming to provide some of the best technology and modern facilities at your disposal. Skills facilities available to occupational therapy students include an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) suite of rooms which simulate a living space with bedroom and bathroom areas, as well as a clinical space for treating children with developmental disabilities.

  • The School provides pre-registration courses recognised by the UK Health and Care Professions Council in radiotherapy and oncology, occupational therapy, operating department practice, physiotherapy and diagnostic radiography and imaging. It also provides pre-registration courses in nursing and midwifery. This contributes to a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education not available at many institutions.
  • Completion of each course leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and professional membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.


UCAS codeB920
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time

Ranked joint 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2019

Entry requirements

ABB in A levels. You will not need to achieve these from any specific subjects. Please note that General Studies will not be accepted. Applicants undertaking science GCE A-levels where a separate practical endorsement is reported will require a pass in this element.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

BTEC Extended National Diploma BTEC Science and BTEC Health Studies - DDD.

35 points to include 5 points in a Higher Level subject.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.


At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require five GCSEs grade A-C or grade 8-4 including English, Maths, and one Science subject.  If you are successful in both academic and non-academic assessment you will also be invited to attend a multiple mini interview.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available for this programme. Further details are available on our NHS funding pages.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Applicants are required to meet the costs of obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate.

Applicants are advised that while you may be entitled to be reimbursed for some of the costs you incur whilst attending practice placements, you will be required to cover the initial costs for later reimbursement. This may include both accommodation and travel costs (if they are in excess of your normal daily travel costs to your University base).


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

The course lasts for three years with two semesters per year. All taught modules are compulsory, adding up to 120 credits per year, 360 credits in all.

You must pass all modules and assessments.

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

Occupational therapy uses occupations or people's everyday activities and ideas to help them overcome physical or psychological disabilities.

The year one modules introduce concepts of learning and occupational therapy theory, including occupational science, plus practice education modules, which reflect the integration of knowledge and the sequential development of your skills. The focus of the first year is on assessment that occupational therapists employ in a variety of settings.

The taught modules in year one total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

Year two

The integration of occupationally-based study together with contributory sciences across the boundaries of modules mirrors the approach to problem solving used by occupational therapists and will enhance your ability to become reflective practitioners. This year will focus on occupational therapy interventions and the underpinning theory of these interventions.

The taught modules in year two total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

Year three

In year three the Critical Evaluation module, worth 40 credits, aims to build on the skills of occupational therapy assessment, planning and intervention and to develop your critical evaluation within the practice education setting. This will give you the opportunity to integrate theory and practice and continue to develop skills including communication, organisation and management, reflective, professional and inter-professional abilities.

It will also encourage you to consolidate your skills for the promotion and application of team working and collaborative practice within health and social care.

The taught modules in year three total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Our courses are designed to be stimulating, flexible and relevant to the needs of a professional healthcare career. Great emphasis has been placed on the practical and clinical aspects of the courses, all of which have been accredited by the relevant professional bodies.

Diverse learning and teaching methods are used throughout, reflecting module content, students’ developing knowledge and growing expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which will employ formal lectures, tutorials, workshops, simulations, seminars, online discussions, presentations and group work.

Independent studies are also an important aspect of the course. Specific work may be set but you will also be required to identify gaps in your understanding and initially address these in self-study or independent learning sessions.

Practice education is an integral part of the curriculum, making up a minimum of 1,000 hours of assessed (and passed) practice for all students. Placements are structured around the themes of assessment, planning, intervention and critical evaluation, to develop your knowledge and skills in the occupational therapy process.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor who will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme. In addition you will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support you in the development of your dissertation.

Our virtual learning environment is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available on site to assist students and provide support and advice.

There is access for all staff, students and placement educators to the practice education database. Here you will be able to view details of placement allocation.

The School of Healthcare Sciences has recently invested in new facilities and equipment, including a Clinical Simulation Suite, aiming to provide some of the best technology and modern facilities at your disposal.

Skills facilities available to occupational therapy students include an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) suite of rooms which simulate a living space with bedroom and bathroom areas. This suite will be used for the treatment of children developmental disabilities including sensory processing difficulties and handwriting problems. You can learn and practise hand splinting skills in a separate mould room.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark. You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.  During practice placements you will be supported in your progress by educators and visiting tutors from the University who will provide verbal and written feedback on your attainment of the learning outcomes.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment of academic and professional competencies is designed to meet the requirements of academic, professional and statutory bodies. Within these assessments, you will be required to demonstrate an ability to investigate, select, synthesise, analyse, reflect on and critically evaluate information.

The assessment criteria are based on models of professional, education and supervision and include:

  • professional reasoning – to demonstrate how you meet the learning outcomes for entry into the occupational therapy profession;
  • critical self-appraisal – to enable you to reflect autonomously on practice;
  • problem solving – to enable you to solve practical problems in practice;
  • reflective practitioner – to take reflection beyond critical self-appraisal and problem solving, to promote these in action.


Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

You will be equipped with skills to help you work in and manage teams. This includes opportunities to work with other health professionals on placement and at the University through the inter-professional learning sessions.

You should become confident in searching, organising and reviewing academic material, secondary sources, academic texts and supplementary material.

Presentation skills will be developed throughout, including practice in information dissemination required in practice and at conferences. You will gain experience in facilitating journal clubs, seminars, workshops and discussions, as well as designing and presenting innovative designs/service ideas.

Reflection skills well help you to effectively monitor your progress in professional roles and academic development. Self and peer assessment skills will be practised with academic support, reflecting an ability to adopt appropriate learning styles and strategies.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

As a School of Healthcare Sciences  97% of our graduates were in employment and/or further study six months after graduating.* Our courses offer a considerable amount of time on practical learning opportunities which help develop confidence, abilities and employability as a healthcare professional.

Employers can include: various Health Boards and NHS Trusts, Community Health Services, local government social service departments, international health services, higher education institutions, the private sector such as housing associations or care homes, and organisations such as Age Concern.

Career destinations can include: occupational therapist, researcher, and primary care graduate mental health worker.

*Graduate destinations statistics are based on HESA Destination of Leavers of Higher Education 2013/14 data.


  • Occupational therapist


Placements in various parts of Wales and England are an important part of the course. These are based around the problem-solving process of assessment, planning, intervention and critical evaluation. More than 1,000 hours will be spent on placement, with your performance assessed and contributing towards your degree award.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Friday 5 July




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