Why study this course
Ranked joint 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2019, our Occupational Therapy programme aims to prepare you for your chosen career as an occupational therapist. Once you have successfully completed the programme you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as well as professional membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).
With over 50 years of experience in delivering occupational therapy education, our three-year, full-time BSc (Hons) is a stimulating programme that provides the opportunity to engage in both academic study and practice-based placement learning. Our programme is approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), which means that your qualification will be recognised in around 60 countries worldwide, enhancing your opportunities for international employment.
As a qualified occupational therapist you will work in partnership with and empower a broad spectrum of people who, for reasons of ill-health, disability, trauma or adverse social circumstances, face barriers and challenges which prevent them from undertaking the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. Our curriculum emphasises the centrality of occupation in human life, the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing and the power of occupation to transform the lives of individuals, groups and communities.
The programme fosters a commitment to lifelong learning among its students and you will actively engage in continuing professional development throughout the three years, reflecting upon and recording your individual learning needs and achievements.
You will receive close academic support from experienced personal tutors and be taught and supported by experienced staff whilst sharing ideas within a close-knit student group. An emphasis on academic study also ensures that you enter the profession as a research-capable practitioner equipped with the skills and confidence to contribute to the evidence base which supports and informs current and future occupational therapy practice.
We have close working relationships with a range of service providers across Wales and you will benefit from practice placements facilitated by experienced occupational therapy educators who will help support you in becoming the best occupational therapist you can be.
A varied profile of placement experience undertaken across the three years of the programme will allow you to integrate academic theory with actual occupational therapy practice and gain insight as to the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification (e.g. within NHS, Local Authority, private and third sector settings). That’s why 95% of our occupational therapy graduates are in professional employment or further study six months after completing the programme (Unistats 2017/18).
The Complete University Guide (2018 and 2019) ranked Occupational Therapy at Cardiff University first in the UK, based on student satisfaction, entry standards, student-staff ratios and graduate prospects. Here are some of the key features which underpin our reputation as a provider of high-quality occupational therapy;
- Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available for this programme providing you agree to work in Wales for two years after qualifying.
- You will learn in a student-centred, collaborative learning environment, drawing upon problem-based learning (PBL) and appreciative inquiry (AI) in support of active, professionally-relevant and meaningful learning.
- You will be taught by highly experienced, inter-professional staff group with extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of occupational therapy education, management and practice. Members of the team are actively involved in the publication of impactful research and professional literature which informs the current and future direction of occupational therapy and healthcare at a national and international level.
- Our programme design, content and delivery has been informed and shaped by consultation with key stakeholders, including users of occupational therapy services, students, practitioners and service managers.
- You will have the opportunity for international mobility with partners in Sweden, Malta, Ireland and Belgium, Cardiff University has the largest number of Erasmus exchange places for occupational therapy students in the United Kingdom.
- You will have the opportunity to take part in interprofessional education (IPE), afforded by a multi-professional School of Healthcare Sciences. This includes collaboration with students of nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, radiotherapy and oncology, operating department practice and diagnostic radiography and imaging. Collaboration with other Schools within the University and other local universities allow for additional IPE opportunities with students of professions such as dentistry, dietetics, medicine, social work, speech and language therapy and podiatry.
- You will get to learn and practice your skills in bespoke occupational therapy facilities in the form of an activities of daily living suite which provides a realistic environment in which to develop and practise a range of practical therapeutic skills. The suite is also home to the Occupational Therapy Clinic which provides specialist assessment, treatment and advice for children with developmental disorders and offers opportunities for student involvement.
- All University teaching sessions are captured on video and made available online (where appropriate to do so) for you to review and revisit your learning.
ABB-BBB Additional Requirements 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 Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All successful 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
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.
DDM BTEC National Extended Diploma in Science OR Health Studies. Other BTECs may be considered.
IB 32-31 or 655 at HL
Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.
Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.
Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.
At least 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all subskills.
At least 100 overall with a minimum of 22 in all subskills.
At least 70 overall with a minimum of 62 in all communicative skills.
Trinity ISE II/III
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.
Four GCSEs grade C/4 including Maths and a Physical Science AND English/Welsh at grade B/6
If you are successful in both academic and non-academic assessment you may be invited to attend a multiple mini interview.
It is essential that before commencing any of our undergraduate healthcare programmes, you must have obtained a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
In addition, before enrolling on your programme, you will be required to complete an Occupational Health Questionnaire, attend any subsequent appointment(s), and receive all of the necessary vaccinations to undertake clinical placements safely.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
UK and EU students (2021/22)
A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available to applicants from the UK. Full details, including information for applicants from the EU, are available on our NHS funding pages.
Students from outside the EU (2021/22)
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.
You will be responsible for meeting the costs of obtaining an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate as a requirement of your application. In addition, applicants are advised that there may be travel and accommodation costs associated with compulsory periods of practice placement. Students are provided with a uniform for placement, however you will need to meet the cost of appropriate footwear.
Course specific equipment
You are not required to provide extensive equipment in order to pursue the programme but you will want to equip yourself to take notes and produce assessed and formative work as an essential element of your studies. While most students find it useful to have access to their own desktop PC, laptop or tablet device, there are computers provided on campus within the Ty Dewi Sant building and the Cochrane building Health Library. Additionally, you may choose to purchase some books to support your learning. This is not compulsory and all learning resources are available via the Library, including electronic journals and books.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
This a three-year full-time programme. There are four core 30 credit modules within each academic year (120 credits in total), other than in the final year which is made up of two 30 credit modules, a 20 credit module and a 40 credit module. The programme is structured to ensure a spiral curriculum, whereby modules build on each other to scaffold the students learning and spiral through each year by increasing the depth and range of topics learnt. There is an assessed practice placement within each academic year. Students must successfully complete 360 credits and pass each of the practice placements in order to achieve the award of a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy and be eligible to apply for professional registration to practice as an occupational therapist.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
During the first year of the programme you will undertake the following four core modules:
- Fundamentals of Learning and Scholarly Practice within Occupational Therapy
- Foundations of Occupational Therapy: Science and Practice
- Exploring Occupation: The Nature of Performance, Participation and Disruption
- Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice I
The modules are designed to enable you to acquire a sound foundational knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy in order to begin to develop confidence in your unique professional identity, role and purpose as an occupational therapist.
You will learn about the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin occupational therapy and explore key historical developments in the profession, relating these to contemporary and future practice. Understanding the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing and the nature of occupational performance and participation will be fundamental to your learning, allowing for an informed appreciation of the impact of occupational disruption upon individuals across the lifespan and ways disruption can be prevented or minimised.
You will develop your professional and ethical reasoning and apply creative problem-solving skills in relation to assessment and planning in occupational therapy.
Teaching and learning methods are purposefully designed in supporting you to develop core professional skills relating to collaborative working (including an appreciation of the role and contribution of others), lifelong learning, evidence-based practice and digital literacy. Opportunities to develop awareness of your own profession, the range of sectors in which you might work and that of other professionals supporting the journey of those in your care will be introduced in year one through interprofessional education (IPE).
You will work within a group of students from your own profession to develop your understanding of the role of the occupational therapist and, drawing upon digital technologies, develop an effective form of information communication by which to clearly convey the core role of your profession to others.
The culmination of this academic year is an 8 week practice education placement which will allow you to apply your learning to actual practice and demonstrate the standards of conduct, performance and ethics which are expected of an occupational therapist.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Fundamentals of Learning and Scholarly Practice within Occupational Therapy||HC1229||30 credits|
|Foundations of Occupational Therapy: Science and Practice||HC1230||30 credits|
|Exploring Occupation: The Nature of Performance, Participation and Disruption||HC1231||30 credits|
|Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice I||HC1232||30 credits|
During the second year of the programme you will undertake the following four core modules:
- Examining Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice in Occupational Therapy
- Occupational Therapy Intervention: Theory and Impact
- Enabling Occupation for Health and Wellbeing
- Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice II
You will continue to develop the core knowledge, skills and professional attitudes required of an occupational therapist and be supported to assume increasing autonomy as a self-directed learner.
There will be a focus on the theory and application of occupational therapy intervention, including analysis of a range of approaches and techniques employed by occupational therapists to address the occupational needs of individuals and groups and those to prevent occupational disruption in the public arena.
Building upon the foundations laid in the first year of the programme, you will explore the importance of effective multi-professional team-working and analyse the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to create and sustain collaborative working practices. Interprofessional education will provide you with opportunities to work with students from other programmes within the School of Healthcare Sciences, developing your understanding of team working and communication within the multidisciplinary health or care environment.
You will be a member of a group represented by students from three distinct professions and, drawing upon enquiry based learning, will work collaboratively to explore real life team working situations that reflect the practice environment.
The second year of the programme will also provide you with a comprehensive overview of a range of research methodologies, skills and techniques required to inform the design of methodologically sound research in occupational science and occupational therapy.
You will engage in active modes of enquiry, and develop higher level reflective skills in relation to your personal and professional development, continuing to draw upon digital technology in support of your learning. A 10 week intervention-focused placement, commencing at the end of the Autumn semester, allows for optimum integration of theory and practice and for consolidation of the professional skills and competencies developed in the first year of the programme.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Examining Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice in Occupational Therapy||HC2229||30 credits|
|Occupational Therapy Intervention: Theory and Impact||HC2230||30 credits|
|Enabling Occupation for Health and Wellbeing||HC2231||30 credits|
|Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice II||HC2232||30 credits|
During the third and final year of the programme you will undertake the following four core modules:
- Engaging in Research: Investigating Health, Wellbeing and Occupation
- Leadership, Management and Innovation in Occupational Therapy
- Enabling Occupation for Communities and Populations
- Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice III
As an emerging occupational therapist, these modules are designed to foster a critically evaluative approach to the practice of occupational therapy as well as to your own personal and professional development and employability.
You will explore and critique the political drivers within health and social care environments, including those relating to multi-professional and multi-agency partnership working and the development of evidence-informed, occupation-focused services. Building on your understanding of the transformative potential of occupation for individuals and groups, you will investigate more complex problems and critically evaluate the impact of occupational therapy interventions for communities and populations, including innovative areas of service development.
There will be a focus on developing your knowledge, understanding and application of management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills as well as consolidating the value of continuing professional development and digital capabilities as an integral element of your future practice.
You will be actively involved in research activity; building upon the knowledge and skills developed in the second year of the programme to design and execute a professionally-relevant small-scale study.
In continuation and consolidation of the knowledge and skills acquired through interprofessional education in years one and two of the programme, this final year will allow you the opportunity to develop an understanding of a self-identified area of interest.
You will engage with students both within and external to the School of Healthcare Sciences, assuming an enhanced critical approach to understanding effective teamwork across the professions and as relevant to the various sectors in which an occupational therapist might work.
Your final placement occurs during the Autumn semester and, with a focus on critical evaluation, is designed to consolidate the core values, beliefs knowledge and skills which will be fundamental to your career in occupational therapy.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Engaging in Research: Investigating Health, Wellbeing & Occupation||HC3305||30 credits|
|Leadership, Management and Innovation in Occupational Therapy||HC3306||30 credits|
|Enabling Occupation for Communities and Populations||HC3307||20 credits|
|Personal and Professional Skills for Occupational Therapy Practice III||HC3308||40 credits|
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
In choosing to study occupational therapy at Cardiff University you will pursue a programme that is inclusive, creative, transformative and forward-thinking in its design. Our educational philosophy echoes that of occupational therapy in that we acknowledge and value the rich store of experience, skills and knowledge that you as an individual bring to the learning environment. The programme will facilitate your personal and professional development by providing a collaborative, learner-centred environment that encourages self-direction, promotes life-long learning and fosters creative and critical thinking.
The curriculum is delivered through problem-based learning (PBL) and appreciative inquiry (AI); innovative, evidence-based approaches to learning that are consistent with the need to promote active, student-directed learning with a real-world focus and application.
Throughout much of the programme, you will work in tutorial groups to identify and investigate issues relevant to occupation and occupational therapy based on purposefully-designed, creative trigger material that stimulates and inspires learning. Collaborative learning in the academic environment encourages the development of professional communication and team-working skills and therefore underpins and enhances the learning which occurs during practice placement. Traditional face-to-face learning strategies such as lectures, workshops and seminars will be complemented by interactive online opportunities and resources designed to enhance your overall learning experience and enable you to acquire the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are a requirement of contemporary occupational therapy practice.
Though the majority of practical skills teaching occurs within the practice placement elements of the programme, there is an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ throughout the curriculum. Environmental resources such as the activities of daily living suite afford opportunities to develop and practise skills within a simulated home environment, while practical workshops e.g. manual handling, splinting, interviewing skills etc. are facilitated by both academic staff and visiting lecturers who are practising occupational therapists. You are also afforded valuable opportunities to learn from the authentic voices of service users and carers who contribute to the programme as experts by experience.
This programme offers elements of provision through the medium of Welsh.
How will I be supported?
You are allocated a personal tutor who is a member of the academic staff group and a qualified occupational therapist. You will be encouraged to arrange regular meetings with your personal tutor throughout your time on the programme, during which you can reflect on your overall progress and development and access pastoral support and academic guidance in keeping with your individual needs. Personal tutors will also assist in signposting you to other sources of support such as the School and programme student disability contact and University-wide services including Student Support and Wellbeing and the Academic Skills and Mentoring Team (see Student Handbook for further information). Welsh-speaking personal tutors are available to you if your preference is to access support through the medium of Welsh.
Individual module leads, the Programme Manager and the Professional Head of Occupational Therapy can offer support in relation to your overall experience as a student of the programme, including any feedback or concerns you might have in relation to quality. In the second year of the programme you will be allocated an academic supervisor who will support you in designing and undertaking a small-scale research project and in producing your final-year dissertation.
During periods of practice placement you will be supported by a named practice educator who has received guidance and/or formal training and accreditation (e.g. under the Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ APPLE scheme) in relation to facilitating student learning and assessment. You will also be assigned a named contact from the academic staff group who will offer support before, during and after a placement and who will facilitate a formal review of your progress at the half-way point.
A dedicated placement support team will also be available to you, alongside formal mechanisms and procedures to support your learning and progress and address any issues or problems that may arise. The placement team will attempt to source Welsh-speaking educators or bilingual placement learning opportunities and Welsh-speaking named contacts from the academic setting upon request.
What skills will I practise and develop?
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you.
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:
Knowledge & Understanding:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin and inform occupational therapy practice; principally occupational science, the occupational nature of human beings and the impact of occupation on health and wellbeing.
- A sound recognition of the fundamentals of human anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology that underpin and impact upon occupational performance and participation across the life span, including the nature and meaning of disruption.
- A critical appreciation of the unique, occupation-focused contribution of the profession within a range of practice contexts, to include traditional and newly-emerging areas of occupational therapy service provision for individuals, groups and communities.
- An informed awareness of the social, economic and political dimensions of human occupation and their relevance to occupational therapy service provision, including an understanding of health and social care organisations as complex adaptive systems.
- An in-depth understanding of the core principles and values that underpin collaborative practice in health and social care, including an awareness of the role and contribution of other professionals in ensuring the provision of high-quality, person-centred services.
- A sound appreciation of regulatory and professional body standards concerning continuing professional development, leadership research and evidence-based practice as relevant to the development, delivery and evaluation of occupational therapy services.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- Proficiency in the selection, analysis, synthesis and critical evaluation of information from a wide range of sources, drawing logical and reasoned conclusions in the formation of sound decisions and professional judgements.
- A creative and appreciative approach to problem-solving in the academic and practice setting, including imaginative thinking and the development of innovative solutions and ideas.
- Competence in contributing to a professional knowledge-base through the selection, justification and application of ethically-sound research design and methods and the identification of effective dissemination strategies.
- Enhanced professional reasoning skills, including the ability to engage in cogent debate in relation to the relevance and value of occupation and occupational therapy.
- Effective use of reflection and reflexivity as tools to enable critical review and transformation of personal, professional and wider organisational values and practice.
Professional Practical Skills:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- Established professional values and behaviours in keeping with professional body expectations, including the ‘Code of ethics and professional conduct’ (COT, 2015), ‘Professional standards for occupational therapy practice’ (COT, 2017) and ‘Guidance on conduct and ethics for students’ (HCPC, 2016).
- Effective and appropriate collaborative working practices with users of services, other team members and partners, drawing upon enabling, empowering and consultative approaches and valuing diversity of experience and perspective.
- Competence in employing a broad range of standardised and non-standardised assessment methods and techniques to identify occupational needs and in analysing tasks, activities and occupations as a core professional skill.
- Sound professional reasoning skills in identifying and planning appropriate, evidence-based interventions for the facilitation of occupational performance and participation, respecting the rights, needs and preferences of the individuals and/or groups involved.
- Flexibility in modifying and adapting plans in accordance with the changing needs and priorities of users and services, reflecting upon and evaluating the impact of occupational therapy and identifying appropriate methods to measure occupational outcomes.
- Critical review and application of methods and strategies for service evaluation and quality improvement within occupational therapy, synthesising professional philosophy to justify the involvement of users and carers in effecting meaningful change.
- Effective prioritisation and management of time, working within given resources throughout the problem solving process and assuming leadership, responsibility and accountability for management and development of self and others.
- A critically-evaluative approach to the socio-political environment as it impacts upon health, wellbeing and occupation within the practice context, analysing relevant local, national and global legislation and policies to inform professionally-reasoned decisions and actions.
- Accurate record-keeping, including competence in producing and reviewing a range of documentation and communications related to occupational therapy practice in a specific context to ensure that they effectively convey and justify professional actions and intervention outcomes.
- Advocacy and advisory skills to inform health and social care policy and practice, including a proactive approach to promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities and preventing ill health.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- A creative and innovative approach to problem-solving in the academic and practice environment, including the application of enterprise and entrepreneurship within the context of health and social care.
- Active engagement in continuing personal and professional development underpinned by critical reflection and a commitment to lifelong self-directed learning.
- Enhanced communication skills in the academic and practice environment to collaborate and work in partnership with others across a range of sectors, build therapeutic and professional relationships and effectively articulate personal and professional abilities.
- Effective self-management and an advanced ability to teach, mentor and motivate others, drawing upon fundamental leadership and management skills in identifying methods and strategies for quality improvement.
- Effective and responsible engagement with a range of digital technologies to communicate and collaborate with others and in relation to the retrieval, creation and critical evaluation of information.
- Application of the core professional beliefs and values of occupational therapy as they are aligned to the principles of social and environmental sustainability and contribute to ethically-responsible health and social care provision.
There are excellent employability options for those pursuing a career in occupational therapy and Cardiff University occupational therapy graduate prospects were rated at 96% within the Complete University Guide 2019.
95%* of our occupational therapy graduates are in professional employment or further study six months after completing the programme (*Unistats 2018).
In addition to established traditional areas of practice within statutory sectors (NHS and Local Authority provision), the unique occupation-focused contribution of occupational therapists is increasingly recognised and valued within public organisations such as prisons and schools, private-sector organisations such as residential homes and housing associations and by third sector organisations such as charities and social enterprises.
This programme of study will equip you with sound understanding of the changing landscape of health, social care and wider community services, supporting your development as a creative, dynamic and innovative occupational therapist and in honing the leadership skills you will require to shape current and future services. As an alternative to seeking employment, some students may choose to undertake higher-level study (eg masters or PhD) following completion of the programme.
- Occupational therapist