The entry-level MSOT degree is specifically designed to enable students who possess a baccalaureate degree to learn the knowledge, skills and values to become a successful entry-level professional occupational therapists.  The design of the curriculum is firmly embedded in the mission of Alvernia University and the values of American Occupational Therapy Association.  These create a foundation for values-centered learning that enables graduates to serve others and adopt positions of ethical leadership. 


Program Philosophy

The Occupational Therapy program philosophy is consistent with AOTA's Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education, which states:

"Students are viewed as occupational beings who are in dynamic transaction with the learning context and the teaching-learning process... Education promotes clinical reasoning and the integration of professional values, theories, evidence, ethics, and skills" (AOTA, 2015, p. 1).

The occupational therapy program at Alvernia University seeks to:

"...facilitate the development of a sound reasoning process that is client centered, occupation based, and theory driven while encouraging the use of best evidence and outcomes data to inform the teaching learning experience" (AOTA, 2015, p. 1).


The Master of Science in Occupational (MSOT) degree at Alvernia University is designed to prepare graduates with the competencies expected of the entry-level, professional, occupational therapist (AOTA 2016a).  The design of the curriculum is firmly embedded in the mission of Alvernia University, the Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA, 2015c), and the Philosophy of Education of the program.  These create a foundation for a values-centered education that enables graduates to serve others and adopt positions of ethical or moral leadership.   

The curriculum is designed to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, values, and behaviors necessary for effective performance across a broad spectrum of practice setting.  Graduates of the program will be prepared to think critically, creatively, logically, and ethically in order to use occupation to provide services as practitioners, managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders.  To prepare for the challenges that face occupational therapy practitioners in the contemporary world, students are expected to develop the reflective practices needed for professional growth and lifelong learning. 

The occupational therapy curriculum is based on an understanding of occupation, client-centered, evidence-based, clinical reasoning, and the constructs underlying the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domains and Process, fourth edition (AOTA, 2020).  The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework describes the profession’s unique focus on, and use of, occupation to enable individuals to participate in lives that hold meaning to them.  Graduates will develop a broad perspective in the use of occupation to solve problems for various conditions that interfere with the quality of life for individuals, groups, communities, and populations. 

A distinctive feature of Alvernia’s curriculum design is that it embraces a General Education core and encompasses a holistic view of education that reflects the mission of the University. The curriculum strives to create a community of learners that inspires, motivates, and guides students as they strive for excellence in their professional and personal lives. Students are encouraged to seek moral integrity, spiritual fullness, and to develop their highest level of competence, compassion, and moral behavior.   

The sequence of instructional goals and objectives presents basic concepts in beginning courses.  Building on this foundation, increasingly complex layers of knowledge and skills are introduced, practiced, and mastered.  Core courses create opportunities to discuss issues from multiple perspectives and broaden the process of learning.  

Curriculum Threads
  1. Critical thinking and scientific inquiry.
  2. Reflection on ethical, moral, and professional values
  3. Current and emerging practices.

The capstone for the entry-level MSOT is the completion of a critically appraised topic (CAT) investigating a topic of concern to the profession. Students develop a PICO or guiding research question based on a clinical scenario of interest, conduct a review of existing evidence, generate a written report, and disseminate findings through a public presentation. 

MSOT Contacts

Elizabeth, M. Bentz, OTD, OTR/L, SIPT, RYT
Department Chair, Occupational Therapy
Assistant Professor
Bernardine Hall 114E

Amy J. Thomas, OTD, OTR/L, ARSP
Program Director, Occupational Therapy
Assistant Professor
Bernardine Hall 114C

Kelly Burr, M.Ed.
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
540 Upland Avenue
Reading, PA 19611
Phone: 610-796-8296
Fax: 610-796-8367


OT Telehealth Fundraising
With clinical fieldwork opportunities limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, OT students are given life changing experiences through international telehealth fieldwork.




Learn more about the entry level MSOT program from our associate director of graduate admissions, Kelly Burr, and MSOT faculty, Dr. Amy Thompson.



Graduate and Adult Education

Upland Center, 1st Floor


Entry Level MSOT Program