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Prospective Students


Structure of the Course

The course extends over four years. Both the academic and fieldwork hours are in keeping with the minimum hours as guided by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).

Structurally, the course is divided into four primary components: basic and human sciences; clinical sciences; occupational therapy studies; and fieldwork.

Course Design

The course, by design, provides an educational experience which helps students develop robust skills for clinical practice. Integration between academic studies and professional fieldwork is supported by close liaison between fieldwork and college staff. Importantly, the course emphasises a research-oriented approach to practice where students learn how to critically evaluate their practice.

Course Outline

First and Second Year (Fresher)

The first and second years of the course are focussed in part on the study of occupation and on occupational therapy theories and interventions for practice. Basic and human sciences are covered in-depth, including anatomy, physiology, biology (underpinning health) and psychology. You will be encouraged to ‘learn by doing’ in subjects related to personal development (e.g. communications) and in modules that focus on the technical skills of practice (e.g. splinting, assistive technology). You will be required to engage in service learning and you will use experiential learning to develop knowledge and skills for practice. You will learn about different research methodologies and statistical procedures in research and begin to develop the analytical skills to apply research to practice. During the first two years of the course, there are a total of 10 weeks in supervised professional practice.

Third and Fourth Year (Sophister)

During the Sophister years, you will develop further your knowledge of theories and principles for occupational therapy practice and how to apply theory and principles to practice. You will learn more about specific occupational therapy interventions in clinical practice. You will gain an understanding of the health and social care systems and policies that impact on practice. You will have the opportunity to learn about how ethics and clinical governance impacts on and drives practice. Service learning is continued and incorporates a peer-education methodology. You will continue to learn about research evidence for practice and develop the skills to evaluate research for practice. You will undertake a group research project consisting of a systematic review on a topic related to practice. Over the course of the Sophister years, you will spend a total of 22 weeks in supervised professional practice.

Junior Fresh (First Year)

The modules of the Junior Fresh year are: Study of Occupation (10 credits); Professional Development (10 credits); Introduction to Psychology (5 credits); Developmental Psychology (5 credits); Applied Anatomy for Occupational Therapy (10 credits); Anatomy of Upper Limb and Back (5 credits); Biological Sciences underpinning Health and Wellness (10 credits); and Junior Fresh Practice Education (5 credits).

Senior Fresh (Second Year)

The modules of the Senior Fresh year are: Study of Occupation Practice and Review (5 credits); Disability and Intellectual Disability Studies (5 credits); Professional Development (5 credits); Social and Personality Psychology (5 credits); Conditions in Occupational Therapy - Adult Physical and Children (5 credits); Conditions in Occupational Therapy - Adult Mental Health (5 credits); Occupational Therapy Theory and Interventions for Adults - Physical (1) (5 credits); Occupational Therapy with Older Adults (1) (5 credits); Research Methods and Statistics (5 credits); Advanced Anatomy and Physiology (5 credits); Foundations of Disease and Pharmacological Intervention (5 credits); and Senior Fresh Practice Education (5 credits).

Junior Sophister (Third Year)

The modules of the Junior Sophister year are: Study of Occupation (5 credits); Social Policy Concepts (5 credits); Occupational Therapy Theory and Interventions for Adults - Physical (2) (5 credits); Occupational Therapy with Older Adults (2) (5 credits); Occupational Therapy for Mental Health Adults (5 credits); Occupational Therapy for Children (5 credits); Professional Development: Group Theory and Facilitation (10 credits); Research Methods (5 credits); Health Psychology (5 credits); and Junior Sophister Practice Education (10 credits).

Senior Sophister (Fourth Year)

The modules of the Senior Sophister year are: Social Policy Analysis (5 credits); Study of Occupation (5 credits); Contemporary Issues in Occupational Therapy (10 credits); Ethical Reasoning, Clinical Governance and Leadership (10 credits); Evaluative Practice – Bringing Evidence to Practice (5 credits); Research Methods (10 credits); Disability Studies (5 credits); and Senior Sophister Practice Education (10 credits).


A variety of assessment methods are used across the 4-year undergraduate programme including: Written examinations; viva voce examinations; individual and group-based assignments; project work; and presentations. Assessment on practice education is competency based.


Aims of Course

The overall aim of the course is to produce a graduate who has the skills, knowledge and attitudes to be competent to practice as an occupational therapist. Competency will be demonstrated by the ability to:

  • Follow an occupational therapy process in intervening with clients who have a variety of occupational needs; demonstrate an approach to practice that is context sensitive.
  • Show an in-depth knowledge of the person as an occupational being; have an understanding of the person-occupation-environment and how all three of these components impact on health.
  • Understand, reflect on, analyse, and evaluate practice; make decisions grounded in ethical practice; use an evidenced-based approach and apply critical reasoning skills in practice.
  • Establish therapeutic and professional relationships with clients, clients’ significant others, colleagues and other agents whilst working independently or as part of a team.
  • Provide a client-centred service that is sensitive to the social, organisational and legislative domains of practice.
  • Take a self-directed approach to personal and professional development

Mature Students

For mature students who wish to apply to the Occupational Therapy undergraduate course, please contact the Mature Students Office in TCD for admission details.  

As general advice for those applying, please consider the following:

  • Your understanding and knowledge of the occupational therapy profession
  • Your work experience in the healthcare sector
  • Your engagement with professional and practice-based courses
  • Your volunteer work in occupational therapy and/or occupational therapy related services
  • Your preparedness to meet the demands of university-based fulltime education

The Discipline of Occupational Therapy will shortlist candidates based on the quality of their application and then interview candidates for the allocated places. Consideration is given by assessors to the following:

  • The applicant’s work experience in areas related to occupational therapy. Where work experience is unrelated, evidence of voluntary-based work in occupational therapy or of shadowing occupational therapists in the clinical setting, is desirable.
  • The applicant’s perspective on the transferability of his/her core skills to occupational therapy.
  • The applicant’s preparedness to meet the academic demands of a full-time degree course (e.g. courses undertaken in order to prepare for the academic demands of third-level education).