Welcome to Undergraduate Studies in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy

Dr Clodagh Nolan is the Director of the Undergraduate Programme in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy with oversight for the programme delivery ensuring adherence to standards for professional regulation by our National Body CORU and the accreditation by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT). 

Introduction to the Undergraduate Degree in Occupational Therapy

The Discipline of Occupational Therapy offers a four-year honours degree course that leads to a professional qualification in occupational therapy. Our programme is the longest-established degree course in Ireland and has the largest intake of students coming from throughout Ireland and abroad to study within the Discipline.

Students graduating from the programme receive an internationally recognised qualification. Our undergraduate course is approved by the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI), the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) and by Ireland’s multi-professional health regulator (CORU)

The mission which guides the programme embraces the goals of the University and is designed to enable occupational therapy graduates to think independently, communicate effectively, act responsibly and ethically and engage in critical thinking, reflective practice, lifelong learning and professional development. On graduation, our students are equipped with key skills in independent critical thought, leadership and innovation and are positioned to be at the forefront of developing occupational therapy practice both nationally and internationally.

The undergraduate occupational therapy programme at Trinity College Dublin has a strong focus on people, their occupations and their environments. Our students are prepared to work with children, young people, adults and older adults to maximise a person’s engagement and participation in all life areas.  With an established interdisciplinary focus, our students interact and study with other students across the Faculty of Health Sciences. The core academic staff in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy include not only occupational therapists but lecturers with Physiotherapy and Psychology backgrounds. There is also direct teaching within the Discipline of Anatomy and the School of Nursing and Midwifery.  

Practice education preparation and practice education placements are central to the programme in Trinity College Dublin with students completing placements across the four years and in a wide range of practice areas. 

The Discipline of Occupational Therapy is committed to providing diverse teaching and learning approaches to students including learning through discussion, experiential learning, peer learning, and problem-based learning. We have a community-engaged learning programme unique to the Trinity undergraduate occupational therapy course with strong links to our local community services and organisations. During the undergraduate programme our students have the opportunity to learn from national and internationally recognised occupational therapists from diverse areas of practice and the users of occupational therapy services who are the experts in their own lives. 

Trinity College St James's Campus

Teaching takes place within the purposefully built Trinity Centre for Health Sciences on the grounds of St. James Hospital and on the Trinity College Dublin main campus at College Green.  


Course Overview 

The emphasis in the first year is on the foundational knowledge and skills required by occupational therapists including biological processes, anatomy, psychology and core concepts to occupational therapy. Students complete a two-week practice education placement.  

In second year, students continue with analysis of human behaviour and occupation and move towards further understanding of how biopsychosocial factors may impact on occupational performance in areas such as mental health, older adults and children. Students complete modules in research and disability studies and complete their first long practice education placement.   

In the third year there is a focus on the occupational therapy process within a variety of practice areas across the life course which includes relevant guiding theories, evidence-informed interventions and the use of outcome measures. Students also complete research, social policy and health psychology modules. They complete their second large block of practice education placement in the Semester 2. 

Year four consolidates the students’ academic and practice learning. A final practice education placement is completed in Semester 1 followed by submission of a research project. The second semester involves an occupation-centred capstone project and modules which broaden their knowledge, skills and professional behaviours related to leadership, critical reasoning, governance, cultural competence and generating and using research.