MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration)

Postgraduate, Full-time

Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) MSc

Gain professional knowledge and skills required for registration as an Occupational Therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council


This innovative course is designed for graduates who wish to qualify as an Occupational Therapist, with eligibility for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).  It offers an accelerated two-year route of study.

The programme is exceptional in that it has been developed alongside the MSc Physiotherapy and Master of Social Work programmes to prepare you to work effectively within the complex and rapidly evolving environment of integrated health and social care. The outstanding Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre provides the facilities to develop your skills in realistic settings including the home environment. You will enter the workplace as a confident, competent and autonomous Occupational Therapist equipped to lead the delivery of personalised and responsive services, which place individuals and families at the centre of their care and support.

The Occupational Therapy Programme is made up from discipline specific, collaborative and research modules. Discipline specific modules will enable you to learn the theoretical foundations of Occupational Therapy, grow your critical thinking skills and develop your application Occupational Therapy knowledge and skills to clinical practice. Scenario-based learning will enable you to relate your learning to ‘real life’ experiences. In the collaborative modules, you will learn alongside peers from health and social care disciplines to develop your skills and knowledge in communication, critical thinking, collaboration, team working and leadership. Research modules enable you to understand and use research methods in relation to Occupational Therapy. Being both intellectually challenging and practical, this programme will prepare you for the real world of Occupational Therapy.

Edinburgh Napier University is a unique place to study Occupational Therapy 

Edinburgh and its surrounding areas have been a significant location for Occupational Therapy professional development over the past century. During the First World War, our Craiglockhart campus was a military psychiatric hospital for officers suffering from ‘shell shock’. The internationally renowned War Poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were patients there. The hospital was known for its ‘work cure’, elements of which can be traced to the development of Occupational Therapy as we know it today. The embryonic profession of Occupational Therapy was later established at the Astley Ainslie Hospital and the Council Meeting of the first ‘World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ was held in Edinburgh in 1954 and again in 1992. 

At Edinburgh Napier we aim to continue this tradition of Occupational Therapy development and we are recognised as a University that is professional, ambitious, innovative and inclusive.

Please note: this programme is subject to HCPC approval for January 2019 entry.

Mode of Study:



2 years



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Course details

The MSc in Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) Degree programme is offered in full-time study mode over a period of two calendar years. The first year of the programme will start in January 2019.

A standard module is equivalent to 200 hours of learning and on successful completion of each module you will achieve 20 credits towards your chosen award. As a full-time student on the programme you will study 9 Theoretical Modules at SCQF Level 11 (180 credits) and 4 practice learning modules at SCQF Level 10 (100 credits), You will also undertake personal research and complete a dissertation or final project to gain 40 Credits towards your Master’s degree totalling 220 (Level 11 ) credits 100 (Level 10).

Year 1: The Developing Practitioner – The Doing and Being of Occupational Therapy

Year 1 of programme introduces you to foundations of Occupational Therapy and provides an opportunity to develop, explore and critique the core occupational concepts, contexts and skills of the profession.  Furthermore, it introduces you to Social Workers (SW) and physiotherapists (PT) in addition to SW and PT students as key partners in delivering health and social care. The multi-professional student groups will learn and work together across the two years.
Applying and evaluating policy and research in practice is essential for Occupational Therapists, who are required to adopt evidence-based practice. How policy and research impacts on practice and service provision is explored through core inter-professional modules from the outset.

There are two practice placements in Year 1, which introduce and begin to consolidate practitioner skills.

The arrangement of core and discipline specific modules with the two practice placement modules prior to the commencement of academic study in Year 2, facilitates the development of practice experience, evidence-based decision making and professional skills.

Year 2: The Capable Practitioner -Becoming and Belonging as an Occupational Therapist

Year 2 of the programme provides you with a more advanced examination of the practice, philosophical underpinnings, theories and profession occupational therapy. You’ll acquire mastery in critical knowledge and evaluation of key issues on professional practice as well as critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of theoretical concepts central to Occupational Therapy from National and global perspectives. In addition, shared modules that enable an in-depth consideration of a community in the context of developing team working, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Your research experience is enhanced in Year 2 and culminates in the production of a dissertation. There are two final practice placements in Year 2, which enable transition into the workplace as a competent, autonomous practitioner.

Subjects include

Year 1
Working Together in Health and Social Care Contexts
Humans as Occupational Beings
Occupational Therapy Approaches to Assessing Human Performance
Working with Individuals Families and Communities 
Research Approaches in Health and Social Care

Year 2
Risk Uncertainty and Complex Decision-Making
Person, Occupation and Environment Parts 1 and 2
Leading Innovations in Health and Social Care
Masters Dissertation

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a full-time course split up into three trimesters.

    The programme starts in January. A student-centred, active learning approach will be used throughout the programme making use of a range of teaching and learning methods. Examples of these include online and classroom lectures, tutorials, practical classes, group work, use of practical simulation, and guided and independent study activities. 

  • note and pen Assessments

    A range of formative and summative assessment approaches are adopted throughout the course. These will include practical examinations, written essays, reflective activities and presentations.

  • briefcase Work placement

    Each year you will undertake two full-time, 8-week placements which are situated after the first two trimesters. 

    On completion of the programme you’ll have undertaken more than 1,000 hours of clinical practice in a range of health and social care settings. 

  • library Facilities The facilities provided by the Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre offer highly realistic environments within which to develop your communication and engagement skills and to integrate theory with practice in a range of situations including visiting people in their own homes.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Dr Kirstin James

Dr Kirstin James is a lead academic on this course. Dr James qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1992 and was one of the first occupational therapists in the UK to study Occupational Therapy as a postgraduate course.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor’s degree with honours at 2.1 or above in a subject of relevance within the last five years. We look for applicants to have a background in human biology, biomedical sciences, anatomy, physiology, social science and psychology in order to be eligible for this programme. Evidenced study in the area of human anatomy and physiology is required, otherwise applicants will be directed to undertake study in this area as a condition for entry.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Home/EU £7,000 tba
Overseas £13,000 tba

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees.
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships.
The University offers a 10% discount on MSc Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.


The course aims to enable you to be innovative, provide leadership and prepare you to register as an Occupational Therapist and develop a career in:

  • NHS
  • private businesses
  • local authorities
  • third sector organisations

Students of Edinburgh Napier University exploring the city of Edinburgh on Tue 1 May 2018 including visits to Hemma, Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, National Museum of Scotland, Victoria Street and St Giles Cathedral (© Andy Catlin