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 programme 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.

This unique MSc (pre-registration) Occupational Therapy degree programme best prepares you as a future occupational therapist to work effectively within the complex and rapidly evolving environment of health and social care. Being both intellectually challenging and practical, this programme will ready you for the real world of occupational therapy at a local and global level. 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 programme is exceptional in that it has been developed alongside the MSc Physiotherapy and Master of Social Work programmes. More than ever, occupational therapists need to acquire deep knowledge of the roles of those they work with, so they can best meet the needs of service users. Learning alongside professional student colleagues in the classroom right from the start of your programme means that you will develop the professional skills required to work in current and future occupational therapy practice.

The outstanding Simulation and Clinical Skills Centre provides the facilities to further develop your skills in realistic settings including the home environment.

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 University we aim to continue this tradition of occupational therapy professional development.

Edinburgh Napier University is recognised as a University that is professional, ambitious, innovative, and inclusive, values that are embedded into the teaching of the programme.

Please note: This programme has been validated by the Health and Care Professions Council, accredited by Royal College of Occupational Therapists and is affiliated with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

The application deadline for the January 2022 intake is 31st May 2021.
Allied Health scenarios in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Suite

Mode of Study:



2 years

Start date:




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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 commencing in January each year.

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 (80 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 80 (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 occupational therapy.  It introduces you to Social Workers and Physiotherapists, service users, other professionals, and students as key partners in your learning. Applying and evaluating policy and research in practice is essential for occupational therapists, who are required to adopt evidence-informed practice. How policy and research impacts on practice and service provision is explored through core interprofessional modules from the outset. There are two practice education placements in Year 1, which introduce and begin to consolidate practitioner skills.

The arrangement of core and discipline specific modules with the two practice modules prior to the commencement of academic study in Year 2, facilitates the development of practice experience, evidence-informed 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 an advanced examination of the practice, philosophical underpinnings, theories, and profession of occupational therapy. You will 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 a dissertation. There are two final practice education placements in Year 2, which enable transition into the workplace as a competent, autonomous practitioner.

General enquires regarding the MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) programme can be made to:
  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a full-time course, split 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 4 full-time placements which are situated between August and December. 

    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.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

AHP Preparation for Professional Practice ( HSC09103 )

In this module you will develop your basic core competencies as well as the background knowledge and understanding required before undertaking your first clinical placement. This knowledge and skills are essential when in practice and you will be expected to continually develop your skills and knowledge throughout the programme.
The content of the module may include the following topics:
• Professionalism and ethical behaviour
• Public protection awareness (adult and child)
• Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression (de-escalation of violence and aggression)
• Moving and Handling
• Health Acquired Infection Control
• Hand Hygiene
• Information Governance
• Data Protection
• IT Security
• Fire Safety
• Basic Life Support

Further information

Dissertation ( HSC11100 )

This module offers the student an opportunity to lead and conduct a detailed research study in a profession-specific area relevant to health and social care practice. It involves critical evaluation of primary or secondary data, discussion and conclusion of the findings/results, including research limitations, presentation and synthesise evidence-based arguments to inform professional practice; education or policy. Examination of the ethical implications and reflect on the limitations of the completed research study. The skill required to synthesise the work for a potential publication facilitates the student to meet all the learning outcomes.

Where primary data collection is to be undertaken as part of a existing research project, the supervising lecturer will normally be responsible for gaining ethical approval before the module begins to ensure this process does not cause delays in your study. However, you will be expected to critically discuss the ethical implications of your research.

Topics will include:
Roles and responsibilities of students and their supervisor: the Dissertation Module Handbook contains information on getting started; literature searching and critique; managing references,
how to present and construct an article for a professional journal; identifying the gaps in the literature, time-management and reflection on process and progress; Dissemination of study findings and limitations in a format appropriate for the professional discipline.

Further information

Humans as Occupational Beings ( HSC11106 )

This module allows you to examine and critique the central values and philosophy of Occupational Therapy: occupation. The module will develop your critical understanding of, and your ability to evaluate, the importance of ‘occupation’ to humans across the lifespan. It will also develop your knowledge of the importance of occupation to health, well-being and occupational justice. As part of the module you will critically analyse your own occupational ‘repertoire’ by participating in, and analysing, occupations as experiences/activities. This will allow you to justify occupation as an intervention.
Your learning will be facilitated by studying the following components of occupation as a construct:
Occupation and its relationship to health and well-being.
Defining occupation and related constructs.
The dynamics of occupation.
Occupation as a means to health over time.
Humans as occupational beings across the lifespan emphasising life transitions, social and cultural diversity, and identity
Human movement and function in everyday life.
Occupational justice: a history of occupation in societies.
Development and analysis of a personal occupational repertoire.
Flow theory and exploration of optimal experience in relation to human occupation.
The institutional, socio-political and cultural influences on occupation

Further information

Occupational Therapy Practice Placement 1 ( HSC10101 )

Practice Education facilitates the application of your core theoretical knowledge from University into the practice setting, in a safe and competent manner. Your Practice Education placement is an Occupational Therapist supervised, full-time practice education opportunity which takes place over a minimum of 8 weeks in a setting that meets the needs of service users with physical, psychosocial or other, often complex, needs. You may also be on placement in an area that provides specialist services for example children’s services, hospice care, housing services, residential settings, Care Homes, care providers, Third Sector or Community Services and novel, emerging areas of practice. As appropriate, you will work within a model of care and should take every opportunity to learn about and work with other professionals within the setting to increase your knowledge of integrated health and social care. You may receive additional supervision from other appropriately qualified professionals to enhance your experience of Practice Education.

Practice Education develops the application of your core knowledge and understanding of Occupational Therapy theory, constructs and contexts as you experience them being applied to real life situations. You will develop your practice skills by applying them to a range of Occupational Therapy processes including receiving and making referrals, understanding and gaining consent, information gathering, assessment, planning, applying and adapting interventions, analysing outcomes and communicating written and oral information.

Alongside this, you will continue to develop your communication, inter-personal, critical thinking and decision-making abilities as you work with service users and their carers, and will develop your ability to work as part of a team with service providers. You will also develop core knowledge and practice skills by seeking evidence and policy to inform your understanding of the application of Occupational Therapy to your practice context. You should take opportunities to develop your understanding of the importance of audit, quality assurance and review to practice. You will be expected to demonstrate autonomy and initiative in the practice based setting. You will receive both Summative and Formative feedback on your core knowledge and practice skills during Practice Education.

You will be expected to adhere to Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Code of Ethics and
Professional Conduct. You will also be expected to follow the policy of your practice setting in relation to, for example use of social media and data protection.

For Practice Placement 1 you will have undertaken-‘Professional Preparation’-during your first and second terms of study. As well as preparing you for the placement environment you will have undertaken mandatory training which must be completed prior to going on placement. This includes training in: Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs), Manual Handling, Basic Life Support Training, Managing Aggression and Control.

Further information

Person Occupation Environment 1 ( HSC11111 )

This module facilitates a critical, and evidence-informed examination of the theory and practice of human performance from a psycho-social perspective in relation to Occupational Therapy. During the module you will critically apply and develop core knowledge of the person in relation to their occupations and environment (or ‘PEO’). This mean you will develop your critical thinking skills with regards to how disruption to everyday occupations, especially by challenges in relation to psycho-social health, can affect a person’s overall well-being and how Occupational Therapy can be applied to address this.
The following components are indicative of the content of this module:
Application of theories of stress, coping, transition, adjustment and loss in relation to occupational performance and the practice of occupational therapy across the lifespan.
Human occupation in relation to individual’s with anxiety, depression and substance misuse and occupational marginalisation.
Occupational Therapy treatment planning, implementation and evaluation in relation to psycho-social perspectives and occupational therapy
National and global policy in relation to delivery of mental well-being service including that of a critical understanding of capacity and gaining informed consent
Theories of consent and capacity
Technology and environmental resources/adaptations in relation to mental well-being
Approaches to written, verbal and non-verbal communication

Further information

Risk Uncertainty and Complex Decision Making ( HSC11102 )

This module will offer students a comprehensive theoretical and practical insight into working with people who are at risk, learning the best practice guidelines for assessing and managing risk, and how to do this through inter-agency working.

Students will develop skills in risk formulation and intervention/care/management planning through using a real case file to explore the risk and protective factors that are present, and through working within their field-specific ‘best-practice’ guidelines and then across the disciplines held within their class group.

Topics delivered within the module will include:
Theoretical and practice of risk assessment; Key risk assessment measures; Case files; Risk management; Practical skills in risk management; Risk management planning; Strategic interventions, treatment and rehabilitation; Validity of outcome measures and formal evaluation; Risk communication; Psychology of risk communication; Communication of risk assessment to different stakeholders; Intra-professional and Inter-agency working; Psychological aspects of human decision making; Biases and common errors in decision-making in judgement; Judgements and decisions made during risk assessments; strategies to reduce risk of biases; Thresholds for intervention.

Further information

Working together in Health and Social Care Contexts ( HSC11103 )

Through a blended learning approach you will explore, examine and identify topics which may include:
Personal identity, empathy and sense of self Reflection on own life experiences
Unconscious bias
Health and well-being monitoring
Resilience building
Human development across the lifespan
Ecological frameworks and social processes for individuals and communities (for example, housing, racism, poverty, education and employment opportunities, mental or physical ill health) and other sources of disadvantage that impact upon development and are associated with the risks of crime, marginalisation, isolation and exclusion, and inequalities in health and wellbeing
Relationships between social processes, disadvantage and social divisions.
Different communities and their respective strengths and limitations
Developing community profiles
Understanding of who service-users might be
Voluntary, private and statutory organisations working with service-users and communities
Local, national and global contexts of health and social care – policy drivers, standards and practices Professionals’ roles in supporting individuals and families in different community setting to overcome inequalities in health and social care through universal services, community resources and resilience

This module is designed to address two main SiSWE learning requirements: Units 1, 2.

Further information

Working with Individuals Families and Groups ( HSC11104 )

This module will give you the opportunity to develop and practise communication skills (verbal, non-verbal and symbolic) and to develop skills in self-awareness, self-reflection, and personal resilience. Recognising that you are continuing to develop your professional identity and an understanding of your own and others’ roles, this will include reflecting on your personal values and motivation for your chosen profession as well as your use of self and issues of power and difference in communication with service users and between practitioners within multi-disciplinary teams. You will explore a number of different theories and methods of communication, such as motivational interviewing, solution-focused approaches, systems approaches and crisis intervention, and you will learn how to judge the appropriateness of different approaches in different situations. You will consider working with service users in groups as well as individually, and you will also explore the nature, purpose and dilemmas involved in the recording and sharing of information generated by inter-personal interactions.

This module is designed to address three main SiSWE learning foci: Units 1, 2, 5.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


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

Placement and study abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Dr Kirstin James

Dr Kirstin James registered in 1992 as a postgraduate and has worked over 30 years across the spectrum of Health and Social Care, education and research with a particular interest in urgent & emergency care.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with honours at a minimum of 2.2 or above in a relevant subject area e.g. Health, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Education or Humanities. Evidenced study in the area of human anatomy and physiology is desirable. 

Applicants with a distinction award in a Bachelor’s degree where honours study was not an option in a relevant health and social care professional will be considered for selection where they can evidence experience of engagement with research evidence. Applicants will be directed to undertake study at SCQF Level 10 as a condition for entry in the form of a bridging module identified by the programme team.

Candidates must also have demonstrated commitment to, and knowledge of, Occupational Therapy as a career. Candidates will be able to evidence to Admissions through their application form and personal statement they have met with/shadowed a range of Occupational Therapists in diverse settings while being able to compare and contrast/discuss these different ways of working. 

Competition for places varies from year-to-year and achievement of the typical minimum entry requirements does not always guarantee shortlisting for interview or a place on the course.

Interview Requirements

There will be a selection interview and applicants to the programme should meet the HCPC requirement to be  ‘fit to practice’ through having  good health and good character. 

Admission to the Programme is dependent upon a satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) Check. This will be sent to you prior to interview and will be conducted on the interview day. The cost of the PVG check will be paid by the University.

Additional Information

Successful applicants will be required to undergo an Occupational Health check and be immunised for a variety of conditions. Documented evidence of previous immunisations will be required, and students will be guided through this process by Edinburgh Napier University when entering the programme. 

Successful applicants who cannot evidence Anatomy and Physiology study as part of their degree will be asked to undertake 'The Advanced Anatomy & Physiology - Level 3' module as part of their condition(s) of entry. This course is offered by The Distance Learning Centre and comprises of 100 hours of self-study and costs approximately £312. We recommend that applicants who cannot evidence Anatomy and Physiology study and who are interested in studying the Occupational Therapy course undertake this module in advance, however, completion of the module does NOT a guarantee an interview or a place on the course. 

Successful applicants will required to become student members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists on joining the programme.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 with no individual component score of less than 6.5.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

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

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult or Mental Health)
  • 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 2021/22 2022/23
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £7,810 tba
Overseas and EU £15,490 tba
Please note, UK and EU offer holders will be asked to pay a non-refundable £200 deposit which is deducted from the fees owed to secure their place on the programme.

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

You study this course over two academic years, fees listed are per annum.


Allied Health scenarios in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Suite.

The course aims to enable students to be innovative, provide leadership and prepare them to register as an Occupational Therapist, ready to work in the NHS, private, local authority and third sector organisations.