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 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. Being both intellectually challenging and practical, this programme will prepare you for the real world of Occupational Therapy. 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.

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.

Please note: This programme has been validated by the HCPC and accredited by RCOT.

Applications submitted after 30 June 2019 are not guaranteed to be considered for January 2020 entry.

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

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 n/a £7,280
Overseas n/a £13,520

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

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.


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.