Undergraduate Course

BSc Occupational Therapy

Now In Clearing
BSc Occupational Therapy


The details
Occupational Therapy
October 2019
3 years
Colchester Campus

Please note that this course is no longer accepting applications from international applicants for 2019 entry.

Our BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy course helps you to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to enable you to work with clients of all ages who have physical, mental health or learning difficulties.

This three-year programme enables you to take advantage of interprofessional learning (IPL), encouraging professionals to learn with and from one another - an understanding that helps to ensure you have the expertise to respond adequately and effectively to the complexity of your clients’ needs, and ensures that care is safe, seamless and of a high standard.

Central to the philosophy of our programme is the value attached to ‘occupation’ and ‘activity’ as a means to achieving the health and wellbeing of individuals, which enhances their quality of life, thus enabling them to achieve their desired goals.

We combine a number of teaching styles such as lectures, seminars, enquiry-based and blended learning, as well as enabling you to undertake practice placements in the workplace. The use of peer support and self-directed learning enables you to take control of the learning experience and manage your development of knowledge and skills.

Successful completion of this course provides you with an opportunity to access a professional qualification in occupational therapy.

The cost of required uniform will be fully covered by the school.

Placement Opportunities

In order to prepare you for the work-place and enrich your learning, we organise the practice placement education for you with multi-professional health care teams in a wide range of settings. You will gain experience of working as part of a multidisciplinary team with people who have physical and mental health care needs.

Over a thousand hours will be spent in the practice environment, where you will apply the theory and practice of occupational therapy.

Whilst on placement you will have an educator allocated to you, and contact with a member of the academic team.


Placements encompass a variety of multidisciplinary health and social care settings based within the NHS, the Private Sector, Social Services, Voluntary Organisations and Primary Health Care Services.

Making your application

Before you make your application, take a look at our frequently asked questions section at the bottom of our undergraduate department pages. Here you will find hints and tips on what we are looking for, as well as practise Literacy and Numeracy tests.

Professional accreditation

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an occupational therapist.
Why we're great.
  • Small class-sizes enable close working relationships between students and staff.
  • You gain hands-on experience in a range of professional settings through practice placements.
  • Our close links with clinicians in practice will strengthen your career prospects.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Placement year

In order to prepare you for the work-place and enrich your learning, we organise the practice placement education for you with multi-professional health care teams in a wide range of settings. You will gain experience of working as part of a multidisciplinary team with people who have physical and mental health care needs.

Over a thousand hours will be spent in the practice environment, where you will apply the theory and practice of occupational therapy.

Whilst on placement you will have an educator allocated to you, and contact with a member of the academic team.

Placements encompass a variety of multidisciplinary health and social care settings based within the NHS, the Private Sector, Social Services, Voluntary Organisations and Primary Health Care Services.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School is that most of our staff work or have worked within clinical practice. This enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and real-life practice.

Occupational Therapy is taught by registered experienced staff with a variety of different backgrounds. The course is led by Selena Hammond. Selena qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2003, and has practised in a variety of settings, including inpatient orthopaedics, A&E, and Hand Therapy.

The subject lead for occupational therapy is Dr Wendy Bryant. Wendy practised as an occupational therapist in a range of health and social care settings from 1984 until becoming an academic in 2003. She was awarded the UKOTRF Institute of Social Psychiatry Scholarship for research into mental health service-user experiences of occupational therapy facilities in an acute mental health unit in West London.

We also have expertise in the areas of learning disability, brain injury and hand therapy. Specialist guest lecturers additionally lend external expertise to our academic staff. Full details of our staff can be found on our HSC Staff Profiles.

Specialist facilities

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, we have a range of specialist clinical laboratories and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills. For students of our BSc Occupational Therapy, we have a specialist lab at our Colchester Campus which provides you with access to relevant equipment and facilities within supported environments to further develop your skills in helping people in the home.

We also arrange off-site visits to specialist external facilities to assist in your learning, and offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials.

Our student-run Occupational Therapy Society is also involved in many internal and external events.

Your future

Successful completion of our BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme leads to eligibility to apply for registration as an occupational therapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which then allows you to practise as an occupational therapist in the UK.

100% of our undergraduate School of Health and Social Care students are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2017).

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2019 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.


Example structure

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.

Interprofessional Working and Development

The aim of the module is to introduce the concepts of professional and inter-professional practice and provide opportunities to develop understanding of the role of continuing professional development for health professionals.

View Interprofessional Working and Development on our Module Directory

Occupational Being

In this specific occupational therapy module you will work in learner led small groups and be involved in interactive, dialectical learning supported by key lectures. Individual study and key note lectures will develop your skills in areas such as observation, communication and occupational analysis. While this module does not include placement experience, you will progress in occupational therapy practice and self-directed study through the exploratory nature of this module.

View Occupational Being on our Module Directory

Practice Placement One: EXPLORE

In this first four week placement, you will learn to develop an occupational focus, seeing people as occupational beings and using the occupational therapy process to understand their progress through a service. You will explore how this focus contrasts and complements the work of multi-disciplinary teams and other services. You will explore how the core values, skills and beliefs you have learned about so far are enacted in the placement setting, including communication skills and occupational theories.

View Practice Placement One: EXPLORE on our Module Directory

Informing Sciences 1

The module is taken after students’ first exploratory placement in order to build a sound knowledge and understanding of the informing sciences. Students will be introduced to the basic sciences that inform professional practice, including anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology and will complete a workbook throughout the module. Work will also be conducted in small study groups and there will be practical sessions focusing on biologically-based equipment.

View Informing Sciences 1 on our Module Directory

Informing Sciences 2

Developing on knowledge gained from previous modules, this module will focus on the biopsychosocial impacts upon health and wellbeing. Students will develop applied knowledge to further advance understanding of anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology, to understand health and ill health. Learning will be a mixture of key note lectures focused on core concepts, individual study, small-group activity and online support and resources.

View Informing Sciences 2 on our Module Directory

Engagement in Occupation

Using students’ experiences from their first exploratory placement, this module will develop understanding of the occupational nature of human beings and explore how people engage in their occupations and identify the influences on their performance. Students will develop an understanding of occupational therapy theoretical framework through lectures, independent study, small-group activity and online support and resources.

View Engagement in Occupation on our Module Directory

Concepts of Therapy

Drawing from placement experiences, this module will develop an understanding of the professional role and the role of others. There are many concepts and skills that are common between interprofessional colleagues, and in this module students will develop an understanding of the relative role, value and impact of therapy within multiple context and environments. The emphasis of this module is on further developing self-directed learning and engagement, which is supported by tutor-led and small study group activities.

View Concepts of Therapy on our Module Directory

Professional Enquiry

With a mixture of interactive and practical classroom-based lectures, this module focuses on literature searching, synthesising literature within a critical review and identifying a topic for further professional enquiry. Students will gain practical experience of collecting and handling a variety of data and developing analytical skills to gain an understanding of evidence in its widest sense.

View Professional Enquiry on our Module Directory

Professional Reasoning

This module introduces students to the theory and practice of professional reasoning. Throughout the module students will draw on and extend their current knowledge and transferable skills in order to progress occupational therapy identity and skills. Small group work, tutorials and seminars will form the basis of the learning methods within this module.

View Professional Reasoning on our Module Directory

Practice Placement Two: INITIATE

This six week placement requires active participation in practice; initiating elements of the occupational therapy process and sharing your professional reasoning at each stage. Your reasoning will involve thinking critically about the different aspects of practice and the knowledge and evidence which informs your practice. You will use reflection to develop awareness of yourself as a practitioner and identify areas for further learning. You will initiate interactions with other team members and those involved in this setting, based on the understanding of the contexts for practice.

View Practice Placement Two: INITIATE on our Module Directory

Therapy and Occupation

This module is designed to focus specifically on the practice of occupational therapy, and will develop students’ knowledge and skills in delivering occupational therapy. There will be opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to develop evidence based occupational therapy skills and practice. Students will interact with occupational therapists and service users to share their knowledge and experiences relating to aspects of occupational therapy.

View Therapy and Occupation on our Module Directory

Practice Placement Three: LEAD

This eight week placement will offer the opportunity for leadership, where you will demonstrate your practice based on decisions about how you work, using the best evidence, knowledge and understanding of the setting. This placement requires the development of innovative and creative ideas for practice based on sound theories. You will identify an issue arising from the context, generate and evaluate solutions and apply one as a practice innovation. You will also have the opportunity to discover quality monitoring processes and the implications of these in practice.

View Practice Placement Three: LEAD on our Module Directory

Professional Enquiry Proposal

This module will develop evidence-based practice and research through self-directed learning. This autonomous working method will help to prepare students as pro-active professionals once qualified. Learners will work towards preparing and submitting an in-depth literature review and research proposal or improvement project proposal.

View Professional Enquiry Proposal on our Module Directory

Employability in Occupational Therapy

The module prepares students for employment within occupational therapy settings. Students will draw upon and utilise transferable and core skills to prepare them from employment as an Occupational Therapist.

View Employability in Occupational Therapy on our Module Directory

Practice Placement Four: MANAGE

This final ten week placement will require you to manage your own learning under supervision, fully engaging with the practice setting and its broader context. You will be required to demonstrate evidence of competent practice and readiness for transition from student to therapist. This placement requires demonstration of a highly professional level of skills and the use of critical evaluation and reflection to continually develop practice from a robust evidence base. You will be required to share your knowledge and skills.

View Practice Placement Four: MANAGE on our Module Directory


  • This course combines University learning, e-learning and practice-based learning
  • Teaching staff include clinically qualified lecturers in occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, adult and mental health nursing, as well as health psychologists, medical sociologists, social policy, informatics and management specialists
  • The multidisciplinary nature of our School and its rapid growth has fostered a dynamic and innovative learning environment


  • You are assessed through coursework, presentations, essays, posters, portfolios, CPD profiles, examinations, innovative practice proposal and direct observation of practice by the mentor in clinical settings
  • You also conduct a research dissertation

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


The Learning Support Fund is available for healthcare students starting their course on or after 1 August 2017. Please see the NHS BSA for more info.

International fee


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 21, 2019
  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing


We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

Apply now
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