Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Working with people is at the very heart of this highly-regarded programme and you'll do five placements across a wide range of community health and rehabilitation settings to gain vital practice experience. When you graduate, you'll be able to register as an Occupational Therapist in New Zealand - this degree is also recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

About the programme

Make a difference in people's lives. Become an occupational therapist and help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in their daily activities.

As an occupational therapist, your focus will be on ensuring individuals, groups and populations within the community can do the things that are important to them. You will work with people who have had illness, injury, or a disability, and with a range of ages from the newborn to older people.

During this degree, you'll gain high-quality skills through a blend of online learning, face-to-face teaching, real-life scenarios and interactive group/community experiences. You'll do five fieldwork placements in a wide range of settings so you can develop your practice ability to a high standard by working with people.

When you graduate, you'll be able to register as an Occupational Therapist in New Zealand - this degree is also recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Exactly the same programme is delivered from both our Dunedin Campus and the Wintec City campus in Hamilton so you can enrol in the campus of your choice. 

Studying part-time 

We know that full-time study isn't always possible. We offer a part-time option studied over six years (this is only available after you've had a chat with us to make sure it's the right option for you). We also offer the chance for learners to complete two, year one courses part-time starting in July each year.

Courses 

This is a three year, full-time qualification which consists of two semesters per year. The programme structure is the same for both Dunedin and Hamilton students (although the weekly timetable will be different at each campus) and is comprised of a series of occupational therapy courses. Each course has a credit rating and each credit equates to approximately ten hours of study. In addition, your fieldwork placements occur during the taught weeks of the programme.  Please note Year 1 is subject to academic approval.

YEAR 1 – whole year

Course Name

Credits

Human Body and Movement

Understand human beings in terms of the key body systems and movement.

  1. Explain relevant structures and functions of human anatomy and physiology.
  2. Apply the principles of kinesiology and ergonomics to promote and justify better human posture and movement.
  3. Explain the impact of system dysfunction on a person’s health.

30

YEAR 1 – Semester 1

YEAR 1 – Semester 2

 

Course Name

Credits

Course Name

Credits

Professional Practice

Develop and apply professional practice skills in a variety of situations.

  1. Apply the core skills relating to occupational therapy practice.
  2. Apply communication skills and therapeutic use of self-strategies within a variety of situations.
  3. Apply the use of reflective models to a variety of specified practice situations.
  4. Analyse the components of an activity/occupation

15

Building Cultural Competency in Practice

Develop knowledge of culture and its application in a professional context in bicultural New Zealand.

  1. Explain key terms associated with culture
  2. Discuss how competency in culture applies to occupational therapy practice.
  3. Discuss the key principles of Te Tiriti O Waitangi.
  4. Apply tikaka/tikanga practices appropriately in a marae setting.

15

Foundations of Occupational Therapy

Understand the concept of occupation and explore the fundamental principles of occupational therapy in the context of health and wellbeing.

  1. Discuss the significance of occupation to health and wellbeing.
  2. Articulate the whakapapa of occupational therapy practice.
  3. Interpret a variety of situations using models/frameworks of occupational theory.
  4. Apply the concepts of the occupational therapy process to simple scenarios.

15

Human Mind and Behaviour

Demonstrate knowledge of psychological theories that are relevant to the practice of occupational therapy.

  1. Discuss a range of psychological theories and the core beliefs underpinning occupational development and functioning.
  2. Recognise and apply psychological concepts in relation to self and others in an occupational context.

15

Fieldwork One

Explore the role of the occupational therapist in a real-life setting(s) and demonstrate emerging professional skills, behaviours and attitudes.

  1. Discuss the role of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy within the local context.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to practice occupational therapy at an emergent level* across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting.

15

Fieldwork Two

Develop and maintain relationships, participate alongside others, and facilitate occupation within communities.

  1. Discuss the occupational identity of self and others within communities.
  2. Demonstrate participation in and facilitation of occupations that meet need(s) within a placement setting.
  3. Explain how the placement setting sustains a sense of place and community within bicultural New Zealand.
  4. Demonstrate communication and relationship building skills in diverse populations.

15

Total Credits Year One

120

YEAR 2 – Semester 1

 

YEAR 2 – Semester 2

 

Course Name

Credits

Course Name

Credits

Applied Professional Practice

Apply and integrate evidence-informed professional practice skills necessary for both occupational therapy and inter-professional practice.

  1. Apply an occupational therapy process to scenarios.
  2. Demonstrate and critique a range of communication strategies within a variety of situations.
  3. Demonstrate and critique the use of ‘therapeutic use of self’ within simulated therapy contexts.
  4. Analyse inter-professional practice and its relevance to the New Zealand bicultural context.

30

Fieldwork Three

Apply specific occupational therapy skills and knowledge within the practice setting and demonstrate adequate professional behaviours and attitudes.

  1. Justify occupational therapy practice within the local context using evidence-informed practice.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to practice occupational therapy at an *adequate level across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting.

30

Occ. Therapy: Theory in Practice

Use professional reasoning to justify occupational therapy practice.

  1. Apply professional reasoning to justify appropriate occupational therapy conceptual and practice models.
  2. Justify and critique the appropriate occupational therapy process.
  3. Differentiate between a range of inquiry methods used within evidence-informed occupational therapy practice.

15

Informing Practice: Occupation

Critically analyse the multifaceted nature of occupation and how occupational therapists use occupation in practice.

  1. Justify occupational therapy practice in the analysis, use, adaptation, and manipulation of occupations.
  2. Analyse occupational impacts within practice settings.
  3. Apply the concepts of occupation to people and populations.

15

Informing Practice: Person

Critically analyse the multifaceted nature of people and how occupational therapists work with them to find meaning and purpose as occupational beings.

  1. Critically evaluate the features of and impact illness, injury and/or disability has on a person in relation to their occupations and environments.
  2. Analyse a person’s capacity to meet the demands of environments and occupations.
  3. Justify occupational therapy practice that enhances a person’s occupational identity and satisfaction. 

15

Informing Practice: Environment

Critically analyse the multifaceted nature of environments and how occupational therapists work with and within environments.

  1. Critically evaluate the features of multiple environments in relation to occupation.
  2. Analyse the interrelationship between environment, self and others.
  3. Justify occupational therapy practice in the analysis, use, adaptation, and manipulation of environments.

15

Total Credits Year Two

120

YEAR 3 – Semester 1 

 

YEAR 3 – Semester 2

 

Course Name

Credits

Course Name

Credits

Professional Reasoning

Apply professional reasoning to complex situations.

  1. Critique and evaluate a range of sources of evidence to justify practice decisions.
  2. Critically analyse the interrelatedness of occupational therapy practice within complex practice situations.
  3. Justify and negotiate ethical dilemmas within occupational therapy practice.

15

Fieldwork 4

Demonstrate competence through consistent application of occupational therapy skills and knowledge, within the practice setting, sustaining professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

  1. Critique the role of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy using evidence informed practice within the local context.
  2. Practice occupational therapy at a consistent level* across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting.

30

Complexity in Practice: Person

Implement occupational therapy intervention and consolidate their professional reasoning in relation to a person’s concept of self.

  1. Implement and justify appropriate occupational therapy intervention through the evaluation of the person’s wellbeing and capacity in complex situations.
  2. Justify intervention in relation to occupational justice and human rights. 

15

Fieldwork 5

Apply occupational therapy knowledge and skills and sustain professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

  1. Justify an occupational focus to selected health, well-being and community development initiatives.
  2. Promote the role of the occupational therapist and the profession’s domain of concern using evidence informed practice within the local context.
  3. Practice occupational therapy within a defined population at a consistent level* across identified areas of competence. 

15

Complexity in Practice: Occupation

Use your professional reasoning to justify and implement occupation in complex situations.

  1. Critically evaluate the interrelationship between occupation, environment, self and, others in complex situations.
  2. Design and apply occupation in relation to the needs of individuals and communities.

15

 

 

Complexity in Practice: Environment

Critically evaluate how complex environments inform their professional reasoning.

  1. Critically evaluate occupational therapy practice in the analysis, use, adaptation, and manipulation of complex environmental situations.
  2. Apply the relevant legislation, policy and guidelines that inform professional reasoning. 

15

   

Select one elective in Semester Two from either:

Elective 1

Transition Negotiated Learning

Undertake individualised study, which focuses in-depth on a selected topic in occupational therapy.

  1. Critically evaluate literature on a selected topic relevant to occupational therapy practice and its significance to bicultural New Zealand.
  2. Construct a personal occupational identity within bicultural New Zealand.
  3. Apply appropriate tikaka/tikanga of the marae.

15

Elective 2

Transition Showcase

Be competent, reflective occupational therapy practitioners transitioning into entry level occupational therapist roles in bicultural New Zealand.

  1. Critically evaluate literature for occupational therapy practice.
  2. Construct a personal occupational identity within bicultural New Zealand.
  3. Apply appropriate tikaka/tikanga of the marae.

15

Total Credits Year Three

120

TOTAL CREDITS FOR PROGRAMME

360 

Fieldwork placements 

Working with people is at the very essence of occupational therapy and a mandatory part of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy qualification. During this qualification, you will undertake five fieldwork placements in order to ensure you meet the competency levels for registration to practise as a New Zealand occupational therapist. Clinical experiences will be offered in a wide range of community health and rehabilitation settings and you will be required to complete a minimum of three placements outside of the Dunedin or Hamilton area. See more information relating to fieldwork below.

Declaration and police check

Fieldwork providers request that a police check be carried out prior to you going on placement. In addition, the New Zealand Occupational Therapy Board requires a declaration about convictions and a police clearance from all applicants for registration. If you have a police record, you are encouraged to discuss your circumstances with a lawyer who may be able to advise you of the implications of your record on your ability to work with vulnerable persons. 

Risks

While on fieldwork placements, the risks you are exposed to will be those commonly associated with the health services. These are broad and range from physical/psychological risks to your person (such as back injury or infectious diseases, psychological distress) through to causing potential harm to service users which may be reported to the Health and Disability Commissioner. 

Fieldwork placement aims

Performance criteria for each placement follow a carefully ordered sequence where you will be expected to take increasing responsibility for personal study and initiative. Fieldwork placement supervisors will move from directing the experience to allowing you to direct it; that is, from “supervisor-oriented” to “student-oriented” experience.

The five areas of competence identified by the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ) will be assessed at each level.

Year one

Fieldwork 1 – Placement

30 on-site hours and 5 study hours per week for 4 weeks (140 hours)

Explore the role of the occupational therapist in placement setting(s) and demonstrate emerging professional skills, behaviours and attitudes.

When you finish this placement, you'll be able to:

1. Discuss the role of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy within the local context.

2. Demonstrate the ability to practice occupational therapy at an emergent level* across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting.  

Fieldwork 2 – Placement (Dunedin or Hamilton only)

6.5 on-site hours per week for 14 weeks (91 hours)

Develop and maintain relationships, participate alongside others, and facilitate occupation within communities.

When you finish this placement, you'll be able to:

1.Discuss the occupational identity of self and others within communities.

2.Demonstrate participation in and facilitation of occupations that meet need(s) within a placement setting.

3.Explain how the placement setting sustains a sense of place and community within bicultural New Zealand.

4.Demonstrate communication and relationship building skills in diverse populations. 

Year two

Fieldwork 3 – Placement 

30 on-site hours and 5 study hours per week for 8 weeks (280 hours)

Apply specific occupational therapy skills and knowledge within the practice setting and demonstrate adequate professional behaviours and attitudes.

When you finish this placement, you'll be able to:

1.Justify occupational therapy practice within the local context using evidence-informed practice.

2.Demonstrate the ability to practice occupational therapy at an *adequate level across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting. 

Year three

Fieldwork 4 – Placement 

30 on-site hours and 5 study hours per week for 8 weeks (280 hours)

Demonstrate competence through consistent application of occupational therapy skills and knowledge, within the practice setting, sustaining professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

When you finish this placement, you'll be able to:

1.Critique the role of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy using evidence informed practice within the local context.

2.Practice occupational therapy at a consistent level* across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting. 

Fieldwork 5 – Placement (Dunedin or Hamilton only)

17.5 on-site hours per week for 8 weeks (140 hours)

Apply occupational therapy knowledge and skills and sustain professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

When you finish this placement, you'll be able to:

1.Justify an occupational focus to selected health, well-being and community development initiatives.

2.Promote the role of the occupational therapist and the profession’s domain of concern using evidence informed practice within the local context.

3.Practice occupational therapy within a defined population at a consistent level* across identified areas of competence. 

Meet the fieldwork team

Annette Jensen, Narinder Verma and Huhana Whautere assist with the preparation, allocation and support of students and supervising occupational therapists for the range of placements offered. 

Please contact the Fieldwork team if you have any questions.

Freephone number 0800 800 583

Fieldwork Administration
The Fieldwork Administration Team takes responsibility for modifying and updating our therapist database and handle all the administration to do with placements, including maintaining the credit/payment system.

They can be contacted on 0800 762 786 or OTFieldWork@op.ac.nz

Further study options 

Increase your career prospects with any of our postgraduate Occupational Therapy programmes. Students who achieve a B grade average in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree are eligible to complete a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours).

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.