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.

Domestic

Duration
3 Years Full-time
6 Years Part-time
Level
7
Credits
360
Fees
$25,224*
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
Delivery
On campus
Location
Dunedin
Hamilton
Intakes
February
July (part-time; two year one courses only)

International

Duration
3 Years Full-time
6 Years Part-time
Level
7
Credits
360
Fees
$75,000*
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
Delivery
On campus
Location
Dunedin
Hamilton
Intakes
February
July (part-time; two year one courses only)

What You Study

Courses 

This is a three year, full-time qualification which consists of two semesters per year. The total credits for the programme are 360.

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.

Year one

Total credits = 120 

Year one, semester one
Course name Summary Outcomes

Foundations of Occupational Therapy

(15 credits)

This course enables ākonga | learners to understand the concept of occupation and explore the fundamental principles of occupational therapy in the context of health and wellbeing.

Discuss the significance of occupation to health and wellbeing.

Articulate the whakapapa | genesis of whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Discuss the application of selected occupational therapy models/frameworks to simple scenarios.

Apply the concepts of the occupational therapy process to simple scenarios.

Professional Practice 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to develop and apply foundational professional practice skills in a variety of situations.

Apply effective communication skills and therapeutic use of self to develop whānaungatanga | relationships.

Analyse the components and demands of an occupation and grade and adapt it effectively.

Apply reflective models to enhance professional practice skills.

Human Body and Movement 1

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to develop foundational knowledge in key body systems and movement.

 

Identify and explain relevant structures and functions of the human musculoskeletal system.

Explain foundational concepts of kinesiology and biomechanics as they apply to purposeful movement and occupational performance.

Identify and explain the skills and processes required to assess purposeful movement. 

Fieldwork 1 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to explore and discuss the role of the kaiwhakaora ngangahau | occupational therapist in placement setting(s) and demonstrate emerging professional skills, behaviours and attitudes.

 

Discuss the role of the kaiwhakaora ngangahau and whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy within the local context.

Demonstrate the ability to practise whakaora ngangahau at an emergent level across identified areas of competence within the placement(s). 

Year one, semester two 
Course name Summary Outcomes

Human Mind and Behaviour

(15 credits)

This course enables ākonga | learners to demonstrate knowledge of psychological theories that are relevant to the practice of whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy.

Analyse a range of psychological theories and the core beliefs underpinning occupational development and functioning.

Recognise and apply psychological concepts in relation to self and others in an occupational context relevant to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Human Body and Movement 2 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to demonstrate an understanding of key body systems and relate them to occupational performance and participation.

 

Identify and explain structures and physiological functions of identified human body systems and senses.

Explain the impact of system dysfunction on human health, purposeful movement, and occupational performance.

Fieldwork 2 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to develop and maintain relationships, participate alongside others, and facilitate occupation within communities.

 

Discuss the occupational identity of self and others within communities.

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

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

Demonstrate communication and relationship building skills in diverse populations.

Te Puāwaitanga 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to develop their learning of culture and reflect on how kawa whakaruruhau | cultural safety can be demonstrated as a kaiwhakaora ngangahau | occupational therapist in an Aotearoa New Zealand context.

 

Reflect on cultural identities and how these inform whakaora ngangahau practice.

Discuss the importance of culturally safe practice within whakaora ngangahau.

Apply tikanga practices appropriately in a mārae or equivalent wānanga setting.

Year two 

Total credits = 120 

Year two, semester one 
Course name Summary Outcomes

Applied Professional Practice 

(30 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to apply and integrate evidence-informed professional practice skills necessary for both whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy and inter-professional practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Apply an occupational therapy process that is responsive to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Justify and demonstrate core occupation centered practice skills used by kaiwhakaora ngangahau | occupational therapists.

Critically reflect on interprofessional practice and collaboration skills relevant to whakaora ngangahau practice in the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Occupational Therapy: Theory in Practice 

(15 credits)

This course enables ākonga | learners to develop and apply professional reasoning strategies to justify whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice decisions.

 

Apply relevant inquiry methods to support evidence-informed whakaora ngangahau practice.

Justify the use of appropriate occupation-based models and frames of reference in practice scenarios.

Apply professional reasoning strategies to support whakaora ngangahau decision making.

Informing Practice: Person

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to critically analyse the multifaceted nature of people or collectives, to identity needs, strengths and challenges which impact participation in meaningful occupations.

 

Critically evaluate the impact of illness, injury disability and/or life stage or circumstances, in relation to a person, whānau, or community and their occupations and environments.

Analyse a person’s capability to meet the demands of environments and occupations.

Justify occupational therapy practice that enhances a person’s occupational participation. 

Year two, semester two 
Course name Summary Outcomes

Informing Practice: Occupation 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to critically analyse the multifaceted nature of occupation and how occupational therapists use occupation in practice.

 

Justify the purposeful use of occupations in a range of whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice settings.

Apply the concepts of occupational science to people and populations within Te Tiriti responsive Aotearoa New Zealand.

Informing Practice: Environment 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to critically analyse the multifaceted nature of environments and how occupational therapists work with and within environments.

Justify whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice in the analysis, use, adaptation, and modification of environments and/or equipment.

Critically evaluate a range of environments, social, cultural, institutional, and physical to promote occupation.

Fieldwork 3

(30 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to apply specific whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy skills and knowledge within the practice setting and demonstrate appropriate professional behaviours and attitudes.

Justify the role of the whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy within the local context using evidence-informed practice.

Demonstrate the ability to practise whakaora ngangahau at an appropriate level across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting.

Year three

Total credits = 120 

Year three, semester one 
Course name Summary Outcomes

Professional Reasoning 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga to apply professional reasoning to complex situations.

 

Critique and evaluate a range of sources of evidence to justify practice decisions.

Critically analyse the inter-relatedness of occupational therapy practice within complex practice situations.

Justify and negotiate ethical dilemmas within whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

Occupational Participation: Long-term Wellbeing 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to work collaboratively with people who experience long-term hauora | wellbeing needs, drawing on trauma-informed approaches for equitable and sustainable occupational participation within Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

Critically analyse and justify a whakaora ngangahau |occupational therapy approach with people who experience long-term hauora | wellbeing needs, to enable participation in occupations.

Critically justify professional reasoning which considers the influence of contextual factors, and an occupational justice perspective when working with people who experience long-term hauora | wellbeing needs.

 

Occupational Participation: Neurological Rehabilitation 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to work collaboratively with people who experience neurological challenges, drawing on occupation-based and neurological approaches for equitable and sustainable occupational participation within Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

Critically analyse and justify a whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy approach with people who experience neurological challenges, to enable participation in occupations.

Critically justify professional reasoning which considers the influence of contextual factors and an occupational justice perspective when working with people who experience neurological challenges.

Occupational Participation: Ageing Well 

(15 credits)

This course enables ākonga | learners to work collaboratively with the older population to age well, drawing on occupation-based approaches for equitable and sustainable occupational participation within Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

Critically analyse and justify a whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy approach with older people who experience age-related changes and comorbidities, to enable participation in occupations.

Critically justify professional reasoning which considers the influence of contextual factors and an occupational justice perspective when working with people to facilitate ageing well. 

Year three, semester two
Course name Summary Outcomes

Fieldwork 4 

(30 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga |earners to demonstrate professional competence through consistent application of whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy skills and knowledge, within the practice setting, sustaining professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

 

Critique the role of the kaiwhakaora ngangahau | occupational therapist and whakaora ngangahau using evidence informed practice within the local context.

Practise whakaora ngangahau at a consistent level across identified areas of competence within the placement(s) setting. 

Fieldwork 5 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to apply whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy knowledge, skills and values, to collaboratively develop and implement a project that meets an identified community need, while sustaining professional behaviours and attitudes at a consistent level.

Identify and justify a community project to meet an occupational need.

Use evidence-informed practice to develop and implement a sustainable community-based project, in collaboration with a community partner.

Practise whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy within a community setting, at a consistent level across identified areas of competence.

Future Practice: Negotiated Learning 

Elective 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to undertake individualised study, which focuses in-depth on a selected topic in whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy.

 

Critically evaluate literature on a selected topic relevant to whakaora ngangahau therapy practice and discuss its significance to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Critique aspects of occupational therapy practice for a sustainable future within Aotearoa New Zealand.

Apply appropriate tikanga of the marae or equivalent wananga setting.

Critically reflect on cultural safe whakaora ngangahau practice.

Future Practice

Elective 

(15 credits)

 

This course enables ākonga | learners to become competent, reflective, sustainable future kaiwhakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

Critically evaluate literature on a selected topic relevant to whakaora ngangahau | occupational therapy practice, demonstrating responsiveness to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Develop and critique aspects of occupational therapy practice for a sustainable future within Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Apply appropriate tikanga of the marae or equivalent wānanga setting. Critically reflect on cultural safe whakaora ngangahau practice.

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.

Placements

Year one

Fieldwork 1 – Placement

30 on-site hours and 5 study hours per week for 4 weeks (140 hours + 10 hours preparation)

Summary

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)

Summary

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 + 20 hours preparation)

Summary

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 + 10 hours preparation)

Summary 

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)

Summary 

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

The Fieldwork team are here to 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 0800 800 583 or email 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).

Workload

Your workload 

This is a three year, full-time qualification which uses a variety of teaching methods including the blended learning approach.

This approach incorporates face-to-face lectures and tutorials, real-life scenarios, interactive groups, community experiences and online learning.

You'll need to study for about 20 hours on campus per week between 8am and 5pm weekdays, and the expectation is that you will participate in a further 20 hours of self-directed learning. You will identify your learning requirements and find the best ways to meet these needs, with the support of academic staff and your peers.

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.

Entry

Entry requirements 

Academic requirements

There are three options for achieving the entry criteria:

1. NCEA Level 3 including:

  • 14 credits at Level 3 or above in each of three NZQA approved university entrance subjects, and 
  • 10 Literacy credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing, and
  • 10 Numeracy credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
    • specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects OR
    • package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627 - all three required)

2. A Level 4 qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) equalling at least 60 credits completed in one year.

3. Successful completion of university courses/units equalling at least 50% of a first-year student workload completed in one year.

Other requirements

An elementary understanding of occupational therapy practice in Aotearoa/New Zealand, gained through observation or contact with and/or reading about occupational therapy. 

You need to supply contact details for two referees, a health declaration, a medical examination and a conviction declaration. See more info in Completing your Application section below.

If accepted, you'll need to provide your immunisation status (see more info in Immunisation status section), obtain a Level 2 Comprehensive First Aid Certificate (including unit standards 6400, 6401 and 6402) that is valid for at least semester one of your programme, and complete the requirements of the Children's Act 2014 (including a police check).

Provisional entry 

Any applicant who does not meet all of the entry criteria may be given provisional entry to year one at the discretion of the Head of School.   

English Language requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Selection process

To be accepted, you must meet minimum academic standards and all other criteria. You may be required to attend an interview to provide clarification of issues raised within the application. All acceptable applicants will be allocated places on the basis of prior academic success and diversity of life experiences. 15% of preferred entry places in this programme are reserved for both those who identify as Māori, and males.

Note: There is a limited number of places on this programme and successful applicants must prioritise their study. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not organise employment or other study that will conflict with the timetabled activities involved in this programme.

Immunisation status

Covid-19 vaccination information

You don’t need to supply evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination status to apply for this programme. However, most placement providers will require evidence from you that you are fully vaccinated before allowing you to complete a placement at their organisation. Placements are an integral part of this programme and you’ll need to complete these to be able to successfully achieve your qualification.

Immunisation status

If you are accepted for the programme, you will be notified that you must have current evidence of your immunisation status. You are encouraged to be immunised against Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, and Varicella. Not having current immunisation will affect your ability to proceed to some specific fieldwork placements which might affect your progression within the programme. Clearance for Methicillan Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a requirement of fieldwork placement providers.

Don't meet the entry requirements?

If you don't have the academic qualifications required to enter the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, our one year health bridging certificate can help you meet the minimum academic criteria for application. It consists of two separate Certificate qualifications - the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4). You will be enrolled in both of these qualifications at the beginning of the year.

Please note: Due to the high demand for places, successful completion of our health bridging certificate will not automatically guarantee entry to this degree.

Want your existing skills recognised?

We will give credit in recognition of prior Learning (RPL) to the taught elements of the programme, in accordance with our RPL Academic Policy. You can't be granted Recognition of Prior Learning for any Year 2 or 3 courses. An application for RPL can be made anytime after you have been accepted on to the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy programme. Talk to us about this option if you want more information. Email info@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 

Fees

Domestic fees

First year
Standard
$8,400
Second year
Standard
$8,416
Third year
Standard
$8,408

International fees

First year
Standard
$25,000
Second year
Standard
$25,000
Third year
Standard
$25,000

Additional costs 

Immunisation blood test screening costs approximately $300.

Polo shirt or fieldwork placement costs approximately $30 - $50. You will be given information on where to purchase this branded top from the Fieldwork team. You will also require black trousers of a professional standard to be worn on placements.

First aid certificate costs $200-$300.

You will undertake five fieldwork placements during this qualification and will need to budget for these accordingly; associated costs may include but are not limited to travel to and from the placement, accommodation and the cost of meals.

You will need to buy your own stationery and cover the cost of printing reading/course materials.

You will also need to have access to a suitable computer or laptop. We use Moodle, an intranet website, to communicate with students and supply course material (handbooks, lecture notes etc), you will be supplied with log in details on your arrival. We also recommend you have the Microsoft Office package on your computer.

You may want to purchase textbooks from our recommended book list found here. However, our library will hold all the books on the list to borrow when required.

Multi-year fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.

Application

Completing your application

Before you apply, please make sure you understand the application process and all the requirements you need to meet. 

You can enter information and upload documents directly into the application form. You may wish to prepare some of the required documents beforehand.

To begin your application, click the Apply button at the top of this page.

You will need to provide:

  1. Your academic record
  2. Written statements about your reasons for wanting to study this programme
  3. Contact details for two referees - (one academic and one employer or community representative.)
  4. A health declaration
  5. A Medical Examination
  6. A Fieldwork Agreement
  7. Proof of identity
  8. Evidence of your Covid-19 vaccinations

During the application process, you will also be asked to make a declaration regarding criminal convictions and asked whether you consent to police vetting. 

Once you have been accepted into the programme you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of your current immunisation status (this requires a blood test). You are encouraged to be immunised against Hepatitis B. Not having this immunisation will impact your access to some clinical placements, which could affect your progression in the course.
  • Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) clearance is a requirement of a number of clinical placement providers. You may be tested for MRSA during your study. A positive result for MRSA may delay your progression in the programme as you will be unable to attend your clinical placement until you have clearance.
  • A current Comprehensive Level 2 First Aid Certificate (Units 6400, 6401 and 6402). 
  • Completed Police Vetting form (please note: we also require a copy of a Criminal Clearance Report from every country you have lived in, for six months or more, since the age of 17. You can do this by contacting the embassy of the country directly or you could use a company such as Fit to Work (https://www.equifax.com.au/fit2work) to source these international police reports for you for a cost).  

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014
Email: info@op.ac.nz