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Occupational Therapy

Cardiff University
3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
September 2020

Program description

Occupational Therapy

Ranked joint 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2019, our Occupational Therapy program aims to prepare you for your chosen career as an occupational therapist. Once you have successfully completed the program you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as well as professional membership of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

With over 50 years of experience in delivering occupational therapy education, our three-year, full-time BSc (Hons) is a stimulating program that provides the opportunity to engage in both academic study and practice-based placement learning. Our program is approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), which means that your qualification will be recognised in around 60 countries worldwide, enhancing your opportunities for international employment.

As a qualified occupational therapist you will work in partnership with and empower a broad spectrum of people who, for reasons of ill-health, disability, trauma or adverse social circumstances, face barriers and challenges which prevent them from undertaking the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. Our curriculum emphasises the centrality of occupation in human life, the relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing and the power of occupation to transform the lives of individuals, groups and communities.

The program fosters a commitment to lifelong learning among its students and you will actively engage in continuing professional development throughout the three years, reflecting upon and recording your individual learning needs and achievements.

You will receive close academic support from experienced personal tutors and be taught and supported by experienced staff whilst sharing ideas within a close-knit student group. An emphasis on academic study also ensures that you enter the profession as a research-capable practitioner equipped with the skills and confidence to contribute to the evidence base which supports and informs current and future occupational therapy practice.

We have close working relationships with a range of service providers across Wales and you will benefit from practice placements facilitated by experienced occupational therapy educators who will help support you in becoming the best occupational therapist you can be.

A varied profile of placement experience undertaken across the three years of the program will allow you to integrate academic theory with actual occupational therapy practice and gain insight as to the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification (e.g. within NHS, Local Authority, private and third sector settings). That’s why 95% of our occupational therapy graduates are in professional employment or further study six months after completing the program (Unistats 2017/18).

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the academic year. The final modules will be published by September.

Admission requirements

Typical A level offer

ABB-BBB Additional Requirements During your application to the course you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) good health and character, fitness to practise requirements. This will be achieved by providing a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All successful applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this course which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. There will be a need to adhere to any immunisation requirements identified. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.


What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Program describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you.

The Learning Outcomes for this Program can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Program you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin and inform occupational therapy practice; principally occupational science, the occupational nature of human beings and the impact of occupation on health and wellbeing.
  • A sound recognition of the fundamentals of human anatomy, physiology, psychology and sociology that underpin and impact upon occupational performance and participation across the life span, including the nature and meaning of disruption.
  • A critical appreciation of the unique, occupation-focused contribution of the profession within a range of practice contexts, to include traditional and newly-emerging areas of occupational therapy service provision for individuals, groups and communities.
  • An informed awareness of the social, economic and political dimensions of human occupation and their relevance to occupational therapy service provision, including an understanding of health and social care organisations as complex adaptive systems.
  • An in-depth understanding of the core principles and values that underpin collaborative practice in health and social care, including an awareness of the role and contribution of other professionals in ensuring the provision of high-quality, person-centred services.
  • A sound appreciation of regulatory and professional body standards concerning continuing professional development, leadership research and evidence-based practice as relevant to the development, delivery and evaluation of occupational therapy services.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Program you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Proficiency in the selection, analysis, synthesis and critical evaluation of information from a wide range of sources, drawing logical and reasoned conclusions in the formation of sound decisions and professional judgements.
  • A creative and appreciative approach to problem-solving in the academic and practice setting, including imaginative thinking and the development of innovative solutions and ideas.
  • Competence in contributing to a professional knowledge-base through the selection, justification and application of ethically-sound research design and methods and the identification of effective dissemination strategies.
  • Enhanced professional reasoning skills, including the ability to engage in cogent debate in relation to the relevance and value of occupation and occupational therapy.
  • Effective use of reflection and reflexivity as tools to enable critical review and transformation of personal, professional and wider organisational values and practice.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Program you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Established professional values and behaviours in keeping with professional body expectations, including the ‘Code of ethics and professional conduct’ (COT, 2015), ‘Professional standards for occupational therapy practice’ (COT, 2017) and ‘Guidance on conduct and ethics for students’ (HCPC, 2016).
  • Effective and appropriate collaborative working practices with users of services, other team members and partners, drawing upon enabling, empowering and consultative approaches and valuing diversity of experience and perspective.
  • Competence in employing a broad range of standardised and non-standardised assessment methods and techniques to identify occupational needs and in analysing tasks, activities and occupations as a core professional skill.
  • Sound professional reasoning skills in identifying and planning appropriate, evidence-based interventions for the facilitation of occupational performance and participation, respecting the rights, needs and preferences of the individuals and/or groups involved.
  • Flexibility in modifying and adapting plans in accordance with the changing needs and priorities of users and services, reflecting upon and evaluating the impact of occupational therapy and identifying appropriate methods to measure occupational outcomes.
  • Critical review and application of methods and strategies for service evaluation and quality improvement within occupational therapy, synthesising professional philosophy to justify the involvement of users and carers in effecting meaningful change.
  • Effective prioritisation and management of time, working within given resources throughout the problem solving process and assuming leadership, responsibility and accountability for management and development of self and others.
  • A critically-evaluative approach to the socio-political environment as it impacts upon health, wellbeing and occupation within the practice context, analysing relevant local, national and global legislation and policies to inform professionally-reasoned decisions and actions.
  • Accurate record-keeping, including competence in producing and reviewing a range of documentation and communications related to occupational therapy practice in a specific context to ensure that they effectively convey and justify professional actions and intervention outcomes.
  • Advocacy and advisory skills to inform health and social care policy and practice, including a proactive approach to promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities and preventing ill health.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Program you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A creative and innovative approach to problem-solving in the academic and practice environment, including the application of enterprise and entrepreneurship within the context of health and social care.
  • Active engagement in continuing personal and professional development underpinned by critical reflection and a commitment to lifelong self-directed learning.
  • Enhanced communication skills in the academic and practice environment to collaborate and work in partnership with others across a range of sectors, build therapeutic and professional relationships and effectively articulate personal and professional abilities.
  • Effective self-management and an advanced ability to teach, mentor and motivate others, drawing upon fundamental leadership and management skills in identifying methods and strategies for quality improvement.
  • Effective and responsible engagement with a range of digital technologies to communicate and collaborate with others and in relation to the retrieval, creation and critical evaluation of information.
  • Application of the core professional beliefs and values of occupational therapy as they are aligned to the principles of social and environmental sustainability and contribute to ethically-responsible health and social care provision.

Continuing studies

As an alternative to seeking employment, some students may choose to undertake higher-level study (eg masters or PhD) following completion of the program.

Career opportunities

There are excellent employability options for those pursuing a career in occupational therapy and Cardiff University occupational therapy graduate prospects were rated at 96% within the Complete University Guide 2019.

In addition to established traditional areas of practice within statutory sectors (NHS and Local Authority provision), the unique occupation-focused contribution of occupational therapists is increasingly recognised and valued within public organisations such as prisons and schools, private-sector organisations such as residential homes and housing associations and by third sector organisations such as charities and social enterprises.

This program of study will equip you with sound understanding of the changing landscape of health, social care and wider community services, supporting your development as a creative, dynamic and innovative occupational therapist and in honing the leadership skills you will require to shape current and future services.

Graduate careers

  • Occupational therapist

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Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. As part of the Russell Group, our students benefit from our outstanding research quality and reputation, while...

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Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

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