Master of Occupational Therapy

Our Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program is a two-year professional master’s degree program, and the only occupational therapy degree program in British Columbia.

Fully accredited by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), our graduates are eligible to write the national licensing certification exam upon graduation.

The curriculum is based on a combination of coursework and fieldwork placements, and culminates in the presentation of a paired research project at our annual Capstone Conference.


Ready to apply?

If you know the program is right for you (and you’ve checked admission requirements, key dates, fees and guidance), head straight for our step-by-step guide to completing your application.


Why choose a career in occupational therapy?

If you enjoy enabling people to live a meaningful life, and want a career that is consistently challenging and involves life-long learning, be an occupational therapist. 

A career in occupational therapy also provides endless employment opportunities. With a shortage of occupational therapists across British Columbia and Canada, graduates are in high demand.

Through your coursework and clinical field placements, you will have the opportunity to explore your interests and find your niche. Occupational therapists specialize in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, some of the following:

  • Children and youth 
  • Mental health 
  • Health and wellness
  • Productive aging 
  • Rehabilitation, disability, and participation 
  • Business and industry 

Find out more about a career in occupational therapy:

Student Profiles

Jill, Student Occupational Therapist
Matthew, Student Occupational Therapist
Kristin, Student Occupational Therapist

Career Profiles

Shannon, Occupational Therapist
Kathryn, Occupational Therapist
Min, Clinical Associate Professor

Program Overview

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program prepares graduates to be exceptional self-directed, life-long learners who consciously use theory, evidence, and critical thinking skills to maintain, evaluate, and improve their practice of occupational therapy.  

Our program is anchored in evidence-based and contemporary theories, principles, and beliefs around occupation, health, occupational therapy, social justice, and the education of adult learners.  

Strengths of our program include strong experiential, hands-on learning, a diversity of inter-professional and integrated curricula (including programming on cultural safety), and our close connections with the occupational therapy community. 

Curriculum & Courses

Your program will consist of 15 courses (65 credits), which are organized into six terms of study. A course may be one, two, or three terms in duration.

In alignment with the integrated professional and educational conceptual framework, all courses are designed to address the Profile of Practice of Occupational Therapists in Canada (CAOT, 2012) and the Essential Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada, 3rd edition (ACOTRO, 2011).

These principles help to organize and sequence curriculum content to ensure that key practice roles and competencies are addressed consistently and comprehensively.

We cover a balanced program of:

  • Theory
  • Health, illness and occupation
  • Skills for practice
  • Evidence for practice
  • Professional practice
  • Fieldwork

See how these themes flow throughout the program: MOT Curriculum Streams

Please see the UBC Academic Calendar for specific course descriptions:

Curriculum Map

Explore a sample curriculum map to see how the complete curriculum unfolds over two years: MOT Curriculum Map

Program Features

  • Vibrant, inclusive community with supportive professors, tutors and instructors.
  • Active, long-term links with the practicing clinical community, with excellent opportunities for fieldwork placements.
  • High overall faculty to student ratio (approximately 1:4), with lectures (approximately 1:56), labs (approximately 1:28 or 1:14) and case-based tutorials (approximately 1:8).
  • Lectures, seminars, live and web-based discussions, along with collaborative and case-based tutorials.
  • Interprofessional and integrated curricula are delivered throughout the two-year program.
  • Broad range of selected topics are shared with other disciplines, including physical therapy, speech language pathology, nursing, social work, and others health professions at UBC.
  • Case-based learning is fundamental to our approach, and provides an exemplary foundation for the complexities of professional practice.
  • Emphasis on experiential learning through hands-on skills sessions and the majority of courses include the involvement of clinical faculty and people with lived experience.
  • A total of 30 weeks of fieldwork in five different settings are incorporated into the program, encouraging confidence and allowing you to pursue your own interests and specialisms.

Professional & Educational Framework

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) professional and educational conceptual framework describes the underpinnings of our curriculum and guides decisions about pre-requisite courses, course content and design, instructional methods, assessment of student learning, and the development of occupational therapy practice competencies.

Our framework is built on two main elements that are then visualized in the MOT Tree:

  • Professional element: beliefs about occupation, health, occupational therapy and social justice; the program purpose; key learning outcomes.
  • Educational element: four select theories informing teaching in higher education and guiding principles on inclusivity and accessibility.

Learn more about The MOT Tree: Visual Image of the Framework

Professional Element

Our Beliefs

Our beliefs about occupation, health, occupational therapy, and social justice are informed by contemporary and established scholarship in occupational science and occupational therapy. In the MOT Tree, our beliefs encircle the tree as the blue of the sky and water, and the brown of the soil and roots. Just as these elements provide nourishment to a tree, so too to our beliefs enrich all parts of our MOT program.

  • Occupation is complex, transformative, and situated in context.
  • Health is multifaceted. Community is essential to health and occupation is a determinant of health.
  • Occupational therapy’s domain of concern is occupation (performance, participation, and engagement); its theory and practice are holistic and informed by research.
  • Social justice calls on us to ensure that engagement in occupation respects human rights and dignity. It is our duty to collaborate, speak up, and act with others to make visible social inequities and occupational injustices, and to transform oppressive systems.

Key Program Outcomes

Upon successful program completion, each UBC graduate will:

  1. Enabler of Occupation: Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to enable occupation in a variety of settings through use of the occupational therapy practice process.
  2. Scholarly Occupational Therapist: Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy, theoretical concepts, models, and frames of reference of occupational therapy.
  3. Researcher: Demonstrate an understanding of the research process in order to create and disseminate evidence with the outcome having relevance and value to the occupational therapy profession and/or the field occupational science.
  4. Change Agent: Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for developing and delivering occupational therapy services in a complex, changing environment.
  5. Professional: Assume and enact occupational therapy professional values and attitudes.
  6. Communicator: Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication skills.
  7. Advocate: Communicate the broad purpose and scope of occupational therapy practice consistent with the needs of the audience.

In the visual image, our key program outcomes are highlighted on seven leaves on the MOT Tree. Our program purpose is reflected in the remaining leaves of the tree, symbolizing the “room to grow” of our exceptional graduates as they embark on their occupational therapy careers as life-long learners. 

Educational Element

  1. Transformative learning theory informs how our instructors facilitate students’ ability to connect new knowledge to past learning and experience. We actively engage and expose our students to divergent opinions and ideas, pushing them to be curious about and question the world around them. Our curriculum is designed to move our students to broader understandings of the value of occupation in the world and to developing the professional identity of occupational therapists.
  2. Critical pedagogy challenges our instructors to make space for students to question the status quo and dominant ideologies. Critical pedagogy is woven through much of our MOT curriculum. For example, over a year and a half in the interprofessional Health Mentors program, MOT students, along with students from other health professions, learn from and with a health mentor, who is a person with lived experience with chronic condition(s) or disability, or a caregiver who provides care to a loved one. Students hear first-hand from the Health Mentors what it is like to experience the health care system in Canada.
  3. Cognitive load theory describes the need for a goodness-of-fit between students’ capacity to learn, the content to be learned, and the methods used to facilitate learning. Our MOT curriculum is structured so that it builds toward increasingly complex concepts and applications of knowledge across terms, thus mitigating the possibility that, for example, students are tasked to come up with solutions to problems they have yet to encounter or have not received sufficient knowledge to be able to problem-solve effectively.
  4. Constructivism explains how knowledge is formed, both through subjective and socially constructed understandings. Small group tutorials are a constant throughout the MOT curriculum and offer consistent, supported, and safe environments where students can explore with their peers and facilitators how they are making sense of new learning, how learning integrates across courses, and use case-based learning to facilitate their development of conceptual repertoires to aid their professional reasoning skills.
  5. Universal design for learning (UDL) principles support inclusion, diversity, and equity for students in our MOT program. The aim of UDL is to expand teaching methodologies and curricular design to accommodate for learning differences and ensure equitable access in educational programming.
    • Creation of a respectful and welcoming climate for learning and the promotion of interaction among students and faculty.
    • Determination of the essential components of courses, curriculum, and the program.
    • Communication of clear expectations around learning and participation in the MOT program to students.
    • Use of and flexibility in teaching methods to consider diverse learning styles, ways of knowing, experience, and knowledge.
    • Exploration of the use of space and tools for learning to enhance opportunities for all learners.
    • Creation of multiple ways for students to access materials and demonstrate knowledge through instructional design and assessment methods.
    • Provision of timely and constructive feedback.
    • Promotion of interaction among and between faculty and students.

Our Vision, Mission and Values

Read about the values that support our research and our approach as a department.

Program Locations

MOT-Vancouver

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) is one of our core programs at the UBC Point Grey Vancouver campus and has a long legacy of training talented occupational therapists with a mix of Vancouver-based, local and out-of-town placements.

MOT-North

If you are from, or would like to work in, northern or rural areas the Master of Occupational Therapy North (MOT-N) encompasses the same training and learning as our flagship Vancouver program, but is taught at partner locations in Prince George and fieldwork will have more focus on northern placements.


Admission Requirements

Check your eligibility and confirm your suitability for the program.

Dates, Fees & Guidance

Find upcoming application deadlines, fees payable and useful resources for your application.

Start your Application

Use our step-by-step guide to gather the relevant documents and prepare your application.