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Start date

4 year(s) full-time


Program Code


Assumed Knowledge

2018: AUD$ 34,200 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)
2019: AUD$ 36,000 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Key features

  • Learn from a University that has well-above world standard research in Clinical Sciences1.
  • Benefit from over 40 years' experience in occupational therapy education. 
  • Experience first-hand what it’s like when you take part in real-world clinical placements as part of your study. 
  • Benefit from our strong industry partnerships and alliances.
  • Experience a rewarding career helping people of all ages maintain and improve day-to-day activities.
  • Learn from award-winning teaching staff, academics, practicing health professionals and researchers in the field.
  • Develop your ability to independently undertake research.
  • Use your qualification as a pathway to further learning, including Masters by Research and doctoral studies. 

12015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 



Occupational therapists play a critical role in helping people of all ages to overcome the effects of disability caused by illness, ageing or accident.

This degree is designed to ensure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to become an innovative and competent occupational therapist, with a strong focus on practical skills. 

You will complete clinical field placements during your studies, this real-world experience will constitute a large portion of your learning during your third and fourth years. It is here that you will gain valuable hands-on skills that will enable a seamless transition from study to the workforce. 

Patient outcomes are also a focus and therefore communication and relationship skills essential for patient care are key components. You will also further develop your research skills and will complete a research project and thesis in collaboration with experienced researchers during your final year. 

What you'll need

Students who undertake activities where interaction with patients/the public is required for their degree, such as field or clinical placements/visits and in University clinics and gyms, must demonstrate they meet mandatory pre-placement conditional requirements. These include criminal history clearance, child related employment clearance and immunisation requirements. Please visit the Clinical Placement Unit for information on key requirements, and to access the full student checklists.

All students enrolled in a program leading to professional registration must be registered with the relevant National Board. The registration process is undertaken by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with the University providing notification to AHPRA following enrolment in the program.

Why Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Natalie Waterman, OT graduate

UniSA has over 40 years' experience in occupational therapy education, and are proud of the rich knowledge base we have created.

Occupational therapists understand that health and wellbeing is affected by a person’s environment, the things they do, and their state of health. They work with a wide range of people in a number of settings and manage complex and difficult problems.

Graduating with an honours degree will set you apart from the crowd, ensuring you have a competitive edge and are well-placed for a career in industry, research or further postgraduate study. 

You will spend over 1,000 hours completing clinical placements in metropolitan, rural or regional settings, providing you with the opportunity to consolidate and apply your knowledge and skills.

The curriculum is based on this innovative research, meaning your degree is industry-informed, relevant and up-to-date.  

Real-world connections

Many of our teachers are practicing occupational therapists and accomplished researchers, which means you are not only offered exceptional learning opportunities but also valuable industry contacts. A major focus of your study will be centred on practical learning and you will complete more than 1,000 hours of clinical field placements during your third and fourth years. During this time you will build important industry relationships and valuable networks.

You will also work alongside experienced researchers when you complete a research project and thesis during your final year of study. This affiliation not only provides exceptional learning opportunities, but is also an important network opportunity. We host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

Your career

Occupational therapists assist people in managing physical constraints caused by injury or illness, as well as emotional, developmental, environmental, societal, age-related and psychological limitations, such as autism and dementia. They help people of all ages achieve their goals, optimise their lifestyles and actively participate in society irrespective of personal and environmental limitations.

A successful occupational therapist is practical, logical, attentive and observant. You will enjoy working with people and be mentally and physically capable – this field of work is immensely rewarding, but can also offer challenges, which you need to be ready to manage. If you think you are capable of meeting these challenges, and are ready for a rewarding and stimulating career, then a career in occupational therapy may be for you.

As an occupational therapist you can gain employment in a range of settings, including: 

  • hospitals
  • private practice
  • community mental health services
  • rehabilitation centres
  • aged care facilities
  • community services
  • home care programs
  • local council services
  • government departments
  • schools

You can also expect to undertake tasks, including:

  • Assessing patient’s driving capacity and adapting vehicles
  • Working with children to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Assisting patients in hospital or rehabilitation with self-care eg. Dressing
  • Helping patients return to work by visiting and assessing workplaces

Job growth in this sector is looking good, with strong growth expected in Australia through to November 20201.

You may also choose to pursue a career in research – graduates with honours degrees are highly sought after by prospective employers, particularly within academia and research settings. 

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

Professional accreditation and recognition

This program is accredited by the Occupational Therapy Council (Australia & New Zealand) Ltd.

This program is approved by the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia for the purpose of professional registration as an occupational therapist in Australia.

This program is approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists

Industry facts


Healthcare and social assistance in Australia is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth (increasing by 250,200) nationwide1.

1Australian Government Department of Employment 2017


Healthcare and social assistance has been the primary provider of new jobs in the Australian labour market since the 1990s1.

1Australian Government Department of Employment 2017


Employment for occupational therapists in Australia is projected to increase by 4,000 (24 per cent) by November 20201.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

What others are saying

Placements provided me with the opportunity to explore different occupational therapy fields such as paediatrics, mental health, and aged care. I also had the opportunity to work with a peer to manage a collaborative, community-oriented project in a local hospital stroke ward.

Lealei Tan

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Lealei Tan

Lealei Tan

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

By assisting children to play, learn and become independent we are setting them on the path to adulthood. Creating a clinic shaped to the needs of our clients and their families has been an uplifting and exciting adventure. We speak of foundational building blocks in occupational therapy and studying with UniSA was the first building block for my career.

Rochelle Mutton

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
Employment: Founder and Director, Motivate Kids

Rochelle Mutton, Founder and Director of Motivate Kids

Rochelle Mutton

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
<br />Employment: Founder and Director, Motivate Kids

As the first Aboriginal occupational therapist in South Australia I have a passion to lead and support other Indigenous allied health professionals to follow in my footsteps. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of closing the gap in Aboriginal health inequality but I’m committed to playing my part.

Trevor Ritchie

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Trevor Ritchie

Trevor Ritchie

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

I’m inspired every day by the courage and persistence of those I work with. It’s really rewarding to see people achieve their goals and, as a result, improve their quality of life.

Natalie Waterman

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
Employment: Motivate Kids

Natalie Waterman, OT graduate

Natalie Waterman

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
<br />Employment: Motivate Kids

What you'll learn

What you Learn

During the first two years of this degree you will study the basics needed to gain a clear understanding of the links between human occupations, health, development, illness and disability. The topics covered in these early stages include:

  • human anatomy
  • human physiology
  • human neurosciences
  • growth and lifespan development
  • psychology
  • occupational science
  • sociology

Practical learning is a strong focus, and during your third and fourth years you will practice your skills in real clinical scenarios when you complete more than 1,000 hours of field placements. Placements will take place in a variety of settings. 

Knowledge and skills in problem solving, communication, lifelong learning, group work, ethical action and valuing difference are qualities that are emphasised and developed throughout the degree.

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for various classes such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects and contribute to online discussion forums (independent study). So as a general rule, if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12 – 26 hours of study when at university and 14 – 28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies at UniSA will incorporate practical, professionally focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • group assignments
  • practical tests
  • quizzes
  • group presentations
  • essays and assignments 
  • examinations 
  • research project and thesis

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. Australian and international students may have the option to do an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas. We have links with universities worldwide. You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities


This is a four-year, professional degree with honours. 

The honours component includes a minimum of one year of either a research stream or a professional stream. You will receive First Class, Second Class or Third Class Honours, depending on your performance.

The research stream involves an Honours Thesis course, where you will undertake and complete a research project which may be either quantitative or qualitative. Specific training and education within appropriate approaches relevant to your research project will be developed through consultation, discussion, problem-solving and liaison with a group of experienced researchers. The professional stream includes a range of advanced courses where you will gain in-depth knowledge.

You will graduate with industry experience and connections, and a higher level qualification than a bachelor degree. Your honours year will prepare you well for a career in industry or research. 

What courses you'll study


Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Foundations of Health HLTH 1029 4.5
Human Anatomy 100 HLTH 1020 4.5
Physiology Essentials 100 BIOL 1051 4.5
Introduction to Occupational Therapy Practice REHB 1030 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Lifespan Growth and Motor Development HLTH 1043 4.5
Introduction to Evidence Based Practice and Research in Health Sciences HLTH 1049 4.5
Occupational Therapy Practice in Hospital Settings REHB 1031 4.5
Elective 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Principles of Occupational Therapy Practice REHB 2049 4.5
Applied Psychology BEHL 1005 4.5
Enabling Occupation through Environmental Adaptation REHB 2043 4.5
The Individual in Society 200 BEHL 2002 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Human Neuroscience BIOL 2040 4.5
Occupational Therapy Group Work and Counselling REHB 2044 4.5
Occupational Therapy Practice Education REHB 3063 4.5
Occupational Therapy Practice in Occupational Rehabilitation REHB 2046 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Occupational Therapy Practice and Mental Health REHB 2045 4.5
Primary Health Care Approaches in Occupational Therapy REHB 3064 4.5
Advanced Occupational Therapy Practice and Neurological Conditions REHB 3061 4.5
Occupational Science REHB 3062 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Participatory Community Practice 301 REHB 3043 9
Advanced Community Occupational Therapy Practice and Chronic Conditions Management REHB 3060 4.5
Health Science Honours Preparation REHB 3010 4.5
Note(s): 5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Participatory Community Practice 400 REHB 4045 9
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 400 REHB 4043 9
Health Science Honours Thesis REHB 4012 9
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 401 REHB 4028 9

I have an active interest in play, sensation, assistive technology, research and physical disability; I also have a wide and varied background in teaching, rehabilitation and child healthcare.

Dr Angela Berndt

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Angela Berndt
Portrait image for Dr Angela Berndt

Dr Angela Berndt

Program Director



Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarship search page for more.

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

Student Lounge City East.jpg

As an occupational therapy student you will have access to:

  • Occupational therapy teaching rooms
  • Anatomy laboratory
  • Physiology laboratory

Your study experience

As a student at the University of South Australia you will have unique access to work placement opportunities, overseas study tours and exchanges, networking events, internships, guest speakers and more.

Our campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments. These are all supported by the latest technologies and a 24/7 online learning platform. We have health services on campus, gymnasiums, technology zones and great student lounges. You will also have access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, law and psychology. There are campus sport activities to keep you active, and if you are keen to explore the social side of university life, there are movies, cooking demonstrations, parties and lots more.

Adelaide has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

International Student Services will make your life at university easier. We want you to be successful, and if you need help we will be there to assist. Support services include:

  • careers advice
  • help with student visas and health cover
  • personal counselling
  • academic counselling
  • fees and finance help
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • services offered through our student association, USASA
  • accommodation services 

We also offer study support from our Learning Advisers. You can work with them face-to-face or online. They are here to help you develop academically and professionally during your studies. They also offer help with the English language. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

How to apply

This honours degree is only available to students studying the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy who have met the grade point average (GPA) requirements and have been made an offer into the degree.

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