Start date
February

Duration
4 year(s) full-time

Mode
On-campus

Program Code
IHOC

Prerequisites
None

Assumed Knowledge
None

Fees
AUD$ 41,700 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL) for students enrolled in 2024

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [7.0]
  • IELTS reading [7.0]
  • IELTS writing [7.0]
  • IELTS speaking [7.0]
  • IELTS listening [7.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements

CRICOS Code
088336D

Degree overview

  • Develop the skills to succeed as an occupational therapist and help people of all ages maintain and improve their day-to-day activities.

  • Study South Australia’s first fully accredited degree in occupational therapy from a university with more than 50 years of experience in allied health education.

  • Graduate with an accredited, internationally recognised qualification and ready to register as an occupational therapist through the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.1

  • Engage in more than 1,000 hours of real-world practice placements while you study.

  • Benefit from our strong partnerships and alliances with not-for-profit organisations, aged care facilities and community restorative programs, health and disability, and children’s service providers.

  • Learn from award-winning teaching staff, academics, practicing health professionals and researchers in the field.

  • Study a contemporary and culturally diverse curriculum informed by above world-class research in occupational therapy.2

  • UniSA is an unstoppable university for unstoppable people. As one of the World’s Top Young Universities,3 we’ll ensure you get the experience your future profession demands so it’ll feel like you’re studying one minute and in a career the next.

1Accredited by the Occupational Therapy Council of Australia Ltd (OTC); approved by the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia for the purpose of professional registration as an occupational therapist in Australia; and approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. 2Results in Clinical Sciences - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 3Ranked #43, 2024 THE Young University Rankings.

Snapshot

OT4.jpg

Unleash your unstoppable career in occupational therapy, and be at the forefront of helping people of all ages to actively participate in society, irrespective of limitations. This four-year honours degree will teach you how to help people overcome constraints caused by injury or illness, and help them navigate and manage emotional, developmental, environmental, societal, age-related and psychological limitations.

As a registered occupational therapist, you’ll be an integral part of the allied health workforce. You’ll be able to work across a variety of areas, ranging from hospitals and private practice to aged care and schools, with strong applicability into international workforces.

As an honours degree, you will graduate with a respected qualification, and can tailor your studies to either a professional or research stream, depending on your career goals. 

You can also use your qualification as a pathway to postgraduate study. This can include upskilling into areas like mental health or management, or continuing into research with a Master of Research and doctoral studies.

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, a Working with Children Check 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 student registration process is undertaken by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) with the University providing notification to AHPRA following enrolment in the program. On successful completion of the program, full AHPRA registration is undertaken.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

Your first year will focus on core health subjects including anatomy, physiology, and an introduction to occupational therapy practice and evidence.

From second and third year, you’ll focus on the application of your skills in mental health, occupation rehabilitation, chronic conditions, community focus, primary health care and participatory community practice.

In addition to field placements, you’ll attend workshops in a range of industry settings, which will offer first-hand insight into the scope of practice. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit regional settings in your third year on the annual Country Road Trip.

Throughout your degree, you’ll be exposed to many different hands-on activities that may be part of your future role. This includes:

  • splint making
  • dressing adaptation for people with self-care impairments
  • wheelchair measurement tutorials
  • home modification and assistive technology plans
  • adult neurological rehabilitation techniques
  • completing skill demonstrations to become familiar with real-life occupational therapy scenarios

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
FIRST YEAR
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Aboriginal Health: Culture, Community and Country HLTH 1063 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 Development for Occupational Therapy Practice 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 Note(s): 7
SECOND YEAR
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
Therapeutic Communication and Group Work REHB 2044 4.5
Occupational Therapy Practice Education REHB 3063 4.5
Occupational Therapy Practice in Occupational Rehabilitation REHB 2046 4.5
THIRD YEAR (Professional Stream)
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: Planning REHB 3043 9
Advanced Community Occupational Therapy Practice and Chronic Conditions Management REHB 3060 4.5
Advanced Evidence Based Practice HLTH 3057 4.5
FOURTH YEAR (Professional Stream)
Note(s): 5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Participatory Community Practice Implementation REHB 4045 9
Contemporary Practice and Professional Development 400 REHB 4046 4.5
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 400 REHB 4043 9
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 401 REHB 4028 9
Contemporary Practice and Professional Development 401 REHB 4047 4.5
THIRD YEAR (Research Stream)
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: Planning REHB 3043 9
Advanced Community Occupational Therapy Practice and Chronic Conditions Management REHB 3060 4.5
Health Science Honours Preparation REHB 3010 4.5
FOURTH YEAR (Research Stream)
Note(s): 5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Participatory Community Practice Implementation REHB 4045 9
Health Science Honours Thesis REHB 4012 9
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 400 REHB 4043 9
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Occupational Therapy Field Practice 401 REHB 4028 9

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, as well as to 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.

Assessment

Assessment

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 and individual presentations
  • skill demonstrations
  • essays and assignments 
  • examinations 
  • evidence based practice reviews
  • case studies and industry style reports
  • portfolios
  • research project and thesis

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. You may have the option to undertake an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas while you study. We have links with universities worldwide, as well as a range of travel grants available to make going overseas much more accessible.

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

Honours

This is a four-year professional degree with honours. You’ll graduate with industry experience and connections, and a higher-level qualification than a bachelor’s degree. 

The honours component includes a minimum of one year of either a research stream or a professional stream.

The professional stream includes a range of advanced courses where you’ll develop skills in evidenced based practice and professional writing for industry. This will give you the ability to innovate in your practice as an occupational therapist.

The research stream involves an honours thesis course, where you’ll undertake a quantitative or qualitative research project. You’ll get to consult, discuss and problem-solve your research project with a group of experienced researchers, and make a true contribution to scientific knowledge.

Previous honours projects have included:

  • Developing an intake questionnaire to support consistent data collection in private practices
  • Exploring how quality rehabilitation is represented and promoted within stroke clinical guidelines
  • Considering how international placement experiences influence graduate practice
  • Reviewing sensory approaches used by Australian occupational therapists working in mental health settings
  • Developing and evaluating a research tool for assessing work and leisure in assistance dogs
  • Increasing community engagement with, and ownership of, a behaviour change intervention among rural South Australians
  • Establishing a profile of theoretical models and approaches used by Australian occupational therapists working in aged care
  • Evaluating the use of video modelling to support children at a specialist school
  • Exploring whether virtual reality guided motor imagery increases brain plasticity

Graduates from both streams are eligible to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Occupational Therapy Board of Australia.

Why Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Natalie Waterman, OT graduate

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’ll learn from a university with more than 50 years of experience in occupational therapy education and research. You’ll spend more than 1,000 hours completing practice placements in metropolitan, rural or regional settings, providing you with the opportunity to consolidate and apply your knowledge and skills.

UniSA’s curriculum is based on innovative, current, and above-world-class research,1 meaning your degree is industry-informed and relevant for your future career. You will learn from passionate academics and industry experts, allowing you to build your industry networks while you study.

Students who successfully complete this degree will be eligible to register as an occupational therapist through the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia / the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

1Results in Clinical Sciences - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 

Real-world connections

You’ll learn from registered occupational therapists and accomplished researchers throughout your degree. With industry placements built into your studies, you'll develop valuable relationships and networks to prepare you for the workforce. In your final year, you'll work alongside experienced researchers when you complete a research project and thesis.

We also host regular University-wide alumni eventsemployee master classes and employment expos in Australia and overseas.

Occupational Therapy Careers Snapshot

Gain insight into the rewarding careers of UniSA occupational therapy graduates, Rochelle Mutton and Jordan Liseno. Rochelle is the Owner and Director at Motivate Kids and employs Jordan as part of her growing team.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

Occupational therapists can make a real difference in people’s lives. You’ll help people overcome any barriers they have – whether it be physical, environmental or emotional – to doing any activity big or small, and empowering them to live their best lives.

A successful occupational therapist is professional, an excellent communicator, observant, logical, a critical thinker, and evidence based. You’ll be the type of person who enjoys working with people; and be mentally, emotionally and physically capable. This field of work is immensely rewarding and can offer exciting challenges, assisting people in the everyday occupations of life.

You can gain employment in a range of settings, including:

  • public and private hospitals
  • private practice
  • community mental health services
  • ambulatory and rehabilitation services
  • aged care facilities
  • home based services
  • local council services
  • government departments
  • schools
  • not-for-profit and non-government sector

Some key areas of activity where occupational therapists provide support include:

  • daily living activities such as showering, dressing, grooming and eating
  • activities which involve caring for others such as household management activities, shopping, childcare, budgeting, banking, financial management, home maintenance and driving
  • education activities which allow a person to participate in a learning environment.
  • leisure and play activities
  • social participation
  • work (paid and voluntary)

This degree prepares you to work overseas, as the qualification is recognised in most countries.

Your research honours degree will also prepare you for a career in research or academia.

Professional accreditation and recognition

This program is accredited by the Occupational Therapy Council of Australia Ltd (OTC).

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

job-listings

Employment for occupational therapists in Australia is projected to increase by 7.4 per cent by November 2026.

Australian Government National Skills Commission Employment Projections 2021

chart-people

To November 2026, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia – an increase of 301,000 jobs.

Australian Government National Skills Commission Employment Projections 2021

line-graph-growth

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

Australian Government National Skills Commission Employment Projections 2021

How to apply

How to apply for international students will give you helpful information about the application process at the University of South Australia. When you are ready, apply through our International Application System. If you would like to talk to someone near you about studying at the University of South Australia, we have agents all over the world who can assist you. Find an Education Agent in your country.

Alternative Pathways

Australian-
There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including:

Scholarships

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 scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

As a UniSA student, 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 and laboratories, as well as spaces 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 gain access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, business, 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 also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal 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

Our international student services provide you with all the support you need at university. We want you to succeed, and if you need help, we're here to assist. You can access a full range of support services, including:

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

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

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

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with modern facilities including lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, as well as spaces 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'll have access to:

  • occupational therapy teaching rooms
  • anatomy laboratories
  • physiology laboratory

You’ll also get to use a range of on-campus spaces including modern lecture theatres, libraries, collaborative teaching rooms, and relaxed student lounges.

Your program director

I am a graduate of this program and bring more than 30 years of hands on and research experience to my role. I am an active member of the national occupational therapy community with excellent industry networks. 

Dr Ben Sellar

Program Director

Enquire
Portrait image for Dr Ben Sellar
Portrait image for Dr Ben Sellar

Dr Ben Sellar

Program Director

Enquire

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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
Founder and Director | Motivate Kids

Rochelle Mutton, Founder and Director of Motivate Kids

Rochelle Mutton

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
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
Motivate Kids

Natalie Waterman, OT graduate

Natalie Waterman

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
Motivate Kids