Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

(c) Milligan College MSOT

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent — or live better with — illness, injury or disability. (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2010).

In-Demand Profession

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for occupational therapists is over $76,000. Job opportunities include acute hospitals, rehabilitation, and orthopedic settings, and schools. Driver rehabilitation, training for the elderly, ergonomic consulting, and health and wellness are emerging practice areas for occupational therapy. Milligan MSOT graduates have a 100% job placement rate at the time of graduation.

Leadership & Practice

Our mission is to prepare occupational therapists as servant-leaders who engage in scholarship, contribute to the profession, and offer clinical expertise to the underserved local and global communities. To that end, Milligan’s MSOT program will prepare you with critical thinking and clinical skills to assume leadership roles in clinical practice, administration, research, and education. The program is holistic in nature and integrates both theory and practice in the art and science of occupational therapy. Partnerships with regional, state, and national health care systems, hospitals, clinics, and non-profit organizations provide a wide range of professional experiences for our MSOT students.

Caring Faculty

Teaching you is more than a job to our faculty — it’s a mission. The faculty are dedicated Christian professionals who go above and beyond to challenge you and stretch your mind. They bring real world experience into the classroom every day because they continue to work in the fields they teach. Small class sizes provide personal interaction, exceptional training, and hands-on lab experience that will prepare you for success as an occupational therapist.

Curriculum & Schedule

The program is a full-time two-and-a-half year program, including fieldwork experiences. Courses meet four days a week (Monday through Thursday). The 79-hour curriculum includes coursework in three essential components: basic skills, the occupational therapy process, and capstone experience.

View all details and course requirements for this program in the Milligan College Catalog (link below). The Milligan College academic catalog is the official, authoritative source for all academic requirements and policies. Any discrepancies in curricular requirements from other sources will default to the Catalog.



Milligan’s MSOT program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

ACOTE Address:
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 301.652.AOTA
Website: www.acoteonline.org


The total number of graduates from the Milligan College Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program during the 3-year period of 2016-2018 was 91, with an overall graduation rate of 95%.

Year Students Entering/ Graduating Graduation Rate
2016 32/31 97%
2017 32/28 88%
2018 32/32 100%
Total 3-year 96/91 95%

Program performance data on the NBCOT certification examination is available for public viewing by state and program level by clicking on this link: https://secure.nbcot.org/data/schoolstats.aspx

As a graduate of our program, you will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, you will be an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Exam. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The American Occupational Therapy Association


The 79-hour curriculum utilizes developmental course sequences, which includes coursework in three essential components: basic skills, the occupational therapy process, and capstone experiences. This program prepares students with a breadth and depth of information for practice as a generalist with a broad exposure to current practice settings (e.g., home health care, acute care, outpatient, school systems, skilled nursing, etc.) and emerging practice areas (e.g., wellness/injury prevention, low vision rehabilitation, universal design, ergonomics, etc.).The length of the program follows the typical progression and pattern of graduate course work for entry-level occupational therapy education in order to meet standards for graduate education and to meet the expected outcomes of our graduates. In addition, the length of the program is comparable to other institutions with graduate, entry-level occupational therapy programs.

All students are admitted to the occupational therapy program on a full-time basis. Completion of all degree requirements on a full-time basis will take a minimum of two and one-half years. In exceptional cases, part-time status may be granted by the program director. Part-time students must complete all degree requirements within a period defined by the program director and faculty council of the occupational therapy program. This time period must not exceed five years. Students must complete Level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

Developmental Course Sequence

Component I: Basic Skills

The basic skills component represents subject matter which serves as the foundation for the professional theories and practice methods. This component includes applied science courses, research methods and design, and an introduction to the profession of occupational therapy.

Component II: The Occupational Therapy Process

The core of this curriculum, the occupational therapy process, includes the study of occupation, typical life span development, and wellness with integration of the major theories and practice methods of occupational therapy. A developmental sequence (i.e., from pediatrics to geriatrics) is utilized to facilitate continuity and consistency from one course to another. Major topics dealing with disease processes, the physical and psychosocial impact of dysfunction, wellness, assessment, intervention, adaptation, emerging practice areas are incorporated. This sequence of courses promotes the development of critical thinking skills. An introduction to clinical experiences through Level I fieldwork is included.

Component III: Capstone Experiences

The capstone component of the curriculum is designed to move the student further toward the objective of integrated critical thinking. Topics covered in these courses include: administration and leadership, professional development, directed research, and Level II fieldwork. At the end of this component of the curriculum, the student should be prepared to sit for the NBCOT certification examination for the occupational therapist.

Financial Information

Our MSOT program is priced competitively, and we will work with you individually every step of the way to help investigate all the options available for financing your education. Financial aid is available for graduate students. Read more about cost and financial aid here »



Milligan’s MSOT program is designed for students who have an earned bachelor’s degree and who have completed the prerequisite requirements for admissions to the program. Baccalaureate degrees can be in a variety of academic areas, some of which include human performance and exercise science, human relations, development, sociology, biology and psychology. Milligan’s MSOT program starts one class a year each August. Admission is very competitive in the MSOT program; therefore, it is highly recommended to have your completed application submitted to OTCAS by October 15 for verification. The application must be verified in OTCAS by November 15 in order for the application to be considered for admission.

Apply through OTCAS

To apply, submit an online application through OTCAS, an Occupational Therapy centralized application service. The application must be verified in OTCAS by November 15 in order for the application to be considered for admission

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements to be considered for admission to the MSOT program are as follows:

    • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with overall grade point average of 3.0.
    • Volunteer experience in a variety of occupational therapy clinical settings with a minimum of 40 documented hours or a disability related work/volunteer experience with the proper documentation.
    • GRE combined score of 297 or higher as reported on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
    • Three completed reference forms through OTCAS from persons who have adequate knowledge of the applicant’s Christian commitment, character, and professional qualities of potential for success as a graduate student.
    • A completed baccalaureate degree that includes the following prerequisite courses:


      You might be able to take some prerequisite courses at Milligan at a reduced rate. Learn more »

      • Math and Science: 9-12 semester hours
        • Math Course
        • Anatomy & Physiology I (4 hrs)
        • Anatomy & Physiology II (4 hrs)
      • Social Science: 9 semester hours
        • Intro to Psychology
        • Intro to Sociology OR Intro to Anthropology
        • Human Development OR Developmental Psychology
      • Communication: 6 semester hours
        • Writing/English
        • Public Speaking
      • Medical Terminology: 1-3 semester hours

Substitution or waiver of requirement for any of the above prerequisite courses may be granted by the occupational therapy program admissions committee on an individual basis.

Prospective students meeting the minimum admission criteria will be considered for a face-to-face on-site interview. However, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an invitation for a face-to-face on-site interview. Final selection of students will be made by the admissions committee of the occupational therapy program.

Matriculation of a cohort of new students is contingent upon an adequate number of admitted applicants.

International Students

International students must provide proof of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 79. Please have your score sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Milligan’s PA Admissions Office. All international applicants must have taken the TOEFL within the last two years. You cannot be exempted from this requirement unless English is your native language, you are a U.S. citizen, or you have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university.

After a student is admitted, there is required documentation to submit BEFORE form I-20 can be issued.  Students may begin gathering and submitting this information even prior to admission, but no I-20 will be issued until a prospect has been fully admitted AND has submitted the required documentation. International students should click here for information on the immigration/visa process »

Early Acceptance Program for Milligan Undergraduates

Current Milligan undergraduate students may be eligible for the early acceptance program. You may apply as early as your Junior year. Learn more »

Expectations and Responsibilities

All students at Milligan are expected to uphold the expectations and responsibilities for student lifestyles at Milligan College. Milligan College adopts specific rules on the basis of the belief that God’s Word, as the final rule of faith and practice, speaks on many matters pertaining to personal conduct. Therefore, behavior that conflicts with Scripture is unacceptable. Historically, communities also have developed guidelines that help put into practice basic moral and social principles. Such standards serve as a guide toward worthwhile goals relevant to one’s academic, spiritual, social, and physical well-being.

Students should consult the Student Handbook for further guidance regarding acceptable personal lifestyle and conduct while enrolled at Milligan College. A student’s matriculation and enrollment at Milligan College is their pledge to uphold the policies and expectations outlined in the Student Handbook and Catalog.


Dr. Christy Isbell

Christy Isbell

Program Director and Area Chair of Occupational Therapy; Professor of Occupational Therapy

Phone: 423.461.1548
Contact via email
Office: McGlothlin-Street Occupational Therapy Center, Thompson Center, Office 204


Dr. Jil Smith

Jil Smith

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Phone: 423.461.1547
Contact via email
Office: McGlothlin-Street Occupational Therapy Center, Thompson Center, Office 203


Rachel Ellis

Rachel Ellis

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

Phone: 423.461.1549
Contact via email
Office: McGlothlin-Street Occupational Therapy Center, Thompson Center, Office 205


Kristia Brown

Kristia Brown

Occupational Therapy Office Manager and Admission Coordinator

Phone: 423.461.1538
Contact via email
Office: McGlothlin-Street Occupational Therapy Center, Thompson Center, Sally Phillips Administrative Office #2