Degrees in health sciences have changed, and Occupational Therapy is no exception. Because of the realization of what a crucial role OTs play, what used to be a bachelor’s program has expanded into masters and PhD. U.S. News and World Report annually releases their Top 10 Graduate Schools for OT: a list that gives direction when looking for which schools are paving the way in the essential research and development of such a crucial field of study
The Top OT Schools
The schools were rated by peer assessment surveys of deans and faculty at accredited institutions. Those surveyed were asked to rate the school on a scale of 1 (marginal), to 5 (outstanding). With the way the scoring works, schools can tie, leaving the list slightly longer than 10.
#1 – University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA Score: 4.6
USC established the first MA and PhD in Occupational Therapy, it boasts a large compendium of NIH research. Internationally renowned.
#2 (tie) – Boston University:Sargent College in Boston, MA Score: 4.5
A research intensive program, Boston University’s OTD program has grown significantly in the past several years. Many advances in helping those with disabilities have come from their program.
#2 (tie) – Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, MO Score: 4.5
WU of St. Louis has been ranked one of the top 3 for OT in the past 10 years. It is is a comprehensive program that has focuses ranging from the NICU to senior care.
#4 (tie) – University of Illinois, Chicago in Chicago, IL Score: 4.3
One of the “most productive and well-funded research programs nationwide in Occupational Therapy,” according to their website. It also offers exceptional clinical sites at the U of I Chicago Hospital and Health Sciences Systems (UIHHS).
#4 (tie) – University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS Score: 4.0
This MOT and OTD program emphasize innovation in the field. It has high approval ratings by peers, but also by the students who attend the school.
#6 (tie) – Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO Score: 3.9
A program with an MOT and a MS that has just begun a PhD in Occupation and Rehabilitation Science. A community-oriented program, that provides fieldwork opportunities across the U.S.
#6 (tie) – Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA Score: 3.9
Part of the Jefferson Interprofessional Education Center, which allows those in the MOT program to work alongside peers in other medical professions to provide better patient care.
#6 (tie) – Tufts University,Boston in Boston, MA Score: 3.9
A strong east coast school offering an MOT and an OTD. One unique feature of the school is its two study abroad programs–one in Oxford, England, the other in Stockholm, Sweden.
#6 (tie) – University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA Score: 3.9
U-Pitt heavily emphasizes partnering with prominent researchers in the field of OT, as well as related fields like Bioengineering, Psychiatry, Cardiology and Gerontology.
#10 (tie) – New York University:Steinhardt School in New York, NY Score: 3.8
NYU Steinhardt seeks to prepare students for the constantly changing medical world. With New York City as its home, it offers diverse fieldwork for its students.
#10 (tie) – University of Florida in Gainsville, FL Score: 3.8
Clinical practice and internships are key components of UF’s MOT and PhD programs, offering fieldwork in research, administration in addition to the traditional hospital clinical work.
#10 (tie) – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC Score: 3.8
A top research university, the MOT, MS and PhD programs at UNC strongly emphasizes in community service, allowing its students to provide the best care for all ages and backgrounds.
Going Deeper in Your Grad School Search
This list of schools is only the beginning. Websites like startclass can help you do a more in-depth comparison, using several filters. For example, startclass is helpful for finding the average SAT score for the school, or even for comparing more schools not included in this list to others possibly closer to you, startclass is a great resource.
Your School of Choice
The U.S. News and World Report depends on the opinions of a select few to make this list, so what do you think? Are there schools you feel that should have made the list? What’s your vote for the best OT program in the U.S.?