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Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

Occupational therapy assists people of all ages to participate in the everyday tasks and activities (occupations) that they need and want to do, whether at home, at work, at school or in the community. Occupational therapists transform and adapt environments, activities, equipment and enhance performance to support and promote meaningful engagement and participation. They may work with individuals, groups, government and non-government organisations, in private practice and communities.

Occupational therapists' work is diverse. As a graduate of the occupational therapy degree you could assist a person recovering from a stroke to shower and dress independently; you could develop inclusive playground experiences and environments for children of all abilities; you could recommend workplace changes that would assist an injured worker to return to work; or you could design home modifications or public transport changes that would ensure access for a person using a power wheelchair.

Career opportunities

As an occupational therapist in diverse fields that may include aged care, hospitals, community health, mental health services, schools, industrial environments, private practice and a variety of health, education and disability centres and services.

Professional recognition

The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy has received full accreditation from Occupational Therapy Australia and the Occupational Therapy Council, and is approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Graduates of accredited occupational therapy programs are eligible for national registration. Graduates are also eligible for membership of Occupational Therapy Australia.

Professional placement

Students can complete up to 1 000 hours of professional placement in various settings throughout the four years of study in settings that may include aged care, hospitals, community health, mental health services, primary schools, industrial environments, private practice and a variety of health, education, and disability centres and services.

Professional experience placements require students to fulfil certain pre-requisites prior to attending any placements. Before applying for this course, it is important that you understand what these requirements are.

Major areas of study

In order to meet the Australian Competency Standards for Entry-Level Occupational Therapists this course is structured in accordance with professional body recommendations. All students complete studies in the following areas:

Professional Areas: occupational therapy theory and practice; occupational therapy assessments and interventions related to biomechanical, sensorimotor, psychosocial and cognitive performance, activities, engagement and participation at home, at school, at work and in the community; occupational transitions across the lifespan; evaluation of occupational therapy programs; health promotion; and professional experience/fieldwork. 

Social Sciences: psychology and sociology for health sciences, Australian health care system, Indigenous studies, research methods, and complementary medicine.

Biological Sciences: anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and neuroscience.

The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy includes an embedded allied health Honours program for eligible students, which can be studied concurrently during the Bachelor degree course.

Assessment methods

A variety of assessment methods are used in this course including multiple choice examinations, essay style examinations, scenario based learning studies, tutorial workshop presentations, debates, written assignments, and clinical skills testing. For each unit there are 2 to 5 assessment items.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods include regular face-to-face contact with academic staff in lectures, tutorials and clinical settings. A mixture of digitally-based media supports the lectures, seminars and tutorials, with an emphasis on small group work, problem-based learning, reflection and experiential learning integrated with theory and research. The course has a strong practical focus that allows students to develop a range of clinical skills, integrating theory and practice. Students gain clinical experience in a range of health care settings throughout the course where they are supported by clinical teachers and facilitators.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Student experience a range of teaching approaches including a comprehensive program of community engaged learning, rich and diverse practice based scenarios, embodied learning and the development of reflective evidence-based practice. Learning occurs in a variety of teaching environments, on and off campus including the activities of daily living lab for clinical skills and therapeutic techniques, labs for the study of anatomy and physiology, computer labs, as well as small and large group learning spaces,

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

Applicants must have achieved:

  1. the IELTS (academic module) minimum overall score of 7 and a minimum score of 7 in each of the four components: or
  2. the PTE Academic with a minimum overall score of 65 and a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills; or
  3. the TOEFL iBT with a minimum total  score of 94 and the following minimum score in each section of the test: 24 listening, 24 reading, 27 writing, and 23 speaking

Please note, Rule 2 Schedule B test scores equivalencies do not apply to this course.

An applicant who has completed a Certificate III qualification will not be admitted solely on the basis of this qualification.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Occupational Therapy a candidate shall successfully complete the equivalent of thirty two (32) units:
    1. all units listed in Part A of the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules; plus,
    2. one (1) unit from Part B; and
    3. one (1) elective unit selected from Part C of the Schedule of Units.
  2. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours a candidate should successfully complete the equivalent of thirty two (32) units:
    1. all the units listed in Part D of the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules.
    Students who enter the Honours stream will be required to:
    1. Successfully complete all units in years 3 and 4 of the Honours stream on their first attempt; and
    2. Maintain a GPA of at least 5.0 (Credit grade average) for years 3 and 4.
    Students must pass all units of study on their first attempt to continue with the Hons program, maintain a GPA of at least 5.0 (Credit grade average) and comply with these rules.

Professional Experience Learning

This course includes professional experience learning. Pre-requisites to meet national and state-based regulatory requirements, as detailed on School of Health and Human Sciences Professional Experience page must be met prior to attending professional experience placement. All professional experience learning hours must be completed and professional behaviour and conduct must be demonstrated.


  1. A student can be excluded under Rule 2 Section 10 of the Rules Relating to Awards.
  2. A candidate who has twice received a fail grade in one of the following fieldwork placement units: (HLT10582 Introduction to Occupational Therapy and Human Occupations; HLT10583 Communication Skills for Health Sciences; HLT10590 Home and Community Occupations; HLT10591 Regional Rural Remote Fieldwork; HLT10599 Health Promotion and Primary Health Care; HLT10600 - Advanced Fieldwork) shall be excluded for 12 months and may be readmitted at the discretion of the Head of School.

Inherent Requirements

Inherent Requirements apply to this course as defined on the Student Access & Inclusion website. If you have a disability or health condition which may impact on your ability to meet these requirements please refer to the Student Access & Inclusion website for further information and contact details.

Advanced standing

Candidates who have completed a Certificate III will not be granted any advanced standing solely on the basis of this qualification.

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

Applications for this course are made directly to SCU via our online application service.

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'