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Master in Occupational Therapy


The forthcoming crisis in health manpower is well documented internationally. Increasing demand for highly trained specialized healthcare workers is expected in the very near future, especially in the rehabilitation field. Occupational therapy is considered as one of the main discipline that plays an integral part in delivering high quality services to clients of all ages whose normal lives have been interrupted by physical injury, disease, learning disabilities, mental illness or aging.

In Palestine, rehabilitation services are regarded as a need resulted from the increasing number of individuals with disabilities with chronic conditions due to many factors including increasing average age and ongoing wars.  According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) records, persons with disabilities in Palestine constitute 2.1% of the total population. Serving this divers group requires the availability of highly trained occupational therapists having competence to deal innovatively with complex cases and rehabilitation situations. 

According to the Palestinian Association of Occupational Therapy, there are approximately 100 occupational therapists working in different settings with majority holding bachelor degree and few master prepared therapists in other related field. These records indicate clearly that Palestinian occupational therapists lack specialization to provide cutting edge services to their clients.  Therefore, preparing specialized occupational therapists through this proposed program is expected to bridge this gap.

Many Palestinian institutions expressed their appreciation to offering this program at the Arab American University including but not limited to, Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, Lifegate Association and the Palestinian Association of Occupational Therapy (PAOT). In their letter, the PAOT revealed that the establishment of the master program at AAUP will produce professionals who will lead the development in occupational therapy profession. In addition, the PAOT believes that the proposed master will allow Occupational Therapists to pursue their higher education locally, avoid unbearable expenses when travelling abroad and develop research especially in occupational therapy field.

The new master program in occupational therapy at AAUP will be delivered in collaboration with Jacksonville University – School of Applied Health Sciences in the United States. The impacts of joined academic and practical efforts by both AAUP staff and Jacksonville University staff are expected to promote the academic curriculum, to enhance the learning outcomes and to develop the practical competencies of the students.



The master’s program in occupational therapy will prepare students to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge in using advanced theoretical and scientific foundations to inform practice through a combination of didactic and fieldwork education.
  2. Promote advanced analytical and critical thinking skills in choosing and applying a variety of OT assessments and treatment modalities.
  3. Employ ethical and effective communication and leadership skills in their role as occupational therapy practitioners and supervisors.
  4. Develop solid research capacity and utilize the best research evidence in the provision of occupational therapy services.



The student will have the opportunity to develop the following knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors: At the end of the program students will be able to:

  • Analyze normal human development and occupational performance with an optimum integration into the occupational therapy practice.
  • Evaluate the effect of disability, environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic factors on human development and occupational participation throughout the life span.
  • Apply appropriate occupational therapy screening and assessment tools to determine the need for occupational therapy intervention considering client’s needs, and cultural and contextual factors.
  • Design and implement occupation based interventions to remediate and/or compensate for various deficits that may affect occupational performance.
  • Demonstrate exceptional ethical and interpersonal skills in the provision of occupational therapy services.
  • Demonstrate competency in managing and supervising professionals and students across healthcare organizations.
  • Analyze and evaluate research to make informed clinical decisions and demonstrate the skills necessary to carry out a scholarly report.


Careers of Graduates

Occupational therapy profession is growing rapidly and receiving great attention as part of the development and improvement of the delivery of health care services worldwide. The Occupational Therapy Master Program aims to prepare professionals to pursue careers in variety of settings including but not limited to the following:

  1. Clinic Director; oversee a specific department, such as occupational, speech, or physical therapy and/or psychology, and have responsibilities based on that specialty. Clinical directors set and carry out policies, goals, and procedures for their departments; evaluate the quality of the staff’s work; and develop reports and budgets.
  2. Rehabilitation Manager; manage the daily tasks and activities of a medical rehabilitation unit or facility. They organize and direct all of the operations of the rehabilitation center. They also evaluate employees and oversee training programs. Client complaints and employee needs or disciplinary actions are also handled by the Rehabilitation Center Manager.
  3. Research Assistant; is involved in the occupational therapy program in a range of research projects. Through this work, research assistance adds to the theoretical and methodological knowledge that otherwise gained during educational program, but also contributes to expanding the knowledge base of occupational therapy research.
  4. Academic; researches theoretical and practical advancement in the field and teach and train future occupational therapy professionals.