Occupational Therapy, M.S.

You want to enrich the quality of life of your patients. We will provide the tools necessary for you to gain the skills to help individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives.

After completing your master's degree, you will be ready to help others maintain the daily skills necessary for independent and satisfying lives.

To practice as an occupational therapist (OT), you must obtain a master of science degree. Our 70-credit hour program, made up of three summers and two academic years (27 months), combines rigorous academic coursework, extensive laboratory experience and hands-on clinical practice through integrated fieldwork.

Request Information

Take the next step toward completing your Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Get Started

Take the next step toward completing your Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Lenoir-Rhyne University.


We offer one cohort in Hickory, N.C. and another in Columbia, S.C. The program vision, curriculum and student learning outcomes are identical for both sites, incorporating strategic use of interactive video networking for dynamic learning to promote the achievement of student learning outcomes between cohorts.

You are welcome to apply to both sites, but, if you apply to only one, please know we reserve the right to offer you a seat to either location.

You will be a skilled professional, educated in the study of human growth and development, with specific emphasis on the social, emotional and physiological effects of illness and injury.

Our program begins with foundational, active, inquiry-guided learning, and continues to provide increasingly more complex experiential learning experiences that allow you to investigate your world, adapt to continual change, and serve individuals, communities and society with caring and ethical practices.

Graduates of our program learn to:

  • Provide ethical and unbiased services to diverse populations,
  • Understand how setting or context changes OT roles, goals, and supervisory responsibility,
  • Demonstrate a general knowledge as skilled and caring clinicians,
  • Respond adaptively to situations,
  • Meticulously investigate their world and knowledge base,
  • Advocate the value and efficacy of occupational and occupational therapy services to clients, funders, and other professionals,
  • Apply theory and evidence to current and future cases.

The program provides you with opportunities and challenges that focus on occupation as the fundamental value central to the development of your professional identity and practice.

Hailey Venable

I gained essential hands-on experience during my occupational therapy internships, which helped prepare me for providing acute inpatient rehabilitation as an occupational therapist.

Hailey Venable MS'18

NBCOT Certification Results

Students who successfully complete the master’s degree program are expected to demonstrate the competencies essential for entry-level practitioners, as designated by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Most states require that occupational therapists obtain a license before they may practice. Initial state licenses are issued on the basis of National Board for Certification Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification and verification of completion of all academic and fieldwork requirements by an accredited program.

For the previous three years (2017-2019) the program has had 119 graduates and a 100% graduation rate. Information concerning the pass rates for the NBCOT Exam by Lenoir-Rhyne graduates may be obtained directly from NBCOT. Beginning in 2019, LR graduated OT students from Hickory and Columbia cohorts.

For additional information, visit www.aota.org or www.acoteonline.org or contact the AOTA at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929; 301.652.2682.

*ACOTE standard A.5.6 now requires reporting of the number of new graduates (within 12 months of graduation) who have passed the NBCOT Certification Exam.

National Board for Certification Occupational Therapy Certification Results
Graduation Year Number of New Graduates Taking Exam That Year Number of New Graduates Passing The Exam Percentage of New Graduates Passing The Exam Graduation Rate
2019 59 59 100% 94% Hickory; 100% Cola; 98% Total
2018 31 31 100% 94%
2017 29 29 100% 94%
Total 3-year 119 119 100% 95%

Program Requirements

Offered in Hickory and Columbia

All OT courses and fieldwork Level II experiences must be completed prior to graduation. Verification by the school chair and registrar is required to take the national certification examination.


The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE c/o AOTA, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200 Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, telephone (301) 652-2682, Web site: www.acoteonline.org) The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) is located at One Bank Street Suite 300 Gaithersburg, MD 20878; (301) 990-7979; www.nbcot.org. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Lenoir-Rhyne University's School of Occupational Therapy was reaccredited by ACOTE on November 30, 2018 for a period of seven years for academic year 2018-2019 to 2025/2026.

Missions Statement

The School of Occupational Therapy, in concert with the mission of Lenoir-Rhyne University, seeks to develop skilled and caring students who respond adaptively to situations, meticulously investigate their world and knowledge base, and provide ethical and unbiased services. The School serves as a resource for OT practitioners and advocates for the value of occupation to the community.

Curriculum Structure

The Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy includes a curriculum sequence of 3 summers and 2 academic years (27 months). The total credit hours for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program consists of 12 foundational course credit hours (first summer term) and 58 additional graduate course credit hours.

Program Admission Requirements

Visit Graduate Admission for the most current Program Admission Requirements.

Prerequisite Requirements

Master's degree applicants must present evidence of completion of all prerequisite courses and undergraduate degree before the start of the program. Prerequisite completion must be within 5 years of the application date. The areas of competency are covered in the following courses or their equivalents completed within the last five years: Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs, Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cultural Diversity, Ethics, and Medical Terminology.

News & Events

Lenoir-Rhyne University is grieving the loss of one of our student-athletes. Omari Alexander, a 19-year-old sophomore from Concord, North Carolina and member of the LR football team, was killed overnight on November 20 in an off-campus incident in Hickory.

View More

Lenoir-Rhyne University will receive $4.3 million as part of the North Carolina state budget that was signed into law on November 18.

View More