University of Wisconsin-La Crosse |

Occupational Therapy (MS)
Expand menu

  • Dual degree


    Beginning in the 2005 Summer term (and retroactive to the 2002 catalog), a dual degree program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy will be available to qualified UW-L students.  This dual degree program will require at least three years of attendance at UW-L in the psychology undergraduate program followed by two and one half years of attendance in the Occupational Therapy graduate program.  This results in the elimination of one year of undergraduate study.  Students interested in the Dual-Degree program:

    • Must be accepted as a Psychology major.  Steps to take in becoming a Psychology major can be found on this website (Psych Majors Interested in Occupational Therapy: STEPS TO TAKE), or on the Psychology website under New Student Tutorials.  These steps minimally include:
      • completing the new student tutorials found on the Psychology website
      • meeting with a Psychology advisor
      • completing PSY 100 and MTH 145 (statistics) with a “C” or better.  It is recommended that prospective Dual Degree students attain at least a “B.”
      • complete PSY 100, MTH 145, CST 110, and ENG 110 with an average GPA of 2.45 or better.  It is recommended that Dual Degree students attain a 3.0 or higher. 
      • If a student cannot complete the milestones to becoming a psychology major, they are not eligible for the Dual Degree program.

    • Should have fewer than 60 credits.  Once a student has earned 60 credits the Dual Degree program generally does not save them any time in regards to length of study to complete both degrees.  However, exceptions do occur.  Students should examine their advisement report and the recommended course list to ascertain whether or not they might benefit from the Dual Degree program.  If it looks as if time may be saved, then the student should schedule an advising appoint with the Psychology advisor (Katherine Elgin).
    • Must sign the Dual Degree contract with the OT Dual Degree program advisor (Deborah Dougherty, Assoc. Clinical Professor in OT).  This contract is what allows students to actually declare the Dual Degree program as their major.

    Admission to the Occupational Therapy Program for Dual Degree Students

    • Students enrolled in the Dual Degree program are not guaranteed admission to the Occupational Therapy program. 
    • The Occupational therapy Program will waive the admission requirement of a completed undergraduate degree for students enrolled in the Dual Degree program.  These students, however, must still satisfy all other requirements for admission.
    • Students will be admitted into the Occupational Therapy graduate program based on their submitted application portfolios, and as judged by pre-established admissions criteria.
    • Dual Degree students are considered on equal par with other applicants who have completed their bachelor degrees. 

    The Occupational Therapy Program will waive the admission requirement of a completed undergraduate degree for students enrolled in the dual-degree program.  These students, however, must still satisfy all other requirements for admission.

    This program is subject to changes in the university or in occupational therapy educational standards, and may change as conditions and/or experience dictates.

    Helpful Documents for Dual-Degree

    Dual-Degree Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Why would a student wish to pursue a dual degree?
      The dual degree program is designed to allow a student to complete a bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in 5.5 years of schooling (plus summers).  Students who complete the requirements in the recommended sequence save approximately two semesters.  The sooner a student decides to complete the dual degree, the higher the likelihood that she/he will reduce credits.
    2. Does the dual degree guarantee admission to the graduate program in Occupational Therapy?
      No.  The dual degree exists to reduce the overall number of credits a student takes IF they are accepted into the graduate program.  It does not guarantee admission.  A student who is not accepted into the program may complete a BS in Psychology by completing 13 credits in psychology, 7 credits at the 300/400 level outside of psychology and approximately 10 additional credits of university courses to complete 120 credits toward graduation.
    3. Who is eligible for the dual degree?
      Any student at UW-L with fewer than 60 credits with a GPA of 3.0 or above.  Students in the semester in which they will earn 60 credits are also eligible. 
      There are a few cases where students with above 60 credits may still benefit from the Dual Degree.  Students should examine their advisement report and the recommended course list to ascertain whether or not they might benefit from the Dual Degree major.  If it looks to the student as if the dual degree major may save them time, the student should schedule an advising appointment with either the OT Dual Degree advisor (Deborah Dougherty) or a psychology advisor (Katherine Elgin).
    4. Are there any drawbacks to the student?
      One drawback to the student is that they may not be accepted into the graduate Occupational Therapy program.  Students who are not accepted into the Occupational Therapy program have the option of completing a BS in psychology and then re-applying to UW-L's Occupational Therapy program or other graduate programs in Occupational Therapy.  In addition, the sequencing of courses is very tight and allows for little variation or additional electives.
      Another drawback pertains to Dual Degree students who enter the graduate program, and then realize that Occupational Therapy is not a good fit for them.  These students should be aware that withdrawing from the occupational therapy program, and then re-entering UW-La Crosse as an undergraduate student requires the completion of paperwork, and should contact an undergraduate psychology advisor as soon as possible.
    5. Can a student get an undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy?
      No.  The last class of bachelor occupational therapy students was admitted in the summer of 2004.
    6. What courses does a student have to take?
      See the Recommended Course Sequence on this webpage.  Working with a psychology advisor is encouraged.
    7. What has to occur to make the dual-degree happen?
      Please see the document "
      Psych Majors Interested in Occupational Therapy: STEPS TO TAKE"
    8. How are the credits earned?
      During the first 3 years, students would complete 92 credits of undergraduate coursework including (1) general education requirements, (2) CLS core requirements, (3) partial requirements for the CLS program option (which substitute for a minor), and (4) most of the psychology major requirements.  Over the next several semesters, the students will complete 84 credits of Occupational Therapy coursework.  Twelve of these credits apply to the Psychology major directly.  The remaining credits are applied to the CLS program option and to the completion of the undergraduate degree.  When the requirements are completed in the recommended sequence, students will be formally awarded a BS in Psychology usually at the end of their fourth year at UW-L.  Together, the undergraduate and graduate degrees will take a total of 5.5 years to complete.
    9. Is there any flexibility in the scheduling?
      Yes.  Despite the appearance of a rigid schedule of courses, there is room for trading when a variety of courses are taken.  However, in order to enter the program with the proper requirements, students must complete 15-17 credits per semester and complete summer courses from starting in their third summer through the completion of the program.