Occupational Therapy

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The Dual Degree is suspended as of Fall 2015 and students will no longer be enrolled in the program.  For students entering UWL in Fall 2015 or after the Dual Degree will no longer be an option.  Students currently enrolled in the Dual Degree will be allowed to complete the program.


Through a joint effort between the Psychology Department and the Occupational Therapy Program, UWL offers a dual degree program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Occupational therapy to qualified students.  This program requires at least three years in the Psychology undergraduate program, where requirements for General Education, College of Liberal Studies, OT pre-requisites, and Psychology Major requirements are met.  This is followed by two and one half years (8 semesters) attendance in the Occupational Therapy graduate program.  This results in the elimination of one year of undergraduate study. 

The Dual Degree is an accelerated program,  and does not lend itself to students who have broader interests or goals (e.g., double major, international studies).   Characteristics of students who have been successful in the Dual Degree program in the past include independence, self-motivation, flexibility, curiosity, and the ability to direct their own learning.  They typically maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and do well in both basic and social science courses.

Students who are interested in the Dual Degree program must be accepted as Psychology majors.   The first step involves declaring a Psychology major, and completing milestone #1 in the major.  Students must complete Psychology New Student Tutorials.  Once the tutorials have been completed, you will meet with a Psychology advisor where you will learn about specific steps and coursework that must be completed in order to become a Psychology major.  The Dual Degree program is  not  an option for anyone who cannot be a Psychology major.  Complete information can be found on the Psychology Advising Center's Website

Once a student has been accepted as a Psychology Major, has completed at least one semester at UWL and established a 3.0 GPA (although a 3.4 is recommended), they are eligible to sign the Dual Degree Agreement with the OT Dual Degree program advisor (Deborah Dougherty, Assoc. Clinical Professor in OT).  This agreement must be signed in order for a student to officially declare a Dual Degree Major.  If this step is not taken, the student will continue to be a Psychology major.   Because majors must be changed before midterm, it is imperative that this step takes place early in the semester.

Students are generally ineligible for the program if they have 60 or more credits,  given that the Dual Degree program no longer shortens the length of study at this point.   However, exceptions do occur.  Students should examine their advisement report, create a "what if" report in WINGS, using Dual Degree Psychology/Occupational Therapy as your major.  Then students should use the "what if" advisement report along with the recommended course list to ascertain whether or not they might benefit from the Dual Degree program.  Those who still have questions after examining their advisement report should make an appointment with either Deborah Dougherty in the Occupational Therapy Program or Kathy Elgin in the Psychology Advising Center.


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. 
  • 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 Links for Students Interested in the Dual Degree

Helpful Documents for Students Interested in the Dual Degree

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why would I wish to pursue a dual degree?
    The dual degree program allows a student to obtain two degrees, i.e., a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Occupational Therapy, in 5.5 years, saving approximately two semesters of school. 
  1. Who is eligible for the dual degree?
    Any psychology major with fewer than 60 credits, and a GPA of 3.0 (3.4 is recommended). 
  1. Why must I have 60 or fewer credits?
    Once a student has earned 60 credits, the Dual Degree does not save them time in their course of study.  It is usually more efficient to complete a psychology degree at that point. 
  1. Are there exceptions to the 60 credit limit?
    There are a few students (transfer students, students who have changed majors, students with advance placement credits) where time might still be saved, even though they have 60 or more credits.  If students think they might be an exception, they should create a "what if" scenario in WINGS, using "Dual Degree Psychology/Occupational Therapy" as their major.  Then, the student should use the advisement report and the recommended course sequence to ascertain if the Dual Degree major might save them time.  If they have questions, they should meet with either Deborah Dougherty ( ddougherty@uwlax.edu ), OT program advisor for the Dual Degree, or with Kathy Elgin ( kelgin@uwlax.edu ) in the Psychology Advising Center. 
  1. Does the dual degree guarantee  admission to the graduate Occupational Therapy program?
    No.  The dual degree program gives students the opportunity to apply to the occupational therapy program a year early.  Students must still apply to the program, and will be considered on par with all other applicants. 
  1. What courses does a student have to take for the Dual Degree?
    Please see the recommended course list.  It can be found at the Pre-OT/Psychology Advising Website and also as a downloadable document on this webpage (see Helpful Documents for Dual Degree Students).
  1. Is there any flexibility in scheduling the Dual Degree undergraduate courses?
    Yes.  Despite the appearance of a rigid schedule of courses, there is room for shifting courses between semesters.  However, in order to enter the program with the proper requirements in three years, 15-16 credits per semester must be taken prior to entering the program.  Note:  There are several courses which require pre-requisites, e.g., Bio 105 is a pre-requisite for Bio 312 & 313.  Please consult with a Psychology advisor and the recommended course sequence to ensure that you are scheduling your courses in the best possible way, and in keeping with the required sequences for pre-requisite work. 
  1. How do I sign up for the Dual Degree?
    In order to become eligible for the Dual Degree, you must first become a Psychology major.  This involves completing a New Student Tutorial, meeting with an advisor in the Psychology Advising Center, and completing several courses with a 2.5 or better grade average.  Please see the Psychology Advising Website for more details.  Once these are complete, and you have at least a 3.0 GPA (although 3.4 is recommended) and have completed one semester of university coursework, you can meet with Deborah Dougherty, the Dual Degree Program Advisor in the Occupational Therapy program, and sign a Dual Degree Agreement.  Once you take this agreement to Morris Hall 260 and it is processed, you will be recognized as a Dual Degree student.  Majors can only be changed through midterm of each semester, so it is imperative that you complete this process before midterm. 
  1. What happens if I sign the Dual Degree agreement, and then change my mind?
    Nothing, but you do need to drop the Dual Degree major, and change back to a different undergraduate major.   Most students who have made this decision have opted to return to a straight Psychology Major, rather than complete a Dual Degree. 
  1. What happens if I am not accepted into the program after I have completed the Dual Degree requirements?
    A student who has completed dual degree requirements, but is not accepted into the program, can complete the Psychology major by completing approximately 13 credits in Psychology coursework, 7 credits at the 300/400 level outside of Psychology, and approximately 10 additional credits of university courses to complete 120 credits toward their undergraduate degree. 
  1. If I am accepted as a Dual Degree student in the Occupational Therapy Program, when do I graduate?
    You will have two graduations.  In most cases, students graduate with their undergraduate degree in Psychology in May of their 4 th  year of college study.  Some students graduate at the end of the summer of their 4 th  year.  Graduation with a masters degree in Occupational Therapy occurs in December, 1.5 years later, or after 5.5 years of study.
  1. What happens if I enter the OT program, and then discover that I don't like it?
    If you enter the Occupational Therapy Program, and then decide that Occupational Therapy is not for you, you must contact a Psychology Advisor as soon as possible so that you can re-enter the university as an undergraduate Psychology major.  There will be paperwork for you to fill out, and classes for which you must register in order to graduate with your bachelors degree in Psychology in a timely fashion.  
  1. Is it really as hard as they say it is?
    Yes.  Graduate school is demanding.  More to the point, students in this program are essentially skipping a year of school, and are unused to the level of work required.  Making the adjustment can be challenging, and faculty recommend that students do not work during their first few semesters.  In addition, students will be a first year graduate student, while their peers will still be seniors in undergraduate school, which can be less demanding.  The difference in work load and the subsequent study habits required by graduate school can put a strain on relationships.  
  1.  How are the credits for the Dual Degree earned?
    During the first 3 years, students complete 92 credits of undergraduate coursework that completes general education requirements (university level), College of Liberal Studies requirements (college level), OT pre-requisites, and most of the coursework for a Psychology major.  If a student is accepted into the OT Program, the remaining requirements for a bachelors degree are earned during the first three semesters (summer, fall, spring) of the OT graduate program. 
  1. Can a student get an undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy?
    No.  Occupational Therapy is only a graduate level degree.  This means that you have to have an undergraduate degree to apply.