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UCC Undergraduate courses

Occupational Therapy

Course Fact File
Duration4 years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesEU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 577
CAO Points Range2023: 577 - 625

Course Outline

Students on this broad and varied Occupational Therapy course study psychology, anatomy and physiology, as well as occupational therapy theories, assessment and treatment approaches and evidence-based practice.

The UCC course stands out from other occupational therapy courses in its focus on your development – both personal and professional – which is interwoven throughout academic and practice-based modules. 

Learning is different at UCC too. Complex task-based learning (TBL) is the medium through which you will study, with a lot of self-directed individual and group work. Emphasis is placed on being able to talk about what you are doing and thinking. Your knowledge, skills and abilities will be developed in a logical sequence over the course of the four years.

At UCC, we place equal emphasis on learning to work with children/young people and adults/older adults and on developing expertise in the areas of physical and mental health.

On our course, we want to educate future practitioners who possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes to deliver traditional occupational therapy and are prepared to be leaders in policy development and emerging areas of practice.

Year 1 modules

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

  • AN1060 Topographical Anatomy 
  • AP1024 Lifespan development
  • OT1001 Person Environment Occupation I (15 credits)
  • OT1002 Person Environment Occupation II (15 credits)
  • OT1004 Becoming a Healthcare Professional 
  • OT1005 Creative Occupations and Health 
  • OT1006 Practice Education I 
  • PL1025 Fundamentals of Physiology 

Year 2 modules

Developmental Neuro-anatomy for Occupational Therapy; Advanced Developmental Psychology; Introduction to Research Methods; Person Environment Occupation; Becoming a Professional Practitioner; Practice Education; Personal Professional Development.

Year 3 modules

Applied Neurology for Occupational Therapy; Applied Developmental Psychology II: The Psychology of Ageing; Advanced Research Methods; Personal Professional Development; Becoming a Professional Practitioner; Person Environment Occupation; Practice Education.

Year 4 modules

Integrated Professional Practice; Practice Education; Research-Based Project; Personal Professional Development.

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • promote health and wellbeing through participation in occupation across the lifespan
  • practise occupational therapy in accordance with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Revised Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists (2002) ensuring your practice is occupation-based, evidence-based, person-centred and culturally sensitive
  • apply the occupational therapy process to individuals, groups and communities of all age groups in context, based on strong theory and evidence
  • practise in adherence with legal, ethical and best practice guidelines
  • establish and maintain therapeutic and professional relationships in a range of practice settings
  • demonstrate professional reasoning skills and reflective practice in a broad range of practice settings
  • value the context of professional practice, demonstrating a critical awareness of health and social policies and legislation
  • demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional education and lifelong learning, for yourself and others
  • engage in research to advance knowledge and practice development in occupational science and occupational therapy.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

Our students experience a range of teaching methods including lectures, simulations, workshops, seminars, tutorials and study groups. You are expected to be readers, integrators and investigators with regard to knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. We believe that learning comes from all areas of life, not only from textbooks. You will find you learn from the task experiences themselves, your peers, your friends, published work and the experienced staff.

You will be expected to practice professional behaviours and manage a busy timetable and workload across the academic year, just as you will have to do when you are a practising therapist.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment to give our students multiple and varied opportunities for learning and students are assessed in a variety of ways on their acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities.

We use varied methods of assessment in recognition of the different learning styles of students e.g. oral presentations, poster presentations, group projects, reflective papers, research reports, self- and peer-assessment.

Detailed written feedback is provided to each student on each element of assessment. We use continuous assessment so you can use this feedback to improve your learning for subsequent assignments within each year.

Who teaches this course

We have a diverse, committed and enthusiastic staff group who have worked locally, nationally and internationally, including in the UK, Europe, Seychelles, Los Angeles, Saudi Arabia and Australia. We have clinical expertise in working with people of all ages and health conditions.

Four of our staff have received the UCC President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. We have published internationally and maintain active links with colleagues around the world.

Why Choose This Course

The degree allowed me to combine my interests in science, art and working with people. Upon graduation, I secured a job supporting adults with autism...

Niamh Crowley


View Student
There is great support given within the course through our buddy system between [Occupational Therapy] students across the years.

Linda Hogan

BSc Occupational Therapy student, Year 3

View Student
Having a small class allows close friendships to form and creates an encouraging and warm learning environment.

Niamh Crowley

Student, BSc Occupational Therapy, Year 3

View Student
Every week we get a chance to observe in [the Brookfield OT Clinics]...

Aisling Whelan

Student, BSc Occupational Therapy, Year 2

View Video

10 great reasons to study Occupational Therapy at UCC

  1. We were one of the first universities in the world to design the curriculum according to the latest WFOT [2002] guidelines
  2. A strong focus on occupation in keeping with international trends
  3. Task and project-based learning – you will develop knowledge, skills and attitudes through active learning and continuous assessment
  4. Lifespan approach across the curriculum. UCC uniquely devotes one whole academic year to working with children and young people
  5. Learn with other health science students – after all, you will be working together when you qualify
  6. Small class size – great staff-student relationships – high level of support for your learning and development
  7. Opportunities to travel abroad on your practice education placements
  8. Multi award-winning staff group with varied clinical and research expertise
  9. Vibrant research programme in the department
  10. Opportunities for funding for students to attend OT conferences and do postgraduate study.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work placement

You will do a minimum of 1,000 hours of placement in a range of settings across the four years. These placements will be arranged for you by the department. Practice settings for UCC are normally within the Health Service Executive Southern Area, which comprises Kerry, Waterford, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Wexford, Carlow and Cork.

Study abroad

Our department has ERASMUS links with Cardiff University, Wales and University College Lillebaelt, Odense, Denmark. There may be opportunities for some practice experiences affiliated with these universities. We are excited to be exploring possible links with other courses in Europe and the US.

Skills and Careers Information

Occupational therapists are employed as therapists, researchers, managers and educators in Ireland and internationally.

Occupational therapy is a people profession and is all about helping people live life to the fullest. People can be prevented from living life to the fullest for lots of reasons, including ill-health, disability or other obstacles in their environment. Occupational therapists are experts in analysing everyday activities or "occupations" and helping people do the activities that they need or want to do in their day-to-day life.

Occupational therapists work in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, health centres, care homes, schools, prisons and in the community in people’s homes and workplaces.

Demand for occupational therapy services is strong internationally. In the US, occupational therapy was cited as a top profession in 2012 and one of the nation’s 150 best recession-proof jobs. Our course is fully accredited by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland, meaning that your degree qualification is recognised internationally.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry or Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsOther LanguageLab Science
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 H4

Students presenting with a 2016 (or previous) Leaving Certificate must present with a HC2 in a Laboratory Science subject.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Applicants must have achieved a minimum H4 in a Laboratory Science subject in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent). (HC2 if presenting a pre-2017 Leaving Certificate).

For the purposes of entry requirements, one example of an equivalent qualification would be 'Anatomy and Physiology QQI FET Level 5'. Clear evidence of how this entry requirement has been met should be included in the application form. Most students will find that having Biology at Leaving Certificate* level or equivalent will be advantageous in their subsequent Occupational Therapy studies.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 

Fitness to Practise

This programme is subject to UCC's Fitness to Practise Policy

Student Garda Vetting

All students on this programme will come into contact with the public and assume positions of trust through educational and training opportunities. To ensure the protection of the public, and to justify public trust and confidence, UCC is committed to ensuring that only suitable candidates are allowed to undertake this programme. 

Vetting is carried out by the Admissions Office in UCC under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (the Acts) once a student has accepted their place on the programme. This involves a police check to establish whether the individual being vetted has had criminal convictions in the past or whether any criminal proceedings are pending. The Garda Siochána provide this information for students who have resided in Ireland for a period of six months or more (including permanent residence). 

All students who have resided outside Ireland for a period of six months or more must furnish a Police Clearance Certificate from their country or countries of residence. This certificate should state that the student has had no convictions recorded against them while residing there. 

Further information can be found on our Student Garda Vetting page. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

Note that you will be required to pay for essential textbooks, a lab coat, Occupational Therapy uniform, vaccinations, first aid training and to cover travel and accommodation expenses incurred on placement, some of which will take place outside of Cork City.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact