The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy has a strong commitment to research in order to build knowledge of the basic science of occupation and to advance an evidence-based culture across practice and teaching. Our goal is to develop excellent research capacity and resources in our Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy community, to support them to undertake high quality research. We achieve this by focusing on building capacity among our staff as well as our students, to work together to the benefit of all. This is done partly through attracting research grants, and high-quality researchers to become part of our team. A key aspect of our research programme is to develop strong collaborative partnerships and strategic alliances with stakeholders across diverse sectors of society with the ultimate goal of enhance occupation for individuals’ families and communities.
Our research priorities are to enhance understandings of occupation through the study of occupation across the lifespan, that includes the study of:
Occupations in childhood and adolescence
Environments: enabling and constraining occupation
Patterns of occupation: adults and older adults
Living with long-term conditions
Scholarship of learning and teaching
The aim of this programme of study is to inform knowledge and practice for enhancing health, wellbeing and development, through participation in occupation. Currently our academic team have expertise in many areas of occupation, including a range of diverse methodologies and research methods including quantitative statistics, videography and visual methods, narrative analysis & phenomenology.
Currently we are accepting postgraduate applications for MSc in Research.
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy offers full or part-time research degrees, either at masters or at doctoral level. Currently (2020), there are two Msc Research students registered in the programme, and seven PhD students. Two students to date have been successful in applying for the Irish Research Council (IRC) postgraduate scholarship:
Maeve Coughlan, IRC scholar 2018-2019 for an MSc in Research: Can I play too? The opportunities and challenges to social inclusion for pre-schoolers with ASD on the playground
Alice Moore, IRC scholar 2019-2022 for a PhD: Universal Design and the challenge of inclusive play provision: Portraying the opportunities and challenges to social inclusion in community playgrounds.
Past postgraduate students have gone on to present their work at national and international conference level and have been published in the Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy and other international journals. Examples include:
Lennon, K., Lynch, H., & Jackson, J. (2015) An occupational perspective of the lived experience of young unemployed adults in Ireland. Tullamore: AOTI Annual Conference.
Caulfield, M.& Jackson, J. (2014). Caring for a relative with Dementia: The Impact on Caregivers' Occupational Participation. Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42
Coakley, E., Cremins, A., & Hunt, E. (2016). Exploring Irish occupational therapists’ perspectives of their role within CAMHS. Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Group study day 13th May 2016, Dublin, Ireland.
Moore, A., & Lynch, H. (2016) To explore and understand children's conceptualisations of play and well-being in contemporary Ireland. First COTEC-ENOTHE Congress, Galway.
The Programmes we offer
Masters by Research - Master of Sciences (MSc) Course Code: CKY46 (full-time) and CKY47 (part-time)
Doctor of Philosophy by Research (PhD) Course Code: CKZ75 (full-time) and CKZ76 (part-time)
MSc by Research: MSc (Medicine)
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy offers an MSc by Research which enables you to gain a systematic understanding and critical awareness of a topic which intrigues you. It can be completed full-time (12 months) or part-time (two years). Prospective students are advised to consult with the Head of Graduate Studies (email@example.com ) to discuss their proposed area of research. This MSc qualification has been approved for acceptance by the NBSOT for working in the USA (with certain conditions). For more information please see: www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD by Research)
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy offers specialist supervision and research opportunities to those who wish to apply for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD is a demonstration of research competence by achieving a subject mastery, research insight, respect for the discipline, capacity for original, independent research and an ability to communicate results and relate them to the broader discourse. Students are advised to contact the Head of Graduate Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss their proposed area of research. For more information please see: www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Doctor
How to Apply for our MSc Research and PhD Programmes
Application is on-line at www.pac.ie/ucc All required documentation must be sent in hard copy to The Postgraduate Applications Centre, 1, Courthouse Square, Galway.
Closing Date for Applications: students are encouraged to apply for June or January registration each year.
The BSc OT Programme is subject to 'Fitness to Practise'. Students are are required to undertake placement and training that involve dealing directly with patients, clients or service users. Since it is of over-riding importance to protect members of the public from harm and to maintain the trust and confidence of the general public in the professions and the University, it is vital that students are deemed fit to practise while on placement. For further information, please see relevant Policies and Procedures, as well as Core Competencies, at
fitness to practise
Year 1: Occupation and Health Across the Lifespan
Topographical Anatomy, Principles of Human Structure for Clinical Therapies, Introduction to Development & Social Perspectives on Psychology, Fundamentals of Physiology, Person Environment Occupation (PEO I), Person Environment Occupation (PEO II), Becoming a Healthcare Professional, Creative Occupations & Health and Practice Education I.
Year 2: Children and Young People
Developmental Neuro-Anatomy for Occupational Therapy, Advanced Development Psychology, Introduction to Research Methods, Personal Professional Development (PPD I), Personal Professional Development (PPD II), Person Environment Occupation (PEO III), Person Environment Occupation (PEO IV), Becoming a Professional Practitioner I and Practice Education II
Year 3: Adults and Older People
Applied Neurology for Occupational Therapy, Psychological Issues in Middle and Older Adulthood, Advanced Research Methods, Personal Professional Development (PPD III), Person Environment Occupation (PEO V), Becoming a Professional Practitioner II and Practice Education III.
Year 4: Integrating Knowledge
Integrated Professional Practice, Research Based Project, Personal Professional Development (PPD IV) and Practice Education IV.
In 2003, University College Cork (UCC) commenced a new 4 year occupational therapy undergraduate programme. The programme was one of the first in the world to be designed in accordance with the then newly published World Federation of Occupational Therapists Revised Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists (2002).The programme at UCC is underpinned by a firm research evidence base, including six doctoral studies conducted in the UK; findings from a series of focus groups held with local occupational therapists and the writings from contemporary educational literature.Drawing on this evidence base, an innovative educational approach, namely task-based learning (TBL) was devised and employed as the primary teaching method in the curriculum. Derived from problem-based learning, TBL is extended to include active, situated, and experiential learning leading to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudinal competencies. TBL puts professional practice at the centre of learning in the academic setting and seeks to bridge the practice-theory divide. Thus students develop not only cognitive knowledge and skills but also professional skills and attitudes central to contemporary occupational therapy practice.
Practice learning is at the heart of the UCC occupational therapy degree programme. Practice Education comprises 1,050 hours (30 weeks) spread throughout the programme in years 1, 2, 3, and 4. Practice education placements take place in hospitals, schools and community settings. Placements are facilitated in the HSE Southern Area which includes Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Carlow and Wexford. Where possible one practice of convenience is facilitated in the Cork area or in another county in the HSE Southern Area, if preferred. Modules in third and fourth year contribute to approximately one third of the marks of the final degree.This weighting is indicative of the value given to practice and the development of practice knowledge, skills and attitudes.
The first introductory practice education module takes place in students’ first year in a variety of practice settings. Students are generally allocated in pairs and this placement occurs full time during 2 weeks. In second year, students undertake an 8 week practice education placement typically in settings involving infants, children and/or young adults. Another two modules take place in third and fourth year and each are of ten weeks’ duration. Students may need to travel and/or arrange short-term accommodation near the placement sites. Students will incur the costs of travel to clinical locations as well as the costs of accommodation.
Practice education is delivered through a partnership between the University, the Health Service Executive and voluntary and private sector providers. The extent of this partnership approach to teaching distinguishes practice modules from the other modules within the programme. Practice education modules facilitate a reciprocal relationship of theory influencing practice and practice influencing theory, which is essential for the development to our profession.
Students have the opportunity to participate in the ERASMUS programme which is a European student exchange programme offering students a possibility of studying or working abroad in another country for a period of up to 3 months. Students from the course have successfully completed exchanges to Denmark and Wales.
Calendar of Practice Education Experiences
Length of Placement
25th April 2022 - 6th May 2022
All areas of OT practice
11th April 2022 - 3rd June 2022
Paediatric/Young Person practice
10th Jan 2022 - 18th Mar 2022
Adults/Older Adults practice
20th Sept 2021 - 10th Dec 2021
All areas of OT practice
The Practice Education team welcomes offers from Occupational Therapists to facilitate students during the above dates.
The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy has worked to support local practice since the beginning of the programme in 2003. In the early years the OT clinic facilities were used by a local school for sensorimotor group sessions, local Community OT services for children and adults for equipment advice and early intervention.
Other collaborations have involved the hosting of summer camps each year run by a local private OT clinic and parent/teacher education events held in Brookfield.
We are committed to continuing to collaborate and support practice and welcome any project proposals for collaborations in the future.
Our Practice Education Team here in the Department of Occupational Therapy run a newsletter twice a year. The newsletter is packed with news and updates across our OT region. We hope you find them informative and welcome your feedback on the newsletter.
The programme at UCC has been carefully designed based on educational research and best international standards. Many of our staff have been awarded the UCC President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. UCC was one of the first universities in the world to design its entire curriculum in accordance with the revised World Federation of Occupational Therapy educational guidelines. The programme focuses strongly on learning how to support people to participate in meaningful occupation in order to contribute to their individual wellbeing and for the benefit of the wider community and society.
The UCC programme focuses strongly on the student’s own development, both personal and professional and this is interwoven throughout academic and practice based modules. It is a feature that has been highlighted as being different from other Occupational Therapy courses. Learning is different at UCC too. Task Based Learning [TBL] is the medium through which you will study in many of your core Occupational Therapy Programme and so there is a lot of individual and group work that is self-directed. A great emphasis is placed on being able to talk about what you are doing and thinking. Your knowledge, skills and abilities are 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.
School of Clinical Therapies will host COMET 2023 in June
COMET is an international and interdisciplinary conference on communication, medicine and ethics. #comet2023ucc
COMET aims to bring together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds, involving various healthcare specialities and the human and social sciences. A special emphasis will be on the dissemination of ongoing research in language / discourse / communication studies in relation to healthcare education, patient participation and professional ethics.
The submission deadline has been extended from 9th January to 31st January!
The School of Clinical Therapies is proud to annonce that we have committed to the Athena Swan Charter Principles and applied for our first Bronze Award. The aim of this award is to address unequal gender representation across the school and promote an environment of equal opportunities for all.
Exciting New PhD Opportunity for Occuaptional Therapists! Applications are now open for the @MSCActions ITN-EJD in Occupational Science - P4PLAY. Learn more about this PhD programme vist: Research – ESR 4 - P4Play Research Programme