Students working with a Faculty member and a person who needs physical therapy.

Program and Educational Philosophy

The Pace University MSOT program prepares competent and ethical occupational therapists who maximize clients’ quality of life and occupation engagement through technology, evidence-based, client-centered, and inter-professional practice. We empower our graduates to become life-long learners and influential leaders in the profession locally, nationally, and globally. This is congruent with the university and College of Health Professions’ missions. The University’s mission is Opportunitas. Pace University provides to its graduate students a deep knowledge of their discipline and connection to its community. This unique approach has been firmly rooted since its founding and is essential to preparing its graduates to be innovative thinkers who will make positive contributions to the world of the future. The College of Health Professions’ mission is to educate and challenge diverse students for the health professions to be leaders, innovators and lifelong learners who will positively impact local, national, and global health.

The OT education at Pace University reflects the OT profession's vision, values, and beliefs. We believe that all individuals have an innate need to engage in occupations (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010; AOTA, 2014). Occupations are meaningful and everyday activities that we do to occupy our time such as Activities of Daily Living, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Rest & Sleep, Education, Work, Play, Leisure, and Social Participation. Occupations can occur in a variety of contexts including physical, social, cultural, personal, and virtual contexts (AOTA, 2014). Participation in meaningful occupations is considered the determinant of health and through engagement in occupations, the individuals can maintain a sense of purpose in life (AOTA, 2011; AOTA, 2014).

Our beliefs about how students learn are as follows (Driscoll, 2014; Knowles, Swanson, & Holton, 2011):

  • Students are internally motivated to learn.
  • Learners construct their own knowledge and direct their own learning.
  • Students are active learners. When active learning occurs, students learn more and retain the learning longer.
  • Instructors are facilitators of knowledge, who provide meaningful learning opportunities so effective learning can occur.
  • Through engaging in hands-on, problem-solving, and active learning experience that incorporate clinical simulations, case-based method, and real-life experience, students develop and improve their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills.


  • American Occupational Therapy Association, (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rded.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 625-688.
  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2011). The philosophical base of occupational therapy, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(6 Suppl.), S65. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2011.65S65
  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Philosophy of occupational therapy education. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6913410052p1-6913410052p2. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.696S17.
  • Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (Eds.). (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Driscoll, M. (2014). Psychology of learning for instruction. Harlow, Essex Pearson
  • Knowles, M., Swanson, R. A., & Holton, E. F. (2011). The Adult Learner, Seventh Edition: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (7th ed.). Burlington, MA: Elsevier.