FAQs: 24 Month MScOT

For questions not covered in this section, please contact us at ot.studentservices@utoronto.ca

Application materials, instructions, and full details about admission requirements for the MScOT program can be obtained online from the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC-ORPAS) http://www.ouac.on.ca/orpas/

CAMPUS ASSIGNMENT AND ADMISSIONS (added February 2018)

Where is the MScOT program located?

Starting September 2018, the University of Toronto’s MScOT program will be available on two campuses: the St. George (downtown Toronto) campus and University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus. If admitted to the MScOT program, students will be permanently assigned to a campus. (Please see UTM Fact Sheet:  https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/about-us/fact-sheet). For those who have already applied through the ORPAS system for admission to our MScOT program in September 2018, you are automatically considered for both the St. George (Toronto) and Mississauga campuses.

Can I indicate my preference for being assigned to a particular campus, Mississauga or Toronto?

Yes – all U of T OT applicants will receive a survey from us in late-February where you can indicate your preference for the Mississauga campus, or the St. George campus, or “no preference”. The survey will be sent during the week of February 21, 2018 and will close on March 18, 2018. If you are admitted to the program, campus preferences will be considered but they are not guaranteed.

If I indicate a particular campus preference in the survey, will it improve my chances of getting into U of T’s MScOT program?

No – Students will be offered admission to the MScOT program based only on a collective assessment of their GPA, personal statement submissions, confidential assessments (i.e. references), and resume/CV experience. If you are selected for admission, your preferences for a campus will be considered, but not guaranteed. No matter what campus you choose as your preference, rest assured you will still be considered for both campuses.

What if I do not respond to the campus preference survey?

You will still be considered for the MScOT program on both campuses. We will assume that you have no particular preference for either campus.

How many students will be assigned to each campus?

We expect to place 90 students at the St. George campus, and 40 students at the Mississauga campus.

If I receive an offer of admission to U of T’s MScOT program, how do I respond?

The official offer of admission package will contain specific instructions. These will be released on May 18, 2018.  In the ORPAS online portal, on May 18, it will simply show whether you have a University of Toronto MScOT program offer or not; the ORPAS portal will not display your campus assignment. Instead, an email from us on May 18 will state your campus assignment, as either UTSG (Toronto St. George campus) or UTM (Mississauga campus), and the package mailed shortly thereafter will have a campus assignment letter.

Can students transfer between campuses?

Once assigned to a campus you will remain there for the duration of the program. Campus assignment is permanent; you may not transfer between campuses.

 

CAMPUS ASSIGNMENT – TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND FIELDWORK (added February 2018)

What will the teaching be like on each campus?

Lectures will be video-conferenced between the St. George and Mississauga campuses. The majority of lectures will take place at the St. George campus and be video-conferenced to the Mississauga campus; however, a percentage of lectures will be presented at the Mississauga campus and be video-conferenced to the St. George campus. All students will have labs, mentorship, and study groups at their campus site.

Will there be MScOT faculty and staff on-site at the Mississauga campus?

There will be one full time faculty member and one full time staff member on site at all times. Other core faculty will be on-site during the week, for example, approximately 25% or more of the lectures will be broadcast from UTM, and some faculty members are choosing to work certain days in Mississauga. All MScOT students will have access to a faculty advisor and a research supervisor. Once students are connected with their faculty advisors and research supervisors, students typically contact them by email first, and arrange in-person or Skype meetings as needed.

Will I have access to the same clinical fieldwork placement opportunities regardless of the campus assignment?

Yes – Fieldwork faculty will ensure that you have equitable access to placement opportunities regardless of which campus you are assigned to.

Will I have access to fieldwork placements that are accessible by public transit if I am assigned to the Mississauga campus?

MScOT students are currently placed in Mississauga and Brampton fieldwork sites, and that is expected to continue. The Department provides some funding to support students in distant fieldwork placements (out of our catchment area in Canada and in our established international placements).

Will there be any restriction on academic resources I can access if I am placed at the Mississauga campus, such as access to library services?

All academic resources will be available to all MScOT students, regardless of campus assignment.

I expect to have academic accommodations (e.g. learning disability) in place. Can I be accommodated on both campuses?

Yes – students at both campuses have access to the University’s Accessibility Services, as well as wide range of academic and health resources.

How can I travel between campuses for interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities and extra-curricular activities?

For students assigned to the Mississauga campus, some IPE activities will be at UTM and some will require travel to St. George. UTM students will have free access to the dedicated shuttle between Mississauga and St. George campuses.

I understand the MScOT program has some group work as part of certain courses. Will group members be required to travel between campuses?

No – study groups will be assigned with respect to their campus cohort.

 

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

 

Can you summarize the structure of the MScOT program?
  • Two years (e.g. September 2017 to August 2019), including Summer sessions
  • Admitted students are assigned to either the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, or, the University of Toronto St. George campus
  • Full-time basis including fieldwork placements
  • Leading to the professional practice of occupational therapy
  • Accredited by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Is the MSc OT offered on a part-time basis or through distance (online) education?

Due to the integrative nature of coursework and fieldwork placements, this program is offered on a full-time, full course load basis only. This may mean taking up to 7 mandatory courses per term, plus professional development activities Classes are only offered in-person, on-site in Toronto and Mississauga (i.e. University of Toronto’s St. George campus in downtown Toronto, and the University of Toronto Mississauga campus in the City of Mississauga). Applicants should be prepared to dedicate their full attention to the program should they be accepted.

Is Occupational Health the same as Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Health is separate and distinct from Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy. For information about the University of Toronto’s programs in Occupational and Environmental Health, please contact the Dalla Lana School of Public Health online or by telephone at (416) 978-8386

Why should I study OT at U of T?
  • Strong leadership in the field
  • Innovative teaching methods in our state of the art facilities
  • Inter-professional education
  • Faculty research focus: Enhancing participation; Diversity and Inclusion; Advancing Practice
  • Personalized student services with dedicated on-site staff
  • A large geographic catchment area for fieldwork placements within the Greater Toronto Area

 

GPA

 

Is the application’s Grade Point Average (GPA) consideration based on the most recent five full course equivalents or 10 full course equivalents?

The School of Graduate Studies mandates that all applicants must have a minimum mid-B average in their final year of study. We consider that to be your most recent 5 full course equivalents.

If you meet that minimum requirement, we will then initially rank applicants based on the GPA of their most recent 10 full course equivalents. Please note, to process GPA, ORPAS uses the “Undergraduate Grading Conversion Table” which is available on the ORPAS website.

I am currently in my fourth year, and by December 31 I will have completed 15 half courses throughout my third and fourth years. How will you decide which courses to use from my second year?

We will count the 15 half courses from third year and the fall term of fourth year, plus we will take the average from your entire second year (fall and winter terms) and use that average for the five half outstanding courses. So, if you have a 3.54 average in second year overall, and we need five half credits from your second year, it’s like you received a 3.54 in five half courses. Note that this example can be applied to any academic year – if you took a fifth year, then the above example is exactly the same, except we would be taking the average from your third year instead of your second year.

How is GPA calculated?

We will consider the equivalent of your last 20 half-courses (i.e. or 10 full-course equivalents) completed by December 31 of the application year, starting with the Fall session of your current academic year and working backwards. Due to the discrepancy in grade reporting across universities, in order to capture 20 half-courses, the GPA must be calculated based on yearly versus term marks. Thus, where grades must be extracted from a year to achieve the equivalent of 20 half courses, the average of that entire year (including both the fall and winter terms) will be used. All calculations are based on the Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table provided by ORPAS.

Will distance education courses or summer courses be counted in my GPA?

As long as those courses are at the undergraduate university level, in the liberal arts or sciences, these will be counted in your GPA.

Are distance education courses looked at less favourably than in-class courses?

We understand that some applicants have fewer educational options, particularly following completion of their undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Distance education undergraduate bachelor’s degree level courses in the liberal arts or sciences are generally acceptable and viewed as no better or worse than in-class courses. However, it is important to note that the MScOT program is offered in-class on a full-time basis only. Applicants coming from a distance education background are highly encouraged to get accustomed to in-class education in order to minimize the chances of a difficult transition to this intense graduate program.

Will my summer courses be counted separately or as part of my fall/winter average?

If you took eight courses or more in the preceding fall/winter terms, summer courses are counted as their own average.

If you took seven courses or fewer in the preceding fall/winter terms, your summer courses are combined with your preceding fall/winter courses for one total average. For example, if you took seven courses in your second year, and then one course the following summer, the seven courses in second year and the one course in the summer would be added together for one weighted average.

Is the GPA average from my transcript the same as the ORPAS GPA?

Not necessarily. When calculating GPA, always use the Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table provided by ORPAS. Each grade counted within the calculation should be converted to a number on the 4.0 scale, and the average should be taken from those translated figures.

Can I check the GPA ORPAS has calculated on my behalf?

Starting in February, after receiving the application and all of the official transcripts, ORPAS will perform an item-by-item review, comparing all courses on the academic record against the official university transcripts. After this review, applicants can access a Verification Report online indicating the data collected by ORPAS. These reports are generally available beginning in February and summarize what transcripts and Confidential Assessment Forms have been received. If applicants have any questions about the verification of the academic records, they should write immediately to ORPAS through their ORPAS account. It is your responsibility to check this report and contact ORPAS if there are any discrepancies.

What is the GPA “cut-off” for applications to the OT program to be considered?

We do not have a specific “cut-off” GPA, as there are other components of the application that may warrant further consideration (e.g. strong experience). However, it is extremely difficult to get an offer of admission with a GPA of less than an “A-minus”, or a GPA of 3.50 to 3.70 (or 80%). All applications will be reviewed provided that the applicant has met the minimum GPA requirement of a “mid-B”, or 3.0 on a 4-point ORPAS GPA scale.

If you have special circumstances that have temporarily negatively affected your GPA (e.g. illness during recent exam resulting in a course incomplete notation on your transcript until the exam is re-written at a future date), please notify us by email at ot-DOT-studentservices-AT-utoronto-DOT-ca by January 30, 2018.

What kind of courses do you consider in the assessment of an applicant’s GPA?

We will only consider courses with a letter grade, numerical percentage grade, GPA, or convertible scale grade that were earned at the undergraduate bachelor’s degree level (see below for courses NOT considered). However, if you have a graduate degree or earned bachelor’s degree credits transferred in from a community college, you must also submit a transcript from these institutions to ORPAS.

I repeated a course at university. Will you ignore the old lower mark and instead take the higher mark?

If a course is repeated, and both the original course and the repeated course are within the last 20 half courses, then the grades from both courses will be included in the GPA calculation. If you did poorly in a course in first year and then took it again in fourth year, then only the fourth year mark would count towards your GPA.

I would like to improve my GPA in order to put forward a more academically competitive application. Can I take additional courses?

Applicants refer to this process as “upgrading GPA”, and it is acceptable with certain restrictions. Any additional courses taken beyond the completion of a bachelor’s degree must also be at the undergraduate bachelor’s degree level, in the liberal arts or sciences. Courses do not have to be at the senior level (3rd year or 4th year), but it is recommended as senior level classes are often specialized and therefore more reflective of the sort of challenges a student would face in a graduate degree program like the MScOT.

What are some examples of courses you do NOT consider in assessing an applicant’s GPA?

Courses not considered: Practicum/Co-op terms, Pass/Fail (i.e. no grade awarded), graduate degree (i.e. Master’s and Doctoral level courses), teacher/educational theory, “continuing education” certificate courses, sports performance, visual or dramatic arts performance, musical performance, many theological courses, nil/zero-credit courses, community college credits, and vocations/apprenticeships. Please note this list is not comprehensive and the Admissions Committee reserves the right to refuse consideration of courses not considered eligible or comparatively equivalent to undergraduate study in the liberal arts or sciences.

Why will you not include Graduate Degree courses (MSc, MA, MBA, B.Ed, M.Ed) in the calculation of my GPA? I did much better academically than in my undergraduate program!

Graduate degree courses are graded on a different scale than undergraduate courses. In addition, these programs are often highly specialized. While we applaud your academic dedication, and welcome your graduate degree transcript, please note that GPA will be based on undergraduate courses only. However, we will certainly be interested in your prior success at the graduate level and encourage you to apply!

I hold a bachelor’s degree that combines community college courses and university study. How will you assess my GPA if you will not include community college courses in the calculation?

We require at least 10 full course equivalents (equivalent to 2 years of full-time university study) completed at the university-level in order to calculate your GPA. Keep in mind these need to appear on a transcript by the end of this upcoming January to be considered (e.g. completed by December 31, appearing on a transcript by January).

I have read the “Prospective Students Applying to the Program” webpage and this FAQ but I still do not understand how my Grade Point Average (GPA) will be assessed?

Due to the volume of inquiries and the time required to individually calculate GPA, we will not assess grades or transcripts prior to a formal ORPAS application being submitted. The undergraduate registrar, academic advisor, or student services officer at your most recent university attended should be able to help you better understand how GPA is calculated. Applicants from Canadian universities can view the ORPAS Undergraduate Grading Conversion Table.

 

ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY

 

Do I need to have a full-time course load to be considered?

No you do not need a full-time course load from your undergraduate studies to be considered for this program. We understand applicants take diverse pathways to graduation during their undergraduate degree program. This often includes co-op work terms, research courses, volunteer activities and elective courses during summer. It is not our intention to limit the educational and professional opportunities you are offered while completing your bachelor’s degree.

However, the MScOT program is offered on a full-time in-class basis only. The program is intensive. Your application should show your ability to keep up with a full-time workload, either academic or professionally (or a combination thereof).

Are international students eligible for the MScOT program?

In order to register in the OT program, students must hold Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency in Canada (this must be verifiable with proof from Citizenship and Immigration Canada). If you are in the process of obtaining citizenship or permanent residency at the time of application, you must update your status by the application deadline or we may not be able to consider your application

I would like to know the appropriate course prerequisites required for entry to the OT program?

Other than an appropriate bachelor’s degree in progress or conferred, there are no prerequisites to be considered for the OT program. We do not favour applicants from educational backgrounds more closely related to occupational therapy, though the majority of applicants typically come from a liberal arts or science background. We encourage educational diversity and welcome all qualified applicants to apply. For example, some of our graduates have experience in specialty areas such as law, engineering, business and education.

Do you have any suggestions for courses I should take this year that may enhance my learning experience and prepare me for the OT Program at University of Toronto?

To enhance your learning experience we recommend the following basic background knowledge (i.e., core concepts) in the following subject areas:

  • Human growth and development
  • Introductory physiology or introductory human biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology or anthropology
  • Statistics and research design

No advantage is given in the selection process to applicants who possess these courses. Having some familiarity with these areas of study may reduce the amount of background reading a newly registered student has to do before class.

What kind of undergraduate degrees do incoming MScOT students have?

Some examples of common 4-year bachelor’s degrees include: Arts, Science, Engineering, Kinesiology, and Health Sciences.

I have an Occupational Therapy Assistant Diploma (OTA), but I do not have a university degree. Am I eligible to apply for the MScOT program?

No, as all applicants must be in the final year of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree program OR have already completed an appropriate bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to apply for the MScOT program.

I have been educated in a foreign university where the language of instruction and examination is English. Do I still need to take TOEFL exam again for my application to your program?

If the primary language of instruction from your institution is in English, you do not need to present a TOEFL exam score to our department. Applicants educated in a language other than English must use the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score requirements are listed in the accompanying chart.

Minimum TOEFL Score Requirement

Paper-Based Test and TWE Internet-Based Test and Writing and Speaking Sections
Overall score: 600
Test for Written English (TWE): 5
Overall score: 100
Writing: 22
Speaking: 22

TOEFL candidates should request that results be sent to institution code: 0982-00

English facility test scores MUST be forwarded to the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto by March 1 of the year of application.

An applicant, who has been educated in a university where the language of instruction and examination is English, will not be required to take another TOEFL exam, provided that they meet the Department’s minimum requirement from their TOEFL exam. NOTE: An Interview may be required at the request of the Department’s Admissions Committee.

I earned my Occupational Therapy degree outside of Canada, but it is a bachelor’s degree and I want to earn a Master’s degree. Is your MScOT program the right program for me?

It depends on what your career goals are. If you already hold an Occupational Therapy degree, this program is NOT designed to “top up” your existing degree. The MScOT degree has replaced the BScOT degree in Ontario as the primary professional practice degree to enter Occupational Therapy. If you hold Occupational Therapist credentials earned outside of Canada and want to practice as an Occupational Therapist in Canada, you may already be eligible to apply for certification from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy. Please contact CAOT directly for information regarding licensing and credential evaluation. We also offer an MScOT Advanced Standing Option for those who already hold a BScOT degree and wish to pursue an MScOT. The MScOT Advanced Standing Option for BScOT graduates has a completely separate application process from the MScOT Full-Time 24-month Program. You are encouraged to visit the Advanced Standing Option website if you currently hold a BScOT degree.

Again, if you simply want to further your studies of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the graduate-degree level, and are already a practicing Occupational Therapist (either in Canada or in another country), the MScOT Full-Time 24-Month program may not be appropriate for you. We suggest exploring degree options in doctoral stream research through the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, or the MScOT Advanced Standing Option, depending on your career goals.

I am living in Canada, but I completed an undergraduate degree outside of Canada. What documentation should I submit from my academic institution to complete my application?

You can view the University’s brief database of International Degree Equivalencies here: http://portal.sgs.utoronto.ca/current/admission/intdegequiv.asp. Applicants must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents. To be considered official, academic records must be received directly from the originating institutions. Photocopies of these records may be used to process an application, but applicants should note that official documents will be required before any firm offer of admission will be made. Official English translations done by a certified translator for all non-English documentation must also be submitted (in the province of Ontario, a translator from the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is required). An interview may be required at the request of the Department’s Admission Committee. World Education Services (WES) reports will be used only as a reference in the assessment of admission

 

SELECTION

How is the admission selection determined?
Admission to the program is determined through an evaluation of academic and non-academic materials (e.g. personal statement submission, resume, referee assessments on the Confidential Assessment Forms) with the academic requirements (e.g. transcripts) being weighted more heavily. In 2016, 850 applications were received and in 2017, 957 applications were received. We aim to accept approximately 90 students for our St. George Toronto campus location, and 40 students for our Mississauga campus location.

My grades are very low. How can I improve my application profile? Will additional volunteer work or stronger references make up for a weak academic score?

Successful applicants present a combination of strong academic merit with superior non-academic profiles. Entry to the program is highly competitive given the limited amount of space available. It is extremely difficult to gain admission to the program if an applicant presents serious weaknesses in one or both areas of their application (academic versus non-academic components). It is highly advantageous to show strong performance in your most recent 10 full-course equivalents at the university level.

I have been out of university for more than 5 years. Is the selection criteria different for me? I have plenty of work experience – would that not make me a superior applicant?

In such cases, where you have been out of university for more than five years, you may substitute a professional reference for an academic reference in your application. Other than that, the selection criterion is the same, and you will be evaluated on a combination of your academic performance and non-academic merit (e.g. resume, references, personal statement submission). While an applicant in such a position may have accumulated many years of experience in the workforce (for example), the passage of time does not necessarily result in a superior non-academic profile. We encourage such applicants to document their accomplishments over the years (resume, personal statement submission), and remind their professional references to speak of something similar (in lieu of providing an academic reference). Again, other application components are the same, including the transcript requirement.

I am established in another career but I want to change careers and pursue Occupational Therapy. Are my undergraduate university degree grades from many years ago still relevant to your selection process? I am dedicated to becoming an OT and have had a very rewarding career with many accomplishments, but feel like I am being held back by low grades from many years ago.

All applicants – regardless of status – must submit undergraduate university transcripts as part of the selection process. As an academic program with clinical and research components, one of the major predictors of success is prior academic performance. Keep in mind that with several hundred applicants competing for approximately 130 spaces, we can only select the most highly qualified candidates. Many applicants from different stages in life have worked hard to reach this goal. It is essential that applicants display strong academic performance and a series of accomplishments in their non-academic profile in order to be considered competitive in the selection pool. Consider enrolling in a few undergraduate bachelor’s degree courses to improve your GPA. This can be in areas related to OT in courses at your local university, such as human growth/development, physiology, human biology, psychology, sociology, or statistics. An undergraduate academic advisor or counselor at your local university should be able to advise you on what academic path is recommended for you to reach your goal.

What are you looking for in the Personal Statement portion of the ORPAS online application?

Successful applicants with Personal Statement submissions considered to be superior generally have had some exposure to the profession of Occupational Therapy or have experience in the rehabilitation sciences in a volunteer or research capacity. However, we are interested in your honest and unique perspective in the responses. Try to think of something unique that you have experienced that will make your application stand out!

How should I format my resume? What are you looking for on the resume?

We are looking for experience (both paid and volunteer), awards, significant research projects completed, presentations, and in some cases specialized skills. There is no specific amount of content required, so please use your best judgment, up to 2 pages in length on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You do not have to put your address nor ORPAS username/ID on your resume. Use the space available to describe your experiences. Resumes must be submitted online (uploaded) directly to ORPAS.

What form do my references have to fill out? I’ve been out of school for a long time, do I still need an academic reference? What do you mean by a personal or professional reference?

In your ORPAS online application, you must produce a “Confidential Assessment Form” for each referee to fill out. There are instructions for your referee provided directly on the Confidential Assessment Form. If you have been out of university for 5 years or more, you may substitute a professional reference for an academic reference.

If you are truly unable to produce an academic reference (and have been out of university for less than 5 years), try to find a professional reference that can honestly comment on the characteristics rated on the Confidential Assessment Form – however please keep in mind that providing an academic reference is highly encouraged and to an applicant’s advantage.

The personal/professional reference should NOT be from a friend, relative or even a co-worker in most cases. It should be from someone who has seen you demonstrate the traits listed on the Confidential Assessment Form (e.g. problem-solving ability, intellectual capacity, to name a few). Some examples of ideal personal referees include Volunteer Service Coordinators (who have seen the applicant in a volunteer capacity), professional supervisors, community members in positions of authority that can compare the applicant to others in a similar position, other professionals (OT’s, Nurses, Researchers, Teachers, Physicians), academic research supervisors, a Department Chair, or you have the option of simply using an additional academic reference (e.g. university professor).

How much volunteer experience do I need?

It is not required to have volunteer experience. It is expected that applicants have researched the profession of occupational therapy in order to make an informed career choice. Exposure to the profession of occupational therapy through paid or volunteer work, observational visits or job shadowing in various health care settings is strongly recommended. You can be very specific in the resume portion of the application, with regard to your commitment to a particular position.

Does the personal statement submission need to have citations and literature references for factual information?

For the personal statement submission, it is your choice whether to include researched material. We are mostly interested in your thoughts rather than a lengthy research review.  Generally a couple of citations and referenced materials are fine, however please ensure that your own observations are incorporated into your answer.  This can be from personal experience, volunteer work, academic work, etc. Any referencing format in-text is fine as long as you are consistent. All of this will add to your character limit.

Do I need to submit transcripts from exchange year universities during my study abroad (foreign exchange) term? Is an assessment by a local credential evaluation service like World Education Services necessary?

Please make arrangements with the originating institution to send official transcripts directly to ORPAS. Instructions on where to mail these can be found at this link: Transcript Instructions. Credential evaluation in advance through a company such as World Education Services (“WES Assessment”) is not necessary but many applicants find it personally helpful as there may not be an exact equivalency between systems outside of Canada/US and the ORPAS Grading Conversion Table. These reports may provide you with a reference point between your grades abroad and the grading system(s) used locally. We are familiar with major universities abroad in common foreign exchange locations and so therefore these assessments are not required.