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About Us

Occupational Therapy

Welcome from Our Chair

Welcome to NYU’s Department of Occupational Therapy! Since 1940 we have been committed to educating clinical and academic leaders in the field of occupational therapy. We are a highly-ranked OT program and strive to offer a dynamic, student-centered, experiential learning environment from top faculty in their respective fields. 

Our department offers programs that emphasize scientific inquiry and advanced clinical skills to prepare administrators, researchers, scholars, educators, and professional leaders. We also take full advantage of our New York location, the home of leading health and educational facilities in the United States. 

Our entry-level professional Master of Science (MS) gives students an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to become an OT with interprofessional experiences across a wide range of practice areas. Our two-tiered (MS/OTD) option combines our professional master's and clinical doctorate programs. Our post-professional Master of Arts (MA) students often bring their international experiences, reflecting the global mission of NYU to the classroom, as they earn an advanced degree. Our post-professional OTD, which is offered both on-campus and online, allows the practicing therapist a chance to develop advanced competency in a specialization area. Our PhD in OT was the first in the nation and has produced scholars and academics that can be found at leading universities throughout the US and abroad.

Our diverse faculty brings their strengths and talents to the classroom, research, and their scholarship and they are always available to our students. I invite you to look around our website at our professional and post-professional programs; check out the exciting and innovative endeavors in which our faculty engage. As you tour our site, please feel free to send your questions or comments to me at I look forward to hearing from you!

Kristie Patten, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA

Kristie Patten

Department Chair; Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Department Description

The Department of Occupational Therapy, located within NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, is one of the oldest, largest, and most highly-rated occupational therapy departments in the United States. We're focused on educating both graduate-level students who want to become occupational therapists and credentialed OTs who want to earn a post-professional master of arts, doctor of occupational therapy, or doctor of philosophy degrees. Read more about our mission here.

The professional education of occupational therapists is based on the sciences of biology, sociology, and psychology and on the role of activities in improving, restoring, and sustaining function.

Post-professional education focuses on research and advanced clinical skills to prepare master clinicians, administrators, educators, researchers, and professional leaders. For post-professional graduate study, we focus on applied scientific inquiry and such clinical areas as pediatrics, developmental disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities, and assistive rehabilitation technologies. 

Our location in New York City enables us to provide unparalleled specialized faculty and extraordinary clinical practice and collaborative research opportunities at both the professional and post-professional levels.

Explore Our Degrees

Occupational Therapy

NYU Steinhardt’s occupational therapy program educates both aspiring OTs and credentialed professionals looking to further develop their practices.

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A Definition of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a health profession whose goal is to help people achieve independence, meaning, and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives. 

Occupational therapists: 

  • Apply their specific knowledge to enable people to engage in activities of daily living that have personal meaning and value 
  • Develop, improve, sustain, or restore independence to any person who has an injury, illness, disability or psychological dysfunction
  • Consult with the person and the family or caregivers and, through evaluation and treatment, promote the client's capacity to participate in satisfying daily activities 
  • Address by intervention the person's capacity to perform, the activity being performed, or the environment in which it is performed

The occupational therapist's goal is to provide the client with skills for the job of living — those necessary to function in the community or in the client's chosen environment.

A Leader in Post-Professional OT Education

Our post-professional degrees in occupational therapy for certified occupational therapists integrate the theoretical foundation of occupational therapy and the knowledge, clinical skills, and attitudes necessary for engaging in evidence-based practice.

Students develop analytical skills necessary for assuming leadership roles while cultivating a network of professional contacts through their coursework, clinical experiences, and collaborative studies. One of our most outstanding features is the large peer support network provided by our active cadre of post-professional students.

The agenda for scholarly inquiry in the department's post-professional program is to strengthen the applied body of knowledge of occupational therapy. The program achieves this through further development, refinement, and assessment of the effectiveness of evidence-based practice and directly related topical issues.

A student touching their wrist based on a diagram in a binder in front of them.

Occupational Therapy

Pless Hall, 82 Washington Square East, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-998-5825

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