Occupational therapy is a health care profession in which people with physical or mental disease or disability are treated by means of participation in everyday activities. The occupational therapist assists clients to function as normally as possible in society. The occupational therapist is trained to apply specific techniques and procedures in a scientific manner so that a client’s remaining abilities are developed maximally, thus enabling the client to lead a meaningful and independent life. Occupational therapy is also applied to people with developmental delays, learning disabilities, or psychosocial dysfunctions.
Occupational therapy is a stimulating career and requires an adaptable, intelligent and practical person with good problem-solving and managerial skills. The successful occupational therapist has good interpersonal relations and can approach diverse situations in a resourceful manner.
Qualified occupational therapists are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Professional Board for Occupational Therapy, Medical Orthotics/Prosthetics and Arts Therapy regulates the training and work performance standards.
What does the degree entail?
The occupational therapy course at the University of Pretoria is an integrated course, which means that the basic subjects like Anatomy or Psychology are applied from the beginning when learning about occupational therapy intervention for various conditions. A problem-based teaching approach is used and this approach enhances students’ confidence and independence, which is important for their work within the present health system, for example when working in hospitals or clinics within the community.
Students are trained to be able to work in the five main areas of occupational therapy which are:
- paediatric occupational therapy
- occupational therapy in the physical field
- occupational therapy in the psychiatric field
- vocational rehabilitation
- community-based occupational therapy
What can I do with my degree?
Occupational therapists can be employed in various institutions, for example in physical and psychiatric hospitals, schools, homes for the aged, welfare organisations, municipal clinics and community organisations. Employment opportunities in the private sector include private practices and insurance companies.
What is the course content?
The syllabus is an integration of the human and natural sciences that reflect the performance of activities by a person during his lifetime. Students learn how to apply the occupational therapy process to clients whose functioning has been affected by developmental delays, neglect, disease, trauma, accidents, or ageing.
The course consists of four years of full-time study and is designed to facilitate active participation from the students. Students perform practical work throughout the four years at various hospitals, clinics, and institutions, as well as in developing communities.
At undergraduate level, students are given the opportunity to become acquainted with research activities under the guidance of staff members. Postgraduate students perform research on a range of topics which can vary from the ergonomical design of wheelchairs to the effect of musical activities on mentally ill patients.
What are the admission requirements?
a) Students who matriculated prior to 2008:
- Matriculation exemption
- M-score = 22 / 18
- Physical Science, HG = C (60-69%)
- Mathematics, SG or HG (Pass)
- Placement test, if the required standard is/was not met
b) Students who matriculated after 2007:
- A valid National Senior Certificate (NSC) with admission for degree purposes
- Admission Point Score (APS) = 30
- English and an additional language (at Home Language level or First Additional Language level), minimum AL = 4 (50-59%)
- Physical Science, minimum AL = 5 (60-69%)
- Mathematics, AL = 4 (50-59%) or Mathematical Literacy, minimum AL = 5 (60-69%) respectively
- Any other two subjects, minimum AL = 4 (50-59%)
- Life Sciences (excluded from the Admission Point Score calculation)
- Placement test
Achievement, Achievement Level (AL), Marks
7 Outstanding achievement (80-100%)
6 Meritorious achievement (70-79%)
5 Substantial achievement (60-69%)
4 Adequate achievement (50-59%)
3 Moderate achievement (40-49%)
2 Elementary achievement (30-39%)
1 Not achieved (0-29%)
Selection is based on academic merit, the NBT Placement Test and the Value-Added Questionnaire.
NBT Placement Test and Value-Added Questionnaire
The marks of the Health Sciences Placement Test are also taken into consideration, as well as the score of the Value-added questionnaire. (Only applicable to matriculants).
Applications close on 31 Mei 2012. Selection takes place before admission to the course. You will be notified by sms and in writing of the provisional outcome of the selection at the end of September.
Where can I obtain more information?
You are welcome to visit the Occupational Therapy Department to obtain more information about the course. Open days are presented four times during the year. Please phone 012 354 1326 to make an appointment.