Occupational Therapy: Bachelor of Health Science

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Occupational therapists work with people who (because of illness, injury or circumstance) are limited in their ability to do everyday activities. Examples of a career in occupational therapy include helping clients learn new ways of doing things, supporting people experiencing physical and cognitive changes, helping children with disabilities participate in school and social activities, and developing your clients’ engagement in the community.

AUT's occupational therapy degree is intensive and involves learning in an interprofessional environment – in the classroom and in the field. Applying the latest research and innovative approaches, you will gain critical knowledge of people, their occupations and the environments in which they live, learn or work to enable people to participate and engage in occupations that may be restricted to them. AUT occupational therapy graduates are eligible to apply to register as an occupational therapist in New Zealand and other countries.

Want to enrol in a programme: Apply online

Quick facts

Programme code: AK3410
Level: 7
Points: 360
3 years full-time
Venue: North Campus
Fees: General Course fees and Additional fees
Start date: 26 Feb 2018

AUT encourages early application. There are limited places available for this qualification.

Admission and entry requirements

Selection criteria

  • Preference will be given to applicants with the highest rank scores and/or accomplishments in the relevant field
  • An interview may be required

Fitness to Practice
AUT has certain obligations in regard to students' ability to be fit to practise within the industries for which they are training. This may include fitness for practice when working with individuals or groups within schools or organisations as part of their coursework. A registration board, employer or organisation may decline a student or graduate on the grounds of a criminal conviction, a mental or physical illness or past or present disciplinary action taken by a professional body or university. In your own interests, both now and during your course of study, you must disclose any convictions, significant health issues or disciplinary conduct to AUT. If you are concerned or in doubt about any matter, please contact the relevant Head of School.


Below is a summary only. For a comprehensive overview of this qualification, please refer to the Academic Calendar.

Year 1

You will focus on understanding occupation, what motivates people and how the body works to enable participation in occupation. You may also have the opportunity to work with an occupational therapist and begin to better understand and apply your knowledge. You do seven papers in your first year, including four common core health science papers.

Papers (core or compulsory)
OCTY606 Experiencing Occupation
OCTY607 Occupational Therapy Practicum I
OCTY608 Personal and Environmental Factors in Occupation
HEAL504 Lifespan Development and Communication
HEAL506 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
HEAL505 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
HEAL507 Health and Environment OR MAOH501 Māori Health, Development and Environment

Year 2

You will develop an understanding of how illness or injury impacts on people performing their occupations and typical occupational therapy intervention. You will consider how the environment affects occupational performance, learn about research and using evidence in practice, develop group work skills, and choose from a range of electives.

Papers (core or compulsory)
OCTY601 Enabling Physical Performance for Occupation
OCTY602 Enabling Cognitive Performance for Occupation
OCTY603 Enabling Affective Performance for Occupation
OCTY604 Creating Enabling Environments
OCTY605 Enabling Occupation for Groups
OCTY705 Evidence and Practice
RHAB701 Rehabilitation and Participation OR MAOH701 Māori Health Promotion
HEAL610 Methods of Research and Enquiry

Or any other bachelor's degree papers with the approval of the programme leader.

Year 3

You will learn about working with communities, organisations or groups of people, and how to change systems to enable participation. Decision-making skills around assessment and intervention are developed.

Clinical placement
You will spend a 20-week block placement (either within Auckland or in a region outside of Auckland) in the second half of the year. You will apply your learning in a range of practice settings under the supervision of an OT ahead of completing your occupational therapy degree.

Clinical/practical experience: During your programme you will be required to travel both within and outside the Auckland region for clinical/practical experience. Please note that travel, accommodation and other expenses will be an additional cost to you.

Papers (core or compulsory)

OCTY701 Enabling Systems Change
OCTY702 Professional Reasoning for Occupational Therapy
OCTY703 Preparation for Occupational Therapy Practice
OCTY704 Transition to Occupational Therapy Practice
OCTY706 Promoting Occupational Justice and Participation

Te Ara Hauora Māori papers

Students who wish to seek careers with a Māori development perspective should select the following four papers as electives or as an alternative course of study.
MAOH501 Māori Health, Development and Environment (instead of HEAL507 Health and Environment)
MAOH701 Māori Health Promotion
MAOH702 Applied Primary Māori Mental Health
HEAL710 Utilising Supervision in Practice

We will support Te Ara Hauora Māori students to form relationships with Māori health providers, industry stakeholders and communities, and AUT Māori staff and students.

Career opportunities

Occupational therapists work with all age groups and in a wide range of physical, psychosocial and primary health areas such as:

  • Primary Health Organisations (PHOs)
  • Community development
  • Health centres
  • Research
  • Non-governmental organisations and trusts
  • Industry/businesses
  • Schools
  • Residential care facilities
  • Community organisations
  • Hospitals
  • Private practice
  • Rehabilitation advisor
  • ACC

Graduates and students of health science

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Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.39pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.