Occupational Science (Occupational Therapy)
Graduate Advisors: Karla Ausderau, PhD, OTR/L; Ruth E. Benedict, OTR, Dr.P.H.; Dorothy Edwards, PhD; Elizabeth A. Larson, PhD, OTR.; Kristin Pickett, PhD; Prof. Emer. Mary L. Schneider, PhD, OTR; Brittany Travers, PhD.
Synopsis: As occupational scientists, our faculty and graduate students explore theories of occupational engagement and conduct research to expand the body of knowledge supporting the practice of occupational therapy. We train future practitioners to apply that knowledge through our UW MS-OT program. Occupational Science integrates theories and practices from the disciplines of anatomy, biomechanics, motor control, neuroscience, psychology, and sociology to enhance our understanding of how engagement in the activities of daily life promotes human health and well-being. Doctoral students work directly with a faculty mentor to learn, design and conduct research.
Our faculty actively engage in studies using:
Opportunities abound for engaging in collaborative work with faculty from other disciplines such as kinesiology, biomedical engineering, psychology, nursing, population health, sociology, human ecology, special education or rehabilitation psychology
Facilities: All faculty members have established laboratories for conducting research in Occupational Science, some of which are free-standing and others of which are located in research centers around campus.
The Waisman Center for Human Development, Developmental Disabilities, and Neurodegenerative Diseases is one of 14 facilities in the nation established to further the understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Occupational Science faculty maintain office and laboratory space at the Waisman Center. Laboratory space is equipped for videotaping infants or young children during behavioral task performance. A room with an integrated computing and videotape analysis system for on-line coding of recorded performance is also available.
Community sites are used as settings for the formal and informal study of caregiving in geriatric and pediatric care. Research methods applied in these settings include:
- Ethnographic interviewing and participant observation of staff behaviors in dementia day care.
- Analysis of family-caregiver interactions with physicians in the outpatient geriatric medical visit.
- Qualitative study of the meaning of practice to occupational therapists
- Phenomenological interviews with family caregivers and staff regarding the ethics of dementia care.
The Institute on Aging is another campus resource for grant-writing and coordination of aging research and education.
Extramural collaborations with investigators at other universities and funding from federal agencies and private foundations further strengthen our research programs and expand opportunities for graduate students.
Purpose of M.S.: The M.S. degree in the Occupational Science Track is an advanced post-professional degree offered to students who have graduated from an accredited program in occupational therapy or a related field. Program emphasis is on the understanding of theories underlying occupational science. Students conduct research and develop advanced knowledge in a specific area of concentration within occupational science. Completion of 16 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required and includes seminars in human occupation and health, courses that emphasize research theory and design, electives focusing on a particular area of study, and completion of a thesis.
Purpose of Ph.D.: The doctoral track in Occupational Science prepares
occupational therapists to serve as researchers and educators who are able contribute
to the understanding of the theoretical and empirical relationships between occupation,
physiological health, and psychological well-being. Graduate students work closely
with their advisors to pursue research on issues that expand upon current
theory in occupational therapy and life-span development.
Prerequisites for Admission: Applicants must meet University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School and Department of Kinesiology admissions requirements.
Admission criteria and PREREQUISITES for the OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE TRACK of an MS or PhD in Kinesiology
Course requirements and CURRICULUM for the OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE TRACK of an MS or PhD in Kinesiology