BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU

WSU Occupational Therapy - Fact Sheet

Thinking about studying WSU Occupational Therapy? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve collated everything there is to know about the units, assessments, culture and what it’s really like to take on this degree at Western Sydney University. 

Let’s dive in! 

What is a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU?

The role of an occupational therapist is to understand and provide therapy to people who are limited in their ability to perform day-to-day activities. Throughout the course at WSU, you will learn the ins and outs of occupational therapy so that you can contribute to the rehabilitation and health of those who need it most.

Occupational therapists are greatly respected and are always in high demand so this degree will be largely practice-based and career driven to get you out into the workforce so you can secure your dream job!

The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU emphasises the fundamental rights and worthiness of every client so you’ll become equipped to support and assist everyone no matter their needs. It’s a degree that promotes human diversity and fairness for people who, due to injury, illness or other circumstances, are inhibited in their movement or ability. 

While a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (OT) is a 4 year degree (assuming you’ll be studying full-time), students have the option of exiting the degree after 3 years with a Bachelor of Health Science degree — but you’ll be without a specialisation. However, without your fourth year, you won’t be qualified to work as an occupational therapist. So stick it out for the 4 years if that’s your goal!


WSU does offer an honours program for high performing OT students. 

Both the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at WSU are 4 years long. The honours stream is offered to students who are excelling academically.

As an honours student, you’ll follow the same timeline but your last year will involve more advanced coursework and extensive research. 

You can look at the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) in the WSU Handbook!

Career Paths

The Occupational Therapy course at WSU will guide you into an OT position. However, there are plenty of fields where you can utilise these skills.

Some of these include:

    • Public and private hospitals 
    • Insurance companies 
    • Rehabilitation centres
    • Schools 
    • Mental health workers 
    • Rehabilitation consultant 

Core Units for this Degree

Course Structure

To graduate from the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU, you’ll need to complete a total of 320 credit points. Credit points are the way in which universities measure the workload of particular subjects.

At WSU, each subject is typically worth 10 credit points each. This means that you’ll complete about 32 subjects over the 4 years that you’ll be at uni! You’ll complete 4 different subjects each semester to be on track to graduate. 

The Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU is a pretty structured degree meaning you won’t get too many chances to personalise your course. Instead, you’ll follow largely the same program as the rest of your cohort. This will not only score you some long-term pals to complete your degree with, but it also means that we can take you through all of your subjects right here, right now!

Throughout your degree you’ll be completing a mixture of biomedical subjects and occupational therapy subjects. 

First Year

Over the 2 semesters that you’ll complete in your first year at WSU as an occupational therapist, you’ll study 8 different subjects. These will look a little something like this: 

First Year SubjectsDescription
Population Health and SocietyThis unit will provide an introduction to the principles and concepts relating to population health. You will get to explore these through their roles in disease, health and wellbeing. 
Human Anatomy and Physiology 1This is another introductory unit that will develop your understanding of the body’s systems and their functions. You’ll learn about the physiology and general anatomy of systems like the central and peripheral nervous systems, bones, muscles, joints and special senses. 
Introduction to Occupational TherapyThis subject will introduce you to occupational therapy as a profession. You’ll learn about the different areas of clinical practice, conceptual foundations and how OTs impact the lives of their clients. 
Professional Competencies in HealthThis subject offers an introduction to the skills and knowledge required for practice within the health field. You’ll learn about the safe, responsible and ethical ways to conduct your studies. 

Other subjects you will take include:

    • People, Environment and Occupations 
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology 2
    • Communication in Health
    • Evidence in Health

These are the rest of the subjects you’ll study throughout the course of your degree:

Year of StudyCore Units
Second Year- Occupational Therapy Practice 1
- Culture, Diversity and Health
- Pathophysiology 1
- Research Methods (Quantitative and Qualitative)
- Occupational Therapy Practice 2
- Neuroanatomy 
- Psychology and Health
- Functional Anatomy
Third Year- Occupation and Neurology 
- Occupation and Mental Health 
- Occupational Therapy Practice 3
- Child and Adolescent Occupations
- Occupation and the Environment 
- Occupation and Ageing 
- Occupational Justice 
- Evidence-Based Practice
Fourth Year- Occupational Therapy Project
- Occupational Therapy Specialities 
- Ergonomics and Work Occupations
- Professional Reasoning
- Occupational Therapy Practice 4A
- Occupational Therapy Practice 4B

If you want to take a more extensive look at the subjects, check out WSU’s Handbook!

You only need to read the subject titles to get an idea of how focused and practice-based this program is. You’ll be ready to smash it as an occupational therapist in no time! 

You’ll also become extremely familiar with dealing with diverse clients in order to understand the most appropriate rehabilitation strategies. Your theoretical knowledge will become equally as important as your practical skills.  

Are there any placements?

There sure are! As an Occupational Therapy student, you’re going to be wanting to get some experience in the workforce as soon as possible.

Since WSU understands the importance of real-life experience, you’ll be offered plenty of OT practice through WSU’s Work Integrated Learning scheme. 

Throughout your Bachelor of Occupational Therapy course, you’ll undertake a number of placements or community-based experience. In fact, throughout your course you’ll undergo 1000 hours of placements in your ‘Occupational Therapy Practice’ subjects!

While 1000 hours may seem daunting, keep in mind that you’ll be completing your placements over 4 subjects or 4 semesters depending on how you look at it. The time will fly by! And most importantly, you’ll gain valuable experience that will make scoring a job that much easier. 

Your Work Integrated Learning subjects will be arranged through NSW Health and the disability sector, as well as community-based private practices, non-government health, WHS and disability providers. 


How to Get into a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU

To get into the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at WSU, you’ll need to achieve a minimum ATAR of 85. If you haven’t quite gotten the ATAR required, don’t worry!

There are plenty of alternative admission pathways that can get you right where you want to be. WSU understands that your strengths and abilities lie beyond an HSC mark. 

You can check out the different pathways that WSU offers here

The College

WSU’s official pathway provider for domestic and international students is The College. It offers Diplomas and Bachelor Degrees, Extended Diplomas and University Foundation studies. 

If you’re looking into The College with an interest in Occupational Therapy, you may consider applying for the Diploma in Health Science / Bachelor of Health Science or the University Foundation Studies in Health Science / Nursing.  

Once you successfully complete one of The College’s Academic Pathway Programs, you’ll be guaranteed a place at WSU!

Assumed Knowledge

To be eligible for the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree at WSU, you’re expected to have completed 2 units of English — so if you’ve gotten an ATAR, that means you’re good to go! 

While there are no other compulsory HSC subjects, WSU recommends that its Occupational Therapy students have studied Biology or Chemistry or PDHPE in Year 12. But again, this is just a recommendation. 


WSU offers a large variety of scholarships for potential students. These may be awarded on account of financial hardship, academic excellence, community engagement or leadership potential.

You can check out the current scholarships that WSU has on offer here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

As a student in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy course at WSU, you can expect to undergo your studies in a two-semester program. On a yearly basis your degree will be split into 2 main study blocks with pretty long breaks in between!

If you’re hoping to study as a full-time student, you’ll be taking 4 classes each semester to be on track to graduate in 4 years! 

Class Structure

WSU Occupational Therapy - Class Structure

As an OT student, your classes will be divided between Biomedicine units and Occupational Therapy practice units.

Your biomedicine units will typically consist of lectures, practicals and a few online learning modules that you’ll do throughout your degree. These biomedicine lectures and practicals will comprise a mix of students from all health science disciplines such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology.

As a result, the attendance of your biomedical lectures will be relatively high with around 200 students in a lecture theatre. While your tutorials and practicals will have around 20 to 30 students per class. 

Likewise, your occupational therapy units are inclusive of lectures, tutorials, practicals and clinical placements. These lectures will be a little bit smaller with about 100 people in attendance. 


As we mentioned before, the number of students who attend these lectures will vary on whether you’re in an OT or biomedical class. Typically there’ll be around 100 to 200 students in a lecture theatre. 

You’ll be attending 4 lectures each week — 1 for each of your subjects that you’ll do over a semester. Lectures will usually involve the lecturer standing at the front of the theatre presenting the content necessary for that subject.

Lectures are generally for note taking and they’ll often take a formal approach. It’s important to try and get your head around the content taught in lectures because this will give you a good idea of what’s coming up in future tutorials and assessments. 


With anywhere between 10 to 30 students in a class, tutorials are for more conversational and informal lessons. In your tutorials, you’ll be given the opportunity to facilitate and lead discussions with your tutor and peers.

It’s a great chance to ask questions and consolidate your knowledge. Tutorials will last from 1 and a half to 2 hours.  


Practicals as an OT student at WSU will give you a chance to gain hands-on experience in professional environments. You’ll get a chance to emulate a real client situation and you’ll have access to advanced equipment and resources.

There’ll be around 20 to 30 students in a practical class and you’ll undertake quite a lot of group work. It’s a perfect way to get to know your peers! 

How much time do you spend on campus?

Since OT students will study 4 subjects each semester, you’ll be on campus for about 20 hours each week. While this may seem a little daunting, you’ll hardly notice the time going by since you’ll be spending it in lectures, tutorials and practical lessons. 

Alongside classes, you’ll probably also want to spend a few hours at the library each week to consolidate the content that you’ve covered. 


As an Occupational Therapy student at WSU, your assessments will include several individual reports and essays, theoretical and practical exams as well as group work, class presentations and research projects. 

Essentially, you’ll undergo a wide variety of assessment formats throughout your degree. These will develop your confidence and knowledge to best suit professional situations. 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

WSU Occupational Therapy - Skills

As a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student at WSU, you’ll develop a range of skills throughout your degree. Occupational Therapy utilises both practical and theoretical skills to support and rehabilitate clients.

You’ll develop a deep understanding of the different strategies and approaches to varying circumstances so communication will be essential. 

WSU Occupational Therapy - Student Quote

Check out the pros and cons for this degree here!

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

As an OT student at WSU, your faculty is the School of Health Sciences. WSU’s School of Health Sciences includes a number of science related disciplines including Allied Health (where OT fits in), Public Health and Health Services, and Sport, Health and Exercise Science. 

Not only can your faculty offer support and encouragement, but getting to know WSU’s tutors and researchers would be great for your network and future assistance. 

The Occupational Therapy faculty and cohort are a group of intelligent, friendly and caring people. You can take comfort in knowing that you’ll feel constantly supported and encouraged by your peers. 

Societies and Clubs

As a student at WSU, you have the opportunity to get involved in a number of clubs and societies that will suit any interest! With over 130 clubs and societies, you may look into joining a business-oriented group, a social club or even a political society.

You can check out WSU’s clubs and societies here


WSU has a range of assistance for current and future students on offer. Whether you’d like a hand academically, some support emotionally or financially, WSU is always ready to help.

You can find out a bit more about the student resources that WSU provides here!

Gemma Billington is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an undergraduate student at the University of Technology Sydney. While studying Journalism and Social and Political Sciences, Gemma enjoys spending her time at the gym or reading about Britain’s medieval monarchy – ideally not at the same time. She currently creates and administers social media posts for Central News and writes for the student publication, The Comma. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to study a Masters of Medieval History and is very excited about the prospect!


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