Occupational Studies student wears goggles that simulate visual impairment while finding a library book.

You’ve decided you enjoy working with persons with disabilities either through direct care or administrative service. Not quite sure which is the best career path? Explore an occupational science degree.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) BS Occupational Science & Technology Program allows you the chance to pursue a variety of career options. A flexible educational path combined with a blend of elective courses will prepare you to work in different health and human service settings.

You will also be particularly well prepared for graduate study in Occupational Therapy and other disability related disciplines. Acceptance and completion of the BS Occupational Science & Technology does not guarantee admission into the MS Occupational Therapy Program.

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus
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Occupational Science & Technology combines…

“various components of health, disability and occupation that contribute to full participation in life”

With the knowledge and skills you gain in the occupational science and technology degree program you will have unlimited possibilities. Activity therapist/director, assistive technology professional, behavioral health technician, design and accessibility consultant, risk control specialist, design and accessibility consultant are just some of the many careers you could explore.

Graduates of the BS Occupational Science and Technology often pursue advanced degrees in occupational therapy or other rehabilitation professions, the social sciences and some areas of science, technology, biomedical engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

Occupational Sciences and Technology students work on team work and problem solving in class.
  • The occupational science degree program lets you take advantage of a flexible educational path with a combination of face-to-face, blended and online formats.
  • You can choose from tracks in the areas of assistive technology, disability and occupation, and therapeutic recreation. Our Assistive Technology & Universal Access Laboratory and courses feature state-of-the-art equipment that is unmatched in the state.
  • Quality advising is available to assist you in your advanced education or career path of choice.
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy designation allows you specialized advising and access to the UWM Early Admission Program for the MSOT program.
  • You will learn from faculty who are among the strongest in the nation in terms of their leadership, professional credentials and research productivity.
  • Unique to the program are several research-oriented courses in the area of scientific inquiry, biostatistics, measurement and evidence informed practice, giving you a strong foundation for graduate education or involvement in research.

Employment Outlook

There are several different types of entry level positions in disability and health care available to graduates with an occupational science and technology degree. Completion of the undergraduate program in Occupational Science & Technology does not meet requirements for employment as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Some examples of employment include Community Service Managers and Recreational Therapists.

Earnings

  • Community Service Managers: $69,600
  • Recreational Therapists: $47,710

Expected Growth

Employment of community service managers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Much of the job growth is the result of an aging population. An increase in the number of older adults will result in a need for more social services, such as adult daycare and meal delivery, creating demand for social and community service managers. Employment of social and community service managers(in disability and human service agencies) is expected to increase the most in industries serving the elderly, such as services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

In addition, employment growth is projected as people continue to seek treatment for their addictions, and as illegal drug offenders are increasingly sent to treatment programs rather than to jail. As a result, managers who direct treatment programs will be needed. Workers usually need experience in order to become a social and community service manager, and it is essential for those with a bachelor’s degree. Candidates can get this experience by working in direct care positions while completing their undergraduate degree.

Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

As the U.S. population ages, more people will need recreational therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses. Older people are more likely to experience a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and mobility-related injuries that may benefit from recreational therapy. Therapists will also be needed to help healthy seniors remain social and active in their communities. Recreational therapy services can help the aging population to maintain their independence later in life. For example, recreational therapists can help older people prevent falls by teaching them modified yoga exercises that improve balance and strength.

In addition, the number of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, is growing. Recreational therapists will be needed to help patients maintain their mobility, to teach patients about managing their conditions, and to help patients adjust recreational activities to accommodate any physical limitations. Therapists will be needed also to plan and lead programs designed to maintain overall wellness through participation in activities such as camps, day trips, and sports.

Recreational therapists will increasingly be utilized in helping veterans manage service-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or injuries such as the loss of a limb. Recreational therapists can lead activities that help veterans to reintegrate into their communities and help them to adjust to any physical, social, or cognitive limitations.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

Students interested in the BS Occupational Science & Technology Program are encouraged to contact the program advisor, Aggie Northrup at 414-229-2758 or witowski@uwm.edu. Students with bachelor’s degrees in other areas are welcome and encouraged to contact the College of Health Sciences Office of Student Affairs for a credit evaluation.

You will automatically be admitted to the occupational science and technology degree program after completion of 57 credits. Within those 57 credits you must have a B- or better in:

  • BIO SCI 202
  • OCCTHPY 151
  • OCCTHPY 201
  • PSYCH 101
  • THERREC 202

At the time of admission to the major, you must declare at least one track that you will complete.

Upon admission to the occupational science and technology degree program, you must maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA. Failure to attain a semester GPA of 2.75 or higher will result in you being placed on academic probation for one semester. A second semester GPA below 2.75 will result in your dismissal from the program. Program required courses can be repeated. Any given course may be repeated only one time. It is important for you to understand that we want you to succeed. Meet with your Advisor each semester to identify areas of concern PRIOR to academic probation or dismissal from the program.

General Education Requirements (GERs)

Learn more about UWM’s General Education Requirements.

CourseGERCredits
English: Must earn “C” or better in English 102
Prerequisite: placement test
3
Math: Must earn “C” or better in Math 105
Prerequisite: placement test
3
Foreign Language
Satisfied with 2 years of a single language in high school
0
Natural Science
Satisfied below by Foundations courses
NS0
Social Science
Satisfied below by Foundations courses
SS0
Cultural Diversity
Satisfied below by OS core courses
CD0
Arts
Select course from the approved GER Arts list
A3
Humanities
Select course from the approved GER Humanities list
THERREC 103 Introduction to Leisure recommended
HU3
Total Credits:12

Foundations Courses

CourseGERCredits
BIO SCI 202: Anatomy & Physiology I
MS OT Prerequisite
4
BIO SCI 203: Anatomy & Physiology II
MS OT Prerequisite
NS+
4
COMMUN 103: Public SpeakingHU3
ENGLISH 205: Business Writing OR
ENGLISH 207: Health Science Writing
OWCB3
HCA 203: Human Life Cycle
MS OT Prerequisite
SS3
KIN 270: Statistics in the Health Professions: Theory and Practice
MS OT Prerequisite
QLB3
OCCTHPY 151: Foundations of Scientific Inquiry for Occupational Studies3
PHYSICS 120: General Physics
MS OT Prerequisite
NS4
PHYSICS 121: General Physics LabNS+1
PSYCH 101: Introduction to Psychology
MS OT Prerequisite
SS3
PSYCH 412: Psychopathology3
Total credits:34

Core Courses

Maximum of 1 course may be repeated.

CourseOfferedCredits
OCCTHPY 201: Introduction to Occupational Science & TechnologyF3
THERREC 202: Disability: Society and the PersonF3
OCCTHPY 220: Gadgets & Gizmos: Introduction to Assistive TechnologyS3
OCCTHPY/THERREC 245: Client Diversity: Interdisciplinary PerspectiveS3
OCCTHPY 260: Enhancing Health through ActivityS3
OCCTHPY 320: Introduction to Ergonomics for the Health ProfessionsS3
OCCTHPY 340 (540): Evidence for Practice I: Applications of BiostatisticsF3
OCCTHPY 341 (542): Evidence for Practice II: Appraising EvidenceF/S3
OCCTHPY 401: Overview of Medical ConditionsS3
OCCTHPY 530: Contemporary Issues and Professional Preparation in Occupational StudiesS3
Total Credits:30

Track Requirements

Disability and Occupation Track

The Disability and Occupation Track is aimed towards students that want to become Occupational Therapists or seek employment in other direct care positions working with persons living with a disability.

Disability and Occupation Track 4 Year Plan (PDF)

CourseCredits
THERREC 202: Disability: Society and the Person3
OCCTHPY 250: Concepts of Time and Occupation3
THERREC 303: Inclusive and Disability Programs in the Community3
OCCTHPY 315: Group Process in Rehabilitation3
OCCTHPY 401: Overview of Medical Conditions3
OCCTHPY 505: Work and Disability3
OCCTHPY 625: Design and Disability3
Total Credits21

Applications of Assistive Technology Track

The Applications of Assistive Technology Track is aimed towards students who are interested in applying technology and/or designing environments and products that enhance the capabilities of people.

Applications of Assistive Technology Track 4 Year Plan (PDF)

CourseCredits
OCCTHPY 220: Gizmos & Gadgets: Introduction to Assistive Technology3
OCCTHPY 250: Concepts of Time and Occupation3
OCCTHPY 420: Principles of Human Factors and Usability3
OCCTHPY 521: Essentials of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology3
OCCTHPY 593: Introduction to Biomedical and Rehabilitation Instrumentation3
OCCTHPY 595: Vision I: Introduction to Low Vision and Visual Impairment3
OCCTHPY 625: Design and Disability3
Total Credits21

Therapeutic Recreation Track

The Therapeutic Recreation Track is aimed towards students who are interested in the field of Therapeutic Recreation.

Therapeutic Recreation Track 4 Year Plan (PDF)

CourseCredits
THERREC 103: Introduction to Leisure3
THERREC 203: Therapeutic Recreation Process3
THERREC 300: Therapeutic Recreation Assessment and Documentation4
THERREC 308: Therapeutic Recreation in Physical Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health4
THERREC 310: Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation4
THERREC 400: Issues and Trends in Therapeutic Recreation3
Total Credits21

Human Factors, Injury, and Performance (HFIP)

This new track is targeted to students interested in helping individuals achieve peak personal and/or occupational health and performance through the interaction of human factors and human function.

This HFIP track explores occupational health and performance from an interdisciplinary (i.e., physical, psychosocial, technical) perspective and an applied team science framework.

The HFIP track also fills a gap in knowledge and skills that employers have identified as important to the future innovation and advancement of employers. For example, recent job posts employers are seeking individuals prepared to integrate the occupational sciences with health and performance to enhance workplace safety, reduce worker injury, and improve workability.

Students are encouraged to add the Pre-Occupational Therapy or other pre-professional designation to their program if interested in pursuing a graduate degree in rehabilitation sciences.

The Program’s academic advisor may assist with adding such designations as well as creating a degree plan that incorporates pre-requisite courses for other professional graduate programs such as Athletic Training or Physical Therapy.

Recommended minors/certificates to pair with the HFIP Track: Disability and Occupation Track, Kinesiology Minor, Business Minor, Digital Fabrication, and more.

Possible occupations: Human Factors professionals, Ergonomist, Insurance Claims Specialist or Loss Control Specialist, Usability Practitioner, Safety Scientist, and other titles.

CodeTitleCredits
OCCTHPY 250Concepts of Time and Occupation3
OCCTHPY 320Introduction to Ergonomics for Healthcare Professionals3
Select one of the following:
BMS 232 orIntroduction to Nutrition3
NUTR 235 orIntroduction to Nutrition for the Health Professions
KIN 230/NUTR230Health Aspects of Exercise and Nutrition
KIN 350Psychological Aspects of Sport and Exercise3
OCCTHPY 420Principles of Human Factors and Usability3
OCCTHPY 522Health, Performance, & Injury Monitoring in Organizations3
OCCTHPY 592Innovative Solutions in Human Factors and Performance3
Total Credits21

Free Electives

The number of free electives required varies (23-29 credits) depending on the track that you follow. You must take a minimum of 9 credits at the 400 level or higher. We encourage you to pursue a minor or certificate program with your free electives.

Recommended Minors/Certificates

To schedule an advising appointment, call 414-229-2758 or visit Northwest Quadrant Building B, Room 6425.

When should I meet with my advisor?

You are encouraged to meet with your advisor at least once per semester to ensure timely progress to graduation.

  • Enrolling for spring semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in October or November.
  • Enrolling for fall semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in March or April.

You are also welcome to schedule an appointment with your advisor at any time to discuss academic challenges, career opportunities or any other questions.

How can my advisor help me?

The College of Health Sciences boasts professional academic advisors who understand the challenges of balancing academics, work, family and the social aspects of college life. Advisors partner with you to:

  • Explore your academic and career interests
  • Plan the sequence of your courses
  • Prepare for course enrollment
  • Access tutoring and other academic support
  • Identify opportunities for campus involvement
  • Connect you to campus resources
  • Plan for graduation
Portrait of Justin Almquist
  • University Services Program Associate, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Kris Barnekow
  • Associate Professor, Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Implementation Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Tamicah Gelting
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Carol Haertlein Sells
  • Professor Emerita, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Mark Johnston
  • Professor Emeritus, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Katie Jopp Portrait
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Jay Kapellusch
  • Professor, Chair, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Phyllis King
  • Professor, UWM Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Occupational Ergonomics Laboratory Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Heidi Plach
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Alyssa Schnorenberg
  • Researcher, Mobility Lab Manager, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Michelle Silverman
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, ATAD Certificate Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Bhagwant Sindhu
  • Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program Director, Graduate Program Coordinator, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Brooke Slavens
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Roger Smith
  • Professor, Rehabilitiation Research Design & Disability Center Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Virginia Stoffel
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Julie Thomas
  • Administrative Specialist, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Patricia Thomas
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Science and Technology Program Director, Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Inga Wang
  • Associate Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Dana Washburn
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Contact

Aggie Northrup, MS
Academic Advisor
414-229-2758
witowski@uwm.edu

Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS
Program Director
414-229-2507
pthomas@uwm.edu