What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a profession that focuses on enabling people’s full participation and meaning in life. It assists people to achieve their goals by focusing on their strengths rather than their restrictions or barriers.

The Discipline of Occupational Therapy is committed to quality research and education which will contribute to a greater understanding of human occupations - their roles, performance and adaptation - in order to enhance the knowledge base of the profession.

The occupational therapy program comprises an applied science award at bachelor's level, and a professional, graduate entry master's degree. Graduates of these courses are eligible for membership with Occupational Therapy Australia and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Our graduates work in many different settings and roles, and the breath of the field allows them to change careers a number of times while remaining in the same profession. Some practitioners work with clients in hospitals, the home, school, work and/or other community settings. Other occupational therapists are researchers, policy makers or advocates.

For more information visit Occupational Therapy Australia and World Federation of Occupational Therapy

Career overview

Occupational therapists work with their clients to overcome barriers that may be preventing them from participating more fully in life. This might involve teaching alternative techniques to achieve a given task, or facilitating improvement of skills. Occupational therapists collaborate with family and carers where needed, and typically work in teams with other health professionals.

Our graduates work in a wide variety of settings from youth and community centres, to mental health and aged care services, hospitals and private practices, just to name a few.

Featured expert

Nicola Hancock

Dr Nicola Hancock is a Senior Lecturer in the discipline of Occupational Therapy at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Nicola is an occupational therapist and academic with a strong mental health background. Nicola’s research focuses on making a positive difference in the daily lives and recovery journeys of people living with mental illness.

"I have worked as an occupational therapist for over 25 years in both community and hospital settings. One of the most exciting things I have done recently, in partnership with people living with mental illness, is develop a self report tool for clients to measure and track their own mental health recovery. This tool is used in countries around the world and has now been translated into seven languages.

"There is nothing more satisfying than to know that the work I am doing is having a positive impact on the lives of people living with mental illness and helping to enhance the quality of support they receive.

"I can honestly say that I am excited about going to work every single day. What other job encourages you to explore, read, research and share exactly what you are most passionate about. I love my job even more when students share their growing passion and excitement about occupational therapy", said Dr Nicola Hancock.



Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)

Graduate entry

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Graduate Certificate of Health Science (Developmental Disability)

Master of Health Science (Developmental Disability)