This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2021-2022 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Carole K. Ivey, Ph.D.
Associate professor and chair

The program in occupational therapy was initiated at Richmond Professional Institute in 1942 and evolved with changes in the university, joining VCU in 1968 when Richmond Professional Institute merged with the Medical College of Virginia. In keeping with the needs of clients and changes in the profession, the Department of Occupational Therapy has moved from offering a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree to now a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. 



The philosophy of the Department of Occupational Therapy embraces the philosophical base of occupational therapy stated by the American Occupational Therapy Association (1979):

Man is an active being whose development is influenced by the use of purposeful activity. Human beings are able to influence their physical and mental health and their social and physical environment through purposeful activity. Human life is a process of continuous adaptation. Adaptation is a change in function that promotes survival and self-actualization. Biological, psychological and environmental factors may interrupt the adaptation process at any time throughout the life cycle, causing dysfunction. Purposeful activity facilitates the adaptive process. Purposeful activity (occupation), including its interpersonal and environmental components, may be used to prevent and mediate dysfunction and to elicit maximum function. Activity as used by occupational therapists includes both an intrinsic and a therapeutic purpose. (AOTA. [1979]. The philosophical base of occupational therapy. AJOT, 33, 785.)


The mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy at VCU is to advance occupation-focused scholarship and practice through integrated education, research and service.

This happens through:
• Preparing outstanding, evidence-based, client-centered occupational therapists to serve the state and nation
• Developing innovative and influential leaders who change policy, practice and systems
• Responding to the occupational needs of the community
• Creating new knowledge and promoting translational applications
• Fostering cultural sensitivity, diversity and inclusion of faculty, students and staff


The educational facilities of the Department of Occupational Therapy are located in the College of Health Professions building at 900 E. Leigh St. Fieldwork assignments are made for students in a wide range of clinics and agencies in the Richmond metropolitan area. An extended fieldwork requirement will be arranged in approved clinical education facilities throughout the United States.

Academic regulations

Students are admitted to the occupational therapy programs with the expectation that they will direct maximum time and effort to the learning process. Outside activities must be scheduled by students for such dates and hours as permit full compliance with the time requirements for course work. Tardiness, lack of regular attendance or failure to meet deadlines for course assignments will not be excused because of employment or other outside activities.

To continue in the graduate curriculum, students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 based on course work following matriculation.

  • Graduate students who fail to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA or receive a grade of D (regardless of the cumulative GPA) will automatically be placed on probation and will be notified of probationary status.
  • Conditions of probation:

    • Students must earn a quality point average during the semester of probation sufficient to result in a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to be removed from probationary status.
    • Students who are on probation due to receiving a D grade must retake that course, achieving a grade of C or better while also meeting all other academic standards.
    • Conditions of probation also may include recommendations for academic counseling, assignments by individual instructors and other requirements identified by the Committee on Academic Standing and Student Progress. Conditions of probation will be detailed in a letter of notification of probation prepared by this committee.
    • Only one semester of academic probation is permitted in the program. If probationary students fail to meet academic standards (GPA of 3.0) in a second semester or do not successfully complete deficient courses, they will be considered for dismissal.
  • As courses usually are offered only once a year and because early courses serve as prerequisites for later courses, students retaking a course or taking a reduced course load will have to continue under an adjusted curriculum plan. This will result in extending the student’s time in the program.
  • Students who receive an F grade in any required course will be considered for dismissal by the committee.
  • University standards require that a graduate student must not have more than six semester hours or 20 percent of semester hours attempted, whichever is greater, with a grade of C. Students who receive a grade of C on more than the allowable number of semester hours will be reviewed for possible academic termination by the Committee on Academic Standing and Student Progress. Students who are not terminated for this criterion will be placed on automatic probation.
  • If a student withdraws or is terminated by the clinical faculty before the completion of the Level II fieldwork course, the student will receive an U grade for the course.
    If the student withdraws, is terminated or fails a fieldwork experience, the course may be repeated only upon approval by the Committee on Academic Standing and Student Progress in consultation with the department chair and the fieldwork coordinator. Students may be dismissed from the program or be allowed to continue contingent upon fulfilling remedial activities based on a plan prepared by the fieldwork coordinator and ratified by the committee. No more than one additional fieldwork experience will be rescheduled. The opportunity to re-register and repeat the fieldwork course is contingent upon the fieldwork coordinator’s ability to locate another facility willing to offer a fieldwork experience to the student and upon the support of the committee. Level II fieldwork must be completed no later than 24 months subsequent to the completion of the academic phase.
  • To continue in good standing, students also are expected to:
    • Pay all fees
    • Maintain personal attributes and ethical behaviors consistent with professional practice as defined in the Occupational Therapy Department Student Handbook
    • Complete fieldwork requirements to the satisfaction of clinical and academic faculty
  • Although arrangements are made in advance, each student is reviewed prior to placement in the Level II Fieldwork education. Students must have satisfactorily completed courses prerequisite to that fieldwork experience and be recommended by the faculty. They must demonstrate professional behavior as specified in the ethical behaviors listed in the Occupational Therapy Department Student Handbook. Medical problems may delay or prevent fieldwork placement.