Occupational Science

This new MSc in Occupational Science is the only programme of its kind in the UK. Occupational science is the scientific study of humans as occupational beings. Occupational scientists study the impact of culture, environment and society on health and well-being. Whilst occupational science is not occupational therapy, it is the academic discipline that informs and shapes occupational therapy practice.

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Key Facts



MSc (Hons) Occupational Science

Degree Duration

15 months :

3 months pathway + 1 year degree


Pathways Available



Start Dates

Degree Overview

It has been designed to meet the demands of an evolving healthcare system and to provide a deeper understanding of occupation and its application to society. Occupational therapists are increasingly working in multi-disciplinary teams, with traditional, diverse and emerging populations. The specialism of occupational therapy and the use of occupation as a framework for assessment, treatment and review of service user need has a key role in meeting current and emerging 21st Century challenges. A sound understanding of occupation and its application to phenomena, populations, communities, cultures, environments, disorders, disabilities and illness is therefore needed to support and guide the developing occupational therapy workforce.

This programme is primarily designed for students with an undergraduate qualification in occupational therapy, but is also available for humanities, public health and social policy graduates who wish to study at MSc level a specialist subject that has practical applications and relevance outside of occupational therapy. This programme provides a strong grounding in research methods required for the investigation of phenomena. As such, it has relevance to students wishing to advance their knowledge and understanding in the social sciences and or who work in human services.

This programme provides opportunities for newly graduated and experienced staff to develop higher levels of mastery in their profession, providing modular content which can be tailored specifically to areas of specialism. The programme provides modules that align with the pillars defined in the Advanced Clinical Practice Framework. This includes modules to develop clinical practice, leadership and management through the study of core and optional elements. Optional elements have been further enriched with the inclusion of postgraduate modules from the Peace Studies and Psychology programmes. The dissertation will involve the investigation of phenomena as it relates to occupation, society and people. A blended learning approach that includes research-led teaching, face-to-face on-campus delivery and aspects of distance learning will be adopted. This programme is also available part-time.

Our undergraduate Occupational Therapy programme has a well-established reputation for innovation, entrepreneurship and the practical application of occupational science to phenomena. We wish to continue and advance this expertise to postgraduate, MSc level and therefore invite you to apply for this new, innovative and practical programme of study.

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You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year such as laptops, Stationary and additional resources.

Why Study this Degree

Occupational therapists are now expected to not only be competent in understanding research but to engage in primary research to develop the evidence base for occupational therapy. This has created increasing demand for postgraduate training.

Students will have the opportunity to review current practice through analysis of service provision data and develop evidence-based practice through qualitative and quantitative research. Occupational therapy academics at the University of Bradford are research active, undertaking occupational science scholarship and funded research. Research areas include the exploration of hoarding as an occupation, with the aim of informing new and more effective interventions to support hoarders, and investigating occupational poverty of teen and retiring professional footballers with the aim improving health and welling via occupational balance.

A review conducted by The NHS England and NHS Improvement board (2019) recognised that career progression opportunities for allied health professionals tended to have a singular focus via clinical specialism, research pathway, educational roles, or leadership and management. However, high numbers of the workforce felt that if they chose managerial and leadership roles, they would be forced to give up on clinical specialism and practice. Because of this many allied health professionals did not step into management posts because they felt they had worked hard to attain the levels of specialism they had and did not want to give up these aspects of their career. The review proposed that allied health professionals should be encouraged to retain their clinical expertise and practice as well as being supported into leadership roles. This MSc programme maps onto these proposals, enabling practitioners to enhance clinical knowledge whist also engaging in leadership and managerial development.

Your Pathways

The Pre Masters Program will prepare you for the UK, EU or US study system, giving you the confidence and skills that you’ll need to go further in your studies. Depending on your academic qualification and English language level and chosen programme, you can study the IIM over one or two terms.

What’s the difference between the one or two terms?
One Term Two Terms
3 months of study Six months of study
Additional academic English and subject-related support


Learn more about Pre-Master's

University of Bradford

The University combines academic teaching with industry expertise to create a learning environment and culture that fosters innovation and excellence. This approach helps you to develop skills and gain practical experience that is highly valued by future employers.

Formed in 1832 as the Mechanics Institute, in 1966 the University of Bradford became Britain’s 40th university. Over its 50 years the University has innovated and proven its excellence, more recently, ranked top 3 in the UK for work experience and careers and employment services and won University of the Year for Social Inclusion.

The University of Bradford is made up of four academic faculties with each covering a broad range of specialisms:

  • Faculty of Engineering & Informatics
  • Faculty of Health Studies
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences