Welcome from the Director


Columbia University’s Programs in Occupational Therapy are proud to be one of the oldest yet exceptionally progressive programs that prepare occupational therapists. Our long tradition of excellence began in 1941, when the first students were admitted to a two-year diploma course. Since that time, thousands of graduates have enriched the lives of consumers all over the world. This is why we are consistently ranked among the top programs by USNews and World Report.

Columbia University’s Programs in Occupational Therapy are committed to educating and preparing therapists to impact health care as superior clinicians, administrators, educators, and researchers in (1) prevention of dysfunction, promotion of health, and maintenance of health; (2) rehabilitation; and (3) implementation of daily living tasks and vocational adjustment. The Programs in Occupational Therapy seek to instill intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, an appreciation of the importance of research in the field, and dedication to lifelong learning. Our professional program prepares individuals to become certified and licensed occupational therapists; our postprofessional doctoral program offers certified occupational therapists the knowledge they seek in basic and applied science as it relates to occupational therapy and movement science in order to carry out evidence based research; and our dual degree program with the Mailman School of Public Health prepares therapists at either level for an exciting career that combines therapeutic excellence with public health leadership. All of our programs reflect our mission:

To educate and prepare occupational therapists to promote health and well-being through occupation as practitioners, consultants, educators, and researchers in a variety of socio-cultural, professional, and institutional contexts.

Our students work closely and collaboratively with our nationally distinguished faculty in and out of the classroom. Clinical experiences begin in our first semester and are embedded throughout our programs, giving students the ongoing opportunity to apply therapeutic principles. Experiences with community partnerships further add to their knowledge and skills in prevention, and in community engagement. And, students are involved in research projects that add to the growing body of knowledge in the field of occupational therapy.

Located in upper Manhattan and part of the Columbia University Medical Center’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, our students have access to all the resources of Columbia University in addition to the breadth of resources within New York City. Our community is a wonderful place in which to live and learn. All of this contributes to how we see the need, we meet it, we exceed it.

Janet Falk-Kessler, Ed.D., OTR, FAOTA
Director, Programs in Occupational Therapy

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