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 HOD Message

Author: Associate Professor Shaheed Soeker

 We welcome all prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students to the Department of Occupational Therapy.


​​​​​​​​​​​The Department of Occupational Therapy consists of educators that are world class in their respective fields of specialization (NRF rated researchers). The Department of Occupational Therapy offers an undergraduate programme and postgraduate programme. Our curricula have been carefully designed to provide comprehensive, quality and relevant education in occupational therapy to meet the diverse needs of society. Our Masters programme consists of either a structured coursework and mini-thesis or full research, and our PhD programme consists of a full thesis.

Our research focuses on social justice through occupational engagement and includes: occupation-based community practice, occupation-centred teaching and learning, and occupational risk and protection among youth. We are involved in a variety of community outreach initiatives including health promoting schools and work skills training for people with disabilities in various communities. 

We believe that the diversity of cultures and contexts in South Africa calls for students who understand the various levels of care required to meet the needs of a multi-faceted population. Socio-economic and political factors in South Africa require occupational therapists to respond positively to challenges and a fast-changing landscape.

The UWC Occupational Therapy programme has been endorsed by the World Federation Occupational Therapy (WFOT) and by the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA). The aim of the programme is to develop students to become professionals who can facilitate change in people's lives through their engagement in occupations that are meaningful and appropriate to their environment, background and health needs. The undergraduate curriculum addresses the role and scope of occupational therapy with individuals, groups and communities. Our graduates are able to work as competent health care professionals at all levels of health care and within communities.

Occupational therapists from UWC are well-equipped to work in primary health care settings and offer community-based services through promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness in individuals, groups and communities including children, adolescents, youth, adults and the elderly. 

UWC trained occupational therapists are trained in an interdisciplinary approach to health care, they are trained to address chronic diseases (for example cancer, tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac conditions, strokes), substance use (dependence and abuse), mental illness (for example schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorder, intellectual impairment, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia), and trauma (for example head injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, burns, hand injuries). Furthermore from a research perspective, the OT department has developed researchers that seek to provide scientific solutions to problems and challenges faced by our most vulnerable communities.  

We look forward to welcoming you to the Department of Occupational Therapy!



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