The Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Pretoria embraces transformation and diversity and aims to be an outstanding internationally respected department, committed to excellence in research, social responsiveness and innovative teaching and learning.

As a healthcare profession, occupational therapy promotes health and well-being. It is the art and science of facilitating participation through occupations.

Occupational therapists enable people of all ages with physical and mental impairment to lead meaningful and independent lives. Individuals with physical and mental health conditions and/or disabilities are treated to enable them to function independently/optimally in their occupations and in specific contexts.

People with loss of function as a result of disability and societal barriers are assisted by modifying their occupations or the environment so that they can maintain their independence. 

Occupational therapy is a stimulating career that offers numerous opportunities. It requires an adaptable, intelligent and practical person with good problem-solving skills. A successful occupational therapist has good interpersonal skills and can approach diverse situations in a resourceful and creative manner.

  • Curriculum: The curriculum is an integration of human and natural sciences, which enables therapists to assist those whose functioning has been affected by developmental delays, neglect, disease, trauma, accidents or ageing.
  • Learning programme: The BOT programme requires four years of full-time study, and is designed to facilitate active participation. Throughout the four years, students do clinical fieldwork at various hospitals, clinics, other institutions and in the community setting.
  • Research: At the undergraduate level, students are introduced to research activities under the guidance of staff members. Postgraduate students conduct research on the process and standards of interventions; the development of valid and reliable measurement tools; and the establishment of effective outcomes for interventions.

Postgraduate study offers increased occupational therapy knowledge and skills in mental health; physical conditions such as hand therapy and adult and paediatric neurology; vocational rehabilitation; education in occupational therapy; and areas of occupational therapy such as play, leisure, education/school, Activities of Daily Living (ADL)/ Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and work.

For more information, please consult the Faculty webpage.

  • Disclaimer: This publication contains information about regulations and programmes of the University of Pretoria. Amendments to or updating of the information may be effected from time to time without prior notification. The accuracy, correctness or validity of the information contained here is therefore not guaranteed by the University at any given time and is always subject to verification. The user is kindly requested to verify the correctness of the information with the University at all times. Failure to do so will not give rise to any claim or action of any nature against the University by any party whatsoever.


Career Opportunities

Occupational therapists, academics and researchers

Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 31/07/2021
  • Non-SA – 31/07/2021

Admission Requirements

Important information for all prospective students for 2022

  • The admission requirements apply to students who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications.
  • Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to:
    • Brochure: Undergraduate Programme Information 2022: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB, available at click here.
  • Citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) should also refer to:
  • School of Tomorrow (SOT), Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) and General Education Development Test (GED): The University of Pretoria no longer accepts qualifications awarded by these institutions.
  • National Certificate (Vocational) (NCV) Level 4: The University of Pretoria may consider NCV candidates, provided they meet the exemption for bachelor’s status criteria and the programme requirements.

Transferring students

A transferring student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme at the University of Pretoria (UP) –

  • is a registered student at another tertiary institution, or was previously registered at another tertiary institution and did not complete the programme enrolled for at that institution, and is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has completed studies at another tertiary institution, but is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has started with tertiary studies at UP, then moved to another tertiary institution and wants to be readmitted at UP.

A transferring student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or having completed a higher certificate at a tertiary institution with faculty-specific subjects/modules passed (equal to or more than 50%), as well as complying with faculty rules on admission;
  • previous academic performance (must have passed all modules registered for up to the closing date of application ) or as per faculty regulation/promotion requirements;
  • a certificate of good conduct.

Note: Students who have been dismissed at the previous institution due to poor academic performance, will not be considered for admission to UP.

Returning students

A returning student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme –

  • is a registered student at UP, and wants to transfer to another degree at UP, or was previously registered at UP and did not complete the programme enrolled for, and did not enrol at another tertiary institution in the meantime (including students who applied for leave of absence), or has completed studies at UP, but is not currently enrolled or was not enrolled at another tertiary institution after graduation.

A returning student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or previous academic performance (should have a cumulative weighted average of at least 50% for the programme enrolled for);
  • having applied for and was granted leave of absence.

Note: Students who have been excluded/dismissed from a faculty due to poor academic performance may be considered for admission to another programme at UP.  The Admissions Committee may consider such students if they were not dismissed more than twice. Only ONE transfer between UP faculties will be allowed, and a maximum of two (2) transfers within a faculty.

Important faculty-specific information on undergraduate programmes for 2022

  • The following persons will be considered for admission: a candidate who is in possession of a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required National Senior Certificate (NSC) with university endorsement; a candidate who is a graduate from another tertiary institution or has been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution; a candidate who is a graduate of another Faculty at the University of Pretoria; and a candidate who is currently studying at a university.
  • Admission to Health Sciences programmes is subject to a selection process.
  • Grade 11 final examination results will be used for the conditional selection of prospective students.
  • For selection purposes, the sum of the results in six subjects, including English, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is calculated.
  • Life Orientation is excluded in the calculation of the Admission Point Score (APS).
  • All modules will be presented in English, as English is the language of tuition, communication and correspondence.
  • Places are reserved in specific categories to ensure an equitable representation of demographically defined designated groups. Selection thus takes place in different categories.
  • For purposes of selection in the Faculty of Health Sciences, the “Designated Group” category includes South African Black African or South African Coloured African candidates. The “Open” category refers to all applicants including applicants from the Designated Group who compete first in the Open category and then in the Designated Group category if unsuccessful in the Open category.
  • Target numbers are specified for all categories as applicable to each programme. Where insufficient applications are received from qualifying applicants in a certain category, the selection committee may decide not to fill all places or to fill the places from qualifying applicants in another category.
  • A limited number of places are made available to citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens), with those from SADC countries being given preference. Permanent residents of RSA are not categorised as foreign students. Applications from citizens from countries other than South Africa  (applicants who are not South African citizens) may also be considered if they are
    • citizens or permanent residents of countries which have relevant government to government agreements with South Africa
    • asylum seekers or refugees
  • Citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) who do not comply with the conditions above may be considered if space is available.
  • If an applicant has multiple citizenships, which includes South African citizenship, he/she will be considered as a South African applicant.
  • The final number of places allocated to new applicants will be determined on an annual basis taking into account the teaching facilities and resources available and, where necessary, the number of places allocated to students repeating modules in the first year of study of each degree programme.
  • Only applicants who comply with the requirements set out in this document will be considered for selection. However, the achievement of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as only a limited number of students can be accommodated.
  • Selection is based on merit. The faculty does not determine specific selection cut-off values for the different categories. Such values are generated by the competing students within a particular category in relation to the number of places available.
  • A Merit Point Score (MPS) is used for ranking applicants for selection purposes in all programmes. In certain programmes other criteria such as rural residence may be used as part of the selection process.
  • Only first-choice applicants will be considered, except where otherwise specified, in which case second-choice candidates may be considered if there are places available.
  • The top candidates will be selected provisionally up to or surpassing the allocated number, based on experience of the expected number of acceptances. A waiting list is created from the group of candidates with the next highest scores. The length of the waiting list is determined by experience of the number of places likely to become available and to prevent creating unrealistic expectations.
  • All offers are provisional until the final exam results have been received. For applicants in the School leaver categories a provisional place will be confirmed as long as the NSC or equivalent scores do not fall by more than two points from the Grade 11 APS score.
  • After the final NSC or equivalent qualification results are received, provisional offers will be confirmed if the applicant still meets the required criteria. The MPS of those on the waiting list will be recalculated using the NSC or equivalent qualification results and if places become available they will be made offers.
  • Places becoming available in any category after selection due to cancellation or forfeiture will be filled from the waiting list for the specific category.
  • This waiting list will remain active until the end of the second week after the start of lectures.
  • All successful candidates are admitted to the first year of study only. Registered students in the University Experienced categories may apply for credit for equivalent modules which they have completed.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered and any false information provided by an applicant in his/her application may result in immediate cancellation of the application, admission or registration.
  • Candidates should note that their conditional admission will be revoked if their APS drops by more than two points in their final school examination results.
  • PLEASE NOTE that compliance with the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to any programme in this Faculty.
  • Selection queries may be directed to click here.
  • A student who is made an offer but does not accept it cannot defer the offer and must reapply to be considered in the following year.

University of Pretoria website click here

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language


Physical Sciences









Selection Process

Selection criteria are available on the faculty's webpage at: click here.

  • Forty-five (45) first-year students are selected annually.
  • Only first-choice applicants are considered.
  • Conditional selection is based on the final Grade 11 results.
  • Candidates must comply with the minimum admission requirements.
  • Candidates are required to maintain their Grade 11 averages (in terms of which they were conditionally selected) in the final school examination and ensure that the APS does not drop by more than two points.

Duration of study

4 years, full-time.

Faculty Notes

The Faculty of Health Sciences continues to exemplify and build on the University of Pretoria’s vision of being a leading research-intensive university in Africa: it is recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, as well as for creating knowledge, developing people and making a difference locally and globally. 

The Faculty is home to 5 500 undergraduate and 1 500 postgraduate students, including medical and dental fellowship training in more than 40 disciplines. 

The Faculty’s research output has grown, in response to the need for research that is relevant to the improvement of health and health care and advancing medicine in South Africa, Africa and globally. 

Enquiries about the programme

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