The USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is launching a new online program aimed at busy practicing occupational therapists who want to enhance their clinical competencies and advance their career development.

Beginning in January, the USC Online Post-Professional Master of Arts Degree in Occupational Therapy will use state-of-the-art instructional methods including video conferencing tools and digital learning materials to deliver an exclusively online educational experience that upholds the quality, standards and reputation synonymous with USC occupational therapy.

“This is a landmark moment for the USC Chan Division, as we are now able to bring the best of USC occupational therapy education directly from Los Angeles to the worldwide community of occupational therapists” said Myka Winder, OTD, assistant professor of clinical occupational therapy and the USC Chan Division’s director of online education. “No matter where in the world you might be practicing occupational therapy, as long as you can get online, USC Chan can get to you.”

The program is designed specifically to meet the needs of both seasoned American occupational therapists, who may be looking to reinvigorate their knowledge base or career trajectories, as well as international-based clinicians for whom a master’s degree signifies the pinnacle of occupational therapy expertise within their respective countries. To date, the USC post-professional master’s degree program has only been offered as in-person, on-campus program. With this new online, part-time option for earning the post-professional master’s degree in occupational therapy, students no longer need to suspend their clinical careers and relocate to Southern California in order to earn a USC degree.

“I am so excited that we are now providing an online degree option for practicing therapists to take their skills to the next level,” said Erna Blanche, PhD, who is the director of the post-professional master’s degree program and professor of clinical occupational therapy. “This is truly the best of both worlds — an excellent education with the convenience of an online, part-time learning format.”

As part of its preparation in developing the new online program, USC Chan has invested in a full-time instructional designer, who is an expert in the theory- and research-based processes of designing and implementing curricula and course materials for optimal learning. The program has also invested in the digital infrastructure needed to seamlessly deliver excellent online education such as Zoom Video Conferencing for live sessions and Articulate Storyline for interactive lecture slides.

“For nearly 75 years, USC has been at the forefront of innovation in educational programming and curricula,” said associate clinical professor Julie McLaughlin Gray, PhD, who also serves as USC Chan’s associate chair of curriculum and faculty. “This online program not only builds on that legacy but is a significant step towards the next 75 years of USC occupational therapy education.”

The USC Chan Division has an unparalleled record of innovation in occupational therapy degree programs. USC inaugurated the nation’s first post-professional degree program in occupational therapy in 1947, the nation’s first two-year, entry-level master’s degree in occupational therapy in 1962 and, in 1989, created the world’s first doctoral program in occupational science.

Eligible students must hold a baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 from either an accredited college or university or from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapy®. Because the program is delivered entirely online, there are no additional on-campus attendance requirements in order for students to graduate.

To learn more about the new USC Online Post-Professional Master of Arts Degree in Occupational Therapy program, visit

— Mike McNulty