Occupational Therapy Programme
The University of Akureyri is the only institution in Iceland offering a study programme in occupational therapy. It is a 4-year programme and a matriculation examination (stúdentspróf), or a comparable education, is the general admission requirement. The programme satisfies the requirements of international standards and completion of the programme ensures authorisation, by the Directorate of Health, to work as an occupational therapist in Iceland.
Emphasis of the programme
The Occupational Therapy programme is based on health-, bio- and social sciences, with a focus on people's occupation and quality of life. Emphasis is on the influence of environmental and individual factors on functioning in society and participation and various ways of problem solving. Field studies comprise a total of 25 weeks and take place in various settings all over the country. The programme is a systematic preparation for working as an occupational therapist in various settings within health- and social services, the school system and in the private sector.
Aims of the programme
The main objective of the Occupational Therapy programme is to provide students with knowledge, views and skills that reflect the status and development of occupational therapy at each time and promotes good service and cooperation with users. Emphasis is put on integrating the various subjects of study so that students acquire a profound understanding of the interaction of occupation, man and environment.
On-campus studies and distance studies
In addition to on-campus studies, distance studies in Occupational Therapy are offered through the internet and consequently independent of the students' domicile. Distance students are required to attend study sessions on campus in Akureyri one or two weeks every semester where they receive tuition, training and participate in discussions with on-campus students.
Rules of progress
In order to proceed to the second semester of the programme a student has to achieve a grade of at least 5,0 in the first semester courses. A student has to be registered in and take exams in all courses of the first semester in the same semester. Completion of all courses in the first three semesters and registration in fourth semester's courses is a precondition for participating in field studies in the fourth semester. A student is required to complete the first half of the programme, that is, the subjects of the first and second year, before third year studies commence. The maximum time for completing the programme is six years, three years for each half. If urgent personal reasons prevent the student from completing the studies within this time limit, he/she may apply for an exemption to the School Council.
The Occupational Therapy programme is operated in cooperation with several institutions in the Nordic countries and shares a student exchange programme with a Canadian institution. This provides the students with opportunities to conduct part of their field studies abroad. The International Office at UNAK assists students applying for student exchange, housing and funding.
Various employment opportunities and possibilities for advanced studies
In Iceland there is still a shortage of occupational therapists, both within and outside the capital area. Various employment opportunities exist within conventional institutes of health and social services, in schools, in associations, in the private sector and elsewhere. There are various possibilities available for advanced study both in Iceland and abroad.
“I was amongst those who didn't know where to head after junior college. What I knew was that I wanted to work with people, wanted a diverse job that had various opportunities. I found out that occupational therapy has all that to offer and the field of occupational therapists is broad and therefore almost impossible to burn out. The study as such is varied and exciting but demanding at the same time. The field studies are an important part of the programme and already in the first year students visit occupational therapists at work. Those visits give an important insight into the great work done in the field, already at the beginning of the studies.”
Ásta Margrét Rögnvaldsdóttir