University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Human life comprises hundreds of daily activities that occupy our waking hours. These activities, defined as “occupations,” have a profound impact on how we feel physically, emotionally, socially and even spiritually. They can provide a sense of satisfaction and well-being, but they can also create stress, imbalance and dissatisfaction. While they indeed include professional, employment and work activities, occupations include more than just a person’s career, because people of all ages, cultures and capabilities engage in occupations. Occupational therapy is the profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through engagement in everyday activity, while occupational science is the study of the phenomena of occupation.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a health care profession aimed at improving performance, preventing illness and disability, and promoting adaptation to life changes. In this interdisciplinary field, occupational therapists help all people, those with and without disabilities, to live healthier, happier and more productive lives. But with demand for health care services anticipated to be strong through the next decade, occupational therapy is also a secure career choice. In fact, the profession of Occupational Therapy has recently been named one of the:

  • “5 Most In-Demand Jobs Right Now” by Time Magazine
  • “50 Best-Paying Recession-Proof Jobs” by The 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs
  • “Best Careers” by U.S. News & World Report
  • “10 Occupations in High Demand” and “7 Jobs That Pay You to Play All Day” by
  • “10 Booming Jobs” by
  • “Best Jobs in America” by Money/
  • “The Best Master’s Degrees for Jobs”, “Hot Jobs Where Pay is Rising”, “10 Best Entry-Level Jobs”, “10 Best-Paying Jobs for Women”, and “20 Fastest-Growing Jobs for Women” by
  • “Employment expected grow much faster than average. Job opportunities should be good.” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Learn more about the profession of Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Science

Occupational Science is the scientific study of human activity. This academic discipline generates knowledge about the impact of occupation on the health of individuals, communities, nations and the world. Devoted to supporting clinical practices of Occupational Therapy through scientific research, Occupational Science draws upon multiple disciplines (such as education, physiology, pediatrics, gerontology, etc.) to understand the underlying, diverse forces that shape occupation, as well as the effect of occupation on our health and well-being.

Learn more about the field of Occupational Science.

U.S. News Ranks USC #1 Program in the Nation

USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
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Phone: (323) 442-2850 · Toll free: (866) 385-4250
Fax: (323) 442-1540
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Request program information  Request program information

The USC entry-level master's degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE). ACOTE c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, (301) 652-6611 x2914,

Professional program graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.®



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