Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Boston School of Occupational Therapy, 1945
The Boston School of Occupational Therapy (BSOT) is part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences on the Medford campus. The school was founded in 1918 and was first affiliated with Tufts in 1945. It offers master's degrees and several certificate programs in aspects of occupational therapy, and is accredited by the American Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
The Boston School of Occupational Therapy, affiliated with Tufts since 1945, was founded in 1918 at the request of the surgeon general of the United States, to assist in the rehabilitation needs of hospitalized service personnel during World War I. The school, one of the first of its kind in the country,was incorporated in 1921, with a three year course of study leading to a diploma in occupational therapy. The school admitted women only, until 1967, when the first male student was granted a degree from the school. In 1945, the Boston School of Occupational Therapy became affiliated with Tufts University through the College of Special Studies. The school merged with Tufts in 1960 to form the Tufts University-Boston School of Occupational Therapy within the Faculty of Artsand Sciences. When the undergraduate component of the curriculum was phased out in 1986, it became part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The school was originally located on Harcourt Street in Boston. As the school strengthened its ties to Tufts, it moved in 1959-60 to the School of Medicine's Boston campus, where it occupied two floors of the NEMC Stearns Building. In January 1982, it moved to the Conwell Building in Somerville, a former elementary school, adjacent to the Tufts campus. BSOT is currently located at 26 Winthrop Street on the Medford campus.
The school originally offered a professional undergraduate course of study. Upon joining with Tufts through the Division of University Extension, the school offered a five-year program in which students could earn the diploma in occupational therapy and a B.S. in education with four years of academic study and one year of clinical experience.
In 1960, the school merged with Tufts University, becoming the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Special Studies, while continuing to use the BSOT name. In 1961 the degree of B.S. in occupational therapy was offered as an alternative to the B.S. in education. By 1967 the faculty of BSOT was included in the university's policy on academic freedom and tenure, and the non-degree certificate program was eliminated, both signifying the closer relationship between the school and the university.
Similar to other schools administered by the extension division, BSOT students lived a separate existence from other Tufts undergraduates and were enrolled in separate sections of liberal arts courses and lived in their own dormitories. As BSOT became academically and administratively more closely integrated with Tufts, this situation provoked the BSOT Alumni Association for the "second class" status of the school and its students to be addressed. The merger of BSOT with Tufts was a step toward remedying this situation, and at this time upper class students were moved into shared housing with Jackson College and the Eliot Pearson School. However, BSOT students continued to be required to shuttle between the Boston and Medford campuses with no real "home" on either.
In the 1960s and 1970s enrollments grew significantly from eighty students in 1962-63 to over 200 in 1975, when the school was granted full accreditationby the American Occupational Therapy Association.
In 1971 the degree requirements for the undergraduate degree were changed to match those for Liberal Arts and Jackson, and in 1972 a combined degree program with a B.S. in occupational therapy and an M.S. in education was authorized.1977 saw the establishment of an M.S. in occupational therapy degree.
In 1982, BSOT moved all of its operations to the Medford campus and at the same time was separated from the College of Special Studies to form its own constituent school in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
In the fall of 1986, a decisionwas made to discontinue the undergraduate curriculum in occupational therapy, with no additional undergraduates being admitted to the program.
As of 2000, BSOT continues to offer education in occupational therapy at the masters level as well as several certificate programs in continuing education for registered occupational therapists.
Source: LOH1; LOH2