University of Southern California
Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

About Us

Purpose and Vision

Occupational science is the science of everyday living. Although “occupations” (our day-to-day activities) may appear simple, occupational scientists and occupational therapists recognize that performing them involves a complex interplay of physical, psychosocial, spiritual and contextual dimensions. Ranging from the mundane to the exceptional, there is something valuable about every human activity—from simple activities, rarely valued until gone, such as brushing one’s teeth, to compelling occupations that form the core of one’s identity, like art. This is the passion of occupational scientists and occupational therapists—the extraordinary nature of engaging in ordinary life. It is through this lens that our Division arrives at its purpose:

Through innovative research, education and clinical practice, the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy optimizes people’s engagement in the ordinary and extraordinary activities of life.


The Division is unique among institutions of higher learning around the world because of the comprehensive nature of its occupation-related programs, from research to practice. No other occupational therapy program is “end-to-end,” with clinical practice at hospitals fully integrated into the academic program. Because both interconnected disciplines, occupational science and occupational therapy, reside within one Division, we can attract and develop future leaders in healthcare who understand the cutting-edge discoveries within interdisciplinary fields that affect our profession, and how to implement best practices in a clinical setting. With this model, students gain exposure to different ways of thinking about and understanding diverse societal needs, enabling the flexibility to pursue different career paths and ladders. Our breadth grounds our contributions to translational science; we effectively transfer new knowledge to clinical practice and occupational education in order to maximize our impact on patients, families, community and society. To our applicants we can say with confidence that all of our professional occupational therapy programs are both research-based and evidence-based. It is through this lens that our Division arrives at its vision:

Our vision is to be one of the world’s leading academic programs in occupational science and occupational therapy—and to develop expert, compassionate leaders who improve the health and well-being of individuals and society.