European Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences)Amsterdam, Netherlands
Reviewed by NVAO
- Valid from
- Valid until
- Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
On 19 and 20 January 2023 an international panel visited the European Master of Science in
Occupational Therapy (OT-EuroMaster) at the Faculty of Health of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). The panel’s remit was double: to re-establish the programme’s quality of internationalisation (CeQuInt) and to assess again the intended and achieved learning outcomes of the programme according to the standards of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). This document addresses the former task, while the panel’s assessment of the NVAO standards is reported in a separate document.
The OT-EuroMaster has been running since 1999 and is offered by a consortium of five higher education institutions in Europe, who agreed that AUAS would host the programme. The programme aims to further the scientific competences and research skills of professionals in occupational therapy. Its two-year part-time 90 ECTS curriculum is designed to promote international knowledge, intercultural dialogue and the mobility of staff and students. Because of its international orientation in terms of student background and consortium partnership, the OT-EuroMaster is offered in English.
The panel has established that the OT-EuroMaster programme fulfils all standards and all criteria of the CeQuInt evaluation framework. It judges one standard to be satisfactory, two standards to be good and two other standards to be excellent. As a result, the panel advises the European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education to confer the Certificate to the European Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.
The OT-EuroMaster programme breathes internationalisation and is built on solid foundations which are shared and supported by the entire consortium. The programme’s primary internationalization goals are to support the development of research capacity in occupational therapy in Europe and beyond, and to enhance students’ cultural competence and sensitivity.
The rationale behind these ambitions is the programme’s conviction that building research capacity and having adequate cultural competence and sensitivity is essential for graduates to perform their jobs as occupational therapists properly. The strategy, which is laid down in the Board Policy 2015-2020 needs an update to reflect the current situation in higher education, in occupational therapy and in the programme. When updating this strategy, the consortium is advised to pay specific attention to the vision of the programme – what makes this programme stand out and how does it express its European identity within a global perspective – and to formulate verifiable objectives that allow monitoring progress and achievements of the internationalisation goals.
International and intercultural learning has been part and parcel of the OT-EuroMaster since its very beginning. Until 2021, the international and intercultural components of the programme were rather implicitly incorporated in the learning outcomes. Nonetheless, students were taught and assessed formatively on these elements and left the programme with a wealth of newly acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes. In the meantime, the programme outcomes and the curriculum set-up have been revised. Since September 2022, the international and intercultural components constitute an explicit and integrated part of the programme learning outcomes, of what OT-EuroMaster students are expected to learn and develop throughout the curriculum modules, and of what they need to achieve by the time they finish the programme. The panel commends the programme for explicitly integrating the international and intercultural learning outcomes in the modules’ assessment rubrics and for assessing these outcomes in a summative way.
In terms of teaching and learning, the OT-EuroMaster has built up considerable experience. The commitment of the consortium partners and their staff teams to the curriculum, the students and to the teaching methods is strong. Many concrete examples demonstrate that internationalisation is essential to the programme and that students develop an intercultural awareness and sensitivity, which they continue to use in their professional career. Across all CeQuInt standards, the panel considers that programme performance excels most in teaching and learning.
The programme staff is numerous, knowledgeable, academically strong, experienced, enthusiastic and committed. Students are positive about their study experience in general and about the quality and availability of the staff in particular. The combination of staff from different partner institutions who bring their own academic, professional and cultural background allows for international and intercultural experiences throughout the programme.
The recent developments in curriculum adjustment and consortium partner switch have further enhanced the attractiveness of the OT-EuroMaster programme. The panel thinks highly of the quality of students and alumni, who form(ed) geographically and culturally diverse student cohorts. During their study, all OT-EuroMaster students benefit from a comprehensive international and intercultural experience. The programme should be commended for attracting good quality and ambitious students representing a wealth of different cultural and national backgrounds. Students from their side deserve recognition for using the full potential of the programme in view of (the continuation of) their professional career.
In addition to all positive comments and appreciations, the panel sees room for improvement in a few areas. It advises the OT-EuroMaster to:
- update the Board Policy, and include verifiable objectives to monitor progress in achieving the internationalisation goals;
- sharpen the vision of the programme (in the updated strategy document) with regard to its European identity in a global perspective;
- expand and further diversify the staff team, possibly with colleagues from countries where occupational therapy is not yet offered at master level;
- have its ambitions in terms of student recruitment reflected in marketing campaigns and financial support schemes.
In sum, the panel considers that the OT-EuroMaster fulfils each of the five standards and all fifteen criteria of the CeQuInt assessment framework. Moreover, the programme clearly surpasses current generic quality on four standards. Therefore, the panel’s overall judgement on the quality of internationalisation of the OT-EuroMaster programme is positive.