Graduating from bachelorhood
By Mark Brown
Western will have 47 more graduate students as a result of a plan approved by the Board of Governors.
Following last night's decision, the bachelor of science in occupational therapy program will become a masters of clinical science program, effective immediately. A separate decision created a new doctoral program in rehabilitation sciences.
"This is the first and only school in Canada to offer a masters program other schools are looking at it," said Helene Polatajko, chair of occupational therapy at Western. The program change is the product of work over the last seven years with the help of faculty, students and members of the clinical community, she added.
Since the academic year had already begun, the program accepted some students who had a three-year degree.
"This is only happening for this year because we are in transition," Polatajko said. Students who plan to enroll in the program for the 1999/2000 school year will have to have a four-year honours degree.
Students who are already enrolled in the program will be granted special student status, Polatajko said. "If they do what the other students before them did and prove that they can handle the work, then they will be admitted as a regular student into the program."
The organizers are fairly confident the students with three-year degrees will be able to handle the material, explained Helen Kerr, administrative assistant for student affairs for occupational therapy. "All the students that come into the program have a 78 per cent average or higher to occupy one of the 47 spaces."
Doug Prince, a student currently enrolled in the program, said it is an appropriate change since the program will reflect the changes in the health care sector.
Tuition for the new masters program will likely go up next year by approximately $1,300 to match the other masters program in the faculty, Polatajko said.
Unlike the masters program which was recently approved, the new PhD in rehabilitation sciences was a long process, explained David Cooke, physical therapy and physiology professor and former dean of applied health sciences.
"The area of research here had developed and matured to the point where a doctorate program was warranted and necessary," Cooke said.
Cooke added this degree is exciting because it will cut across several other fields including physical therapy, kinesiology.
The program will be offered to students for the first time next fall and will likely have a limited enrollment of about six students, he added.