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About the program

In a historical milestones description, the occupational therapy is a new profession in Brazil and in the world. Its first undergraduate courses were inaugurated in the 1950s in the country and just in the end of 1990’s it has been composed by an expressive number of occupational therapists with post-graduation strictu sensu degrees. From the point of view of the graduate education of its professionals, the area has appeared about 20 years ago and the capacity of conducting research has been increasing by this profession, but still limitedThis situation was influenced by the lack of stricto sensu graduate programs in this field in Brazil and in Latin America, which forced those professionals who currently have a Doctorate Degreeto do their qualification in occupational therapy abroad or, as the majority, in related areas, in different graduate programs in Brazil.

This effort promoted the academic institutionalization of occupational therapy. The configuration of the occupational therapy as area field of knowledge increased, considerably, its production in Brazil, acknowledged in the scientific production of the area and participation in 25 Research Groups registered in the Brazilian Research Agency CNPq - Directory of Research Groups in Brazil, coordinated by occupational therapists in 2009, at the same time of the proposal of the Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy - PPGTO - by the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). It is important to highlight that six from those 25 groups were led by faculty members of the Occupational Therapy Department of UFSCar. In addition, nine from those 25 groups were led by researchers who integrated the proposal of the PPGTO/ UFSCar. Actually (2019) we have 42 research groups registered. 

The investment made by Higher Education Institutions in the education of occupational therapy faculty members, in Master’s and Doctorate Courses, enabled some of them to engage in graduate programs in related areas in the country. This scenario increased the experience of teaching and supervising on Master' and Doctorate degrees.

Considering the Occupational Therapy Department at UFSCar, in 2009, five from 14 PhD faculties were already performing activities in graduate programs in the area of education and special education. This participation was very important to develop their teaching and supervision skills, and scientific production in the graduate program due to the interchange with other professionals and for conducting  research projects.

However, these initiatives did not supply the need to implement a specific graduate Program, where the specific subjects of the area were investigated, since the development of this area should be generated from the pursuit of resolutions of problems in the specific field. As a consequence, the need for the establishment of a graduate Program in Occupational Therapy in Brazil, to educate researchers committed to the production of knowledge in the area, so the creation of the Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy Program at UFSCar, in 2010, was a path towards this goal.

The expectation was that the PPGTO/UFSCar could generate, in the medium term, the conditions for proposing a Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy in Brazil, thus enabling the effective education of researchers in the area of Occupational Therapy, which, in fact, happened in 2015, when the PPGTO inaugurated its first Doctorate course in Latin America. The first thesis were finished in 2019.