College of Education and Rehabilitation

Occupational Therapy

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) requires 86 semester hours for completion over a period of 32 months. This program builds on the University’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT), which is 56 semester hours delivered over a 21 month period. With this degree students are eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) examination required to meet state licensing requirements.

Prior to entering the program, applicants must provide evidence of a Bachelor’s degree and completion of 21 credit hours of foundational prerequisite courses for partial completion of ACOTE standards.

The OTD builds on the MSOT through the addition of advanced occupational therapy courses, specialty course work and specialized doctoral experiential learning. Under normal circumstances, all courses, as well as fieldwork and practicum placements, are completed in no more than 32 months.  Students must complete the entire program in four years.

Program Overview

The Entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy provides students with the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors needed to understand the challenges and opportunities for occupational therapists engaging in leadership in the dynamic areas of practice, research and education.  Building on the University’s education, rehabilitation and health science programs, we provide graduates with advanced knowledge and skills in a specialty area of practice unique to entry-level doctoral preparation.

Students with a Bachelor’s degree may apply for entry into either the MSOT or OTD program. It is possible for students to change their degree selection once they are enrolled.  A student who enters the program as an MSOT candidate may request admission to the doctoral program (doctoral students also have the opportunity to request a change to the master’s program). 

During the first two semesters of study, all students take the same classes.  All qualified students (in both programs) are awarded a Master of Science Degree after successful completion of the first five semesters of coursework (56 credit hours).  These 56 hours include two Fieldwork Level II experiences and a Capstone project.

Students in the doctoral program are introduced to advanced Occupational Therapy courses starting in the first summer session and continuing through the second summer session, culminating in a comprehensive final exam required for doctoral candidacy. Students start in their area of specialization in the second fall session and complete eight months of coursework in their specialty area of practice, including the doctoral practicum. 

Three specialization options are available:  Vision Rehabilitation, Leadership Education and Health Policy, and Health and Wellness.  Unique sub-specializations in the fields of pediatric vision therapy, brain injury, and low vision rehabilitation are also available.

OTD Program Length | OTD Degree Requirements

  • 32 months graduate coursework
  • 2 full-time Level II Fieldwork rotations (12 weeks each)
  • Minimum 640 hours Doctoral Practicum
  • Capstone Project, Comprehensive Final Exam, Directed Independent Study (2)

Length of Program/Activities

Year 1:
Length of Program Activities
August to December Fall semester coursework
January to May  Spring semester coursework with Fieldwork Level 1
May to August    Summer session coursework with Fieldwork Level 1
Year 2 :
Length of Program Activities
August to December Fall semester coursework with Fieldwork Level 1
Capstone Project and selection of Specialty Track
January to June  Full-time Fieldwork Level II rotation 1 (12 weeks)
Full-time Fieldwork Level II rotation 2 (12 weeks)
Includes online coursework
May to August   Summer session course work using blended platform
Comprehensive Final Exam

  *Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree is awarded at this time.

Year 3 :
Length of Program Activities
August to December  Specialty Track coursework (minimum 13 credit hours)
Directed Independent Study
January to May  Doctoral Practicum (minimum 640 hours) | Directed Independent Study

Entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Have acquired, as a foundation for professional study, a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences and an understanding of issues related to diversity
  2. Be educated as a generalist with a broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service
  3. Have achieved entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education
  4. Be prepared to articulate and apply occupational therapy theory and evidence-based evaluations and interventions to achieve expected outcomes as related to occupation
  5. Be prepared to be a lifelong learner, and keep current with evidence-based professional practice
  6. Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession
  7. Understand the distinct roles and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant in the supervisory process
  8. Be prepared to advocate as a professional for the occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services
  9. Be prepared to be an effective consumer of the latest research and knowledge bases that support practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge
  10. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of delivery models, policies, and systems related to the area of practice in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service
  11. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of evidence-based practice
  12. Demonstrate active involvement in professional development, leadership, and advocacy
  13. Relate theory to practice and demonstrate synthesis of advanced knowledge in a practice area through completion of a culminating project
  14. Develop in-depth experience in one or more of the following areas through completion of a doctoral experiential component: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.

Accreditation Standards for a Doctoral-Degree-Level Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist.  Am J Occup Ther, 61 (6), 641-651.

OTD Graduation Requirements

Graduation and the awarding of a degree from the University are contingent upon the satisfactory completion of both academic and behavioral requirements.  All students must demonstrate the emotional maturity, stability and professional attributes desirable for the practice of their profession, must be of good moral character and must have demonstrated integrity and honesty in their personal behavior.

All required curricula, fieldwork placements and a capstone project must be completed with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.  Under normal circumstances all didactic course/clinical and fieldwork placements are completed in no more than 32 months (not including approved leaves of absence) and students must present evidence of continuing to make satisfactory academic progress at all times.  A student must complete the entire program within four years.   Extensions will be reviewed by the Dean of the College of Education and Rehabilitation (CER) on an individual basis and must be approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.