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Program Requirements

Students admitted to the post-professional OTD program will have worked for at least two years as an occupational therapist. Students need to successfully complete the 36-credit curriculum that includes core courses, electives, and an individualized capstone project. Students entering the program with a bachelors degree will complete an additional 9 credits. Core course content includes occupational therapy theory, evidence-based practice, research design and methods, leadership, education, occupational justice, and advocacy. Each student will submit a plan of study that describes how their chosen electives and capstone project will meet their professional goals and desired outcomes. The capstone project will have a written and oral defense process.

The focus of the OTD is to provide clinicians with a stronger, more up-to-date theoretical base; advance their leadership skills; provide knowledge and skills in evidence-based research related to their practice area(s); and enhance scholarly writing skills. In order to successfully complete the program and capstone, students are expected to pass a writing competency during coursework. This is accomplished by earning a grade of B- or better on 2 papers in the following classes:

    • OC TH 7302 EBP – Final Paper
    • OC TH 7352 EBP II – Final Proposal Assignment
    • OC TH 7022 Critical Analysis of OS – OS Scholarly Paper
    • OC TH 7152 Culture and Occupation – Final Integrating Paper
    • OC TH 7272 Program Development and Grant Writing

How long will it take to earn my OTD?

There are many factors to consider when answering this question. It depends on how many courses a student can take each semester. Individual plans of study are set up for each student based on what term the student enters the program, how many courses a student takes per semester, when core OTD courses are offered and how long it takes the student to complete the capstone project. The course plan may extend beyond the presumed completion term based on these factors.

Students have 4 years, if entering with a masters, or 5 years, if entering with a bachelors, to complete the OTD coursework and 5 semesters to complete their capstone project (from beginning of Capstone credits until completion). If a student does not finish their capstone in 5 semesters, the student will be dismissed from the program, unless there are mitigating circumstances and the student has communicated such circumstances to their Capstone Advisory Committee Chair in advance. 

Suggested OTD Course Plan

*For students wishing to attend year round and take 6 credit hours per semester. Each course listed is 3 credit hours.

Master's to OTD Summer Fall Spring
Year 1 OCTH 6062 Contemporary Theories & Models in OT Practice OCTH 7152 Culture & Occupation OCTH 7022 Critical Analysis of Occupational Science
OCTH 7302 Evidence-Based Practice & Research I OCTH 7352 Evidence-Based Practice & Research II OCTH 7972 Capstone Project
Year 2 OCTH 7272 Program Development/Grant OCTH 7132 Academic & Clinical Teaching in OT OCTH 7242 Doctoral Level Leadership
Elective OCTH 7972 Capstone Project Elective
Master's to OTD Credit Hours Core = 30 Electives = 6
  Total = 36

Students entering with a bachelors degree will complete an additional 9 credits of coursework which may include statistics, writing, and/or research. 

Students may transfer up to 6 credit hours if taken within the last 7 years of admission and not applied toward a previous degree. 

Capstone Project

The capstone is an individually mentored project in an area of interest that will contribute to the knowledge base for the profession. This may be, but is not limited to, a research project, program development and evaluation, curricular development, or a leadership project. The project must be related to an interest area of the faculty in the occupational therapy program:

  • optimal aging, health and wellness
  • excellence in teaching
  • families and caregiving
  • neuro rehabilitation
  • Autism and developmental disabilities
  • occupational justice with marginalized populations
  • strategy development for people with executive dysfunction
  • contemporary trends in practice with children and youth
  • occupational justice with marginalized populations
  • self management of people with chronic conditions