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Theory in every textbook. Practice in every classroom.

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Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Earn a Doctor of Occupational Therapy in as Little as 2 Years

As an occupational therapist, you already changes lives. Now, our OTD program can prepare you to have an even greater impact on your profession and your patients. Learn advanced leadership skills, pedagogy techniques, and clinical knowledge and prepare to reach new heights in your career.

Program is offered at the following campuses. Select a campus to learn more.


Earn a Doctor of Occupational Therapy in as Little as 2 Years

Develop Your Expertise as a Practitioner & Scholar

Designed for practicing occupational therapists, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program can prepare you to:

  • Critically analyze, interpret, and synthesize scientific evidence, data, and findings, and appropriately implement evidenced-based clinical practices into patient care.
  • Advocate for the rights of clients, communities, and entire populations to receive prompt, effective occupational therapy services and work to develop related local and national policies.
  • Leverage and justify resources to make therapeutic interventions more effective.
  • Understand industry changes and issues around managed care, third party reimbursement, access to specialty care, and how occupational therapy fits into contemporary practice models.
  • Collaborate with peers, faculty, subject matter experts, researchers, and practitioners on peer-reviewed publications and formal presentations.
The OTD program culminates in a capstone project that brings together all of your experiences in the program as you focus in on an industry need or issue, specific product, or assessment tool. After developing your hypotheses, gathering empirical data, conducting analyses, and studying research implications and outcomes, you’ll give your final capstone presentation. To help you get most from this experience, you’ll work closely with and receive guidance from faculty mentors, the OTD Program Director, and your Capstone Advisory Committee throughout your entire project.

OTD Program Courses: What You Can Learn

The OTD program’s courses explore a variety of topics that include:

  • Historical perspectives in occupational therapy
  • Neuro-occupations
  • Health promotion and healthcare policy
  • Healthcare management and program development
  • Multidisciplinary integration of occupation and clinical intervention
  • Research methodologies and inquiry
  • Clinical doctoral outcome measures
  • Advanced scholarship and practice
  • Critical analysis of occupational therapy practice
  • Advanced clinical and professional ethics
You’ll also be able to choose from electives that focus on:
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Emerging issues in advanced geriatric practice
  • Current topics in pediatric intervention and practice
  • Current topics in behavioral health intervention
  • Current topics in adult rehabilitation intervention
  • Exploration of leadership in occupational therapy
  • Leadership, patient advocacy, and social policy

OTD Tracks for Bachelor’s and Master’s Graduates

Based on your prior education, our OTD program offers two paths to graduation, each with a different timeline and credit requirement.

If you have a master’s degree: If you hold a master’s degree in occupational therapy, you may be able to enter the program via Track A and graduate faster than applicants with a bachelor’s degree. In this track, 58 credit hours are required to earn your doctor of occupational therapy.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and a related master’s degree in health sciences may also complete the program on Track A.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy: You will enter into Track B unless you can demonstrate proof of having taken the required prerequisite courses at an approved institution. This track requires 74 credit hours for earning your doctor of occupational therapy.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Admissions Requirements

End your search for occupational therapy doctoral programs today with the OTD program from South University! Our admissions criteria for the doctor of occupational therapy program include:

  • Student holds an Occupational Therapy degree from an ACOTE accredited or WFOT approved program (Bachelor’s or Master’s).
  • If licensure is available and an individual is practicing, then he/she must be licensed within the state/territory/country and provide proof of licensure.
    • International students should provide a letter from the licensing agency as proof of licensure.
    • U.S. Residents practicing should be in good standing with the NBCOT and the local licensing entity.
  • Baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution with a CGPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale on all Occupational Therapy programmatic courses.
  • Or
  • Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution with a CGPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale on the degree earned.
    • Note: Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a master’s degree in Health Sciences (e.g. Public Health, Nursing, Health Sciences, etc.) may qualify for placement into the advanced track.
  • Submission of official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended within 10 weeks of the class start date.
  • Minimum of two years of experience as an Occupational Therapist.
  • Completion of application for admission.
  • Three recommendations using the OTD Recommendation for Admission Form. Two recommendations must be from an Occupational Therapist.
  • Submission of a typed essay, not to exceed 750 words (Refer to the OTD Student Essay form.)
  • Interview with the Program Director or designee.

To obtain answers to questions about our OTD program, request information below or contact us at 1.800.688.0932.

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