May 25, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Occupational Therapy Doctorate, O.T.D.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies

Susan McDonald, Program Contact
(423) 425-5759 or email at


The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The degree is an entry-level clinical doctorate which will provide the students with the skills and knowledge to successfully be credentialed as an occupational therapist through the successful completion of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate is a full-time degree program consisting of five semesters of didactic study, two semesters of clinical fieldwork and one 16-week (640 hours) OTD Apprenticeship Experience. The student will pursue the OTD degree in a mentored and highly individualized program of study. All students will receive a broad education in occupational therapy to provide them with essential OT practice skills. The UTC OTD curriculum is based on the Accreditation Standards for a Doctoral-Degree-Level Education Program for the Occupational Therapist (AOTA, 2006).

General information pertaining to the OTD program is located under Graduate Program Degree Requirements.  A listing of the courses is located under Detailed Listing of Courses.

General Description of the Degree

The degree is an entry-level clinical doctorate which will provide the students with the skills and knowledge to successfully be credentialed as an occupational therapist through the successful completion of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy  (NBCOT) exam.  The Occupational Therapy  Doctorate is a full-time degree program consisting of five semesters of didactic study, two semesters of clinical fieldwork and one 16-week (640 hours) OTD experiential internship.  The student will pursue the OTD degree in a mentored and highly individualized program of study.  All students will receive a board education in occupational therapy to provide them with essential OT practice skills.  They will also have the opportunity to focus in one particular area of interest such as aging or pediatrics.  

Vision Statement

The Occupational Therapy Department will be recognized as a premiere department that attracts and grows leaders of occupational therapy in the state, nation and world through exemplary integrated programs of education, practice, research, community service, and advocacy that meet real world occupational needs.

Mission Statement

The Occupational Therapy Department’s mission is three-fold:

  1. To provide doctoral-level education enabling students to integrate occupational therapy theory, practice and research
  2. To foster faculty and student research on therapeutic occupation
  3. To develop leaders and advocates for society’s occupational needs

Admission to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Applicants are required to apply for admission through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).  Application forms and information are available on-line at Applicants are responsible for assuring the completion of the packet prior to the deadline.  Following review of application materials the decision of the admissions committee is emailed to each applicant.  Students are asked to verify their acceptance to the program via email.  Classes begin Fall Semester.

The admissions committee considers the following requirements essential in determining a candidate’s potential for success in the program.  To be considered for acceptance into the OTD program, a candidate must:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (GPA).  Degrees in progress will be considered.  Official college transcripts are required.  Degrees from foreign institutions must be independently evaluated for equivalence to the U.S. baccalaureate, including, determination of a U.S. converted GPA.

  •  Applicants must complete a UTC Graduate School Application after notification of acceptance.

  • Submit the official results of the GRE revised General Test, which demonstrates a minimum of 300.  A minimum of 3.5 is required on the analytical writing measure.  All three areas must be completed.  GRE results are valid for five years from the date of the test.  Applications in OTCAS must include official GRE scores to be considered complete.  It is essential that the applicant determine the appropriate time to take the GRE so that the official results are received in a timely manner.  Students may register for the GRE at the GRE website.  The UTC OTCAS school code for the GRE is 1993.

  •  Show completion of, or a plan for completing, the following prerequisites at the College level with a grade of C or better.  Four of the six science prerequisites (marked with an *) must be completed at the time of application.  (Grades/credit must be reflected on transcripts sent to OTCAS).  The remaining prerequisite courses must be completed prior to starting the program NOT prior to application.

    • General Biology I (4 semester  hours)*
    • General Biology II (4semester hours)*
    • General Chemistry I (4 semester hours)*
    • General Physics I (4 semester hours)*
    • Human Anatomy (4 semester hours)*
    • Human Physiology (4 semester hours)*

    • Introduction to Psychology (3 semester hours)

    • Lifespan Human Development or Developmental Psychology (3 semester hours)

    • Abnormal Psychology (3 semester hours)

    • Statistics (3 semester hours)

    • Sociology or Anthropology (3 semester hours)

    • Medical Terminology Course (1 hour or more)


*- These courses must have been completed within the last 7 years and must include a lab. A minimum 3.0 combined GPA for all prerequisites as well as for the science prerequisites (marked with an *) is required.  Please note that all science courses must be appropriate for majors in that discipline.  While a course may transfer as an equivalent for the purposes of an undergraduate degree, undergraduate science courses that are designated as courses for non-majors are not accepted as prerequisites for entry into the OTD program.  Equivalency Charts are available on the UTC Records page.  A prerequisite checklist showing course equivalents for several area schools is posted on the OTD web page. Please contact the department with questions regarding the appropriateness of courses if you have questions.  You may also contact the department for equivalency information for specific four-year schools.  Online coursework for science prerequisites is strongly discouraged.  Labs must be in-person.  A combined Anatomy & Physiology I and II labs (8 hours total) is acceptable. The Physics requirement can be algebra/ trigonometry based; it does not need to be calculus based. It must be part of a two semester sequence of Physics for science majors. Concepts of Physics or Applied Physics are not accepted.

Manually update fall course grades and In Progress courses in OTCAS. Provide a copy of all updated transcripts to OTCAS by the Academic Update deadline.  Instructions for OTCAS Academic Update can be found on the OTCAS web site.

  • Proof of first aid and CPR certification Admitted students must show proof of having previously completed a First Aid course. (Current certification is not necessary.) Entering students must be currently certified in America Heart Association BLS CPR with certification lasting until August of their first year in the program. Students will be re-certified at that time. (Proof of certification is not required at the time of application.)
  • Three references are required. References must be submitted to OTCAS, including one from an occupational therapist licensed in the US.  OTCAS allows space for up to 5 references. Applicants should choose references carefully in order to meet the requirements of all programs to which they are applying. The UTC OTD program accepts additional references from licensed occupational therapists (US or international), COTAs, professors, advisors and other academic faculty/ staff, employers/ supervisors, other health care professionals, and representatives from organizations where applicants have observed or volunteered (non-profits, etc.). The program does not accept references from teaching assistants, politicians, clergy, co-workers, friends and family members, or those designated as “other.”
  • Official transcripts showing prerequisite completion will be required prior to program matriculation.

Expenses and Transportation

All OTD students are required to pay differential tuition plus Graduate tuition and fees.  Classes are required during the summer semester of both the first and second years of the program. Occupational therapy clinical experiences scheduled throughout the academic year require students to provide their own transportation to the clinical sites.  Full time clinical experiences are scheduled during the summer semester of their second year and fall and spring semesters of their third year.  Students must be financially prepared to meet costs incurred for travel and living expenses in other cities throughout the United States during clinical education courses.

Grades of S/NC

Students in the OTD program may be allowed to earn up to 29 hours of clinical education and experiential internship hours OCTH 7601 (9hours); OCTH 7701 (9hours); and OCTH 7801 (11 hours) that will be graded on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis.  This is a Graduate Council approved exception to the 13 hours credit hour policy for doctoral program students.

Continuation and Graduation Requirements

Practice standards for the occupational therapy profession require that graduates be prepared to practice safely and competently within the occupational therapy scope of practice. To ensure safe and competent performance by students enrolled in the program, the following continuation standards must be met for students to remain enrolled in the program.

  1. To progress in the occupational therapy program, students are required to:
  • Maintain a 3.0 for all courses taken in the professional program
  • Maintain an active liability insurance policy for clinical courses
  • Maintain current CPR certification
  • Maintain full clearance of Level 2 Criminal Background Check
  1. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 24 weeks of Level II Fieldwork.
  2.  Students must successfully complete a 16 week (640 hours) OTD experiential internship.
  3. Students must successfully prepare and defend a scholarly product that synthesizes the OTD experiential internship.
  4. If in the judgment of the faculty there is reason to question the emotional or physical condition of a student or the safety or quality of occupational therapy provided, the faculty has the right and obligation to exclude the student from the clinical area.
  5. Students who fail courses may be denied progression in the program.  Students may repeat failed courses only at the discretion of the retention and progression committee or the Department Head of the Occupational Therapy Department.
  6. Statement of Ethical and Professional Standards:  A student, regardless of academic performance, may be dismissed should he or she fail to demonstrate mastery of essential professional behaviors, which include those skills essential for work in the profession.  A majority vote of the program faculty will serve as basis for dismissal if the student fails to demonstrate proficiency of professional achievement. Failure to maintain the high ethical and professional standards of the occupational therapy profession may subject a student to suspension, dismissal or other appropriate remedial action by the occupational therapy faculty.

Completion of Program

All doctoral students shall complete all degree requirements for the OTD within a ten-year limit. 

Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

OTD Experiential Internship

Each student is required to complete an OTD experiential internship as part of the experiential component of the OTD program.  The experiential internship in the OTD program offers students the opportunity to extend and refine knowledge acquired in the curriculum and utilize it meaningfully as a means of critically analyzing occupational therapy practice.  Students may choose to focus on one or more of the following areas for the internship: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education/academia, or theory development.  The OTD Experiential Internship is a minimum of 16 weeks (640 hours).

First Professional Year

Second Professional Year

Third Professional Year

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies