Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Our Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctoral (ELOTD) program is designed for students entering with a degree in a field other than OT. Students will experience an exciting program combining a diverse curriculum, research, service learning, and fieldwork.

Program Requirements and Policies

To receive an Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) degree in occupational therapy, students must satisfactorily complete (receive grades of B- or better) 106 semester hour units in the required courses.

In addition to the 106 required semester hour units, students may take six additional graduate level elective semester hour units in the department or wider university.

All students must successfully pass two three-month (or equivalent) Level II Fieldwork placements and complete a 14- week Doctoral Experiential Component.

You are encouraged to work closely with your advisor, the fieldwork coordinators and doctoral experiential component coordinator to ensure a smooth transition through your academic and fieldwork experiences.

We expect that students will complete the Entry Level Occupational Therapy Doctoral program in nine semesters. 

Course Requirements

  • OTS 102 Gross Anatomy (4 credits). Cross-listed as Biology 4. A systemic approach to human anatomy, including the skeletal, muscular, respiratory, digestive, genital, urinary, and nervous systems. Detailed study of the upper and lower extremities, emphasizing normal function. Laboratory sessions weekly. Prerequisite: biology.
  • OTS 103 Neuroanatomy (4 credits). Cross-listed as Biology 5 The structure and basic function of the nervous system: both central and peripheral nerves analyzed as to functional components, course, and action. Basic tracts of the central nervous system outlined and traced. Laboratory sessions weekly. Prerequisite: OTS 102.

  • OTS 104 Kinesiology (3 credits). Introduction to normal human movement. The basic anatomical, physiological, and biomechanical principles that underpin normal movement and function. Includes the assessment of muscle and joint function through manual muscle testing and goniometry. Emphasis on the biomechanics of everyday activities. Prerequisite or taken concurrently: gross anatomy. 

  • OTS 105 Assistive Technology (3 credits). Examination of problems in designing and providing assistive devices to individuals with disabilities, to assist mobility, communication, positioning, and environmental control and daily living. Processes discussed include needs assessment, search for available devices, resources available, and creative problem solving. Students work with materials commonly used to create individualized devices, in cross-disciplinary teams on a design for a specific user or group. Problems of funding and delivery of devices also explored. For students in occupational therapy and engineering, and for educators, speech/language pathologists, and rehabilitation personnel. 

  • OTS 106 Occupation and Adaptation in the Child and Adolescent (3 credits). Developmental themes and models of childhood and adolescent occupation, including activities of daily living, play, education, social skill development, and vocational exploration. The impact of physical, psychological, cognition, and social development on the child as well as the influence of caretakers, community, and culture. Fieldwork experience. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, junior or senior standing. 

  • OTS 107 Occupation and Adaptation in the Adult Years (3 credits). Developmental themes and theoretical models of the adult life cycle, from early to late adulthood including examination of physical, psychological, cognitive, and social changes and the influence of culture, race, and gender on occupations and adaptation. Emphasis on individual differences and the impact of sociocultural context or areas of occupation such as work, activities of daily living, play, education, social participation, and spiritual practices. Community field experience. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, junior or senior standing. 

  • OTS 137, 138 Fieldwork Seminar (1 credit).

  • OTS 202 Bio-Ethics in Practice (ELOTD only; Fall I; 3 credits). In this course we will begin by overviewing the ethical theories that shape our answers to serious ethical dilemmas. In this part of the course we will first introduce philosophical moral theories, and look more closely at theories that apply particularly in bioethics, and finally introduce and develop an understanding of the concept of autonomy and how it relates to issues in biomedical ethics, paying particularly close attention to how different social and cultural factors effect health care interactions. We will examine issues of autonomy, especially of traditionally vulnerable populations. Students will learn to apply ethical theories to moral dilemmas currently confronting health care providers, patients and their families, and society at large. These topics will include: 1. How to treat patients whose preferences for treatment conflict with the providers 2. moral objection to care 3. end of life care/respecting dignity at the end of life 4. disability ethics 5. moral dilemmas associated with surrogate decision-making 6. moral distress/burnout 7. professionalism/ transparency in coding 8. owning of medical data (who owns/should have access to notes/billing etc.) patients' rights/autonomy 9. Caring for bigoted patients 10. providers' ethical obligations towards advocacy for vulnerable patients 11. Reporting of ethical violations 12. patient distrust/discrimination/disparities. Students will learn: information gathering, identifying different points of view, defining the dilemma, talking to the parties involved, negotiating goals and analysis of the case will be covered, culminating in a comprehensive write-up that can be utilized by the bioethicists or practitioners. We will also cover consultation process, goals of care, case analysis skills, futility, capacity, withholding and withdrawing life support, advance directives, informed consent, reproductive issues, and surrogate decision-making.

  • OTS 204 Topics in Emerging Practice Areas (ELOTD only; Spring I; 2 credits). The first of several courses in the curriculum to address innovative, non-traditional, community based practice areas for occupational therapists. Building on their understanding of occupation, students will explore trends within the current practice of occupational therapy and formulate opportunities for future practice. Current practitioners exploring OT practice in areas like adaptive sports, animal assisted therapy, domestic violence, homelessness and sexual health will present to students. As part of this course, students in small groups will complete an initial needs assessment exploring the role of occupational therapy in a particular area of emerging practice. 

  • OTS 205 Clinical Reasoning I: Observation and Interpretation (2 credits). The first in a series of courses focusing on the development of occupational therapy reasoning skills based on theoretical and practice learning. Emphasis on the ability to make, reflect on, analyze, and critique observations as well as making interpretations based on these observations. Building leadership skills and the ability to view the whole person (including an individual's sexuality and spirituality) through experiential learning. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, junior or senior standing. 

  • OTS 206 Clinical Reasoning II: Procedural Reasoning in the Practice of Occupational Therapy (3 credits). Exploration of the interactive aspects of clinical reasoning through fieldwork and classroom experiences. Topics include analysis of self, the initial interview, interview process, designing and asking interview questions, the phenomenological approach to interviewing, limit setting techniques, self-analysis of interviews, the termination process, and interacting with guest speakers who are living with disabilities. Prerequisite: OTS 205.

  • OTS 207 Clinical Reasoning III: Interactive Reasoning in the Practice of Occupational Therapy (2 credits). Exploration of the procedural components of the clinical reasoning process with reference to the profession's practice framework, evidence-based practice, selected theoretical models and practice areas. Topics include principles of evaluation, outcome measures, evidence-based practice, client-centered practice, clinical documentation, and pain management.

  • OTS 209 Clinical Research (3 credits). Exploration of the components of the research process in the context of occupational therapy. Includes developing research questions, conducting a literature search and review, data collection and data analysis, drawing conclusions from data, ethics in research, and sharing research findings. Prerequisite: Introductory statistics; open to undergraduates. 

  • OTS 210 Proposal and Methods (ELOTD only; Fall II; 3 credits; Grading: S/U). Students will work under advisement from the course instructor and faculty mentor to develop a draft of their Doctoral Capstone project proposal pertaining to at least one area of relevance for Occupational Therapy: Research, Education, Emerging Practice and Policy/Advocacy. The key elements of the proposal will include background, significance, purpose and aims, detailed implementation procedures, methods for evaluating their projects, and a separate related literature review section. Students will select and describe their methods (instruments and research designs) to evaluate their projects and prepare a database (excel spreadsheet) that includes realistic mock data on all key project variables and outcomes. They will practice using research methods that will be needed to evaluate their projects (e.g., descriptive statistics, content analyses, nonparametric / parametric comparative tests) and creating charts and tables using mock data to address their project aims. Students who conduct research capstone projects will receive additional support from their faculty mentors to learn specialized or more advanced research methods if needed. A mixture of didactic and small group feedback sessions will be used to assist students with project conceptualization and planning; writing and revising; synthesis and critical appraisal of key literature; selection and application of methods; and using and giving constructive feedback. At the end of the course, students will have 1) a complete working draft of their proposal, 2) a database that demonstrates application of project-specific data analyses, data management and reporting of anticipated project specific results, and 3) a plan describing future work to be completed in the subsequent semester (e.g., final proposal draft, and IRB application, if needed). Prerequisite: OTS 209 Clinical Research 

  • OTS 211 Occupational Therapy Foundations (ELOTD only; Summer I; 3 credits). This introductory occupational therapy course provides a conceptual foundation for students to explore the profession of occupational therapy. Theoretical concepts and models fundamental to the practice of occupational therapy will be examined from a historical, current and future OT lens. Students will begin to develop a therapeutic use of self and explore what it means to be a professional. Occupation and activity as core principals of practice will be explored with experiential learning. 

  • OTS 213 DEC Seminar I (ELOTD only; Spring I; 2 credits). This course is a forum for professional growth as a means of ongoing preparation for the Doctoral Experiential Component of the curriculum. A seminar style small group meeting format requiring active student participation will be used to engage in the process of self-assessment and peer feedback exchange. Strengths based self-assessment, as well as integration of previous self-assessments of group leadership and emotional intelligence will be used to create a professional narrative. Initiation of Professional Portfolio and reflective assignments (written and media based) will be used to develop a Professional Development Plan re: strengths and areas for further development. Students will use these materials as sources to prepare themselves for DEC site and mentor matching process that will begin in this semester.

  • OTS 214 DEC Seminar II (ELOTD only; Spring II; 2 credits). This course is a progression from OTS 213 DEC Seminar I to further integrate ongoing self-assessment, updating Professional Portfolio information regarding competencies and revising Professional Development Plans related to strengths and areas for further development. Readings pertaining to organizational development literature and leadership will be critiqued and discussed. Students will present material orally and in written form regarding refinements to Doctoral Project Plan and related skills (SWOT analysis/needs assessment, grant writing, IRB, writing samples, oral presentation skills) for group feedback. Completion of doctoral proposal in preparation for Doctoral Experience Component will be required. 

  • OTS 215 DEC Seminar III (ELOTD only; Spring III; 2 credits). This course is concurrent with Doctoral Experiential Component and consists of a collaborative hybrid venue of online and face to face small group meetings between the site mentor, faculty mentor, and DEC coordinator. Progression towards DEC outcomes are monitored and documented. Students will give and receive feedback and support as part of the seminar meetings and via written reflections. Preparation of Final Portfolio, Conference Abstract submission, and Public Presentation synthesizing in-depth knowledge and disseminating outcomes of the Doctoral Experience, are shared for peer and mentor feedback. 

  • OTS 216 Doctoral Experiential Component (ELOTD only; Spring III; 6 credits). This 14 week (560 hour) experience is started once all academic coursework, Level II Fieldwork, and Doctoral Project preparation (literature review, needs assessment, program goals/objectives, outcomes framework, IRB application, and individualized student/supervisors learning contract) are completed. A formal evaluation of student performance provided by the DEC site mentor at the completion of the experience is required. 

  • OTS 219 Group Theory and Community-Based Practice (4 credits). Exploration of the dynamics of small and large group systems. Classes and readings focus on theories of group process that lead to effective group functioning. Group experiences in class to integrate theoretical learning about group observation, leadership, and individual membership skills. Understanding culture in relation to group development in small and large group systems and application of group theory to practice in occupational therapy. Lectures, mentoring groups, and assignments are integrated with weekly community-based fieldwork service learning where the students facilitate small task-oriented groups. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent OTS 106 or 107. 

  • OTS 224 Occupational Therapy Practice in Physical Dysfunction (5 credits). Basic treatment principles for neurologic, orthopedic, degenerative, and traumatic conditions, including CVA, arthritis, burns, fractures, and spinal cord injuries, as well as theory and research in relation to treatment, will be presented in lecture. Laboratory stresses conduct of motor, sensory, and perceptual evaluations; comprehensive treatment planning; splint fabrication; transfers; and psychodynamics of physical rehabilitation. Includes a fieldwork component. Prerequisites: OTS 102, 103, and 243 (taken concurrently or prior to OTS 101, 104, and 242). 

  • OTS 226 Occupational Therapy Practice with the Pediatric Population (5 credits). This course prepares students to use clinical reasoning to apply knowledge of pediatric occupational therapy and principles to working with children and their families. Course content will focus on supporting the occupations of the child within an environmental context with an emphasis on family and sociocultural factors. Students will examine major theoretical frames of reference based upon current research and will learn to apply this to planning occupational therapy evaluations and interventions. As part of this course, students are required to participate in a Level I pediatric occupational therapy fieldwork experience. Prerequisites: OTS 104, 106, 206, and either 224 and 227. 

  • OTS 227 Occupational Therapy Practice in Psychosocial Dysfunction (5 credits). Review of the theoretical backgrounds that have either historical or current significance in the practice of occupational therapy with individuals who are mentally ill. Students use a variety of learning activities to fully explore this area of practice, including lecture, lab, and clinical fieldwork. Practical application of theoretical concepts and clinical reasoning applied to a variety of treatment situations to guide clinical decisions from evaluation through discharge. Prerequisites: OTS 107 and 243 (taken concurrently or prior to OTS 106, 219, and 242). 

  • OTS 229 Occupational Therapy Practice with Older Adults (5 credits). Study of contemporary issues of aging and social implications of worldwide longer lifespan. Examination of theories of aging, including physiological, psychological, and functional changes and the influence of culture, race, and gender in the experience of aging. Through clinical reasoning, students learn to evaluate and facilitate functional performance in older adults in a variety of environments, ranging from community to institutional settings. Professional roles, intervention strategies, and modes of service delivery, including interdisciplinary approaches to gerontic occupational therapy. 

  • OTS 232 Health and Community Systems (3 credits). Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the health care system in the United States and learn how health care policy is established. Government sets health care policy, either explicitly by legislating, or implicitly by not legislating. The impetus to a policy is a problem. Introduction to key problems, both historic and current, so that students may understand the solutions that shape their work world, and may contribute to the discussion and negotiation of future solutions for their clients. 

  • OTS 233 Occupational Therapy Management and Administration (2 credits). The philosophy of health care delivery in the United States, both institutional and community. Principles of management within the institutional and community health care system, including moving from clinician to manager, managerial roles, marketing, financial management of an occupational therapy department, staff development, recruitment and retention, ethics in the workplace, and professional issues. 

  • OTS 237/238 Level II Fieldwork (6 credits). Level II Fieldwork is an integral part of OT education, designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice, to support ethical practice, to communicate and model professionalism, and to expand knowledge and application of occupational therapy assessments and interventions. Through the fieldwork experience, students will learn to apply theoretical and scientific principles learned in the didactic portion of the academic program to address actual client needs and to develop a professional identity as an occupational therapy practitioner within an interdisciplinary context. Through completion of 24 weeks of full time equivalent fieldwork in a minimum of two different practice areas, the fieldwork experience shall meet requirements in accordance with the Standards for an Accredited Educational Program for the Occupational Therapist (AOTA, 2012).

  • OTS 242 Health Conditions: Pathology and Prevention I (3 credits). Incidence, prevalence, and etiology of health conditions that contribute to disruption in occupational performance focusing on conditions common in childhood through adolescence. The health practitioner's role in the treatment and management of these conditions and the role of risk-factor identification and prevention. The person-environment-occupation model and statistical significance of health conditions in relation to selected populations and the occupational impact. Discussion of conditions such as oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, pervasive development disorder spectrum, depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, neuromuscular disorders, orthopedic conditions, and selected central nervous system disorders. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, Gross Anatomy (OTS 102 prior or concurrent), Abnormal Psychology (Psychology 12 for non-BSOT students). 

  • OTS 243 Health Conditions: Pathology and Prevention II (3 credits). Incidence, prevalence, and etiology of health conditions that contribute to disruption in occupational performance focusing on conditions common in adults and older adults. The health practitioner's role in the treatment and management of these conditions and the role of risk-factor identification and prevention. The person-environment-occupation model and statistical significance of these conditions in relation to selected populations and the occupational impact. Discussion of conditions such as affective disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, burns, personality disorders, dementia and delirium, neuromuscular disorders, orthopedic conditions, and selected central nervous system disorders. Prerequisites: Psychology 1, Gross Anatomy (OTS 102 prior or concurrent), Abnormal Psychology (Psychology 12 for non-BSOT students), Neuroanatomy preferred (OTS 103). 

  • OTS 244 Health Conditions: Pathology and Prevention III (2 credits). Incidence, prevalence, and etiology of health conditions that contribute to disruption in occupational performance. The health practitioner's role in the treatment and management of these conditions and the role of risk-factor identification and prevention. The person-environment-occupation model and discussion of statistical significance of these conditions in relation to selected populations and the occupational impact. Discussion of psychological, musculoskeletal, neurological, and general medical conditions with attention to public health model of prevention through intervention methods. Prerequisites: BSOT students only; Gross Anatomy (OTS 102), Neuroanatomy (OTS 103), Human Physiology (OTS 101). 

  • OTS 294 Mentorship I (1 credit). Fall II

  • OTS 295 Mentorship II (1 credit). Spring II