Entry-Level Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Program Contact: Sal Bondoc 203-582-3727

Our Entry-Level Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program prepares students with a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills to practice autonomously or collaboratively, within various health care, educational, and social systems. Our curriculum consists of three distinct elements:

  • Academics: didactics integrated with laboratory and immersive clinical experiences
  • Clinicals: two 12-week full-time fieldwork experiences designed to prepare students for entry-level practice
  • Capstone: doctoral capstone seminar series that culminate in a 14-week doctoral capstone experience and scholarly project that represents in-depth knowledge in occupational therapy

The Entry-Level Professional OTD program is a full-time, intensive program designed to be completed in 3 years. Students admitted to the program are required to take 11 credits of graduate coursework in Clinical Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, and the Philosophy and Science of Occupational Therapy. Students complete 10 semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer) of coursework for a total of 124 credits.

Curriculum

The Entry-Level Professional OTD curriculum is reviewed regularly and subject to modification in both content and credit as deemed necessary to maintain a high-quality educational experience and to keep current with best practices in the profession.

Fieldwork Expectations

All students are responsible for transportation to all fieldwork experiences. All students are required to maintain a viable health insurance, malpractice insurance, CPR certification and current immunization record according to their fieldwork placements. A fieldwork site may have additional requirements as part of its affiliation agreement such as background checks and site-specific mandatory in-services. Failure to comply with fieldwork requirements may negatively impact a student's ability to participate in fieldwork. The department also requires current membership with the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Capstone Expectations

All students are required to complete a capstone experience and a capstone project.

  • CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE: The capstone experience is a mentored process by an individual with demonstrated expertise in the student's area of interest. The capstone experience may occur in a traditional/clinical site or non-traditional/non-clinical site and is intended for the implementation of the capstone project and the integration of learning. Students are responsible for transportation to all capstone experiences. All students are required to maintain a viable health insurance, malpractice insurance, CPR certification and current immunization record according to their capstone placements. A capstone site may have additional requirements as part of its affiliation agreement or memorandum of understanding such as background checks and site-specific mandatory in-services. Failure to comply with capstone experiential requirements may negatively impact a student's ability to participate. 
  • CAPSTONE PROJECT: The doctoral capstone project is an opportunity for students to demonstrate in-depth knowledge in occupational therapy and the attainment of all program learning outcomes. The project concludes in a scholarly manuscript and oral presentation to the occupational therapy practice community.

Progression, Retention and Graduation Requirements

All policies and procedures regarding progression, retention and graduation are found in the OTD Student Handbook. These policies and procedures are routinely reviewed with the students at the beginning of each semester and/or during advising.

Grade and Course Sequence Requirements

To progress through the program, students must meet the minimum semester GPA of 3.2 and must earn a grade of B- or above in all lecture courses and B+ or above in all fieldwork level I and laboratory courses. In addition, all students must acquire a “Pass” in their fieldwork level II. Failing to meet the aforementioned requirements will result in a referral to the Academic Progression and Retention Committee (PRC). The outcome of such referral may be: program probation with course remediation; a program probation with a course repeat (and repay); or a program dismissal.

All courses must be taken sequentially as indicated in the program of study. Students may request in writing to the department chairperson (or designee), any deviations from the course sequence, waivers from occupational therapy courses, and/or transfer credits from other occupational therapy programs. All requests must be approved by the APRC and the department chairperson.

Fieldwork Requirements
  1. Students must complete all the required didactic coursework and be in good academic standing prior to starting Level II Fieldwork.
  2. All Level II Fieldwork experiences must be completed within 12 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.
Capstone Requirements
  1. Students must complete all preparatory coursework and Level II Fieldwork, be in good academic standing, and pass a comprehensive exam prior to starting the Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project.
  2. The Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project must be completed within 12 months following the successful passing of the comprehensive exam.

Successful completion of the Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project is necessary for graduation with the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Entry-Level Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, students will demonstrate the following competencies: 

  1. Advocacy: Advocate for the distinct value of occupational therapy.
  2. OT Process: Apply occupation-centered principles and effective professional/clinical reasoning in the occupational therapy process.
  3. Systems: Demonstrate leadership and competent performance of occupational therapy roles across traditional and emerging settings and systems.
  4. Evidence-Based Practice: Evaluate and synthesize evidence to inform practice.
  5. Leadership: Commit to the ongoing development of leadership skills with an OT professional identity within the context of interprofessional practice.
  6. Synthesis: Synthesize and articulate the integral relationship among occupation, health and participation. 

Program Mission

The mission of the OTD program is to provide high-quality education to develop occupational therapy practitioner-scholars, who possess broad-based knowledge and skills to influence meaningful change in the health and functioning of individuals, populations and communities. The program aims to graduate entry-level occupational therapists who possess in-depth knowledge and skills in advocacy, occupational therapy process, systems, professional leadership, evidence-based practice and in the synthesis of occupation, health and participation. 

Program Philosophy

The department views the entry-level educational experience with a developmental-humanistic lens. This approach acknowledges that each student has unique experiences and possesses varying abilities, which are brought to the university environment and further developed through disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry as well as, co-curricular, community-based/experiential learning and professional experiences.

The department conceptualizes “development” not merely as a sequential ontological event but rather as a complex iterative, heterarchical and hierarchical sets of processes that are situated in various contexts. This developmental curriculum concept is reflected below using Fink's Taxonomy of Significant Learning:

  • Foundational Knowledge (and Caring and Learning to Learn) – refers to understanding, remembering information and ideas; developing interests and professional values; and developing the skills to learn or self-direct one’s learning
  • Application and Integration (and Learning about Oneself/Others) – refers to development of practical, creative and critical thinking skills by connecting ideas/concepts, events and realms of life; as well as developing a depth of awareness of oneself and of others
  • Application and Synthesis – refers to continued refinement of practical, creative and critical thinking skills through understanding of systems and embracing one’s agency

Through advising, mentorship and curricular experiences, the faculty applies a humanistic approach to support students in their personal and professional growth toward becoming an entry-level occupational therapist. Students are also taught the value and potential of every human being and their capacity to self-determine.

Admission

Application Timeline

Students are admitted to the Entry-Level Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program on a rolling basis. As the program begins in the Summer I session, applications are accepted until January 15 of the same year the applicant plans to matriculate. Interviews are required and offered to the most qualified candidates. Applicants are notified of their acceptance on or before March 1. 

Admission Requirements
  1. Bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the OTD program. 
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0. Stronger candidates have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.25. 
  3. A minimum grade of grade of B- or better in all the prerequisites, completed within 8 years of application from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  4. A minimum of 40 verifiable observation hours in the past 3 years. These hours may be a combination of traditional/clinical and non-traditional/non-clinical settings and populations. 
  5. Three letters of recommendation, with at least one from an academic reference, and at least one from a supervisor in an employee or volunteer capacity
  6. A letter of intent outlining reasons for pursuing an entry-level professional OTD and how Quinnipiac may assist them in pursuit of their career goals. 
  7. Successful in-person interview with the OTD Admissions Committee. 

GRE is not required. However, the student may submit scores if they believe it can enhance the strength of their application.

OTD Prerequisites

At the time of application, prerequisites may be in progress or pending, but must be completed in May before starting the OTD program. Qualified candidates whose prerequisites are in progress or pending may be granted conditional acceptance until all prerequisites are satisfactorily met. All prerequisites must have a grade of B- or better. The OTD prerequisites are as follows:

  • 2 semesters of Anatomy and Physiology with Lab (8 credits)
  • 1 semester of Physics with Lab (4 credits)
  • 1-2 semesters of Lifespan Development including Child Development and Adult Development (3-6 credits) 
  • 1 semester of Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • 1 semester of Biostatistics or Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)

The following courses are not required but strongly recommended:

  • Coursework on the disease process (e.g., Pathophysiology, Human Health and Disease, Biology of Aging, etc)
  • Coursework on health systems, health policy, or leadership
  • Humanities: Philosophy, Ethics and courses on Western thought and ideas
  • Social Sciences: Sociology, Anthropology and courses relevant to the study of various cultures and society
Required Documents
  1. Application form
  2. Letter of intent
  3. Nonrefundable application fee
  4. Official transcripts from all undergraduate, graduate and professional schools attended. 
  5. Letters of recommendation
  6. Observation hours – in the form of an official letter from the supervising occupational therapist with contact information

NOTE: Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed.

Accreditation

The Entry-Level Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program at Quinnipiac University has applied for accreditation 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 acoteonline.org.

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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.

Program Sponsorship

Quinnipiac University assumes primary responsibility for appointment of faculty, admission of students, and curriculum planning for the entry-level OTD program. This responsibility includes the delivery of course content, satisfactory completion of the educational program, and granting of the degree. The university also is responsible for the coordination of classroom teaching and supervised fieldwork practice and for providing assurance that the practice activities assigned to students in a fieldwork setting are appropriate to the program.

Quinnipiac University complies with the administrative requirements for maintaining accreditation of the Entry-Level Professional OTD program.

NOTE: The final list of courses is pending approval.