Online Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

Program Contact: Barbara Nadeau 203-582-8691

The Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) is designed for practicing registered occupational therapists who want to merge their experience and practical skills with contemporary professional knowledge and scholarship.

The program enables registered occupational therapists to advance their skills to become future leaders and evidence-based scholars of the profession. The degree can be completed in five semesters online with minimal on-campus requirements tailored for the working professional.

Courses run in online modules of varying duration (i.e., 5-week, 7-week, 12-week). Students are required to attend a one-week, on-campus class offered during the summer as well as the Symposium Day at the end of the curriculum. Attendance at the on-campus orientation is also recommended.

The online program offers an opportunity for practicing occupational therapists to continue their education without interrupting their careers. The pace of the program permits steady accumulation of skills that can be applied immediately to the workplace. Practitioners develop refined skills allowing increased specialization and direct practical application. This program is designed to further the American Occupational Therapy Association “Vision 2025” by creating practitioners who are equipped to lead the profession to meet society’s occupational needs and to be “agents of change” within their communities and the occupational therapy profession.

There are two paths to obtain the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD): Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in OT to OTD and Master's to OTD. The requirements for each are listed below. 

Bachelor of Science to OTD (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in OT)

This certificate program recognizes the fact that a number of experienced practitioners previously entered the field of occupational therapy when the bachelor’s degree was the accepted entry-level degree. As demands within health care have evolved, so did the educational requirements for students. Current occupational therapy students graduate with a master’s degree. The clinical experience required for the program ensures practitioners begin their studies with significant current work experience. This certificate program therefore is designed to form a bridge from the BS to an OTD.

This program begins each spring and requires two semesters of course work.

All students currently holding an entry-level BS in Occupational Therapy with initial National Certification Board for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)/AOTCB certification will be required to complete the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy prior to entering the OTD curriculum.

Master’s Degree to Occupational Therapy Doctorate

To be eligible to apply to the Online Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, students need to have completed either a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy with a separate master's degree, a master's degree in occupational therapy, OR the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy. 

Tracks

Each student designates one course for each of the two specialization tracks at the end of the first year of study. Tracks are designed to offer the students the ability to focus on a particular area of interest. The tracks are designed to cover a variety of populations and settings, allowing the student latitude to focus study to a particular area within the track if desired. The tracks are as follows:

  1. Innovations and Emerging Issues in Practice
  2. Leadership

OT Track Curriculums

Professional Development
Application of Theory and Exploration of Occupation
Systems
Doctoral Seminar
Policy/Ethics
Professional Seminar (residency class)
Critical Inquiry of Scholarship
Courses must be completed in the order listed:
Critical Inquiry of Scholarship
Directed Study in Evidence-Based Practice
Critical Inquiry of Scholarship II
Capstone I
Capstone II
Courses within the Tracks
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Children and Youth
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Environmental Adaptations
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in the Adult Health Care Continuum
Leadership in Program Development/Business
Leadership in Higher Education
Leadership in Practice

Residency Requirement

All students are required to attend one summer course at Quinnipiac University for the duration of one week (OT 656). Students also are required to attend the Symposium Day at the completion of the second year to present their final project.

Class Schedule

Classes begin in the fall. Program requires five semesters: two academic years and summer between.

Occupational Therapy Course of Study

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterCredits
OT 651 Systems 3
OT 652 Doctoral Seminar 1
OT 654 Critical Inquiry of Scholarship 3
 Credits7
Spring Semester
OT 640 Directed Study in Evidence-Based Practice 3
OT 650 Application of Theory and Exploration of Occupation 3
 Credits6
Summer Semester
12-week courses:  
OT 655 Professional Seminar 3
OT 656 Critical Inquiry of Scholarship II 1 4
 Credits7
Second Year
Fall Semester
Second Year: Tracks:  
OT 653 Policy/Ethics 2
Select one of the following: 3
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Children and Youth  
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Environmental Adaptations  
Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in the Adult Health Care Continuum  
OT 680 Capstone I 2
 Credits7
Spring Semester
Select one of the following: 3
Leadership in Program Development/Business  
Leadership in Higher Education  
Leadership in Practice  
OT 681 Capstone II 2
 Credits5
 Total Credits32

Graduation Requirements

Completion of all courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Program Mission

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is to provide excellent online educational opportunities that build upon the clinical experience of each student, enable students to become an “agent of change” for their professional community and to foster lifelong learning and continued professional growth in the field of occupational therapy.

Program Philosophy

Because the program philosophy is humanistic and developmental in nature, a faculty adviser is assigned to each student from the beginning of the core classes. This allows the adviser to guide the student throughout the entire process of the OTD curriculum.

Program Outcomes

To provide students the opportunity to become an “agent of change,” the following student outcomes are to be achieved by the end of the program.

Upon graduation, each student will be able to:

  1. Integrate clinical experience with current theoretical concepts within the clinical literature (for example a student might work with a population on the development of an injury prevention program as a consultant and will need to include theoretical concepts as they relate to behavior change and/or environmental modifications).
  2. Incorporate advanced concepts of policy, ethics and advocacy into practice to promote the profession (for example a student may advocate for and participate in the development of guidelines for including occupational therapy into primary care practices).
  3. Develop clinical questions as a basis for clinical application of evidence and the development of clinical scholarship to inform best practice (for example a student may wish to determine if constraint induced movement therapy is an effective intervention for an adult neuro-rehab population of clients).
  4. Conduct a needs assessment for practice trends and emerging practices (for example students might complete a needs assessment of their clinic to determine the feasibility of an older adult wellness program).
  5. Apply leadership theories to practice to promote the growth of the profession (for example a student who practices in a public school may write a testimony for including sensory breaks during standardized testing to improve the attention of all students).

The program outcomes will be measured through assignments in each course, the capstone project, an exit survey, electronic focus groups, evidence of advancement in employment and employer feedback.

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission to the Occupational Therapy doctorate (OTD) program, a student must meet the following admissions criteria:

  1. A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and related master’s degree, OR a master’s degree in occupational therapy with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Official transcript(s), indicating the year of graduation from an Accreditation Council for Education of Occupational Therapy (ACOTE) or a World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) accredited entry-level professional program.
  3. Proof of initial certification by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) or American Occupational Therapy Certification Board (AOTCB) initial certification (prior to NBCOT).
  4. Verification of employment as an occupational therapist: minimum of five full-time equivalent years of OT practice or 10,000 hours within the past 10 years.
  5. Proof of active licensure to practice (if applicable in the state of current practice).
  6. Current membership to the American Occupational Therapy Association.
  7. When applicable, completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  8. A background check completed through the Quinnipiac University system.

In addition, the student must submit the following documents, which will be used to evaluate the applicant’s fit and potential for success in the OTD program:

  1. Two professional references, at least one of which must be from a supervisor or administrator. 
  2. A personal essay that sets forth the applicant’s professional goals and compatibility with the program’s learning objectives. The essay must address focused questions that coincide with the program’s mission. Question prompts may include:
  • Describe a professional issue in your practice area and identify how you might address or resolve this issue.
  • How would this program assist you in meeting this professional need?
  • Reflect upon and describe your professional goals and motivations.

Responses to EACH question should be at most, 350 words. Responses MUST include current references utilizing APA formatting. The essay will be evaluated based on depth of content, as well as writing ability.

Finally, a telephone interview may be required in the admission process. Qualified applicants will be notified via email if they are selected for an interview. 

Classes begin in August for the fall term. Candidates are advised to submit applications as early as possible.

Program Requirements

  1. Students in the OTD program are required to achieve a GPA of 3.0 upon the completion of their first 9 credits, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 thereafter, as stated in the Graduate Student Handbook.
  2. A student must earn a grade of “C+” or above in all course work. Any student who receives a grade below a C+ in a course will be required to repeat and repay for that course.

In the event that a student does not achieve a 3.0 upon completion of the first 9 credits, he/she will be referred to the Progression and Retention Committee and placed on academic probation. The student must achieve a 3.0 semester GPA thereafter to demonstrate progression.

In the event that the student does not meet the GPA requirement in any semester after the first 9 credits, he/she will referred to the Progression and Retention Committee and placed on academic probation.

If the student does not achieve a 3.0 per semester subsequent to being placed on academic probation, he/she will be dismissed from the program. A student may appeal dismissal by writing a letter to the dean. Please refer to the Graduate Handbook for specific policies regarding the appeal process.

OT 640. Directed Study in Evidence-Based Practice.3 Credits.

Students learn the steps of the evidence-based practice continuum using a journal entry format. Each student follows the steps using actual practice case studies from his/her individual practice sites and presents the responses to each step in the process to discover evidence to guide the practice case questions. Peer interaction and feedback is critical to the realistic development of evidence to guide practice decisions. A major assignment is to have each student participate in the writing of a systematic review or an evidence-based practice brief for the profession. Students complete a needs assessment of a particular site or practice area as well.

Prerequisites: Take OT 654.
Offered: Every year, Spring

OT 650. Application of Theory and Exploration of Occupation.3 Credits.

This course begins by exploring occupation--the central construct of the profession. Students also look at occupational science as a disciplinary knowledge base. Current ideas about occupation-based practice in both traditional settings and emerging practice areas are analyzed. Theories and models of practice that guide occupation-based practice also are reviewed.

Offered: Every year, Spring

OT 651. Systems.3 Credits.

Knowledge of health care delivery in the U.S. is fundamental to providing occupational therapy services. A key element to providing relevant health care services is an understanding of the broader systems that influence and drive delivery models. This course addresses the general systems model as applied to the delivery of health care services. System components are addressed including the resources, the internal processes, external influences, measureable outcomes and stakeholders in service delivery systems. The course examines the range of service delivery models in OT including the traditional medical model, school-based, community, educational, home health, hospice and telehealth, among others. The course prepares students to analyze the key components of delivery system and determine how OT services are optimized in specific models.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 652. Doctoral Seminar.1 Credit.

Students create a professional development plan and an e-portfolio for doctoral work with goals and objectives related to occupation and evidence-based practice. This plan also relates to the core curriculum and chosen tracks. Students explore advanced evidence-based practice skills required to retrieve evidence. They also learn about the tools utilized by clinicians to enhance practice, how to be a consumer of scholarship, and proper use of evidence/citations.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 653. Policy/Ethics.2 Credits.

The future leaders of the profession need an understanding of the political and legal policies impacting occupational therapy, as well as the ethics involved in decision making. Students explore the role of the occupational therapist in advocacy as well as the concepts of social justice. The impact of these policies and decisions are reviewed in relationship to all settings and the occupational as well as psychosocial well-being of the individual client and populations of clients.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 654. Critical Inquiry of Scholarship.3 Credits.

This course is the first of a series of courses focusing on scholarship in the profession. Emphasis is placed on understanding the various forms of scholarship that are needed to drive the profession of occupational therapy forward and building a solid foundation needed to carry out a scholarly project. This course covers the scholarship process, with a focus on developing a question for scholarly exploration and ways of answering questions. Quantitative, qualitative, mixed method and participatory research methodologies are introduced.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 655. Professional Seminar.3 Credits.

This course integrates prior learning into the discussion of how to become an "agent of change" within the occupational therapy environment. Topics include the analysis of statistics related to occupational therapy, advocacy, leadership, group dynamics, systematic interactions and the ability to manage groups both internal and external to occupational therapy. As discussions progress, students are given the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion regarding these topics and how they relate to future capstone projects.

Offered: Every year, Summer

OT 656. Critical Inquiry of Scholarship II.4 Credits.

This course is the second of a series of courses focusing on scholarship in the profession. Emphasis is placed on developing a proposal for a scholarly project. Drawing on the content of OT 654, students develop the background to the project and problem statement, questions guiding the project informed by theory, a literature review and method section.

Prerequisites: Take OT 640 OT 654.
Offered: Every year, Summer

OT 660. Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Children and Youth.3 Credits.

The OT seminars OT 660, OT 661 and OT 662 present core content that is the same for all three courses during weeks one and two. The focus of the core weeks is on environmental scanning for evidence of change and locating evidence in the literature for that change. Weeks four through seven focus on the individual theme as selected by each student. The content is faculty facilitated in the thematic areas based on the OTD tracks.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 661. Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in Environmental Adaptations.3 Credits.

The OT seminars OT 660, OT 661 and OT 662 present core content that is the same for all three courses during weeks one and two. The focus of the core weeks is on environmental scanning for evidence of change and locating evidence in the literature for that change. Weeks four through seven focus on the individual theme as selected by each student. The content is faculty facilitated in the thematic areas based on the OTD tracks.

OT 662. Seminar: Innovations and Emerging Issues in the Adult Health Care Continuum.3 Credits.

The OT seminars OT 660, OT 661 and OT 662 present core content that is the same for all three courses during weeks one and two. The focus of the core weeks is on environmental scanning for evidence of change and locating evidence in the literature for that change. Weeks four through seven focus on the individual theme as selected by each student. The content is faculty facilitated in the thematic areas based on the OTD tracks.

OT 670. Leadership in Program Development/Business.3 Credits.

Students analyze leadership styles as they relate to supervision in both public and private sectors. The course includes a review of skills required to be an entrepreneur, own a practice and navigate the policies required of a business.

Offered: Every year, Spring

OT 671. Leadership in Higher Education.3 Credits.

Students analyze leadership styles as they relate to the educational setting for those interested in academia. The course also includes a discussion of transitions from practice to the educational setting.

OT 672. Leadership in Practice.3 Credits.

Students analyze leadership styles as they relate to supervision of occupational therapy staff as well as the transition from a clinician to a supervisor or administrator.

OT 680. Capstone I.2 Credits.

This capstone course is a culminating experience in the occupational therapy curriculum, which integrates all core and track material. Students design and execute a scholarly or creative project that is relevant to current and emerging practice areas in occupational therapy. Students gain experience in project management, critical analysis and professional presentations.

Offered: Every year, Fall

OT 681. Capstone II.2 Credits.

This capstone course is a culminating experience in the occupational therapy curriculum, which integrates all core and track material. Students design and execute a scholarly or creative project that is relevant to current and emerging practice areas in occupational therapy. Students gain experience in project management, critical analysis and professional presentations.

Offered: Every year, Spring