Occupational therapy helps individuals develop, maintain or adapt meaningful occupations despite the challenges of age, environment or health conditions. The occupational therapy doctorate, offered by the School of Health Sciences, is designed for practicing registered occupational therapists who want to merge their experience and practical skills with prevailing professional knowledge and scholarship.
Professional Focus, Convenient Schedule, Low Residency
This program enables registered occupational therapists to advance their skills in order to become future leaders and evidence-based scholars of the profession. The convenience of this 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.
At the end of their first year of study, students designate a professional focus track from the following options:
- Children & Youth: Continuum of Participation
- Environmental Adaptations
- Adult Healthcare Continuum: Rehabilitation, Community & Wellness
Practitioners develop refined skills in one of these tracks, allowing increased specialization and direct practical application.
The degree can be completed in five semesters online with minimal on-campus requirements tailored for the working professional. Courses run in seven-week modules during the fall and spring semesters. During the summer, courses run in 12-week sessions concurrently. 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.
This program is designed to further the American Occupational Therapy Association "Centennial Vision" by creating practitioners 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.
In order to provide students the opportunity to become "agents of change," the following student outcomes are to be achieved by the end of the program.
The student will be able to:
- 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);
- Incorporate advanced concepts of policy, ethics, and advocacy into practice in order 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);
- 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);
- Conduct a needs assessment for practice trends and emerging practices (for example, a student will complete a needs assessment of his/her clinic in order to determine the feasibility of an older adult wellness program); and
- Apply leadership theories to practice in order 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).