Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy Department

Myrtle Evans, DrPH, Director
Janel Anne Belarmino

Degrees offered



Main Campus

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is an entry-level pathway for those with a non-occupational therapy bachelor's degree to pursue a career in this in-demand field. Through rigorous coursework developing the knowledge base in the science of occupation and hands-on learning experiences in the field, you will be prepared to meet the knowledge and clinical skill requirements to become an occupational therapist.

NDMU healthcare programs share a common focus on compassionate care of patients and consideration for the whole person. We believe these are essential to becoming an effective leader in health care.

In our OTD program, your instructors will take you beyond the textbook. We emphasize client based therapeutic interventions, professional and clinical reasoning, and therapeutic use of self to meet clients where they are and empower them to meet their goals through evidence influenced practice.


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate is a full-time, year-round professional program which can be completed in three years.


Year 1

Fall Semester (16 Semester Hours)

OTD-500 Foundations and Theories of Occupational Therapy (3)
OTD-500L Foundations Lab (1)
OTD-501 Anatomy and Biomechanics (3)
OTD-502 Development Across the Lifespan (3)
OTD-503 Research Methods and Application I (3)
OTD-504 Social Responsibility & Occupational Justice (3)

Spring Semester (11 Semester Hours)

OTD-505 Neuroanatomy (3)
OTD-506 Pathophysiology and Pharmacology in Occupational Therapy I (3)
OTD-506L Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Assessments and Treatment Planning Lab I (1)
OTD-507 Activity Analysis and Clinical Reasoning (3)
OTD-508 Level IA Fieldwork Physical Dysfunction (1)

Summer Semester (5 Semester Hours)

OTD-509  Psychosocial Conditions in Occupational Therapy (3)
OTD-509L Psychosocial Conditions in Occupational Therapy  Assessments and Treatment Planning Lab (1)
OTD-512 Level IB FieldworkPsychosocial in Occupational Therapy (1)

Year 2

Fall Semester (14 Semester Hours)

OTD-513 Infants, Children and Youth in Occupational Therapy (3)
OTD-513L Infants, Children and Youth in Occupational Therapy Lab Assessments and Treatment Lab (1)
OTD-510 Research Methods and Application II (3)
OTD-511 Pathophysiology and Pharmacology in Occupational Therapy II (3)
OTD-511L Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Assessments and Treatment Planning Lab II (1)
OTD-514 Level IC Fieldwork Pediatrics (1)

Spring Semester (16 Semester Hours)

OTD-525 Leadership and Management (3)
OTD-521 Policy and Ethics (3)
OTD-522 Research Methods and Application III (3)
OTD-523 Aging (3)
OTD-524 Education, Wellness, Community and Emerging Trends (3)
OTD-527 Level 1D Fieldwork Education, Wellness, Community and Emerging Trends (1)

Summer Semester (11 Semester Hours)

OTD-520 Modalities, Ortho & Splinting (3)
OTD-526 Assistive Technology (3)
OTD-528 Professional Seminar 1 (3)
OTD-600 Capstone Planning (2)

Year 3

Fall Semester (10 Semester Hours)

OTD-529 Professional Seminar 2 (1)
OTD-540 Level II Fieldwork(9)

Spring Semester (10 Semester Hours)

OTD-530 Professional Seminar 3 (1)
OTD-550 Level II  Fieldwork (9)

Summer Semester (11 Semester Hours)

OTD-531 Professional Seminar 4 (1)
OTD-610 Capstone Project (3)
OTD-620 Capstone Experience (9)


Opportunities for clinical experiences are built into the curriculum to provide gradually increased levels of responsibility and experience in occupational therapy settings under the guidance and supervision of a qualified occupational therapist.

  • Level I Fieldwork provides an introductory experience where you can become more comfortable with client needs in a supervised setting. It helps to enrich didactic coursework by seeing firsthand the concepts discussed in class. It also provides an opportunity to explore different practice settings. At NDMU, level I fieldwork includes placements related to physical dysfunction; mental health; pediatrics; and education, wellness, community, and emerging trends.
  • Level II Fieldwork provides more in-depth experiences working directly with clients to enhance your skills as a practitioner. The NDMU curriculum includes two full-time placements.


The capstone is the culmination of your OTD studies and is comprised of three courses:

  • Capstone Planning
  • Capstone Project
  • Capstone Experience

Planning for the doctoral capstone requires collaboration with faculty and a mentor to prepare for the experience. You will develop in-depth skills in areas such as practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. 

The Capstone Experience occurs over a minimum of 14 weeks or 560 hours under the supervision of a mentor, who may or may not be an occupational therapist depending on the expertise needed to provide appropriate direction. No more than 20% of the 560 hours may occur off-site from the mentored practice experience. Time spent off-site may include independent study activities, such as research and writing.

Program Accreditation

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.

The program must 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: A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 12 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3.