Occupational Therapy

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The entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is offered through the School of Health Sciences within the College of Health and Human Sciences. Pending approval by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), the first cohort is tentatively scheduled for admission in fall 2022.

The OTD is an entry-level clinical doctoral program designed to be completed in 3 years using a hybrid model. The program combines online and face-to-face courses in a weekend format, with on-campus sessions taking place over approximately nine weekends per semester, allowing working professionals, new to the field of occupational therapy, the flexibility to maintian their current occupation while advancing in the profession.

As an Occupational Therapist, you will assist people across the lifespan participate in activities of their choice through the therapeutic use of everyday life activities (occupations). You will be helping individuals participate in school, work, home and social situations, assisting those recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support strategies for those with cognitive or learning challenges. As an occupational therapist you will have the opportunity to conduct comprehensive evaluations of the home, school, work or other environments, implement interventions strategies, make recommendations for adaptive equipment and instructions in its use; and provide education and guidance to clients, family members and caregivers in facilitating participation in everyday life

Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) in Occupational Therapy


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program accepts students to begin the course sequence each fall semester. A selective admissions process will be used to help ensure the most qualified applicants enter the OTD program. Applicants admitted to the program will be granted admittance into SIUC as a graduate student.

The minimum admission guidelines for the clinical Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Degree program mirror those of the Graduate School at SIUC, with additional guidelines set specific to the OTD program, provided below: 

  • Applicants will possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree, in any major, from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Possess a minimum overall grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale
  • Submit, along with their application, official transcripts for all attended institutions
  • Provide three satisfactory professional recommendation letters from:
    • A supervisor of employment, volunteer service or observation experience
    • A professor or teacher, a healthcare provider, or an academic advisor
    • A person of your choosing who can address your potential for academic success in graduate school
  • Completion and submission of an application for enrollment into the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program
    • Demonstration of college level writing abilities (written essay) as prompted within the personal statement portion of the application
    • Professional Resume included within the application
  • Provide GRE scores (exam within the past 5 years). Recommended minimum combined score of 302 verbal and quantitative and score of 4.0 on the analytical portion are preferred. Scores below the minimum are considered in combination with a GPA, for the final two years of the most recently conferred degree, having surpassed a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Complete prerequisite courses with a grade of B or better, prior to the start of the program, to include:
    • General course in social/behavioral science. Example: General Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, or Social Psychology
    • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology
    • Human Growth and Development. Example: Developmental Psychology, Child Development, Adolescent Development, Adult Development, Aging or Lifespan Development
    • Anatomy - If a two-part series, both courses must be completed to fulfill the Anatomy requirement
    • Physiology 200 Level or above
    • Social Science or Business Statistics
  • If your native language is not English, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score requirements will follow the requirements set forth by the SIUC Graduate School.

Enrollment in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program is limited and based on a competitive process. Students will be selected by the Admissions Committee. Applicants will be evaluated on the overall submitted application package and rank order of applications that meet minimum criteria for admission.

Degree Requirements

The 3-year, full-time program requires a total of 103 credit hours that are a combination of lecture, laboratory and assigned clinical experiences to include successful completion of 24 weeks of supervised Level II Fieldwork and successful completion of all requirements for the individual Doctoral Capstone Experience and Doctoral Capstone Project.

For students to be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Certification Examination, the program must be granted candidacy status, have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted accreditation. After successful completion of the 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.