Occupational Therapy OTD


Learn more about the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy.

About the Program

The Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is an entry-level professional doctorate in occupational therapy. Students entering the OTD program must hold a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the program. As decreed by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), occupational therapists may enter the profession at the master’s or doctoral level. Although a doctoral degree is not mandatory, it is believed that the profession will eventually move to the single point of entry doctorate degree as many healthcare disciplines have done. This program is forward thinking, preparing students now at the doctoral level.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years, with coursework completed lockstep in 10 semesters as part of a cohort

Campus Location: Main, with experiential-learning labs and fieldwork done at off-campus clinical and community sites

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program must be completed on a full-time basis.

Affiliation(s): Students complete field studies and capstones in various settings depending on the nature of the study.

Ranking: In 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report, Temple University's program ranks as the 23rd best occupational therapy program out of 198.

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 it web address is https://acoteonline.org/.

The program must have a pre-accreditation 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.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 18 months following 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.

Job Prospects: As of 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17% growth in occupational therapy until 2030. This is more than double the 8% growth projected for all jobs.

Licensure/Certification: Graduates of the OTD program are eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination leading to the designation of Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Additionally, practitioners must abide by specific licensure requirements as determined by individual states. For more information about state licensure, visit the AOTA state licensure webpage.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: OTD coursework is available only to matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities: Financial aid is available to students. For information on financial aid, please contact Student Financial Services at 215-707-2667.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Summer II: February 1

All applicants to the OTD program must apply via the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). The system can be accessed at https://otcas.liaisoncas.com/. Applications are processed throughout the year as they are received. Admission to the OTD program is a rolling process such that, beginning in the Fall, applications are reviewed and offers of admission are extended, continuing until the cohort is filled. Thus, it is in the applicant's best interest to apply early to this highly competitive degree program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators, typically college/university faculty or an immediate work supervisor, who can provide insight into the applicant's aptitude for graduate study. These letters are to be submitted electronically at https://otcas.liaisoncas.com/.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Required coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology or Cultural Anthropology (1000-level course, not a 2000- or 3000-level course)
  • Anatomy with lab and Physiology (1000-level course, not 2000- or 3000-level course), which can be taken separately or as a combined sequence (e.g., Anatomy and Physiology I with Anatomy lab, or Anatomy and Physiology II). The lab must include human muscular and skeletal anatomy.
  • Developmental Psychology or Lifespan Development, which must include a lifespan perspective of development. Two developmental psychology courses in two different life phases are accepted (either child/youth and adult/older adult).
  • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology
  • Statistics, Biostatistics, or Research Methods
  • Physics

Without exception, grades earned in prerequisite courses must be a "B-" or better for consideration in an application. Prerequisites are not required to have been taken while an undergraduate. The courses may be completed at a local community college or any accredited institution of higher education. AP or CLEP courses are not accepted for prerequisites, except for Introduction to Psychology with a score of 4 or higher. Science courses must be 4 credits. Prerequisites may be in progress at the time of the initial application, but must be completed and verified on one’s OTCAS application by February 1 of the year for which application is made.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: Without exception, the February 1 deadline for OTCAS transcript and course verification must be met. If you have questions regarding transcript and course verification, contact OTCAS directly. A baccalaureate degree in any discipline is acceptable for applying to Temple University’s Occupational Therapy program as long as the required prerequisites are successfully completed with a grade of "B-" or better. No particular undergraduate program of study is required for occupational therapy.

Statement of Goals: The education and practice of occupational therapists demand a great deal of mental flexibility, creativity, teamwork, and service to others. Temple OT has a curriculum specifically designed to integrate these aspects into our surrounding community to support student learning and service to our community. Your statement, which is submitted at https://otcas.liaisoncas.com/, should reflect your interest in this type of curriculum and your capacity to successfully engage in the demands of this type of professional graduate occupational therapy education and practice.

Standardized Test Scores:
MAT or GRE: Not required.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 68
  • Duolingo: 110

Laptop: Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming students in the College of Public Health are required to have a laptop. Academic programs in the college are technology intensive. They incorporate statistical and database analyses; utilize specialized tools for athletic training, kinesiology and physical therapy; stream audio and video for communication sciences; facilitate online interactive counseling for social work; and foster clinical experiences and online assessments. The laptop requirement enables the College of Public Health to improve opportunities for active learning and provide greater access to specialized software and required tools in and out of the classroom, better preparing students for the workforce. Learn more about device specifications and suggested vendors. Students can use excess financial aid (i.e., funds that are reimbursed after all tuition and fees are paid) to meet student needs, including the purchase of a laptop. Scholarships may also provide funding.

Clearances: The Occupational Therapy OTD program requires students to complete clinical/field education experiences at facilities both on and off Temple University’s campuses. These placements require a physical examination, immunization records, criminal background checks, Act 33/34 clearances, DHS fingerprinting, Healthcare Provider CPR certification, proof of personal health insurance, an annual influenza vaccine, and perhaps a drug screen. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options for the student, thus resulting in their inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or felonious or illegal act may prevent the individual from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice occupational therapy.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 116

Required Courses:

Year 1
Summer II
OTHR 5002Theoretical Perspectives of Occupation2
OTHR 5005Neuroscience Perspectives in Occupational Therapy4
OTHR 8002Clinical Skills I: Perspectives in Occupational Therapy2
 Term Credit Hours8
OTHR 5001Developmental Perspectives in Occupational Therapy2
OTHR 5008Kinesiology Perspectives in Occupational Therapy4
OTHR 5013Medical Perspectives in Occupational Therapy3
OTHR 5014Person-Environment Dynamics in Occupation1
OTHR 5019Theoretical Perspectives in Occupational Therapy2
OTHR 5151Research I: Evidence-Based Practice in Occupational Therapy3
OTHR 8003Clinical Skills II: Fundamentals of Practice2
 Term Credit Hours17
OTHR 5003Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy3
OTHR 5105Occupational Therapy Practice: Children & Youth5
OTHR 5152Research II: Design and Methodologies in Occupational Therapy2
OTHR 5185Occupational Therapy Practice: Fieldwork IA1
OTHR 5222Occupational Therapy Practice: Adults and Older Adults5
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 2
Summer I
HRPR 8985Teaching in Higher Education: Health Professions3
OTHR 5219Occupational Therapy Practice: Community and Social Participation3
OTHR 5285Occupational Therapy Practice: Fieldwork IB1
 Term Credit Hours7
HRPR 8987Teaching in Higher Education Practicum3
OTHR 5104Occupational Therapy Practice: Mental Health5
OTHR 5161Occupational Therapy Service Delivery & Management3
OTHR 5286Occupational Therapy Practice: Fieldwork IC1
OTHR 81042
 Term Credit Hours14
OTHR 5123Occupational Therapy Practice: Assistive Technology4
OTHR 5221Health & Wellness in the Community3
OTHR 81052
OTHR 81072
OTHR 82862
 Term Credit Hours13
Year 3
Summer I
OTHR 5287Intensive Occupational Therapy Practice: Fieldwork IIA9
 Term Credit Hours9
OTHR 5288Intensive Occupational Therapy Practice: Fieldwork IIB9
OTHR 82873
 Term Credit Hours12
OTHR 82883
OTHR 82899
 Term Credit Hours12
Year 4
Summer I
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions10
OTHR 82062
OTHR 82083
OTHR 82903
 Term Credit Hours8
 Total Credit Hours: 116

Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-

Culminating Event:
Intensive Fieldwork Practica:
Students may be required to travel up to 90 minutes from their place of residence to a Level I or II clinical site.

Level I: Students participate in a variety of Level I fieldwork experiences that are largely local. However, opportunities do exist for international Level I field experiences.

Level II: Two 12-week supervised full-time fieldwork experiences are required for degree completion. Level II fieldwork must be completed within 24 months of successful completion of all academic courses. Students are assigned to Level II fieldwork either locally or in another state. No international Level II fieldwork experiences are available. 

Doctoral Capstone Project and Experience:
The doctoral capstone series is interwoven throughout the curriculum to ensure students build foundational knowledge in the critical consumption of evidence and research, understanding of translation and production of research, and the importance of assessment and dissemination of outcomes. Through the capstone course series, students learn to develop, implement and assess a culminating project that encourages further development of clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program policy and development, advocacy or education.

The capstone is designed to ensure students attain in-depth knowledge and skill in their interest area while supporting Temple’s clinical and community partners throughout the 14-week experience.


Program Web Address:


Department Information:

Programs in Occupational Therapy

201 Mitten Hall

1913 N. Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6004



Submission Address for Application Materials:


Department Contacts:


CPH Office of Admissions



Occupational Therapy Admissions



Cell: 267-908-1734