This program of study is directed at therapists already in practice who wish to upgrade their knowledge and skills to the doctoral level to meet the increasing demands of complex practice issues. This program focuses on specialization and professional leadership in practice. Offered entirely online, therapists can obtain this education while continuing to work in the profession.

This program is designed for students with a master's degree in occupational therapy or a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy if his or her master’s degree is in another area. Applicants must also possess a current occupational therapy license to be considered for admission. For complete details about the program, please visit the OT website.

Applications for this program are accepted online. Detailed instructions on how to apply are available on the Department of Occupational Therapy Education website. Application deadlines are April 1 for summer and fall semesters and Nov 1 for spring semester. Applications are not reviewed until all application information is received.

Admission requirements:

  • An entry-level master's degree in occupational therapy from a regionally accredited institution is required and must be documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts for all courses taken from any institution are also required.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement.
  • Applicants must possess a cumulative grade-point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for his or her bachelor's degree program.  
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the minimum English proficiency requirement.
  • A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program
  • Applicants must provide documentation of current state license to practice occupational therapy or National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy registration as an occupational therapist.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae is required and must include information on the applicant's background and educational and professional interests. Professional leadership contributions, as well as community-based volunteer leadership activities, should be highlighted.
  • With the online application, applicants will submit a statement of career goals of approximately 400 or fewer words in length. Prepare a statement of your career goals that outlines the following:
    • Why you have chosen to pursue an OTD degree at this point in your career
    • What you hope to learn and achieve during your study toward this degree
    • How you plan to use this degree and what you hope to accomplish after you graduate
  • Three references are required, with at least two references from a faculty member, advisor, employer, or other person familiar with the applicant's work and character. The recommendations may not be obtained from family members, friends, etc.

Applicants will be assessed based on these requirements. Students not meeting the above requirements may be eligible for provisional admission. After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.

Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs»

This program focuses on specialization and professional leadership in practice. This innovative curriculum is designed to be responsive to professional demands and to meet the highest academic standards. Core work and specialization opportunities have been integrated across the curriculum to create a base of both advanced knowledge and specialty knowledge that will prepare graduates for leadership in their chosen areas of concentration. 

The curriculum incorporates 4 key components evidence based practice, professional leadership, specialty practice and teaching.

Degree requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the research practicum is completed. This requirement is met by completing the following:
    • Describe research methodologies; generate research questions; critique research reports; recognize and evaluate principles of ethical and legal issues involved in conducting and using research
      • Identify and examine practice-focused problems and develop quantitative approaches to evaluate efficacy of solution strategies by participating in OTD 835 Quantitative Research for Applied Science
      • Explore program evaluation, efficacy of clinical methodology, and assessing client experience through narrative, interview, and other qualitative methodology by participating in qualitative coursework, appropriate for the student’s focus and approved by the OTD faculty mentor
    • Identify professional standards and ethics as part of OTD 875 Professional Development
    • Uphold professional standards and ethics as outlined in the OTD student handbook
    • Maintain appropriate professional credentials while participating in the OTD program
    • Complete annual KUMC Conflict of Interest reporting form
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours.
  • Successful completion of the culminating OTD 890 Capstone Project. This is an individually designed, mentored project that demonstrates a synthesis of the knowledge and skills developed in the program.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
  • Successful completion of the following courses:
    Core Courses (15)
    OTD 835Quantitative Research for Applied Science3
    OTD 860Theory and Practice in Occupational Therapy3
    OTD 865Theory Based Practice3
    OTD 875Professional Development3
    OTD 880Program Evaluation3
    Practicum Courses (9)
    OTD 850Teaching Practicum3
    OTD 885Advanced Practicum3
    OTD 890Capstone Project3
    Elective Courses (12)
    General course3
    Leadership course3
    Qualitative course3
    Teaching course3
    Total Hours36
  •  Specific elective courses are selected to complement the student's program in consultation with the student's academic advisor.

The student handbook for this program provides details of the program philosophy and structure, as well as expectations for students in the on- and off-campus learning settings. Please use the “Handbook” tab at the top of this page to access the handbooks; use the handbook named for the year in which the student first enrolled in the graduate program.

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program.  Other years’ catalogs».

Typical Plan of Study

The program's curriculum is a combination of synchronous (online course meetings held at specific times) and asynchronous (assignments and discussion board participation according to the student’s schedule) learning. Prior to the first class, an online session will be offered to help students learn the technology associated with the classes and the nature of an online program. At least once during the program, students attend an annual meeting on campus for people to meet in person.

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
OTD 8653OTD 8353OTD 8803
General elective3Leadership elective3 
 6 6 3
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
OTD 8753OTD 8503OTD 8853
Teaching elective3OTD 8603Qualitative elective3
 6 6 6
Year 3
FallHoursSpringHours 
OTD 8902OTD 8901 
 2 1 
Total Hours: 36