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.

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»

Entry-level Professional OTD curriculum - This subplan allows students who possess the appropriate prerequisite course work and an undergraduate degree to pursue a 3-year clinical doctorate degree that includes academic, practicum, and fieldwork preparation for professional practice in a variety of OT settings. Practicum and fieldwork experiences are offered throughout the Kansas City community, the state of Kansas and, in some cases, in states other than Kansas. Upon completion, students are eligible for the OT certification examination administered by NBCOT. Only students who have successfully completed the entire three-year program are eligible for this certification exam, which is required for legal employment as a practicing OT.

Degree requirements:

  • All students are enrolled as full-time students, and degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the program. All academic preparation and fieldwork in the professional program must be completed within 4.5 years of the first date of matriculation into the program.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of all courses with the grade of “C” or higher.
  • Successful completion of required Level II fieldwork experiences with the grade of “B” or higher. A part-time optional Level II fieldwork experience will not count toward satisfying this requirement.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 112 credit hours, including academic course work and fieldwork experiences.
  • Successfully complete the oral examination (the Professional Growth Assessment) during the final semester of the program.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
  • Successful completion of the following courses:

Course List <see supporting document titled:  entryOTD_course table>

Specific elective courses may be 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».

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Advanced Practice OTD curriculum - This subprogram focuses on specialization and professional leadership in practice. This innovative curriculum is intended for practicing OTs, and 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:

Course List <see supporting document titled:  advancedOTD_course table>

  •  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

TECHNICAL STANDARDS

Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Degree Program

A Doctoral Degree in Occupational Therapy signifies that the holder is prepared to assume leadership in clinical practice after developing advanced practice competencies.  It follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to promote evidence based practice, professional leadership, teaching, and advanced practice.  Therefore, all individuals admitted to the University of Kansas Medical Center Occupational Therapy Doctoral degree program must have the following abilities and expectations with or without accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program, and reasonable accommodation will be made for qualified applicants or students who disclose a disability. Candidates who indicate upon application or after acceptance to the program that they cannot meet an expectation listed will be reviewed further by the OTD Admissions Manager in collaboration with the ADA Panel for the School of Health Professions to determine if reasonable accommodations are likely to lead to successful completion of the occupational therapy graduate program.

  1. Problem Solving:  The culminating activity in the preparation of an occupational therapist is clinical reasoning.  The post professional occupational therapy student is expected to develop advanced expertise and demonstrate leadership, teaching, advanced practice, and evidence-based practice skills.  Therefore, a candidate must be able to understand research, make correct observations, and engage in reasoning, analysis, and synthesis.
  2. Judgment:  The candidate will be expected to demonstrate judgment in classroom and practical settings which shows an ability to make mature, sensitive, and effective decisions in the following areas:  a) relationships with supervisors, peers, and patients/clients/consumers,  b) professional behavior,  c) the effectiveness of intervention strategies.  He or she must demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and justification for his or her performance.
  3. Communication:  A) Written communication:  The candidate must be able to assimilate information from written sources (texts, journals, medical/school records, etc.).  The candidate must be able to attain, comprehend, retain, and use new information presented in written formats.  Candidates are required to use information from written sources and must be able to produce appropriate written documentation.  B) Verbal and nonverbal communication:  Candidates must be able to communicate effectively to elicit information from patients/clients/consumers, supervisors, and peers. Candidates must possess the ability to convey factual information, but also to communicate the more subtle cues of mood, temperament, and social responses.  Communication with patients/clients and with all members of the intervention team or academic unit must be accurate, sensitive, effective, and efficient.  Response time to emergencies/crisis situations, as well as more routine communication must be appropriate to the situation or setting.
  4. Sensorimotor:  Candidates must have sufficient gross motor, fine motor, and equilibrium functions, and functional use of sensory systems to enable them to perform all tasks essential to their career paths.
  5. Behavioral and social attributes:  Candidates are expected to exhibit professional behaviors and attitudes during their participation in classroom, clinical, and research experiences.  The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and colleagues, including individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds. This includes, but is not limited to, an ability to establish rapport and communicate with others, to use appropriate language, possess flexibility toward change, and to accept responsibility for one’s own conduct.  Students are expected to exhibit a positive attitude toward patients/clients, peers, and supervisors.

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