Doctor Of Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapy Program is a graduate degree program for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than occupational therapy.

Why Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists help patients improve their daily lives, to help patients recover from accidents and illnesses, and work collaboratively in teams with other health professionals to help patients meet their goals. Occupational Therapists work in a wide range of settings including:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Long term care and skilled nursing facilities
  • Schools and other educational settings

Distinguished, Expert Faculty

Our faculty are leaders and innovators in their fields, bringing both deep professional experience and academic rigor to the classroom.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is an evidence-based profession dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life in persons, communities, and populations. The Program believes in the value of occupation for individuals who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, limited participation in everyday life. It asserts that meaningful engagement in occupation is essential to maintaining overall health, promoting healthy lifestyles, and wellness; minimizing the impacts of impairment; prevention of disease or injury; and adaptation as a part of development and continued living. While many health professions share these beliefs, occupational therapy is unique in its focus on occupation, i.e., meaningful doing, as both the means and the outcome of intervention by changing the person’s or groups’, contexts, and ways of doing meaningful occupations.

  • The OTD Program

    The Doctor of Occupational Therapy allows our students to become global ambassadors for persons, groups, and populations across the lifespan to use occupations or everyday life activities to enhance participation in the occupational nature of daily living in a variety of contextual settings. Occupational therapists serve as vital members of a medical treatment team, consulting with administrative and political officials and leading our national organizations as leaders. They combine scientific knowledge of the person with an understanding of occupation, the occupational nature of humans, and the relationship between the challenges of disability, environment, and culture balance with health and well-being to advocate for an occupational and social just world. Through the paradigm of occupational therapy, our students can become global ambassadors for individuals from birth to death to assure the quality of life in all settings.

    Mission

    The mission of the University of New Haven’s Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare students as occupational therapy practitioners in an inclusive profession through a student-centered approach to professional education, excellence in clinical practice, and leadership with a global reach.

    Vision

    The University of New Haven’s Occupational Therapy Program utilizes experiential, collaborative, and discovery-based learning to engage students and faculty in an active learning community to advance human health and occupational performance. The program is dedicated to meeting the current and future needs of occupational therapy by producing leaders to advocate and promote engagement in everyday occupations for all people.

    The Occupational Therapy Program will accomplish this in the following ways:

    • Cultivate interdisciplinary collegiality and diversity.
    • Offer dedicated and engaging faculty to serve as mentors and educators throughout the program and future needs.
    • Promote a life-long engagement in scholarship and service that extends beyond campus to include local and global communities.
    • Nurture excellence in holistic evidence-based practice and professional reasoning
    • Foster life-long learning amongst faculty and graduating students to be knowledgeable, skilled, inclusive and culturally sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate.
    • Deliver an integrated curriculum that prepares students for current and emerging areas of practice.
    • Foster executive leadership skills to meet the chaotic and complex challenges of a diverse and global healthcare system.
Admission Requirements
  • Post Baccalaureate Entry

    Matriculants to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program will be bachelor's and/or master’s degree graduates interested in entering a profession that is health related. These students are expected to have a strong science background and an interest in therapeutic and clinical work. Ideally, Doctorate in Occupational Therapy applicants have demonstrated an aptitude for anatomic sciences, human development, behaviors, and performance coursework in their prior educational experience. Ideal candidates should hold undergraduate or graduate degrees in health science, public health, healthcare administration, psychology, or an associate degree in physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other related allied health medical field combined with any other bachelor's degree. An individual with an associate degree in physical therapy combined with any other bachelor’s degree might consider this degree over advanced physical therapy degrees after exposure with OT to better align with their personal management of a client.

    We welcome applicants who have completed a 4-year degree undergraduate degree in another major and/or from another institution and would like to obtain a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree. These students do not need to meet the undergraduate general education requirements as in the 3+3 program, as they already have an undergraduate degree. All post-baccalaureate students applying to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program must meet the required prerequisite core courses, criteria for grades in core courses and achieve an overall GPA of 3.3 on all coursework in order to apply to the occupational therapy program.

    General Admissions Requirements for All Students

    The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will require every student to satisfy the following admissions criteria:

    • Hold an earned Bachelor of Science or Arts degree from an accredited college or university to start any doctoral work in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.
    • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or better (4.0 scale).
    • Completion of all prerequisite coursework prior to the start of the doctorate program. Prerequisite courses, as shown below, must be completed within five years preceding entrance into the OTD program.
    • For prerequisite coursework, a cumulative quality point average (GPA) of 3.3 or better on a 4.0 scale is required.Grades equal to or below a "B-" in pre-requisite coursework are not acceptable.
    • A minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90-100 for all applicants from non-English speaking countries and a minimum of 20 in each section.
    • Two letters of recommendation from academic sources.
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
    • Personal interview to assess spoken English skills as well as ethical, personal, and professional qualities to fulfill the role of an occupational therapist.
    • Five (5) hours of observation of clinical practice accompanying a registered and licensed occupational therapist practitioner. Observation hours should vary across settings, ages, and disorders. These hours are only shadowing hours prior to admission and are not part of any required clinical hours required by ACOTE as part of the OTD program.
    • Personal Statement/Essay - The Occupational Therapy Program expects admitted students to demonstrate graduate-level competence in both verbal and written communication. A writing sample consisting of 500 words, double spaced, will be required of each applicant. Writing samples will be blind scored by OTD faculty as part of the admissions process. The essay should answer the following question:
      • “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela said. How will you use your education to have a lasting impact on your community?
    • Applicants should also include an additional writing sample (ie: a past course term paper or essay, main authored peer review journal article, business plan etc.).

    Prerequisite Course Minimum Requirements:

    • Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab - 6 credits
    • Social/Behavioral Sciences - 6 credits (e.g., courses in Psychology, Sociology, Public Health)
    • Physical Sciences - 3 credits (e.g., college-level Chemistry or Physics)
    • Statistics - 3 credits (e.g., a college-level Statistics course that is computational and not remedial or historical in nature)
    • Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology - 3 credits
    • Lifespan and Human Development - 3 credits

    NOTE: AP credits are not accepted as fulfillment of prerequisite courses.

  • 3+3 Program Entry

    The BS/OTD track program awards a BS in either Health Sciences or Exercise Science, and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree (OTD). Incoming first-year students at the University of New Haven will seek admission to the occupational therapy track within one of the two majors listed above. Students who meet the admissions criteria for this program will also be conditionally accepted into the OTD program. This conditional acceptance remains effective for students who maintain a cumulative 3.3 undergraduate GPA throughout their undergraduate studies. This degree combination allows the student to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years and progress into the first year of the professional phase of the occupational therapy coursework immediately after. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is conferred at the end of the sixth year of full-time study.

    To apply for one of the BS/OTD tracks offered by the School of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven, the student must first apply to the BS program in either Health Sciences or Exercise Science and be accepted. During the application process they must also elect the track in Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree. Upon acceptance into the BS program of their choice, the student will have to be accepted into the OTD track. Specific requirements for admittance into the OTD program are outlined below.

    Admission Requirements for Entry into 3+3

    The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) 3+3 program will require every student to satisfy the following admissions criteria:

    • Application and acceptance into the health science or exercise science undergraduate program at UNH. The student will select to apply to the health science or exercise science undergraduate program AND the OTD program at the same time.
    • Overall high school GPA of 3.5 or better (4.0 scale) at the time of admission, and a 3.3 GPA minimum undergraduate GPA.
    • A minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90-100 for all applicants from non-English speaking countries and a minimum of 20 in each section.
    • Two letters of recommendation from academic sources.
    • Official transcripts from all high school/ secondary education settings attended.
    • Personal interview to assess spoken English skills as well as ethical, personal, and professional qualities to fulfill the role of an occupational therapist.
    • Preferred for five (5) hours of observation of clinical practice accompanying a registered and licensed occupational therapist practitioner, observation hours should vary across settings, ages, and disorders. These hours are only shadowing hours prior to admission; they are not part of any required clinical hours required by ACOTE that are completed as part of the academic program.
    • Personal Statement/Essay - The Occupational Therapy Program expects admitted students to demonstrate graduate-level competence in both verbal and written communication. A writing sample consisting of 500 words double spaced, will be required of each applicant. Writing samples will be blind scored by OTD faculty as part of the admissions process. The essay should answer the following question:
      • "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela said. How will you use your education to have a lasting impact on your community?
    • Applicants should also include an additional writing sample (ie: a past course term paper or essay, main authored peer review journal article, business plan etc.).
    Requirements to be completed by end of year 3 for 3+3

    The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will require every student to satisfy the following admissions criteria listed below.

    • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or better (4.0 scale).
    • Completion of all prerequisite coursework prior to the start of the doctorate program. Prerequisite courses, as shown below, must be completed within five years preceding entrance into the OTD program. AP credit is not an acceptable substitution for any prerequisite courses.
    • For prerequisite coursework, a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or better on a 4.0 scale is required. Grades equal to and below a "B-" are not acceptable.
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended showing completed required courses at the satisfactory grade.
    • Five (5) hours of observation of clinical practice accompanying a registered and licensed occupational therapist practitioner. Observation hours should vary across settings, ages, and disorders. These hours are only shadowing hours prior to admission and are not part of any required clinical hours required by ACOTE as part of the OTD program.

    Prerequisite Course Minimum Requirements

    • Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab - 6 credits
    • Social/Behavioral Sciences - 6 credits (e.g., courses in Psychology, Sociology, Public Health)
    • Physical Sciences - 3 credits (e.g., college-level Chemistry or Physics)
    • Statistics - 3 credits (e.g., a college-level Statistics course that is computational and not remedial or historical in nature)
    • Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology - 3 credits
    • Lifespan and Human Development - 3 credits

    NOTE: AP credits are not accepted as fulfillment of prerequisite courses.

    Graduation Requirements

    All students in the OTD program will be required to complete two (2) twelve-week level-II fieldwork experiences, which can take place across the nation at a contracted facility under the supervision of a qualified occupational therapist. The level-II fieldwork is completed after all didactic and laboratory requirements are fulfilled in preparation for the clinical experiences. All level-II fieldwork is required to be successfully completed prior to starting the doctoral capstone and doctoral experience coursework in the final semester of the program.

OTD Curriculum

The program consists of nine semesters of full-time, on-site, and hybrid graduate coursework taken in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students will obtain approximately 1080 hours of supervised clinical practice during the program. The curriculum covers topics to include:

  • Physical and Mental Health Conditions Across the Life Span
  • Human Occupation and Activity Analysis
  • Needs Assessment and Program Development
  • Applied Human Anatomy and Neuroscience

Read more about our curriculum, objectives, and courses in the OTD program.


Accreditation Status

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation 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 be granted Candidacy Status, 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 that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

  • Graduates of the program 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 graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

    As a newly developed program, the University of New Haven Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program has limited outcomes to share at this point. Graduation rates and National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination pass rates will be tracked and shared when they are available. Once posted, program results from the NBCOT examination can be found online at https://www.nbcot.org/en/Educators/Home#SchoolPerformance.

    Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating
    2026 Pending

Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.

The University of New Haven’s OTD program is currently in applicant status and is seeking candidacy status approval which is expected by January of 2023.

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From career assessments, networking, and job shadowing to on-campus interviews and salary negotiation, the Career Development Center provides the skills and connections to identify a meaningful career and an opportunity to pursue your passion.

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