Dominican’s OTD program educates students from diverse backgrounds to become resilient occupational therapists who use occupation to advance the health and well-being of themselves, individuals, communities and populations. OTD students are co-creators of knowledge through active and experiential learning and embody the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service.
- Three-year (nine semester) entry-level professional/clinical doctoral program
- Faculty with extensive clinical and scholarly experience
- Small class sizes and student-centered learning
- More than 200+ fieldwork partners
- A strong community engagement focus with consideration of cultural, social and political contexts of occupational therapy
- Our department’s National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) pass rate average is close to 100%. Review our NBCOT report card.
|Application Deadlines||Tuition Rate Per Unit||Number of Units||Format and Length|
1st Priority: October 15, 2023
2nd Priority: January 31, 2024
Final Deadline: April 4, 2024
View Tuition and Financial Aid Information for details.
Program Format and Outcomes
The OTD program at Dominican University of California is a nine-semester entry-level clinical program with 100 graduate units designed to prepare the next generation of occupational therapists to meet the challenge of rapidly changing, and ever more complex, health care systems. Using a cohort model, students progress through from foundational knowledge to practice and application of concepts and skills and, finally, integration of knowledge, skills and professional identity.
All students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 18 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience will start after completion of all coursework, Level II fieldwork, and preparatory activities. Students are expected to complete the program in 3 years, and not longer than 6 years, from the time of initial enrollment.
Dominican University of California’s Doctor in Occupational Therapy program empowers the next generation of occupational therapy practitioners to advance the profession as leaders, advocates, scholars, and innovators.
- Practitioner: Clinical Practice including Advanced Practice
Develop and articulate a distinct professional identity as an occupation-centered and innovative practitioner.
- Scholar: Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Effectively utilize and generate evidence in practice.
- Leader and Advocate: Professional Development
Practice, lead, and advocate within diverse social, cultural, and political settings while demonstrating a commitment to health, wellbeing, and resilience of self and others.
- Innovator: Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Experience
Utilize reflective practices and critical thinking skills to powerfully serve individuals, communities and populations.
Admissions and Aid
Students admitted to the OTD program will have completed a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study from an accredited four-year college or university, demonstrate an understanding of the basic tenets of OT, have experience exploring OT as a career, exhibit positive interpersonal skills and demonstrate a commitment to pursuing excellence as an OT practitioner, leader, advocate, scholar and innovator.
- Completed Application
Submit an OTCAS application. A Dominican University application is not required. Note: New applications will be accepted on OTCAS starting the first week of July through the first week of December.
- Official Transcript(s)
Dominican requires official transcripts of all coursework, including all undergraduate, graduate, community college and study abroad (unless University-sponsored). Submit your transcripts on OTCAS as part of your application.
- 3.0 GPA
Applicants must meet a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their most recent 60 semester units of work and for all prerequisite courses, including graduate and undergraduate coursework.
- Personal Statement
Please provide a brief essay describing your professional and personal goals, as well as your reasons for pursuing an OT degree.
- Interest in Dominican University
Write a brief, 200 word essay describing why you chose to apply to Dominican. If you've previously applied to this program, write an additional 150-200 words describing what has changed to ready you for the program since the last time you applied.
- Observation/Volunteer Experience
Applicants to the Occupational Therapy Program are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of observation/volunteering in human services, and 20 of those hours must be with licensed occupational therapists. The remaining 20 hours can be fulfilled through observation/volunteering in non-OT human services settings or via Alternative OT learning experiences.
Your supervisor(s) will fill out your volunteer experience form, return it to you, and then you will upload the completed form directly into your OTCAS application. If you do not complete all of your hours at one location, a separate form will be needed for each site. Timesheets or other facility forms will not be accepted.
Alternative OT learning experiences hours must be documented on the OT Alternative Experience Reflection Form. Alternative learning experiences are accepted to fulfill no more than 20 hours of documented experiences.
Submit a resume with your application. Your resume must include an "Other Relevant Work Experience" section to account for experience related to the OT profession. This should not include the volunteer experience that you submitted on the volunteer form.
- Two Letters of Recommendation
We require a minimum of two letters of recommendation to be submitted through the application. The salutation for the letters should be: "Dear Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee." Please do not ask individuals to contact the committee directly on your behalf as these recommendations will not be considered.
- Official GRE Score (optional)
Scores on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) are not required, but will be considered in the evaluation of an applicant’s admissibility if submitted. If you do submit scores, please use the Dominican University of California OTCAS (code 4107) when indicating your program as a score recipient. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) will transmit official GRE scores electronically to OTCAS.
- Prerequisite Courses
Complete all prerequisite courses listed below. A 3.0 GPA is required. Priority consideration is given to candidates who have completed all prerequisites by the application date. If you are granted admission with pending prerequisite coursework, you must successfully complete all in progress prerequisites and/or degree conferral before the program starts. Dominican does not accept any courses taken the summer before the start of the semester.
- Human Anatomy with lab (completed within the last 5 years)
- Human Physiology with lab (completed within the last 5 years)
- Lifespan Development (or Developmental Psychology).
- Introduction to Psychology
- Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)
- Statistics (math or psychology only, not business)
- Functional or Clinical Neuroanatomy or Neuroscience (completed within the last 5 years)
- Medical Terminology (1 unit or more)
- Personal Interview
Applicants who have been selected to continue on in the application process will receive an invitation to interview.
- International Applicants
International candidates must meet additional admissions requirements.
The Occupational Therapy Department requires students to have a clear criminal background check prior to program admission and throughout the academic program. A felony conviction may affect students' eligibility to continue in the OT Program and subsequently sit for the NBCOT Certification examination or attain state licensure.
Please note: Criminal background checks, or information relating to a student’s criminal background, are not used as part of the admissions process at Dominican University of California (DUOC). Students should be aware that some programs train students to sit for the State of California or national licensure and certification examinations that qualify them to work in the field relating to their program of choice.
The following programs constitute a list of 2021/2022 DUOC programs that train for licensure or certification: Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physicians Assistants, Counseling Psychology, Art Therapy (Marriage & Family Therapy), and Education.
Students with questions relating to criminal background requirements, who wish to enroll in these programs at DUOC should speak to an Academic Advisor and reference the specific qualifications for degree completion, and license or certification.
Dominican University of California values a holistic admissions process that supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Here are the steps we have taken to ensure DEI in our admissions process for the OTD:
- No GRE or standardized tests required
- 50% of application criteria based on non-academic factors (personal essay, letters of recommendation, volunteer experience evaluation, and behavioral interview).
- Flexible observation hours with opportunities for reflective learning experiences
- Virtual interviews
- Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) Student Chapter
- Financial aid workshop and support for first generation college students
Our 2023 admission goals include:
- Implicit bias training for all application reviewers and interviewers
- SafeZone training for all full-time faculty and staff (currently at 80%)
1st Priority: October 15
2nd Priority: January 31
Final: April 4
1st Priority: Held in November
2nd Priority: Held in February
Final: Held in April
Priority Deadline: Applications that are verified on or before October 15th will receive priority review, be considered for early interviews, and eligible to receive an early admissions decision.
Dominican will not review your application until your status reaches verified on OTCAS. Please note it may take 3-4 weeks for verification after submission.
If an application deadline falls on a weekend and/or holiday, applications will be accepted through the end of the next business day.
Eligible candidates will be invited for a group behavioral interview with OT department faculty members.
Applications verified on or before October 15th will be considered for early interviews held in November. Applications verified after October 15th will be considered for interviews offered in early February.
1st Priority Admissions Decision: End of January
Final Admissions Decision: End of February
Learn about tuition per unit, additional fees and total tuition.
We'll also show you how a Dominican education is more affordable than you might think with support from financial aid, scholarships and loans.
Dominican University of California's 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 its web address is www.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 12 months following the 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.