Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Graduates of Dominican’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program are prepared to serve as leaders, advocates, scholars, and innovative practitioners in their field.

Students in PPE practicing giving injections.

Dominican’s OTD program educates students to become resilient occupational therapy practitioners who use occupation to advance the health and well-being of themselves, individuals, communities and populations through a culture of mentorship and collegiality. OTD students are co-creators of knowledge through active and experiential learning and embody the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service. 

Program Highlights

  • Three-year (nine semester) entry-level professional/clinical doctoral program
  • Experienced, professional faculty
  • 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
December 1, 2022 for
Fall 2023

100 Units
In person

36 months

*Tuition information will be added pending candidacy in Fall 2022.


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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 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. Students are expected to complete the program in 3 years, and not longer than 6 years, from the time of initial enrollment.

Program Outcomes 

Graduates of Dominican’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program are prepared to serve as leaders, advocates, scholars, and innovative practitioners in their field. All students complete foundational courses that introduce knowledge and context for occupational therapy practice and scholarship.

  • Practitioner: Clinical Practice including Advanced Practice
    Practice courses provide clinical content and training in three key practice areas, and opportunities for in-depth learning. 
  • Scholar: Research and Evidence-Based Practice
    Practice series develops skills and capacities as a research scholar, culminating in a paper.
  • Leader and Advocate: Professional Development
    Courses build professional identity, competency and resiliency, as well as preparation for leadership.  
  • Innovator: Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Experience
    Engages in external experiences to solidify clinical skills and apply innovations to the community.

Admissions and Aid

A Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a regionally accredited institution of higher education is required to apply to our graduate programs.

  1. Completed Application
    Submit an OTCAS application. A Dominican University application is not required. Note: No new applications can be accepted on OTCAS until after the first week of July.
  2. 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. 3.0 GPA 
    Applicants must meet a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their most recent 60 semester units of work, including both graduate and undergraduate coursework.
  4. Personal Statement
    Please provide a brief essay describing your professional and personal goals, as well as your reasons for pursuing this degree. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Observation/Volunteer Experience
    Applicants to the Occupational Therapy Program are required to complete a total of 60 hours of observation/volunteering in human services, and 40 of those hours must be with an OTR. 

    The OT program is making temporary exceptions to our current policy for Observation/Volunteer hours for the Fall 2022 application cycle. The following forms are required with your OTCAS application.

    • Submit volunteer experience form through the OTCAS application. Observation/Volunteer hours require 40 hours of OT Relevant experience within the previous 3 years. Observation hours can be conducted in a virtual environment. Your supervisor(s) will fill out your volunteer form, then upload the completed form directly into your OTCAS application. If you do not complete all of your volunteer work experience at one location, a separate form is needed for each location. Time sheets or other facility forms cannot be submitted as proof of volunteer work.

    • Submit reflection form through the OTCAS application. Alternative learning experiences are accepted to fulfill no more than 20 hours of documented experiences. Alternative learning experiences are listed on the form.

  7. Resume
    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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. Official GRE Score (optional)
    GRE scores are optional. 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.
  10. 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)
    • Medical Terminology (1 unit or more)
    • Introduction to Sociology or Cultural Anthropology (recommended, but not required)
  11. Personal Interview
    Applicants who have been selected to continue on in the application process will receive an invitation to interview.
  12. International Applicants
    International candidates must meet additional admissions requirements.

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. 

Fall 2023 Deadline December 1, 2022
Interviews Held in February

Application window is July 18-December 1. Admissions decisions are made in February.

If an application deadline falls on a weekend and/or holiday, applications will be accepted through the end of the next business day.


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education logo

Our Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

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
The program must be granted Candidacy Status, 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.

6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
(301) 652-AOTA

Degrees Offered


Program Contact

Allyse Rudolph, MA

Director of Graduate Admissions

occupational therapy students


Students complete more than 1,000 hours of supervised clinical training in diverse settings. Dominican has more than 200 fieldwork sites, including: Children's Hospital, Marin General Hospital, San Francisco General Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Hospitals.

Student taking notes

Clinical Simulation Services

Our learning labs allow students to collaborate with their peers and faculty in order to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their prospective healthcare fields.

Clinical Simulation Services

Occupational Therapy by the Numbers

Our Occupational Therapy department has a great reputation for preparing postgraduate students for successful careers.

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Average Salary

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Employment Rate

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Years Accredited

OT in the News

Faculty and Staff

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Julia Wilbarger, OTR/L, PhD

Associate Professor & Chair, Occupational Therapy Department
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Laura Greiss Hess, OTR/L, PhD

Assistant Professor
Kristin Jones headshot

Kristin Jones

Assistant Professor
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Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L

Program Director, Associate Professor
Karen McCarthy headshot

Karen McCarthy, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
Claire Murphy headshot

Claire Murphy

Instructional Resources Coordinator, Occupational Therapy
Caroline Umeda headshot

Caroline Umeda, PhD

Assistant Professor
Evin Wallus headshot

Evin Wallus, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Gina Tucker-Roghi headshot

Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD

Assistant Professor