Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

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

Occupational therapy student working with an adult

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. 

Program Highlights

  • 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

Fall 2023

Priority: October 15, 2022

Final: December 1, 2022

$1,195

View Tuition and Financial Aid Information for details.
100 Units
 
In person

36 months

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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 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.

Program Outcomes 

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. 

  1. 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.
  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 and for all prerequisite courses, including 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 an OT 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 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. 
    • 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.

    • 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. 

  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)
    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.
  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)
    • Functional or Clinical Neuroanatomy or Neuroscience (completed within the last 5 years)
    • Medical Terminology (1 unit or more)
  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

Priority: October 15, 2022

Final: December 1, 2022

Interviews

Priority: Held in November

Final: Held in February 

The application is open annually on July 18-December 1.

Priority Deadline: Applications that are verified on or before October 15th, 2022 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.

Interviews

Priority Interviews: November
Interviews: February

Eligible candidates will be invited for a group behavioral interview with OT department faculty members.

Applications verified on or before October 15th, 2022 will be considered for early interviews held in November. Applications verified after October 15th, 2022 will be considered for interviews offered in early February.

Decisions

Priority Admissions Decision: End of January
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. 

Tuition and Aid

Accreditation

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education logo

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.

Applicant status: Applicant

The program must 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). 

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

occupational therapy students

Fieldwork

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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$98,743

Average Salary

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100%

Employment Rate

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22

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

Associate 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