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.

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
Application DeadlinesTuition Rate Per UnitNumber of UnitsFormat and Length

Fall 2025

1st Priority: October 15, 2024

2nd Priority: January 31, 2025

Final Deadline: April 4, 2025


View Tuition and Financial Aid Information for details.
98 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 98 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

Dominican University of California's Occupational Therapy Department values a holistic admissions process. When reviewing your application we consider the extent and quality of your occupational therapy and related experiences, participation in academic or non-academic areas, your understanding of occupational therapy, evidence of interpersonal and communication skills, and other holistic aspects of your application including additional skills, strength, and life experiences.

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. Personal Statement
    Please provide a brief essay describing your professional and personal goals, as well as your reasons for pursuing an OT degree. 
  4. Interest in Dominican University of California
    Please write a brief essay (300 words or less) describing why you chose to apply to the Dominican University of California's OTD program and why Dominican is a good fit for you.
    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.
  5. Optional Response
    Any other pertinent information the applicant would like to share to the admissions team showing a holistic understanding of who you are as an applicant (300 words or less).
  6. Prerequisite Courses
    Minimum 3.0 GPA on prerequisite courses is recommended. Up to three incomplete prerequisites are allowed at the time of application submission. Students with a GPA lower than a 3.0 on prerequisite courses should include a statement describing their academic readiness in the optional response field at time of application.
    1. Human Anatomy with lab (completed within the last 5 years)
    2. Human Physiology with lab (completed within the last 5 years)
    3. Lifespan Development (or Developmental Psychology).
    4. Introduction to Psychology
    5. Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)
    6. Statistics (math or psychology only, not business)
    7. Medical Terminology (1 unit or more)
  7. GPA
    An overall 3.0 GPA for the past 60 units is recommended. Students with a GPA lower than a 3.0 on the last 60 units completed should include a statement describing their academic readiness in the optional response field at time of application.
  8. Observation/Volunteer Experience
    Applicants must complete a total of 40 hours of observation/volunteering in human services. 20 hours must be with an OTR. The remaining 20 hours can be fulfilled through observation/volunteering in non-OT human services settings or via alternative OT learning experiences. Hours must be documented with the Volunteer Experience Form and Reflection Form.
  9. 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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.
  12. Personal Interview
    Applicants who have been selected to continue on in the application process will receive an invitation to interview.
  13. International Applicants
    International candidates must meet additional admissions requirements.

At Dominican University of California (DUOC), information regarding a student's criminal background and the results of criminal background checks are not considered during the admissions process for the Occupational Therapy program. However, it is important for applicants to understand that a criminal background could affect their ability to take the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapists, which is overseen by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Additionally, a felony conviction might restrict access to necessary clinical fieldwork experiences, impact eligibility for the NBCOT certification exam, and influence the ability to obtain state licensure. Applicants with concerns about how a criminal background might affect their program participation are encouraged to consult with an OT Academic Advisor at DUOC. They can provide guidance on the requirements for completing the degree and obtaining licensure 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. 

Tuition and Aid


Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education logo

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

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 smiling as a group

What is like to be in the Occupational Therapy Program?

Hear directly from our students on what it is like to study occupational therapy!

Watch video
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

OT in the News

Faculty and Staff

Gina Tucker-Roghi headshot

Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/L, BCG

Associate Professor Chair and OTD Program Director
Kristin Jones headshot

Kristin Jones, MS, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Laura Hess

Laura Greiss Hess, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor


Karen McCarthy headshot

Karen McCarthy, OTD, OTR/L

Associate Professor
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Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor
Sharon Freiberg

Sharon Freiberg

Program Administrator
dominican seal

Sarah Hockey

Instructional Resources Coordinator
dominican seal

Shih-Ni Lai

Adjunct Assistant Professor
dominican seal

Kaitlyn Trimarchi

Adjunct Associate Professor
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Wendy Phillips

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Three students walking together on the Dominican campus.

La Vida Dominican

La Vida Dominican is a program for all students, increasing educational access and connection to support services, enabling degree completion and post-graduation success. Particularly, La Vida is centering experiences of students from Latinx and other historically underserved backgrounds.

Learn More About La Vida Dominican