Pre-Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational therapists are licensed health professionals who help people of all ages, with and without disabilities, to do the things that are important to them in their daily lives. 

OT student working with adult

A career in occupational therapy begins with earning an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an accredited program. To start you on this journey, Dominican offers a three-year, post-graduate, entry-level Doctor in Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. Dominican’s undergraduate students can follow the Pre-OT pathway and apply for the accelerated admission pathway into the OTD program in their senior year. 

The Pre-OT pathway allows Dominican’s undergraduate students to complete all prerequisite courses that are commonly required in entry-level occupational therapy programs. Students graduated with their baccalaureate degree and completed all the courses in the Pre-OT pathway may be able to apply to any entry-level master or doctor in occupational therapy programs. 

Students in the Pre-OT pathway can also choose to enter Dominican's Doctor in Occupational Therapy program via an accelerated admission pathway. Students who are accepted into the OTD program through the accelerated admission pathway can complete their baccalaureate degree and Doctor in Occupational Therapy in six years.

Program Highlights

  • Experienced, professional faculty
  • Small class sizes and student-centered learning
  • More than 200+ fieldwork partners
  • A strong community engagement focus 

Admissions Requirements and Process

Dominican undergraduates can submit competitive applications for early admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program. The accelerated admission pathway allows students who have completed all core and major requirements and are accepted to the OTD program to enter their graduate studies in their fourth year as undergraduates.

  • First year: Declare major and state interest in the Pre-OT accelerated OTD pathway.
  • First year through junior year: Complete major requirements, core curriculum and OTD prerequisites.
  • Junior year (fall): Submit competitive application to OTD.
  • Senior year (fall): Pending admission, begin OTD courses.
  • End of senior year: Receive bachelor's degree in major.
  • Summer after undergraduate graduation: Continue in the OTD graduate program.

Undergraduate student applicants in the accelerated admission pathway at Dominican will need to meet the following criteria before applying to the OTD program in their junior year:

  • Evidence that major degree requirements will be completed by the end of the spring semester junior year.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of application.
  • A minimum of 40 hours of volunteer work. At least 20 hours must be under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist, and within two years of the program's start date. The 40 hours of volunteer work can include service-learning hours, if applicable.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.25 in the following prerequisite courses:
  • Human Anatomy with lab – 4 units
  • Human Physiology with lab – 4 units
  • Introduction to Psychology – 4 units
  • Abnormal Psychology – 4 units
  • Statistics for Health/Behavior Sciences – 4 units
  • *Child and Adolescent Development (4 units) & Adult Development and Aging (4 units) or Lifespan Development (4 units)
  • Human Neuroanatomy and Physiology (4 units)
  • +Medical Terminology (1 unit or more)
  • Personal statement and two reference letters
  • Personal interview

*For students not in the Psychology major, Child and Adolescent Development & Adult Development and Aging or Lifespan Development courses can be transferred from an accredited institution of higher learning, such as a junior college, or through an accredited online university.

+The Medical Terminology course will be an approved course transferred from an accredited institution of higher learning, such as a junior college, or through an accredited online university.

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. 


The Doctor in Occupational Therapy program at Dominican University of California is a nine-semester entry-level clinical program with 105 graduate units designed to prepare the next generation of occupational therapists to meet the challenge of rapidly changing, and ever more complex, healthcare systems. Using a cohort model, students progress through foundational knowledge to practice and application of concepts and skills and, finally, integration of knowledge, skills and professional identity.

Students in the accelerated pathway will complete 31 units in the OTD program as undergraduates.

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
Accreditation status: Applicant.

Degrees Offered


Office Hours

Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admissions and Aid

A degree from a private university like Dominican University of California is more accessible than you might think. For most students there is no application fee and we don't ask for test scores. We're also proud to say that more than 99 percent of our first-year incoming students receive financial aid, which makes paying for school within reach.

Learn More About Admissions and Aid

Occupational Therapy by the Numbers

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

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Average Salary

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Employment Rate

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Years Accredited

occupational therapy students

Doctor in Occupational Therapy

Pre-OT students can complete their Doctor in Occupational Therapy in just six-years, with an accelerated admissions process into Dominican's OTD program.

Learn about our OTD

Faculty and Staff

Gina Tucker-Roghi headshot

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

Assistant Professor OTD Program Director
Sharon Freiberg

Sharon Freiberg

Program Administrator
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Laura Greiss Hess, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
Kristin Jones headshot

Kristin Jones, MS, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
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Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L, CSRS

MSOT Program Director Associate Professor
Karen McCarthy headshot

Karen McCarthy, OTD, OTR/L

Associate Professor
Claire Murphy headshot

Claire Murphy

Instructional Lab Coordinator
Caroline Umeda headshot

Caroline Umeda, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
Evin Wallus headshot

Evin Wallus, MS, OTR/L, AFWC

Assistant Professor Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
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Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor
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Amy Arenberg, OTR/L

Adjunct Assistant Professor
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Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cantrell

Adjunct Instructor
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Jamie Close

Adjunct Associate Professor
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Ernie Escovedo

Adjunct Associate Professor
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Susan LeBlanc

Adjunct Professor
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Maggie Smida

Adjunct Assistant Professor
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Kaitlyn Trimarchi

Adjunct Assistant Professor
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Alison Virzi

Adjunct Professor
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Jane Dressler

Adjunct Professor
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Courtney Malachowski

Adjunct Instructor

Occupational Therapy in the News