Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Welcome to the Department of Occupational Therapy  Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

 The Department of Occupational Therapy has been an established program at USA since 1994.  The program evolved over the years from a Bachelor’s degree, to a Master’s degree, and now to a doctoral degree program with continuous accreditation. 

 The USA Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program is an exciting and challenging program consisting of 114 semester hours completed in eight consecutive semesters.  Students in the OTD program are prepared for OT practice using a variety of learning strategies including formal lectures, experiential learning labs, simulation with standardized patients, service-learning, guest lectures, participation with faculty in research, and volunteer events.  Our goal is to prepare our OTD students for clinical practice and for success with the national exam (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam). Our courses are designed to meet the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) new 2023 standards to promote your success. Our website home page boasts the success that our MSOT students have had on the national exam (100% pass rates) and we expect the OTD students to shine and be successful also. 

The OTD program includes two twelve-week Level II Clinical Fieldwork rotations for a total of 24 full-time weeks allowing students hands-on clinical experiences at two different locations.  All Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 12 months following completion of academic requirements. The clinical fieldwork is  available in over 200 affiliated general hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient centers,  psychiatric facilities, schools, hand therapy practices,  and various specialty practices representing a wide variety of educational opportunities for our students.  While clinical sites are available in many locations across the United States, the majority are within the Southeastern region.

The OTD program also includes the required 14-week doctoral capstone (experience and project) affording a variety of options for in-depth exposure to one or more of the following focus areas: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development. Students must successfully complete all coursework, successfully pass both level II fieldwork rotations, and complete all preparatory activities as required prior to beginning the capstone experience. The Capstone Experience must be completed within 12 months following completion of all level II fieldwork and academic requirements.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at the University of South Alabama prepares graduates for professional practice and is designed as an entry-level, first Occupational Therapy degree. Throughout the OTD program, students develop necessary communication skills and professional behaviors while simultaneously learning hands-on evaluation and intervention techniques to promote their competence to work with patients, families, and interprofessional teams. Strong emphasis is placed on gaining clinical reasoning/problem solving skills and the ability to practice as an entry-level occupational therapist in a variety of employment settings. Graduates of the OTD program will also have the capability of assuming responsibilities in areas of administration, consultation, and research in occupational therapy.


Are you interesting in applying for the OTD program?

We admit one cohort of students for the OTD program each year in the Fall Semester. They will progress together through the next 8 semesters of academic work. 

Applications are available  starting the year before in the summer. 

For example- in July 2024 OTCAS will open to begin the application process for students interested in attending for Fall 2025.  

Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the
Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
After successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered
All states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the
NBCOT Certification Examination.
** A Felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Examination or attain state

Click on the link below to learn about the requirements to enter the OTD program based on the year you hope to start the OTD program. Students are encouraged to plan ahead and apply as early as possible as it is a competitive application process.


Fall 2024  

Fall 2025