Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Program Director: Allison Ellington
Director of Clinical Education: Emily Budd
Capstone Coordinator: Elizabeth Richardson
Faculty: Lisa Burns, Greg Hansen, Pamela Stephenson, Sarah McCadden


The Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) is a post-baccalaureate, professional doctoral degree that will prepare the student for work in any practice setting following graduation and license acquisition. The curriculum integrates the occupational therapy profession’s foundational knowledge requirements, its basic theoretical tenets and perspectives, and a strong didactic and fieldwork education focus to support students in achieving competencies in screening, evaluation, and delivery of evidence-based plans of care. The curriculum is deliberately intended to incorporate the contexts associated with occupational therapy service delivery and will have an emphasis on interprofessional education in class and lab settings. Interprofessional activities will extend to opportunities for service to the local and regional community.

An OTD student must successfully complete each didactic year prior to progress to the fieldwork education course that follows. The total length of the program will be 109 credit hours, 3.0 years (nine semesters) at the completion of the curricular process. The curriculum will include two, 12-week fieldwork experiences and one, 14-week Capstone Experience. Successful completion of both the Level 2 fieldwork experiences and capstone experience, as wells as evidence of meeting the competencies for entry-level occupational therapy practice must be met in order to graduate.

OTD Program Vision Statement

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at Mary Baldwin University will provide dynamic and innovative, student-centered teaching and learning that develops practitioners who pioneer, practice, teach, and lead in a globally linked inter-disciplinary healthcare environment. The program will be a model for the Occupational Therapy profession. The graduates and faculty are committed to lifelong learning and demonstrate high levels of competence for and in the profession. The program, students, and faculty will be nationally and internationally recognized through its contributions to the profession and other entities, as well as be recognized regionally as an authority and primary source for occupational therapy information, education, and services related to occupation, health, and wellness.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Murphy Deming OTD program is to prepare compassionate graduates who will provide client-centered, occupation-focused, and evidence-based practice.  Our graduates will work collaboratively on interprofessional teams and provide supportive leadership at every opportunity.  Through ethical decision-making and with high standards of care, they will enhance engagement in meaningful, productive, and satisfying occupations for individuals and communities.

Program Philosophy

The MDCHS OT program is committed to student-centered teaching and learning experiences that innovatively address current and future occupational therapy practice needs for an ever-changing global environment.  Students learn the process of occupational therapy by exploring and applying principles of 1) client-centered and evidence-based occupational therapy practice that is based upon occupation and recognizes the influence and importance of culture, 2) teaching and learning theory, and 3) interprofessional practice.  The program seeks to develop graduates who will become lifelong learners, continually strive for excellence, and make substantial contributions to the improvement of the human condition. The MDCHS OT Philosophy statement is divided into beliefs about the human experience, health, occupational therapy, education and learning.


The information below is current as of printing, however, our most current accreditation information can be found on our website: https://marybaldwin.edu/health-sciences/school-of-health-human-performance/doctor-of-occupational-therapy/accreditation-outcomes


Accredited Doctoral Degree Level Occupational Therapy Program

The Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctoral Degree Program is accredited 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 20825-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. 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 (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.

Process for Filing Complaints with ACOTE

The process for filing complaints has been established by ACOTE. The process is outlined in the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education Policy for Complaints Against Educational Program, Revised August 2016. Link to this information: http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/EducationCareers/Accredit/Policies/Procedures/VB%20Complaints.pdf


Admission Requirements/Process for the Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program

Application cycle begins: July 18 (in OTCAS) Application deadline: January 15

  • College Transcripts: A bachelor’s degree from an MBU approved, regionally accredited institution is required prior to enrollment.
  • Application: Applications will be accepted online through the Occupational Therapy

Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) once the application cycle has begun.

  • Application Fee: In addition to the OTCAS fee, a non-refundable supplemental fee of $45 is required.
  • Prerequisite Courses:
  • Required Courses




    Introduction to Biology


    Lab recommended

    Human or Vertebrate



    Lab recommended

    Human or Vertebrate



    Lab recommended



    Recommended but not required

    Introduction to Psychology



    Abnormal Psychology



    Introduction to Sociology

    or Anthropology



    Lifespan Human



    Birth to Death

    Introduction to Research



    Qualitative or Quantitative Research, Statistics, or Research


    Medical Terminology


    A medical terminology certificate could be used to fulfill the

    prerequisite requirement for this course work

    *Can be combined A/P for 8 credits.


    Prerequisite course work may be completed during the admission cycle. Please add planned courses in OTCAS transcript section. Course work must be completed by May.


  • GPA: A minimum of 3.0 overall GPA required. We expect most accepted students will surpass this minimum. In addition, all prerequisite courses must reflect a “C” or better.
  • References: Three references are required (submitted via OTCAS). At least one reference must be from an occupational therapist. Reference from a college professor who can attest to your ability to enter a competitive professional program is recommended but not required.
  • OT Observation Hours: 40 hours are required to explore occupational therapy as a career in at least two different settings. Information on how to provide this information can be found on the OTCAS application form.
  • Essay: The OTCAS application form will require a brief personal essay.
  • Interview: The Admissions Committee will send invitations to selected candidates to interview. Not all applicants will be invited to interview. An interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.


    Before registering for classes, students must provide:

  • Criminal background checks (federal requirement for all persons working with vulnerable
  • populations) at student expense.
  • Signed Technical Standards document.
  • Written verification of immunizations at student expense.
  • Written verification of health insurance at student expense.
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers certification from the American Heart Association at student expense.

          After classes start, and in preparation for clinical placements, students must also provide:

  • Any additional requirements as stated by specific health care agencies (such as drug screening, additional criminal background checks, etc.) at student expense.


Grading, Student Standing, and Academic Probation for the PT, and Entry-Level OT Graduate Programs

The health sciences Entry-Level OT and PT graduate programs are full-time programs. Students will not be permitted to reduce the course load in a semester as the professional programs are sequential and require the student to complete them in a specific period of time. Any special circumstances related to course work for students will be addressed on a case-by- case basis with the Accessibility Services Program Coordinator, the program director, and the faculty.

Courses will be taken in semesters and assigned appropriate credit hours for contact time for lecture, lab, and clinical activities as appropriate. A course may be offered as a pass/fail grading option; however, students may not choose to take a regular, graded course for pass/fail.

Graduate courses in the school must be passed with a grade of “C” or better. A student receiving a grade of “D” or “F” in any course will be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better to continue in the program and graduate. Students falling below a GPA of 3.0 in any given semester will be placed on academic probation. A student may remain on academic probation for one additional semester in order to reach a 3.0 overall GPA. If the 3.0 GPA is not met at that time the student will be dismissed from the program.

For students in the Entry-Level OT or PT Programs:

A student on probation at the completion of the first spring semester academic year may be permitted to proceed to Clinical Education 1 or Fieldwork  Level 1 in Mental Health if the student has completed all course work with no grade lower than a “C,” has successfully passed all practical examinations, and has demonstrated appropriate professional behaviors in class and clinical settings. Faculty will meet to discuss the student’s performance and determine the student’s readiness to proceed to the full-time clinical experience.

If a student is permitted to proceed to Clinical Education 1 or Fieldwork Level 1 in Mental Health and successfully completes it, the student will then have one full- time semester (11 credit hours or more) in which to improve their GPA to a 3.0 or better.

Students must be at a 3.0 GPA or better at the completion of the second spring academic semester in order to proceed to Clinical Education 2 or Fieldwork Level 2 experiences.

Students must also be at a 3.0 or better in order to proceed to the terminal clinical internship experiences for the third year and must maintain the 3.0 GPA in order to graduate.

Students on academic probation should meet with their faculty advisor and course instructors on a regular basis to facilitate their academic improvement.

Students on academic probation are not eligible for academic and programmatic awards.

For more information, please see the previous section, “Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences Graduate Academic Policies.”


Program Matriculation and Completion: DPT and Entry-Level OTD Programs

At the end of each semester, faculty review the academic performance of all students. In order to progress to the next semester, students must successfully complete all courses in a particular semester with a grade of “C” or better and maintain a 3.0 GPA. All practical testing during that semester must be passed. The student must demonstrate appropriate professional behaviors as expected in all courses. The student will be permitted to progress to the second year and beyond only if all course work and full-time clinical experiences have been successfully completed.

A comprehensive examination is required for entry-level OT students. The exam must be successfully completed at the end of the Level 2 full-time clinical experiences to progress to the Capstone Experience.

PT students are enrolled in PTH 835 during the third summer of the program. This course prepares students to complete the Practice Examination (PEAT) of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy as the written examination. This written examination must be completed at a satisfactory level, as determined by class performance and faculty assessment, to progress to the final terminal clinical experiences that begin in fall of the third year.

Successful completion and meeting of entry-level competencies is required in the full-time terminal clinical internship experiences in order to graduate as scheduled. If a student fails a clinical internship experience, he/she may be offered the opportunity to repeat the clinical internship.

The MDCHS timeframe for completion of all program requirements is specified as five years from the date of initial enrollment.

Specific procedures are further outlined in the Clinical Education and Fieldwork Education Manuals, which will be provided prior to clinical placement.

Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Curriculum


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