The Doctor of Occupational Therapy prepares licensed clinicians to become experts in an identified specialization area and will prepare them to become clinical leaders, translating new findings and evidence into practice. In this post-professional program, students will develop and demonstrate more advanced knowledge and skills, beyond those learned at the master’s level, in an occupational therapy concentration area.

UWM's OTD Program welcomes licensed clinicians who have completed an ACOTE-accredited MSOT or MOT degree program (or WFOT equivalent). See "Requirements" for additional applicant eligibility information.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission 

Primary entry requirements are:

  1. MSOT or MOT degree from an ACOTE-accredited program (or equivalent recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, WFOT).
  2. Occupational therapy licensure (or international equivalent approved by WFOT). Current master’s students may apply but cannot formally matriculate to the OTD program until they are licensed. Students may be provisionally admitted to the OTD program and accumulate credits toward graduation for one semester while required documentation is being prepared or approved.
  3. The competitive admissions process also includes evaluation of the GPA, coursework, and professional experiences, as well as a statement of personal interests.

Practicing occupational therapists with a bachelor’s degree may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. Those who are accepted to the OTD Program will be expected to complete deficiency credits that ensure that their educational background is comparable to practitioners with a master’s degree, and will complete a minimum of 54 credits of graduate-level coursework at UWM.

Credits and Courses

The OTD program requires 33 credits, including 9 credits of required occupational therapy core courses beyond the level of the MS degree and 15 credits of electives in a concentration area chosen by students and their advisors. Students who need additional background preparation may need additional credits. 

Core9
Leadership for Advanced Practice in Healthcare
Advanced Measurement and Instrumentation in Health Care
Evidence Based Practice for Individuals & Populations 1
Area of Concentration15
Complete a minimum of 15 credits in an area of concentration
Doctoral Project and Experiential Components 19
Total Credits33

Area of Concentration (minimum of 15 credits)

Students work with faculty advisors to develop a statement of their proposed concentration area, their needed and desired knowledge and courses, a mentoring team, possible doctoral experience sites, and a doctoral project. Examples of potential doctoral concentrations are below.

Assistive Technology and Assessable Design

Assistive Technology Service Delivery in Schools
Advanced Design and Disability
Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology
Assessment in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design
Fieldwork in Assistive Technology

Community and Behavioral Health

Introduction to Biostatistics
Perspectives on Community & Behavioral Health
Theories and Models of Health Behavior
Community Health Assessment
Program Evaluation in Public Health

The Doctoral Experience and the Doctoral Project (minimum of 9 credits)

Students must deliver and show competence in an evidence-based or evidence-informed population-based intervention that is still individualized. Ideally, the doctoral experience will also inform the student’s doctoral project. The doctoral experience may occur in one 16-week period, or it may be spread out over a greater period, if the 640-hour criterion is met. Like the MS thesis and PhD dissertations, the culminating 6-credit hour doctoral project must be written, publicly presented and defended. Up to 3 credits may be transferred, on a case-by-case basis, for UW-Milwaukee MSOT graduates whose master’s thesis or project will be used as the foundation of their OTD project.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Graduate School requires that each student have a major professor to advise, supervise, and approve the program of study. Students are assigned faculty advisors in the OTD program upon acceptance into the program.

Time Limit

The OTD curriculum is designed to be completed in four semesters. Some students may require two or three years of combination full- and part-time coursework, especially if they choose to work part time, take additional courses, or want to invest more time to complete their project.

Incoming OTD students with advanced applicable coursework and experience may transfer graduate credits or place out of up to 6 credits that directly relate to their proposed Program of Study. UWM MSOT students may transfer up to 3 of their master’s thesis or project credits and apply those to their OTD project credits requirement. Combined, these transfers could reduce the total credits required to 24 and would likely accelerate time to completion for some students.

Because circumstances beyond a student’s control may prevent completion of requirements according to this timeline, students will be granted a maximum of ten years to complete the degree.