Towson University has been successfully preparing occupational therapy graduates for
over 40 years. In response to the profession’s mandate for clinical doctorate entry
within the next decade, Towson University now offers two entry-level programs preparing
certified occupational therapists — the entry-level MS program and now an entry-level
clinical doctorate program (OTD). Both programs excel at providing critical learning
opportunities to prepare graduates for one of the fastest growing fields in health
Why Choose the Entry-Level OTD?
The Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) is designed for individuals without
a degree in occupational therapy who are looking to enter the profession with a set
of leadership skills and experiences that the clinical doctoral degree can provide.
Individuals looking to enter the profession with a master’s degree can explore our
Occupational Therapy Master’s degree (OT MS) program. Currently certified Occupational Therapists interested in earning an OTD
should explore our Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD). Individuals with an MS degree interested in earning a research doctorate should
explore the Occupational Science (ScD) program.
The Entry-level OTD curriculum is grounded in the science of occupation and designed
to prepare skilled and ethical clinical leaders. The program uses active learning
experiences such as labs and clinical opportunities to develop skills of knowledge
translation and ability to evaluate research evidence.
A Community-Based Program
The department’s 40-plus year history of collaboration with world-renowned healthcare
resources in the area as well as community programs and agencies benefits students
with access to the full continuum of health care delivery. The Occupational Therapy
Center and Hussman Center for Adults with Autism in the Towson University Institute
for Well-being provide additional fieldwork, research and service outreach opportunities.
In the last semester of the program, students complete a Doctoral Experiential Practicum
(DEP) that dovetails with a required Capstone Project. The DEP and Capstone Project
involve direct interaction with an assigned community program or agency to address
the site’s needs and priorities in ways that allow students to refine self-identified
targeted skills beyond the generalist level. Students are mentored by faculty throughout
the DEP and Capstone Project. Community site agreements are made based on the ability
of the site to provide the targeted experiences for students, supervision capacity,
and the fit with faculty areas of research and expertise. Therefore, the number of
available community sites for placement is limited.
Admission to the Entry-Level OTD
Entry-Level OTD applicants must satisfy all admission requirements and deadlines to be considered for admission to the program, and must complete all prerequisite
coursework prior to entering the program.
The 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),
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. 301-652-AOTA ACOTE Online
The program must have a preaccreditation 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.
The Entry-Level OTD is a professional, full-time, year-round commitment. Students
complete 96 credits over three years, including four Level I Fieldwork experiences,
two Level II Fieldwork experiences, a Capstone Project, and a Doctoral Experiential
Practicum. Coursework is completed in a combination of on-campus, online, and hybrid
formats. Review the degree requirements in the Graduate Catalog and program expectations for more information about required coursework, access to technology for online learning,
and the course sequence.
Making Connections in a Growing Field
Towson University Occupational Therapy students have presented their work at the annual
conferences of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Society for the
Study of Occupation (SSO) USA, and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists
Congress, and have co-authored publications with faculty. Throughout the program,
students establish a strong professional network with facilities and practitioners,
with opportunities in the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and Pi Theta
Epsilon, which often lead to a smooth transition to employment post-graduation.
The Entry-Level OTD includes required laboratory and clinical learning experiences
designed to reinforce classroom learning and further prepare students for career success.
Level I Fieldwork
Level I Fieldwork introduces students to the practice of occupational therapy by exposing
them to a variety of occupational therapy settings and roles. Under the supervision
of licensed practitioners, and with the support of faculty, students complete four
required Level I fieldwork experiences: one in mental health, one in adult physical
rehabilitation, one in children and youth practice, and one in a community-based program.
Level II Fieldwork
Level II Fieldwork provides full-time, in-depth experience in delivering occupational
therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful
occupational therapy services. Under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist,
and with the support of a faculty supervisor, students complete two required Level
II fieldwork experiences focused on one or more of the following practice areas: adult
physical rehabilitation, mental health, and children & youth. Each experience is a
12-week, 480-hour, full-time commitment requiring additional time for preparation
on the evenings and weekends; students are not permitted to maintain employment during
Level II fieldwork.
Capstone Research Project
The Capstone Project provides students with experience in producing a high quality
scholarly product. Through a two-course sequence, the student will design, propose,
implement, document, defend, and disseminate an independent, evidence-based project
related to their area of focus and addressing the priorities of the assigned community
program/agency. Common areas of focus include: clinical practice, research, administration,
Doctoral Experiential Practicum
The Doctoral Experiential Practicum (DEP) provides an in-depth experience that dovetails
with the Capstone Research Project. It focuses on refining skills in the student’s
area of focus beyond the generalist level in a community program/agency. While completing
their first several semesters of coursework, students work under a faculty advisor
and the Doctoral Capstone Coordinator to design a DEP plan with individualized objectives.
Students must gain DEP approval and successfully complete the Occupational Therapy
Knowledge Exam (OTKE) prior to site placement and DEP enrollment. The DEP experience
is a 16-week, 640-hour, commitment often requiring additional time outside of the
on-site schedule for planning, review, and other related responsibilities; students
are advised to eliminate employment during that time.