Jul 13, 2024  
2018-19 ATSU University Catalog 
2018-19 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy (Residential), OTD

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program - residential

The mission of the Occupational Therapy program is to prepare highly competent entry-level occupational therapy practitioners committed to holistic, client-centered, science-informed practice who value health equity, diversity, team-based health care and community-based practice designed to enhance the life participation and social inclusion of individuals, families, groups and vulnerable populations across the lifespan. 

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at A.T. Still University builds upon entry-level practice competencies through advanced training in social determinants of health, innovative occupation-based program development, practice-based evidence, leadership and advocacy aimed at improving individual, community and population health and well-being.

Philosophy of the Occupational Therapy Program

The philosophy of the Occupational Therapy program is based on the belief that humans are occupational beings who are shaped and influenced by many factors. These factors include, and are not limited, to person factors such as the genetic makeup, and environmental factors such as culture, social organization and systems, life experiences across the lifespan. It is believed that occupation, observed in countless forms, provides a basis for engagement with the world.

The philosophical base of the profession rests on the belief in occupations as a health determinant; engagement in occupations is necessary and meaningful occupations benefit all people and populations, and impact the ability to achieve health and wellbeing. Occupations occur across the lifespan and are influenced and impacted by many contextual factors. The occupational therapy profession values occupations as a therapeutic means and end to facilitate function, health, and quality of life (AOTA, 2011).

The program adheres to the belief that students are active learners who acquire knowledge best when they are able to integrate theoretical and didactic content through experiential learning activities, in the classroom, clinic and community. Learning is accomplished when instructors are facilitators for students, who work together in communities of learning and practice, to engage in ongoing discourse to understand, analyze, critically evaluate, and apply information. The program faculty believes that students need a thorough grounding in foundational knowledge and skills; these foundational competencies serve to scaffold more complex information. Complete mastery of foundational concepts is not required before higher-level skills and learning can be introduced in an integrated manner as students learn to build on simple concepts, integrate concepts, and apply them to practice.

Length of Program

The entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is a 36-month, full-time program of study offered in a residential format, culminating in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree.  The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will consist of 105 credit hours.  In addition each student will earn a Public Health Certificate worth an additional 12 credit hours.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is due two times a year at ATSU. It is due at the beginning of the first and second semesters. Each payment is half the cost for the entire year. Tuition may be paid any time during the week that it is due. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year.

Class/Year Tuition Educational Supply Fee
Class of 2021, year 1 $33,116.00 $1,150.00
Class of 2020, year 2 $33,116.00 $1,150.00
Class of 2019, year 3 $32,170.00 $1,150.00


Application Process

Applications to the residential entry–level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program are processed through the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).  Applications may be obtained through OTCAS at www.otcas.org.  Questions regarding the OTCAS account may be directed to OTCAS at 617.612.2860 or by email at otcasinfo@otcas.org.  All other questions should be sent to Admissions at admissions@atsu.edu or 866.626.2878 ext. 2237.

Application Deadline

Applications for the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, but applicants are encouraged to apply early. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.

Admission Requirements

  1. Candidates accepted for admission will have earned a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution prior to matriculation.
  2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA, and a 3.00 science GPA (on a 4.00 scale).  Applications will not be considered unless both the cumulative and the science GPA scores meet the stated minimum requirements. Additionally, the ATSU Admissions department does not recalculate GPA.
  3. Applicants are required to submit all official college or academic transcripts.
  4. Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 30 contact/observation hours in the occupational therapy field. More than one setting is recommended.
  5. Applicants must secure three (3) letters of reference. One of these letters must be written by: a present or former faculty member, academic advisor, or employer. One reference letter should come from a professional from the occupational therapy field or another clinical supervisor. The final letter can come from a reference of your choice, but may not be from a friend or family member. Letters from an educational consulting service will not be accepted. New letters of reference must be submitted for each application year.
  6. Applicants who are considered potential candidates will be invited to participate in an applicant interview process.
  7. Applicants must complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the academic term prior to matriculation at ATSU.
  8. Applicants are expected to be computer literate and experienced in word processing. All curricula require extensive computer usage. Accepted applicants are required to have a laptop computer prior to the first day of class.
  9. Students must obtain and maintain Health Care Provider level of CPR certification from either the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. Verification must be submitted to the Occupational Therapy department prior to enrollment.
  10. Applicants are required to submit to a criminal background check at their own expense. Applicants need to be aware that having a felony conviction might impact a graduate’s future ability to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Exam and/or ability to obtain state licensure to practice.
  11. All students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to the Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T Still University. You can find information on the methods by which you can demonstrate your English Proficiency in the General Admissions section. International Admissions Requirements
  12. Applicants who wish to be considered for more than one ATSU-ASHS program, including both Occupational Therapy programs, MSOT and OTD-entry level (and including Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Audiology), must submit separate application fees, transcripts and references. Acceptance to ATSU-ASHS is to a specific program and is not transferable to any other program. Application materials are not transferable from one application year to another.
  13. Applications for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy-entry level program are processed on a rolling admissions basis, which means that seats are offered to qualified applicants beginning in October and ending when all seats are filled. For that reason, applicants are encouraged to apply early as seats fill quickly. Point of entry into the program is only once each academic year with classes beginning in mid-July.

Prerequisite Courses

  1. Human Anatomy: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours
  2. Human Physiology: one course with lab, minimum of 4 semester/6 quarter hours (Note: Human Anatomy/Physiology I and II may be substituted for the above courses)
  3. Science: In addition to numbers one and two above, one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours from one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, or Physics
  4. Statistics: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours. Course must be behavioral, education, psychological or mathematical statistics. Business statistics does not fulfill this requirement
  5. Lifespan Human Development: This requirement can be met by having one course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours that covers human development from birth through gerontology OR by having both a Child development course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours, and a Gerontology/Psychology of Aging course, for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  6. Introduction or General Psychology; one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  7. Abnormal Psychology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  8. Introduction to Sociology OR Cultural Anthropology: one course for a minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours
  9. English: Two courses of composition, grammar/literature, for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
  10. Humanities: Two courses (e.g., philosophy, religion, literature, fine arts, logic, ethics, or foreign language), for a minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours
  11. Medical Terminology: one course for a minimum 1 semester hour/1 quarter hour

Graduation Requirements

To earn the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, all students must:

  1. Complete with a passing grade of all didactic coursework and maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.
  2. Complete with a passing grade of all Level II fieldwork within 24 months of completion of didactic coursework.
  3. Complete with a passing grade, the experiential component of the OTD capstone within 12 months of completion of all Level II fieldwork.
  4. Complete with a passing grade a directed research project and project presentation.
  5. Discharge all financial obligations to ATSU-ASHS.
  6. Participate in the NBCOT certification exam workshop.
  7. Attend commencement activities and graduation.

OTD Program Goals and Outcomes

Graduates from the OTD program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to determine the unique needs of a wide variety of clients, to include individuals, small groups of individuals as well as larger groups of people.
    1. Approach occupational therapy practice from a holistic viewpoint, incorporating all aspects of the individual’s or group’s life and culture.
    2. Incorporate the therapeutic use of self through collaboration with others.
  2. Demonstrate the ability provide meaningful occupational therapy services for all clients, recognizing the necessary assessments, tools, interventions and outcomes are dependent on the client, who can be an individual, a small community, or a larger group of people.
  3. Identify and demonstrate elements of health and wellness in their own lives, serving as a model for others.
  4. Facilitate interventions, activities and programming to promote health and well-being for all clients.
    1. Select appropriate evaluation processes and tools for assessing function based on occupational therapy frames of reference and models of practice.
    2. Develop and implement appropriate occupational therapy treatment plans and interventions that reflect client needs including cultural, socioeconomic, age, gender and lifestyle factors.
    3. Modify and revise treatment goals and interventions based on the client’s progress.
    4. Develop and implement programming that facilitates responsibility for personal health and life-
  5. Understand health disparities and the cultural influences on health and recovery.
  6. Engage in interventions, activities and programming to serve the underserved.
  7. Understand the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics, and will demonstrate moral responsibility and ethical practice during their professional training.
    1. Demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making that reflect ethical occupational therapy practice.
  8. Demonstrate a commitment to their profession, by participating in professional organization activities and/or scholarship opportunities.
  9. Communicate the value of occupations, helping all clients to identify the meaningful activities that promote engagement in life.
    1. Articulate and demonstrate the role and value of occupational therapy to the public and other health care professionals.
  10. Utilize occupations, in many forms, as a means to achieve health and wellness for all clients.
  11. Demonstrate entry-level skills needed for management and administration of occupational therapy services, including leadership, advocacy, marketing, and consultation.
  12. Apply accepted principles of scientific inquiry, evidence based practice, and research design to support occupational therapy theory, enhance practice, and meet the challenges of changing health care delivery systems.

Advanced Practice Doctoral Goals & Outcomes

  1. Utilize a systematic approach to program development and evaluation in practice to evaluate effectiveness and outcomes of occupational therapy services.
  2. Develop a critical understanding of social determinants of health and their relevance to occupational access, opportunities, and equity.
  3. Apply leadership and advocacy skills to influence policy, processes, and systems change to improve and enhance occupational therapy services.
  4. Develop leadership and advocacy goals for personal and professional growth in the area of social responsibility for occupational equity and health equity.
  5. Explore opportunities for occupation-based program development to improve community health, wellbeing, participation and social inclusion of diverse population groups.
  6. Integrate social and occupational determinants of health to educate clients on preventive care, health promotion, and quality of life
  7. Demonstrate commitment to science-informed practice, a scholarly approach to practice and contribute to the building of practice-based evidence. 

Upon completion of requirements for graduation, the student will receive a doctor of occupational therapy degree (OTD) and will be eligible to sit for the occupational therapy certification examination developed by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Upon passing the NBCOT exam, OTD graduates are then eligible to apply for state licensure in their state of residence. All states within the United States require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy.


The Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program has been approved by the Arizona State Board for Private Post-Secondary Education.

The Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at ATSU 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), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449, ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA is 301.652.2682. ACOTE website: www.acoteonline.org. Letter from ACOTE to prospective applicants.

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).

OTD Accreditation Timeline

Candidacy Approved

          December 2015

First Class Starts

         July 2016

Initial Report of Self-Study due

         November 1, 2017

First class begins Level II Fieldwork

         January 2018

ACOTE Preaccreditation Decision

         April 2018

Initial on-site evaluation

         August-November 2018     

ACOTE Accreditation Decision

         December 2018

First class begins doctoral experiential component

         January 2019

First class graduates

         August 2019

NBCOT Certification Examination Eligible


National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

NBCOT is located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, phone: 301.990.7979, fax: 301.869.8492, website: www.nbcot.org. Upon passing the NBCOT exam, Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy graduates are then eligible to apply for state licensure in their state of residence. All states within the United States require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Academic Progression Transfer Policy: OTD program to MSOT program

Background: The OT program at ATSU has two distinct entry-level occupational therapy degree programs – OTD and MSOT. Each student is admitted and matriculates into one of the two programs. Curriculum between the two programs is the same for first year of coursework. However, after the first year is completed, the curriculum becomes distinct between the OTD and MSOT programs. The transfer process is conceived as a continuum of academic progression. Students’ request for transfer is constrained by the time of request and their matriculated degree program.

Students matriculated into the OTD program cannot request for transfer to the MSOT program. However, if there is a pattern of a student demonstrating ongoing difficulties in meeting the academic rigor and expectations for the doctoral courses, the Academic Review Board may recommend that the student transfer to the MSOT program (administrative transfer). The student may also be recommended to consider going part-time, taking a leave of absence, or withdrawing from the program.

The MSOT program requires completion of courses that are unique to the MSOT curriculum. Relevant accreditation standards are mapped to these courses that must be met prior to graduation. The transfer may therefore delay graduation as courses are offered only once a year.

In cases of extenuating circumstances, regardless of the degree program the student has matriculated into, i.e., MSOT or OTD, the University’s academic and absence policies will apply. 


Descriptions and Credit Values

A typical course schedule consists of the following. Additional course options may be available and listed below under Other Courses.

OTDE = Doctoral program only courses    OCTH = Courses common to master’s and doctoral programs

Certificate in Public Health

All OTD students will be required to obtain the Certificate in Public Health through the College of Graduate Health Studies at A.T. Still University unless a Master’s in Public Health has been previously awarded. These classes are offered online beginning in the fall of the Year 2 OTD. The additional courses are included in the OTD tuition fee. There will not be any tuition reimbursements if you have already been awarded a MPH degree.

Program Caveat: ASHS-OTD Program reserves the right to require students with a Master’s in Public Health to complete courses in the Certificate in Public Health to fulfill the OTD degree requirements.