An entry level doctoral degree in occupational therapy will prepare you for a career supporting people in the daily activities that are important to them from dressing, to cooking, to work or school, to leisure and hobbies. UNH will prepare you to enter a fast-growing field to work with people of all ages in a range of settings by developing strong foundational skills in occupational therapy assessment and intervention, advanced training in clinical skills, leadership and advocacy, clinical research, and program development. Our program emphasizes the understanding that engagement in valued activities fulfills social needs, gives meaning to life, and is essential to the development, adaptation, and well-being of individuals and populations. You will learn to evaluate, plan and provide intervention, and monitor the outcomes of clients facing a variety of illnesses, injuries, and disabilities such as autism, traumatic brain injury, stroke, substance abuse and musculoskeletal injuries.
When entering the OTD Program you will complete 3 years (9 semesters) of professional courses to prepare you for all areas of occupational therapy practice. Coursework begins in the summer session and continues throughout 3 calendar years, including one January term for a level I fieldwork experience. Courses are primarily in-person, particularly during the academic year, with some distance learning activities. Courses are scheduled during weekdays during the day and into early evening. Some courses require experiential, off-campus learning. The curriculum includes 24 weeks of full-time fieldwork. You may also choose to complete a graduate certificate in assistive technology while in the OTD Program. As an OTD student, you will conclude your education with a 14-week doctoral capstone where you apply and expand your knowledge to take on a leadership role to develop a new program addressing specific client needs, conduct research, promote policy changes, or provide education. After completing your degree, including fieldwork and the doctoral capstone, you will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy examination to become a registered occupational therapist (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 your ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
OTD Program Accreditation Status
The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has been granted Candidacy Status 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 20852-4929, (301) 652-AOTA. 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). The UNH Program is scheduled for on-site evaluation in the fall of 2025, prior to a May 2026 graduation.
Academic Standards and Policies
In addition to the academic standards outlined in the requirements for the program, students must meet professional behavior standards, which are explained in detail in the OT Department Policy and Procedure Manual, provided to all occupational therapy students during their first semester
Because curriculum review and revision are undertaken annually, occupational therapy faculty work closely with students during academic advising sessions and share information about any policy and requirement changes during registration periods as well as throughout the academic year. Students are expected to take an active role in verifying expectations and requirements and should check with their departmental advisers each September for updated policies and requirements. Program requirements and policies for retention in the major are posted annually in the OT Department Policy and Procedure Manual, which is available on the OT department’s organization site on the Learning Management Platform, MyCourses.
Students participate in a variety of off-campus and fieldwork experiences throughout the course of study and are covered with basic personal liability insurance through UNH for all practical components of the curriculum. Students are responsible for transportation to fieldwork sites and other off-campus learning experiences. Students are responsible for meeting the health and criminal record clearances established by their fieldwork sites and off-campus learning sites including capstone sites. Proof of immunization such as poliomyelitis, rubella, H1N1, and hepatitis B may also be required. For Level II fieldwork, health insurance and a physical examination, including a tuberculin test, are required. All fieldwork experiences are scheduled in centers approved by the Department of Occupational Therapy and with whom active Memoranda of Understanding with UNH exist. Fieldwork is planned collaboratively with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and capstone is planned with guidance from the Capstone Coordinator.