Occupational Therapy, Advanced Standing (O.T.D.)

Occupational Therapy, Advanced Standing (O.T.D.)
OT grad students work with members of a stroke survivors support group

Why get your entry-level doctoral degree in occupational therapy?

Students entering the Bachelor of Science (BS) program at UNH as first-year students have a choice of completing an entry-level Master’s Degree (MS) or an entry-level Clinical Doctoral degree (OTD). The American Occupational Therapy Association allows persons with either degree to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to enter the profession. An entry level doctoral degree in occupational therapy will prepare students to enter the profession with strong foundational skills in occupational therapy assessment and intervention, advanced training in clinical skills, leadership and advocacy, clinical research, and program development. Throughout the doctoral program, students will be challenged to learn and apply occupational therapy principles to traditional and emerging areas of practice, in hospital and community-based settings and for individual clients and population groups. Graduates gain valuable skills to become leaders in their field, advance in their careers, and position themselves as agents of change to influence policy and practice.

Why choose UNH’s OTD program?

Our OTD program is designed for students who are on an accelerated trajectory for advanced practice. The OTD program can be completed in 3 years (10 semesters) for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Students in the UNH BS/OTD program enter the OTD program with advanced standing to complete both degrees in 6 years (16 semesters). Our courses will be offered using a mix of face-to-face, hybrid, and online delivery methods to maximize and enhance learning. Students will be mentored one-on-one by faculty who have expertise in clinical and evidence-based practice. Students tailor their educational experience to match their career goals within practice areas such as school-based practice, mental health, geriatric practice, or musculoskeletal disorders.

Potential career areas

  • Acute care
  • Administration
  • Early intervention programs
  • Hand therapy clinics
  • Hospitals
  • In-patient rehabilitation centers
  • Mental health and substance abuse programs
  • Primary care settings
  • School settings
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • OT educator
  • OT Clinical researcher
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Curriculum & Requirements

UNH students who are in the BS program in occupational therapy may apply to enter into the Advanced­-Standing OTD Program to complete an OTD Degree in Occupational Therapy to be eligible to enter the profession of occupational therapy. Because they have completed some of the professional courses as an undergraduate student at UNH, they earn their OTD Degree in Occupational Therapy in two full years (6 semesters, including 2 summers).

An entry level doctoral degree in occupational therapy will prepare you to enter the profession with strong foundational skills in occupational therapy assessment and intervention, advanced training in clinical skills, leadership and advocacy, clinical research, and program development. 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. At UNH, you will learn and apply occupational therapy principles to traditional and emerging areas of practice, in hospital and community-based settings and for individual clients and population groups. Graduates gain valuable skills to become leaders in their field, advance in their careers, and position themselves as agents of change to influence policy and practice.

You would complete the Advanced-Standing OTD Program in 2 years (6 semesters) of professional courses to prepare for all areas of occupational therapy practice. The curriculum includes 24 weeks of full-time fieldwork. You also may choose to complete a graduate certificate in Assistive Technology to focus your education. Your education concludes with a 14-week doctoral capstone where you apply and expand your knowledge and take on leadership roles 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.

Admissions Information

Students who are completing the undergraduate portion of the UNH occupational therapy program declare their intent to apply to our Advanced Standing OTD program by the end of their sophomore year. They take professional courses as part of their baccalaureate degree requirements enabling them to enter the OTD program with Advanced Standing, with a full year of courses completed. Students officially apply to the Graduate School for the Advanced Standing OTD Program in the spring semester of their senior year, using an abbreviated process. Students should speak with their academic advisor regarding specific application requirements for writing a personal statement and letters of recommendation. An overall minimum grade point of B (3.0) is required for admission. Students must earn grades of B-­ or above in all OT courses at 700 level, with no more than 8 credits of B- or lower in OT courses (700 level or above).

Academic Standards and Policies

Retention in the OTD program reflects the same grade criteria required for entry and students must meet the professional behavior standards, which are explained in detail in the OT Department Policy and Procedure Manual, provided to all occupational therapy students. 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.

The OTD is awarded at the completion of all academic coursework, meeting the above grade requirements, passing all competency (practical) exams as part of OT courses, passing all level I fieldwork requirements and receive a passing criterion score on the American Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapist in both 12-week Level II fieldwork experiences as well as successfully completing the doctoral capstone.

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.

Degree Requirements

The OTD is awarded at the completion of all academic coursework, meeting grade requirements, passing all competency (practical) exams as part of OT courses, passing all level I fieldwork requirements and receive a passing criterion score on the American Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Performance Evaluation for the Occupational Therapist in both 12-week Level II fieldwork experiences as well as successfully completing the doctoral capstone.

Retention in the OTD program reflects the same grade criteria required for entry. Students must have grades of B-­ or above in all OT courses at the 700 level, with no more than 8 credits of B- or lower in OT courses (700 level or above).

Required Courses
OT 830
830L
Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance
and Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance Lab
4
or OT 871
871L
Enabling Participation in Community Groups
and Enabling Participation in Community Groups Lab
OT 845Administration and Management for Occupational Therapy Practice3
OT 846Fieldwork and Professionalism-Level II1
OT 854Level II Fieldwork, I8
OT 855Level II Fieldwork Discussion1
OT 856Level II Fieldwork, II8
OT 862
862L
862R
OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children
and OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children - Lab
and OT Evaluation and Intervention for Children Recitation
4
or OT 860
860L
860R
Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention
and Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention Lab
and Psychosocial Evaluation & Intervention Recitation
OT 865Occupational Therapy Practice and Professional Reasoning3
OT 964Age Well: Occupational Therapy with Older Adults3
OT 998Recent Advances in Neurological Evaluation and Intervention3
OT 983Engagement in Research3
OT 965Occupational Therapy Practice and Professional Reasoning3
OT 975Leadership in OT Systems of Practice3
OT 901Introduction to Capstone2
OT 902Capstone Preparation3
OT 903Capstone: Project Implementation, Evaluation and Dissemination12
Elective or Graduate Certificate Course3-4

Occupational Therapy OTD Entry-level Program Student Outcomes at the completion of the professional entry-level OTD Program, our graduates will:

Demonstrate commitment and ability to use meaningful occupation for promoting health and well-being.

  • Our curriculum emphasizes the idea that engagement in everyday occupations will lead to fulfillment of life roles and the promotion of health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations. Our graduates are ready and dedicated to apply occupation-based evaluation and intervention techniques, and to share and expand authentic occupational therapy practice.

Demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors in their interactions with clients and others.

  • Our graduates will be dedicated to ethical, client-driven practice demonstrating cultural sensitivity, integrity, honesty, compassion, and fairness. They will demonstrate respect for all persons with whom they work, appreciating and considering individual identities, priorities, abilities, and life experiences. They will be able to collaborate in intraprofessional and interdisciplinary teams within various settings, understanding the roles and expertise of other occupational therapists and other professionals.

Demonstrate entry-level competencies as OT practitioners across diverse practice settings, skilled in the delivery evidence-based, occupation–centered evaluation and intervention techniques.

  • Our graduates develop critical thinking skills and the capacity for creative clinical reasoning for providing client-centered, occupation-centered services. Graduates will apply a variety of evaluation methods for understanding a person’s occupational history, abilities, challenges and goals. They will apply occupation-centered intervention approaches and innovative technologies to address the needs of individuals and populations in traditional and emerging medical, educational, and other community-based practice settings.

Demonstrate skills for translating research-to-practice and generating new knowledge grounded in occupational therapy practice.

  • Our graduates will be skilled in identifying, critiquing, and synthesizing relevant research for delivering evidence-based services. Graduates will demonstrate capacity to translate research evidence to influence practice. They will have skills for contributing to the body of knowledge that supports and advances the profession.

Demonstrate skills to become leaders and innovators as practitioners, researchers, advocates, educators, administrators, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs.

  • Our graduates will apply leadership knowledge and skills, ethical reasoning, knowledge of policy and systems to be agents of change in diverse settings. Our graduates will be life-long learners and innovative thinkers committed to ongoing professional development. Our graduates will support and promote occupational justice for individuals, communities, and populations.

Apply now

Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: N/A
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: March 1
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: CT MA RI

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of Recommendation: 2 Required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Brief essay, stating interest in continuing into the graduate program to enter the profession.

Resume

A current resume is required with your submitted application.

Additional Department Requirements

Prerequisite Course Verification Form (required): The regular program requires that all applicants print and complete the OT Prerequisite Course Verification Form. All prerequisites must be completed at the time of application. Please email the form to the UNH Graduate School. If you have questions about using the form, please contact Barbara.White@unh.edu in the OT department. Those applying to the Advanced Standing program, or current and recently graduated UNH B.S. in Occupational Therapy students, do not have to submit the prerequisite verification form.

Students who are currently in the UNH BS Occupational Therapy Program and applying to the Occupational Therapy Advanced Standing OTD Program should talk with their academic advisor in the Occupational Therapy Department regarding any questions on the application process.

The Occupational Therapy Department at UNH has applied for accreditation for an entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program and 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. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTAand its Web address is www.acoteonline.org. 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.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork within two years of completing professional program academic coursework. They must also complete an individual 14-week doctoral capstone experience within 12 months following the completion of all required coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory capstone activities.

After completing all program requirements, students are 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 the NBCOT 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 UNH Occupational Therapy Department will accept applications from interested students with a baccalaureate degree for entry into the OTD Program in the Fall 2022 to begin courses in the Summer 2023.

UNH students enrolled in the BS/OTD Program will begin taking professional level courses as part of their BS degree and enter the OTD Program with advanced standing in Summer of 2024.  

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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