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.
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.