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    University of Southern California
   
 
  Dec 16, 2017
 
 
    
USC Catalogue 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Science (PhD)


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The PhD in Occupational Science educates individuals to engage in the scientific study of human occupation, the purposeful activities that constitute our life experiences. This evolving science is chiefly concerned with the unique capacity of humans to develop adaptive skills, such as tool use and related occupational behaviors, and to choose and orchestrate daily occupations. It also seeks to understand the function, structure and interrelationship of these occupations and their impact on individuals and institutions.

The focus on occupation distinguishes this program from closely related disciplines such as psychology, sociology and anthropology. The program emphasizes the development of research skills and encourages students to organize and synthesize knowledge to contribute to occupational science theory and interdisciplinary understandings of occupation, health and social participation.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the PhD program are expected to have a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate field, such as one of the biological or social sciences or occupational therapy, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) and a minimum score of 156 on the Verbal section, a minimum score of 146 on the Quantitative section and a minimum score of 3.5 on the Analytical Writing section of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) within five years of application. At least three academic letters of reference must also be submitted. Other considerations include evidence of academic potential based on master's level study (if relevant), research skills and interest, and a statement of purpose. International students must demonstrate competency in English, as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.

Degree Requirements

This degree is awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation  section and the Graduate School  section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degree must be courses accepted by the USC Graduate School.

Course Requirements


Satisfactory completion of 60 units beyond the baccalaureate degree is required, including the following courses:

Required Courses


Satisfactory completion of 60 units beyond the baccalaureate degree is required. Students with an earned masters and/or doctoral degree at the time of admission may apply for Advanced Standing, reducing the units required for the degree from 60 units to 40 units.  All students must complete the required core courses and successfully complete an independent dissertation. Program requirements include the following courses:

Required Core Electives


Completion of a minimum of 26 units in a topic area such as one of the following is required: quantitative research approaches, qualitative research approaches, occupational science and/or therapy, neuroscience, social development, life span development or gerontology.

Additional Requirements


Those students who also wish to participate in clinical practice in occupational therapy may opt to complete a master's degree in occupational therapy. Such students are required to complete the requirements for that degree, as well as the occupational therapy undergraduate major courses if they are not registered occupational therapists or eligible for registration prior to study.

Cognate Courses

Completion of a minimum of 26 units in a topic area approved by the student's faculty mentor  is required. Examples of cognate areas include: research methodologies related to dissertation research, neuroscience, health disparities, gerontology and health promotion.

Research Practicum

Each student will enroll in 2 units of OT 660 Research Practicum  per semester for four consecutive semesters, for a total of 8 units. Students are required to begin enrolling in OT 660  in their first semester of doctoral study. In this practicum the student will develop research skills by working as part of a research team under the direction of a faculty member.

Screening Procedures

Passing the screening is prerequisite to continuation in the doctoral program. Directions for obtaining and filing the Report on PhD Screening Procedures are found in the The Graduate School  section of this catalogue.

Dissertation Enrollment

Doctoral students must submit a dissertation according to the policies and procedures described in The Graduate School  section of this catalogue. Registration in OT 794a Doctoral Dissertation  OT 794b Doctoral Dissertation  OT 794c Doctoral Dissertation  OT 794d Doctoral Dissertation  OT 794z Doctoral Dissertation  for a minimum of 4 units (2 units in each of two consecutive semesters) is required.

Summary of All Course Requirements

Required core courses are OT 640 , OT 641 , OT 648 , OT 649 , OT 660 , OT 661  for a total of 26 units.

Required cognate courses for a minimum total of 26 units.

Dissertation requires 2 units per semester for at least two semesters for a minimum total of 4 units.

Additional 4 units can include 4 further units of dissertation, OT 660  or cognate courses.

Total: 60 units

Foreign Language or Research Skills

The PhD in Occupational Science does not require the demonstration of competence in a foreign language. However, each student is expected to achieve expertise, as defined by the student's qualifying exam committee, in research methods through participation in course work and the research practicum.

Qualifying Exam Committee

The qualifying exam committee is composed of five faculty members. Three members of the committee must be regular faculty from the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. One member must be from outside the division. Complete regulations for establishing a qualifying exam committee are found in The Graduate School  section of this catalogue.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is comprehensive in nature and requires the student to demonstrate a grasp of content from the core courses and the cognate area. The examination is both written and oral and is set and administered by the student's qualifying exam committee. Refer to The Graduate School  section of the catalogue for additional information about the qualifying exam.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee is composed of at least three faculty members. The chair of the committee and at least one additional member of the committee must be regular faculty from the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. One member must be from outside the division. Complete regulations for establishing a dissertation committee are found in The Graduate School  section of this catalogue.

Dissertation

Doctoral students must submit a dissertation based on students' original research according to the policies and procedures of The Graduate School  section of this catalogue. Upon approval of the preliminary copy of the dissertation by all members of the dissertation committee, the candidate must pass an oral defense of the dissertation. Upon successful completion of the oral defense and revisions, the manuscript is approved and the committee recommends the candidate to the Graduate School for the PhD.

Teaching

To prepare students for anticipated roles as faculty members, a teaching component is incorporated into the program. Students work with their faculty advisor for their research immersion (OT 660 ) experience to identify an appropriate course or courses, arrange mentoring experience, and ensure that the timing of the teaching experience complements research lab participation and dissertation plans. If students are not assigned a full course, they are required to present a minimum of four lectures or seminars.

Additional Information

Further information about the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral programs can be obtained by writing or calling the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, 1540 Alcazar Street (CHP 133), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003; (323) 442-2850, toll free (866) 385-4250, or by sending email to info@chan.usc.edu. Information regarding the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is available at chan.usc.edu.

Required Courses (Students with Advanced Standing)


Students with an earned masters and/or doctoral degree at the time of admission may apply for Advanced Standing, reducing the units required for the degree from 60 units to 40 units. All students must complete the required core courses and successfully complete an independent dissertation. Program requirements include the following courses:

Cognate Courses (Students with Advanced Standing)


Completion of a minimum of 10 units in a topic area such as one of the following is required: quantitative research approaches, qualitative research approaches, occupational science and/or therapy, neuroscience, social development, life span development or gerontology.

Research Practicum (Students with Advanced Standing)


Each student will enroll in 2 units of OT 660  per semester for four consecutive semesters, for a total of 8 units. Students are required to begin enrolling in OT 660  in their first semester of doctoral study. In this practicum the student will develop research skills by working as part of a research team under the direction of a faculty member. 

Summary of all Course Requirements (Students with Advanced Standing)


Required core courses are OT 640 , OT 641 , OT 648 , OT 649 , OT 660 , OT 661  for a total of 26 units.

Required cognate courses for a minimum total of 10 units.

Dissertation requires 2 units per semester for at least two semesters for a minimum total of 4 units.

Total: 40 units for students with advanced standing

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