May 30, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Occupational Therapy (OTD)

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The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is a post-professional degree program that provides graduates with advanced knowledge and skills in one of four leadership concentrations: 1) advanced clinical practice; 2) policy and administrative leadership; 3) educational leadership; and (4) research expertise. OTD students graduate from the program with a strong foundation in occupational science as well as in-depth mentored residency experience. The OTD prepares graduates to secure positions as expert clinicians in specialty or emerging practice areas, as administrative leaders within health care organizations, as non-tenure track faculty in institutions of higher education, and as contributors to clinical research teams.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the OTD program are expected to have at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and must be certified or licensed as an occupational therapist or be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy® (NBCOT) examination at time of matriculation. Domestic students not certified upon matriculation must pass the NBCOT examination by the end of the first semester of the program to maintain enrollment. At the discretion of the OTD Program Director, some international students may not be required to obtain NBCOT certification. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) and completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within five years of application are required. Applicants must have earned a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA in the 400- and 500-level required courses. At least three letters of reference, an autobiographical statement of purpose and a current resume are required. Applicants’ leadership potential, previous academic record, clinical experiences and professional accomplishments will also be considered.

International Students

Students educated outside the United States must have graduated from a program approved by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT). USC maintains additional admissions requirements for international students (see the Admission section of this catalogue), including English language competence as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination.

Application Procedures

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. For consideration for fall semester admission, applications must be received by October 1 for maximum funding consideration. Applications received after October 1 will be considered on a space-available basis. Application requirements include: 1) USC Online Graduate Application; 2) USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy online supplemental application for graduate admission; 3) three letters of reference; 4) autobiographical statement of purpose; 5) transcripts from all colleges/universities attended; and 6) GRE General Test scores.

Degree Requirements

Satisfactory completion of 60 units beyond the baccalaureate degree is required. Students with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy may apply for Advanced Standing, which requires 36 units beyond the first graduate degree. These students do not take the 24 units of foundational courses listed below. If admitted without advanced standing, a student may receive partial credit for course work taken for a previous graduate degree.

The 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 accepted by the USC Graduate School.

Course Requirements (60 Units)

Electives (8 Units Required)

500-level course within the division   Units: 4
500-level course within or outside the division    Units: 4

Residency (24 Units Required)

Additional Requirements

Elective Courses (4 units required)

Students will complete a minimum of 4 course units at the 500-level or higher selected from courses within or outside the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Residency Requirement (24 units required)

Students will complete 24 units of OT 686  residency. The residency ensures that graduates of the OTD program demonstrate competence in one of the following leadership concentrations: 1) advanced clinical practice; 2) clinical research; 3) policy and administration; and 4) pedagogy.

At least 20 units applied toward the OTD must be successfully completed before enrolling in OT 686  unless advanced standing has been granted. Students may complete their residency over three consecutive semesters (6 units, 6 units and 12 units) or over four consecutive semesters. It is highly recommended that one semester of OT 686  be enrolled full-time (12 units without any other simultaneous course enrollment). Full-time residency ensures the opportunity for full immersion in residency. Faculty must approve each student’s residency plan prior to enrollment. OTD residency provides students the opportunity for mentorship by experts in their OTD leadership concentration (e.g., a master clinician, a world-class occupational science researcher, a leader in professional policy or administration, or a faculty member with at least three years of academic experience).

Portfolio Requirement

In the final semester of enrollment, each student will submit a portfolio demonstrating knowledge of and expertise in their selected leadership concentration. The final portfolio will include an evidence-based deliverable and highlighted accomplishments from their residency experience as designated in their academic and residency plans.

Clinical Experience Criterion

If the student has less than three years of clinical experience as a registered and/or licensed occupational therapist at time of admission, he or she may be required to complete at least 8 units of clinical occupational therapy courses, which may include:

Course Requirements – Advanced Standing (36 units)

Electives (4 Units Required)

500-level course within or outside the division    Units: 4

Residency (24 Units Required)

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