May 29, 2023
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The Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program is open to students with or without an undergraduate degree in occupational therapy. Students without a prior degree in occupational therapy take both the foundational courses and the core courses listed below. Students who have earned a bachelor of science (BS) in Occupational Therapy from USC may apply for Advanced Standing and follow the curriculum outlined under Required Courses for students with Advanced Standing in the USC Bachelor to Doctorate Program, reducing the total units required for the degree from 96 units to 64 units.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. A satisfactory English proficiency exam score within two years of enrollment is required for most international students. There is no minimum GPA required; however, students entering with a GPA less than 3.0 will have a registration hold based upon Graduate School requirements (see Chan Division Student Handbook for details regarding academic standing).
Those with a baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy from USC may apply for Advanced Standing in the entry-OTD program.
Those with a baccalaureate degree in a field other than occupational therapy must have completed all of the following prerequisites (listed below):
- within seven years of enrollment
- from an accredited junior college, college or university
- either in a classroom setting or online; however, anatomy should be completed in a classroom setting
- with each course totaling the equivalent of at least three semester units (with exception of medical terminology which may be 1 or 2 units, pass/no pass, or certificate) as follows (course numbers refer to USC courses, but prerequisites can be taken at any accredited college or university):
*If anatomy and physiology are combined, students must take two sequential semesters with a laboratory each semester (6–8 units).
For those with a baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy from USC: applications are accepted at any time, preferably by February 15 for fall admission.
For those with a baccalaureate degree in a field other than occupational therapy: applications are due by November 1 for fall admission.
Application materials in Phase I include:
- USC Online Graduate Application with Division Supplemental Application Materials (required only for those with a baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy)
- OTCAS online application required only for applicants with a baccalaureate degree in a field other than occupational therapy)
- three letters of recommendation
- transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
- English proficiency examination scores if required.
There is a Phase II of the application process, which may require selected applicants to submit a video. Applicants selected for Phase II will receive additional information. Please see the Chan Division website for the most up-to-date application procedures: chan.usc.edu/.
Students educated outside the United States must have their credentials evaluated by the Office of Graduate Admission before their application to the Chan Division can be reviewed. International students must demonstrate competency in English, as measured by a proficiency examination. See the Admission section of this catalogue.
Satisfactory completion of 96 units beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree.
Requirements include: GPA of 3.0 in all course work attempted and all course work applied to the degree; All units applied to the degree must be at the 500 level or higher.
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.
Students must complete all courses in the program on a full-time basis and in sequence, except for students approved for disability accommodations.
Students who have earned a BS in Occupational Therapy from USC may apply for Advanced Standing and follow the curriculum outlined under Required Courses for students with Advanced Standing in the USC Bachelor’s to Doctorate Program, reducing total units required for the degree from 96 units to 64 units. All students must complete the Doctoral Capstone.
Doctoral Capstone Experience and Project
The Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE) for the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program provides the doctoral student with an in-depth exposure to one or more of our signature capstone experiences. In alignment with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accreditation standards, the DCE is a curated, full-time 14-week experience designed by the doctoral student in collaboration with a faculty mentor and/or site preceptor(s). This experience includes the implementation of a Doctoral Capstone Project supported by an evidence-based needs assessment and synthesis of best practices, as well as a program evaluation to ensure effective and sustainable outcomes. As a culminating output, the doctoral student assembles a portfolio to showcase completed work, reflections, and accomplishments achieved throughout the capstone experience and disseminates completed work through a final OTD leadership presentation delivered to an audience of faculty, professional colleagues, fellow doctoral students and alumni.
Required Foundational Courses (12 Units)
Required Core Courses (79 Units)
Required Doctoral Capstone Courses (5 Units)
Required Courses for students with Advanced Standing in the USC Bachelor’s to Doctorate Program (64 units)
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