Jul 18, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Occupational Therapy

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Occupational Therapy is the practice of helping individuals maintain, enhance, or regain productive meaningful lives through engaging in activities or occupations within the context of family, work, and community life. Occupational therapists work with infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older people promoting health and or facilitating prevention, maintenance, or restoration of health related to physical, cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral, or environmentally-based challenges. Career opportunities exist nationwide and internationally, and in many different settings-hospitals, public and private schools, rehabilitation centers, community health centers, nursing homes, home health programs, and community-based settings such as business, industry, daycare, and private practice.

History of the School of Occupational Therapy

Established in 1984, the Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy is the first and only professional occupational therapy school in the state of Oregon. The School of Occupational Therapy has had a 30-year history of successful accreditation. The program was originally accredited in 1986 and has continually grown and developed, transitioning to a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree in 1997, graduating the first class of MOT students in May, 2000. The School transitioned to a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree in 2012, receiving accreditation in 2014.


The School of Occupational Therapy engages students in transformational education, integrating humanistic values with scientific evidence to become occupational therapists committed to occupation-based practice, life-long learning, scholarship, service, and advocacy to promote occupational well-being and justice in healthcare and society.


The School of Occupational Therapy aims to be a distinctive, innovative program in which students experience a collaborative, meaningful education that inspires them to continue embracing and advocating for occupation as a source for health and well-being.


  • Contextual Teaching & Learning
    Students learn best through varied experiences in a range of environments that have direct application to the development of practice skills and understanding of human occupation.
  • Doing
    By active engagement of mind, body, and spirit in interaction with the environment, persons learn, grow, and actualize life roles that bring meaning, satisfaction, and well-being.
  • Critical Reasoning
    Critical thinking is essential for effective analysis, integration, and synthesis of information and systems to enact best practice.
  • Transformation
    Occupation (engaging in meaningful daily activities) has the transformative power to enhance participation in life, and in the process of learning students reflect upon, frame and envision their beliefs about human capacity and potential.
  • Ethical Practice
    Sound ethical reasoning underlies and guides all that we do to maintain and promote high standards of practice.
  • Occupational Justice
    Promoting more equitable opportunities for individuals and populations to engage in a healthful range of occupations to sustainably support well-being and quality of life.
  • Cultural Inclusion
    Each person’s unique worldview and experience is sought and respected. Embracing diverse ideas and fostering a climate of inclusion promotes creative, best practices.

Purpose & Role of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate

The purpose of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) curriculum assures students will be competent to effectively practice in a rapidly changing health care environment by having experience in designing innovative, community-based practice models. The occupational science thread in the curriculum provides a foundation how occupational justice can be integrated into everyday practice. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) curriculum seeks to take students deeper into scholarly practice through more time and experience with evidence-based practice and research and translating knowledge to best practice. This supports them to build specialty knowledge on the generalist foundations further enhanced with the experiential internship. The result is the ability to build special professional skills beyond that of the generalist entry-level practitioner. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) curriculum provides coursework for the scientific foundations, emphasizes the critical role of psychosocial skills infused across all practice areas, strengthens the theme of leadership development, and provides a knowledge base for advocacy roles in health and human services. The ultimate goal of our occupational therapy transformational education is to prepare occupational therapists to serve people to participate in the full range of life’s everyday activities, or occupations. Scientific evidence shows that meaningful occupational engagement leads to improved health and well-being.

Student Learning Outcomes

Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy graduates will provide meaningful occupational-based services to individuals, organizations, and populations within the local and global community by the following student learning outcomes:

  • Reasoning and leading from a sound ethical, theoretical, & philosophical base as contributing practice scholars
  • Promoting health and wellness through occupation across the life span
  • Supporting the continuous evolution of equitable and quality health care through advocacy for occupational justice
  • Practicing the art and science of the profession across traditional and unique environments
  • Enabling the needs and goals of the client to drive the process of intervention.

Accreditation and Licensing

Pacific University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in December of 2014 to become the seventh in the nation to offer the entry-level OTD.

“The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited 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, is (301) 652-6611 and the website for AOTA is https://acoteonline.org/ .

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, candidates are eligible to take the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) certification examination. The mission of NBCOT is to assure professional competence and skills of occupational therapists in the nation, and the primary means by which this is done is the certification examination. Candidates who pass this examination become Occupational Therapists, Registered (OTR), are certified for practice, and eligible for state licensure, where applicable. State licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination.

Although the NBCOT certification success rate of Pacific graduates is impressively high, Pacific University is not responsible for its graduates’ performance on this examination. As of the date of publication of this catalog, one hundred percent of Pacific Occupational Therapy graduates have passed the certification exam.

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to take the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. To assure protection of clients and patients treated by Occupational Therapy students, criminal background checks and drug screenings are completed for all students at the start of the school year and as needed thereafter. Students are urged to contact the appropriate licenser or certification agency for further information.

Admission: Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Pacific University makes use of a centralized application through OTCAS.  Applicants for the entry-level OTD degree are advised to submit applications by the beginning of November.

Enrollment is limited and admission is highly selective. A bachelor’s degree is required. The faculty in the School of Occupational Therapy believes that both academic coursework and life experiences are vital in building a strong foundation to ensure success in the professional program. Students considering admission to the School of Occupational Therapy at Pacific University should seek both educational and life experiences which provide opportunities for gaining knowledge as well as for developing essential skills and attributes necessary for pursuing an education in the field of occupational therapy.

An on-campus interview is required. This process provides the applicant with an opportunity to assess her/his “fit” with the program and also allows the Admission Committee to further assess essential skills and traits of the applicant which may or may not have been reflected in the application.

During the application review and during the interview process, the Committee looks for evidence of knowledge, skills, and attributes that are deemed necessary for success within the curriculum. Factors considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-management skills including ability to appraise one’s own challenges and strengths
  • Ability to assume responsibility for one’s own personal and professional development
  • Leadership and teamwork skills
  • General knowledge and interest in the study of human occupation (the way people occupy their time in self-care, productive and leisure activities)
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • Interpersonal skills and self-confidence
  • Ability to articulate values and beliefs regarding health and well-being
  • Critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving
  • Motivation to pursue a career in occupational therapy

Admission Prerequisites

A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, including the specified prerequisite courses, is required for admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. All academic prerequisite coursework must be completed with a “C” grade or higher, with a recommended minimum GPA of 3.4 for the last 45 semester credits. Evidence that all prerequisite coursework requirements will be completed prior to actual entrance into the program must be documented.

Prerequisite Coursework

Natural Sciences (10 semester credit minimum)

  • Human Anatomy w/ Lab
  • Human Physiology w/ Lab
  • Biomechanics or Kinesiology is recommended

A year-long series in both human anatomy and human physiology is preferred. A single course combining anatomy and physiology will be reviewed for adequacy. All courses must include laboratory. Anatomy and physiology must be completed within the last seven years.

Completion of this prerequisite enables the applicant to: 1) understand the way in which the human body develops, is anatomically structured and physiologically functions and moves to engage in occupation, 2) utilize methods of scientific inquiry, 3) apply concepts and theories of science, and 4) build skills in problem solving and logical analysis.

Social Sciences (9 semester credit minimum)

  • General Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology (preferably across a lifespan)

Additional social science credits needed to complete the 9 credit minimum may come from Sociology, Anthropology, Politics, Government, and Economics. These courses should address the individual and group patterns of thought and behavior. Specifically general psychology, abnormal psychology, and developmental psychology are required. The remaining credits may include courses from the following areas: sociology, anthropology, politics, government, business, and economics.

Completion of these prerequisite courses in human growth and development, preferably across the life-span, and courses which promote an understanding of both normal and abnormal adaptive development at both the individual and group level enables the applicant to: 1) gain a deeper understanding of various levels of the human experience including that of the individual, society, and culture, 2) enhance critical thinking skills through written and verbal communication, 3) engage in and develop skills in self-reflection, 4) develop a greater awareness of social systems, and 5) use these skills, to identify and develop skills necessary to influence and change society.

Expository Writing (3 semester credit minimum)

Must include a course in expository writing offered in either an English or writing department. Students’ proficiency level in writing will be determined at time of enrollment.

Completion of this prerequisite enables the applicant to develop skills for critical thinking and clear writing necessary for professional practice, self-reflection, and scholarship.

Statistics (2 semester credit minimum)

  • Courses from any of the following:
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Math

It is recommended that this be taken in a department of psychology or sociology. Coursework on research methods that includes qualitative methodology is encouraged but not required.

Completion of this prerequisite enables the applicant to 1) examine principles of research design, methodology and analysis, and 2) systematically analyze qualitative and quantitative research, and 3) use these concepts in developing evidence-based practice skills.

Humanities & Language (6 semester credit minimum)

  • Courses from two (2) of the following:
    • Literature
    • Religion
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Ethics
    • Art History or Appreciation
    • Music
    • Theatre
    • Performance Arts (Music, Dance, Theatre)
    • Studio Arts (Drawing, Design, Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture)
    • Foreign Language
    • Art History or Appreciation

(In addition to the writing prerequisite) Must include courses from two (2) of the following areas: literature, religion, history, philosophy, ethics, performance arts, (music, dance, & theater), studio arts (drawing, design, painting, ceramics,  & sculpture), art history or appreciation and foreign language.

Completion of this prerequisite enables the applicant to: 1) enhance interpersonal intelligence, 2) develop skills in designing and creating occupational performance solutions with a variety of materials and modalities, 3) enhance analytical and critical thinking abilities, 4) broaden skills in philosophical inquiry, 5) gain a greater understanding of classical and modern perspectives, and 6) engage in self-reflection

Medical Terminology
A complete sequence or survey course. May be taken for credit or no credit.

School of Occupational Therapy Programs

  • Entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
  • Hawai’i Outreach Initiative
  • Bridge to OTD through Kapiolani Community College’s OTA degree via Pacific University’s Bachelor of Health Science

Hawai’i Outreach Initiative

Pacific University has a long-standing history with students from Hawai’i and would like to extend that relationship to our School of Occupational Therapy Entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD). We are committed to addressing the occupational therapy workforce needs in Hawai’i and Pacific Rim.

This Hawai’i Outreach Initiative is both a focused admissions process and a clinical fieldwork priority in the state of Hawai’i. The top five scoring Hawai’i Outreach applicants each year will be guaranteed an interview for the OTD program. Although an interview does not guarantee admission, it is an acknowledgment of our desire to help meet the educational and career needs of the State.

In order to qualify for the Hawai’i Outreach Initiative, a prospective OTD student must be a resident of Hawai’i and express an active intent to return to the islands to practice as an occupational therapist. The residency requirement may be shown by one or more of the following: current address or permanent address, high school diploma, college diploma, or current driver’s license.

Students accepted into the Hawai’i Outreach Initiative complete the first two years of the OTD in Hillsboro, Oregon. They have the first opportunity to participate in available clinical fieldwork experiences in Hawai’i and have the opportunity to complete the final year of the program in Hawai’i. Pacific University continually seeks out clinical fieldwork sites in Hawai’i that will provide students with quality clinical experiences to meet the state of Hawai’i occupational therapy licensing requirements.

There is no separate application for the Hawai’i Outreach Initiative. Students from Hawai’i are identified through their application materials and their stated commitment to return to Hawai’i following graduation to work as an Entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) practitioner. Contact Graduate Admissions with questions.

Bridge to OTD through Kapiolani Community College’s OTA degree via Pacific University’s Bachelor of Health Science

Kapiolani Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, in conjunction with Pacific University, has developed a direct pathway for OTA students to enter Pacific’s Bachelor of Health Science in Healthcare Management program, providing a matriculation plan to the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Pacific University. This program is designed for the practicing certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA). The matriculation plan provides an expedited pathway for those occupational therapy assistants (OTA) who want to advance their knowledge and skills to complete the Bachelor’s degree program in three semesters and have a direct plan to the entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

OTAs who have a Bachelor’s degree in any field (health sciences are preferred) can apply to entry-level occupational therapy programs, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association. Occupational therapy assistants who complete the Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) degree and specified undergraduate prerequisite coursework are eligible to apply to the entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Pacific University. The BHS courses meet many of the prerequisite requirements and a Bachelor’s degree to apply toward graduate study in the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy.

All Bachelor of Health Science courses are delivered online, with weekly synchronous “in-class” meetings via web-conferencing. There are no on-campus class meetings.  The program requires three additional semesters of coursework or 40 semester credit hours for completion of the Bachelor of Health Science degree. If Pacific’s two-semester foreign language requirement has not been met with transfer credits, then students can enroll in Pacific’s Healthcare Spanish course online for four credits, at no additional cost.

Students are admitted fall semester only, but the BHS program has a rolling admissions process; applications are accepted year-round, but must be postmarked by August 1 for primary consideration for entry in the subsequent fall semester. Contact Emily Josi at: emcdaniel@pacificu.edu or call: 503-352-7219.

Policies: School of Occupational Therapy

Time Limit for Completion of Degrees

All degree requirements must be completed within a period of five calendar years.

Transfer Credit

The School of Occupational Therapy does not accept transfer credits.


The School of Occupational Therapy uses the letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C and F. In addition, the Pass/No Pass grading scheme is used, where a Pass is equivalent to a C+ or higher. A Pass is not calculated into a student’s GPA. A minimum of 2.8 cumulative GPA is required in order to graduate from the program. Grading methods are clearly outlined within each course syllabus. All courses must be completed at a C+ level or higher; grades below a C+ constitute course failure.

Catalog Year

Students typically will be governed by their entry year catalog, except when accreditation standards dictate changes to the program.


Commencement for the OTD is held in August.  Students are highly encouraged to participate, and may do so prior to completing degree requirements if they have an official action plan that clearly describes their completion plan and is signed by the student, program director, and relevant faculty advisor.


The School of Occupational Therapy does not award honors at graduation.

Grade Changes

Once a course grade has been submitted (electronically or by hand) to the Registrar, it is considered final and may be changed only in the case of recording, posting, or computation errors. Faculty members submit Grade Change Request forms to the Program Director for approval.

Incomplete Grades

An instructor may issue a grade of Incomplete (I) only when the major portion of a course has been completed satisfactorily but health or other emergency reasons prevent the student from finishing all requirements of the course. Prior to submitting an Incomplete grade, the instructor and the student complete an Incomplete Grade Contract detailing the completion and submission of all remaining work. After submission of the work, the instructor completes a Grade Change form and submits it to the Program Director for approval; the form then is processed by the Registrar.

The instructor and the student should agree upon a deadline by which all coursework will be completed and submitted to the instructor; in general, it is expected that all course requirements be completed with a passing grade prior to beginning fieldwork.

If agreed-upon work is not completed and no grade change submitted by the deadline (and an extension has not been granted), when the Incomplete expires the grade becomes an F or N. Faculty may request an extension of an Incomplete (before the expiration date of the Incomplete) by notifying the Registrar’s office.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Registrar or the Program Director.

Normal Credit Load

9 credits or higher is a full-time course load. A minimum of 4.5 credits is required for half-time status.  


Non-degree-seeking students are not allowed to take courses within the School of Occupational Therapy. Matriculated students returning from a Leave of Absence (LOA) may audit previous completed courses prior to returning to ensure knowledge continuity for return. This must be laid out in the action plan prior to LOA being granted. No other courses are available for auditing.

Repeating a Coursework or Fieldwork

Failure of a course, fieldwork, or capstone experience is grounds for dismissal.  A student who fails a course, fieldwork, or capstone experience may submit an appeal to the program director for consideration by the SOTSC. An appeal may grant a return to the OT program to repeat the coursework or fieldwork in the next timeframe the course or fieldwork is offered. Failure to pass the course or fieldwork a second time will result in dismissal from the program. Fulltime status is required to remain in the program except in the case of repeating a single course, or a partial administrative withdrawal, which may result in temporary part time status in the program. An administrative withdrawal may be granted due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the student’s control that negatively impact academic performance. Tuition rates will be calculated by the business office. Refer to the registrar’s catalog page on grades and grade point average to determine how repeated courses apply to GPA.


The option to remediate within courses is determined on a case by case basis as outlined within the specific course syllabus.


For courses that run the entire semester, students may drop within the first two weeks of the term with no record on the transcript; after that but before the end of the 10th week student may withdraw, with a W grade recorded. Courses that run for less than the full semester have a shortened add/drop/withdrawal schedule; please see the Registrar’s Office for specifics.


To apply for readmission after an absence of one semester or more, a student must complete a brief Application for Readmission form, and submit official transcripts from all colleges attended during a student’s absence from Pacific to the Dean or Program Director of the applicable College or School.

Leave of Absence

Students may request a Leave of Absence (LOA) due to a medical condition or personal issues that affect their ability to continue in the program. Requests for a LOA must be submitted in writing using the LOA request form (in the student handbook).  Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in advance by the Program Director. Students granted a LOA for an entire academic year must submit a letter of intent to return to classes to the program director at least one month prior to the requested date of return. It is the student’s responsibility to keep the School of Occupational Therapy informed of any change of address while on a LOA. Students approved for LOA during a semester will be withdrawn from all courses and required to retake the semester after returning.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Good academic standing in the School of Occupational Therapy is defined as:

  1. Satisfactory academic performance
    • Maintaining a grade of C+ (or better) and/or a Pass in all OT coursework
    • Maintaining a minimum semester and cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 for all graded OT courses
  2. Sound practice skills
  3. Adherence to University and School policies, rules and procedures
  4. Behavior that leads to professional competence and positive interpersonal and professional relations
  5. Appropriate professional/ethical conduct and attitudes.

A grade of C (or lower) or No Pass (N) in any didactic or fieldwork/experiential course is grounds for academic probation or dismissal from the program. Failure to maintain the required GPA will result in academic standing review (see Academic Standing Procedures below). A minimum of 2.8 cumulative GPA is required in order to graduate from the program.

Student status is identified and described as any one of the following:


Student demonstrates all of the following:

  1. Satisfactory progress in academic performance
  2. Satisfactory progress in the development of sound practice skills
  3. Adherence to University and School policies, rules and procedures
  4. Development of behaviors leading to professional competence and positive interpersonal and professional relations
  5. Appropriate professional/ethical conduct and attitudes

Notice of Concern

A student may be given a “notice of concern” if a course instructor, fieldwork educator/academic fieldwork coordinator, or academic advisor has concerns about the student’s performance that may hinder continued successful academic progress in any of the 5 academic standing areas. A notice of concern is designed to bring the student’s attention to an issue (e.g., less than acceptable professional behavior, falling academic performance) so that the student may address and improve performance in the area of concern and avoid receiving an academic warning, probation, or dismissal. The student is given a copy of the Notice of Concern, which must be signed and returned within 10 calendar days to the faculty member. Faculty members submit documentation to the Program Director’s office for placement in the student’s academic advising folder.

Academic Warning

An official warning may be given for any one of the following:

  • Semester GPA at or below 2.8;

  • Continued prevalence or increased frequency of previously cited areas of concern;

  • Failure to demonstrate satisfactory progress in the development of sound practice skills;

  • Failure to comply with School/University policies, rules, or procedures;

  • Failure to demonstrate satisfactory development of behaviors leading to professional competence and positive interpersonal and professional relations; or

  • Failure to demonstrate appropriate professional/ethical behavior sufficient to support professional progression.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on academic probation for any one of the following:

  • Semester GPA below 2.8 for more than one semester at any time during academic program
  • Cumulative GPA below 2.8
  • Failure of a course, fieldwork or capstone experience
  • Failure to meet the terms of an action plan designed as the result of an academic warning
  • Lack of compliance with School/University rules or procedures or inappropriate professional/ethical conduct at a level of greater magnitude than that considered to warrant a warning.

Professional/Ethical Conduct

The School of Occupational Therapy reserves the right to define professional competence and behavior, to establish standards of excellence, and to evaluate students in regard to them. To maintain good academic standing, students must demonstrate professional/ethical conduct and attitudes that lead to professional competence. Students are expected to demonstrate behavior consistent with the Pacific University Code of Academic Conduct, Pacific University Code of Student Conduct, the most current AOTA Code of Ethics for Occupational Therapy and state and federal laws governing the conduct of occupational therapy practitioners. Students must demonstrate behavior that leads to professional competence and positive interpersonal and professional relations including social media participation. Demonstration of behavior that is clearly unprofessional or that does not lead to positive interpersonal and professional relations is considered evidence that a student is not suited to a professional career and, thus, constitutes adequate cause for academic standing review (see Academic Standing Procedures above).

It is expected that students become familiar with and adhere to the conduct guidelines and regulations further outlined in the University’s Student Handbook (available on-line), as well as the School of Occupational Therapy Student Handbook.

Students must undergo a criminal background check upon entry to the program. Individuals convicted of a felony may not be eligible for licensing or certification in Occupational Therapy. Students are urged to contact the appropriate licenser or certification agency for further information.

Tuition and Fees: Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Fall and Spring Semesters, full-time: $16,273 per semester
Summer Term: $6,215
Part time, per semester credit: $1,003
Audit, per credit hour: $450
OTD Student Lab Fee (per year) $170
Fieldwork Manage Fee (per year) $50
Additional funds for FW health compliance $50
Additional costs may be incurred dependent on course/fieldwork location/requirements (cost varies)  
Certiphi Record Tracking $21.50 - $23.50
Student Health and Counseling Fee $304
Graduation Application Fee $100

Financial Aid

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to seek out and explore scholarship opportunities that may be available to them, as there are many sources of educational scholarships. Common sources of financial aid for Occupational Therapy students not listed previously are:

The E. K. Wise Loan Program, administered by the American Occupational Therapy Association, is available to women with baccalaureate degrees who are enrolled in an occupational therapy entry-level professional program. For further information contact:

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
Attn: Membership Information Division
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449

The National Association of American Business Clubs (AMBUCS) administers scholarships and provides thousands of dollars each year to occupational therapy students. For more information contact:

National Association of American
Business Clubs
P.O. Box 5127
High Point, NC 27262

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation awards scholarships to occupational therapy undergraduate and graduate students, based on their financial need and scholastic ability. For a free brochure on the scholarship program and other sources of financial aid, contact:

The American Occupational
Therapy Foundation
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 301-652-2682

Calendar: Doctor of Occupational Therapy

http://www.pacificu.edu/ot/index.cfm (click on “Student Resources” from the left menu bar)


    Doctor of Occupational Therapy


      Occupational Therapy

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