Jun 21, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2023-2024 
Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Occupational Therapy, OTD

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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.

Purpose & Role of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate

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 for integrating occupational justice 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 through participation 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.

Degree Requirements

The entry-level OTD program consists of six semesters and three summer terms of didactic and fieldwork education and doctoral internship. 130 credits are required. The description below provides a semester-by-semester list of the courses and the number of semester credits associated with each course; course descriptions follow later in this section. Successful completion of all courses, fieldwork, and internship is required.

The first two years of the program are delivered on campus in Hillsboro, Ore., while Year 3 is offered in a distance-based learning environment.

Prior to enrolling in each term’s classes, students must successfully complete the previous term’s coursework and be approved to continue study by the School of Occupational Therapy faculty. Prior to enrolling in the OTD program students must have earned a bachelor’s degree.

Admission Requirements

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.

During the application review, the Admissions 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 3.0 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)

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

(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.

Program Details

Program Learning Outcomes

See Chapter One of our Occupational Therapy Student Handbook

Accreditation and Licensing


Certification & Licensure

Licensure Disclosure

Student Handbook

Includes Graduation Requirements, Grading Policy, Academic Standing Policies, and other Program Policies

Occupational Therapy Student Handbook

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