Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

Our 36-credit, online Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) is designed for the working occupational therapist. The program prepares you to engage in your community as a leader, scholar, and advocate, and to make a positive impact on the well-being of those you serve.


Our post-professional OTD is an online program for innovative occupational therapists with a master's degree in occupational therapy or a related field. If you fit that description, we invite you to apply. You can also apply directly from our MSOT program and gain licensure and employment while enrolled. Our student-centered approach focuses on providing a rigorous education while also offering a highly supportive and flexible learning environment.

Taught by exceptional faculty with a deep commitment to service, our OTD program has a special emphasis on upholding social responsibility and addressing health disparities in our communities. By the end of the program, you’ll be ready to address the needs and expectations of evolving healthcare service delivery models, and be a leader and advocate for positive change in the field.

Expert Faculty

Our faculty is made up of accomplished OT practitioners and researchers who are clinically active and involved in the community. As a doctoral candidate in our OTD program, you'll work closely with our approachable and welcoming faculty and gain insight from their expertise. Our faculty's research focuses on population- and community-based programs in emerging, innovative, and cutting edge occupational therapy practice areas including aging in place, community living, transitions, and behavioral health.

MSOT to OTD Pathway at Touro

For the MSOT Class of ’23 and beyond: If you earn your MSOT at Touro and apply to enter the OTD program, you’ll be able to save on tuition and save a semester on your doctorate. Our program allows you to take elective credits in your last semester of the MS program and apply them to your OTD degree. Instead of the usual 16 months in the OTD program, you’ll be able to complete it in just one year.

If you know early in your college career that you want to become an occupational therapist and apply to our BSHS/MSOT program after completing 60 undergraduate credits, you can finish your bachelor’s, your master’s and your doctoral degrees in just six years. Visit the MSOT page to get started there.

OTD Program Format

The online OTD program is designed to be flexible for working occupational therapists. You can enroll in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in any state in the country or internationally. With both synchronous and asynchronous course content, you'll be able to complete your study in a way that works best for you. The program is completed in four terms (16 months). Here at Touro, we focus on providing a student-centered, supportive learning environment, and will work with you to ensure you get the most out of your education.

What You Will Learn in the OTD Program

The OTD curriculum is designed to be a dynamic and relevant learning experience that prepares professional OTs to further develop their career. Through this OTD program, you'll learn how to develop influential programs that impact community health, how to effectively teach and advocate for the profession and for those we serve, and how to create socially responsible solutions for occupational needs in the community.

In this program, you will develop skills and experience in scholarship, policy, advocacy, and education. This newfound knowledge will both inform your clinical practice and allow you to make a societal impact. By using the leadership skills gained in our OTD program, you can more effectively work with legislators, OT colleagues and other health professionals to promote equality, equal access to healthcare, and strong, research-based program development.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Curriculum

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate program follows a lockstep course schedule. Along with didactic coursework, the first two terms focus on enhancing your skills in research, scholarship, and program development. In the final two terms of the program, you’ll hone your leadership skills, and work closely with a faculty mentor on the implementation of your program for your doctoral capstone project.

The capstone project is a great learning experience and helps pave the way for a future leadership role, as you’ll collaborate with community partners to implement a research-based project to address any unmet occupational needs. Your capstone project can be either in-person or online, depending on your project and the organization with which you work.

Explore detailed course descriptions below and learn more about your research seminars and capstone.

Term 1

OTHN 710 - Justice in Health and Healthcare (3 Credits)

This course examines the definition of justice, justice theories, prevalent current issues, and opportunities to impact social change. Students examine justice issues within particular populations, and their own feelings and beliefs regarding social issues. The course further explores health disparities and occupational therapy’s role in addressing health concerns and inequities across populations.

OTHN 720 - Occupational Justice (3 Credits)

This course explores the correlation between culture, health, public policy, and occupational justice. Students examine their own personal culture, the culture of clients, and their influences on health beliefs, practices, and occupations. Further emphasis is on occupational justice and its theoretical underpinning and practice implications.

OTHN 750 - Research Seminar I (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the role of systematic literature review in occupational therapy research and evidence-based practice. Students work closely with faculty mentors to select topics for their doctoral capstone project and write systematic literature reviews. Emphasis is on the development of skills required for formulating clinical and intervention effectiveness questions, critiquing published research articles, and writing a systematic critical review of the literature to support a research or clinical problem in occupational therapy and related fields. Students also begin to identify potential sites for project implementation.

Term 2

OTHN 715 - Program Development for Occupational Therapy (3 Credits)

This course focuses on program development in occupational therapy practice. Students work closely with faculty mentors to develop their doctoral capstone project. Students use evidence and theoretical models to develop programs that address social needs and occupational risk factors in populations that are traditionally underserved by occupational therapy. The proposed program is based on a thorough assessment of the population, addresses primary, secondary, and/or tertiary interventions, and considers the population holistically and in context, including families, communities, and systems. Program development includes a plan for needs assessment, business plan, long and short-term goals and objectives, activities, and timeline. Students also begin to complete the paperwork required for partnership with the site, such as memorandum of understanding/formal agreement, and any other site requirements, such as background check, or health and medical forms.

OTHN 735 - Health, Wellness and Occupation (3 Credits)

This course explores health and wellness theories, principles, policies, approaches, and initiatives that support occupation-based programs. A focus is on programs that address current public health concerns and society’s occupational needs.

OTHN 751 - Research Seminar II (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the research activities to support the development of the doctoral capstone proposal. Students work closely with faculty mentors. Research activities and literature review contribute to the development of needs assessment, IRB application, research methodology, program evaluation plan and outcome measures, and grant proposals. Students meet weekly with faculty mentors to review and coordinate the completion of tasks in an efficient and effective manner.

Term 3

OTHN 725 - Integration of Teaching and Learning in Occupational Therapy (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the development of teaching and learning skills required of occupational therapy practitioners across a variety of clinical and academic settings. A range of learning theories and strategies across the lifespan are explored in detail as they relate to occupational therapy practice and education. Students develop and apply teaching skills appropriate for varying audiences and settings.

OTHN 730 - Leadership and Management (2 Credits)

This course explores contemporary leadership and management theories and practical tools to help students develop skills necessary to become change agents. A focus is on personal leadership styles as well as change theories, entrepreneurial skills, management of innovative practice, and ethical considerations as they relate to policy and system development. Students reflect and explore personal and professional goals related to their own leadership development.

OTHN 752 - Capstone Project I (4 Credits)

This is the first of two (2) courses required to implement the doctoral capstone project. Students work closely with faculty mentors. Students and mentors decide together on the specific activities and assignments to be completed each semester, as well as timelines and due dates. Students meet weekly with faculty mentors to review and coordinate the completion of the student’s tasks in an efficient and effective manner. In Capstone Project I students finalize formal agreements and collaboration plans with community partners. They collaborate with the community partners to implement the proposed activities. They search for suitable journals and begin writing a manuscript describing the capstone project for potential publication.

Term 4

OTHN 740 - Leadership in Occupational Therapy and Higher Education (3 Credits)

This course explores academic and leadership skills and apply them to contemporary higher education systems, regulations, policy, and practice. A focus is on academic leadership including curriculum development and pedagogy. Students reflect on and develop professional goals related to academic leadership.

OTHN 745 - Colloquium: Specialty Area of Practice (4 Credits)

This colloquium provides advanced education in specialty areas of practice selected by the program director. Presented by scholars and experts in the field, topics may include, but are not limited to: Current trends and scholarship; Advanced practice in specialty areas of practice; Advanced topics in teaching and learning in higher education; OT in emerging areas of practice such as primary care; Advanced topics in productive aging; Advanced topics in pediatrics; or Specialty certifications.

OTHN 755 - Capstone Project II (4 Credits)

This is the second of two (2) courses required to implement the doctoral capstone project. Students work closely with faculty mentors. Students and mentors decide together on the specific activities and assignments to be completed each semester, as well as timelines and due dates. Students meet weekly with faculty mentors to review and coordinate the completion of the student’s tasks in an efficient and effective manner. Students implement their capstone project and program evaluation and identify conferences for future dissemination. They write a conference proposal and complete the manuscript describing their capstone project. The course culminates with presentations of the capstone project.

Why Pursue a Post-Professional OTD Degree?

OTD degrees are becoming more common as the profession evolves and occupational therapists advance their careers. While a doctorate degree is not required to practice, it offers increased career flexibility, more opportunities in the field, and paves the way to become a leader in the healthcare industry and higher education.

In general, a post-professional occupational therapy doctorate is highly sought after for leadership positions and for teaching positions in higher education. An OTD is also important if you want to have a strong impact on the community and address the politics of healthcare delivery and development.

Within our OTD program in particular, you’ll learn how to develop community-based programs in areas like senior centers, schools, and other traditional and non-traditional settings such as mental health clinics, group homes, community colleges, farming communities, or detention centers. Your classes and training will be geared towards addressing social issues and making occupational therapy and healthcare more inclusive and equitable. If you want to play a role in healthcare advocacy and leadership and use research to better inform your clinical practice, a doctorate degree can be an important step in your journey as an occupational therapist.

Admission into the Program

In order to apply to the OTD program, you'll need an entry-level degree in occupational therapy, a master's degree in OT or related field, and to be eligible for or have an occupational therapy license. You will have to sit for the certification exam and be employed as an occupational therapist by the second term. As this is a post-master's program, it’s important that all students have or develop work experience in the field while enrolled.

For full admissions requirements, visit our OTD Admissions page.