Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Enter the profession ready to lead in service to others. 

Earning a Doctor of Occupational Therapy at ACU can lead to a rewarding career. You will help individuals whose ability to cope with the activities of daily living are impaired by physical illness or injury, congenital or developmental disability, or the aging process.  In addition, you will enter the field equipped with the skills required to be a leader that knows how to lift up the capabilities of others. You will have the tools to inspire, motivate and create positive actions among your clients, co-workers, fellow health care professionals and communities. 

Ready to be part of a profession that helps people gain independence? Contact us today to learn more.

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The Doctor of Occupational therapy degree at Abilene Christian University is a new program and is in the application process for candidacy for approval to accept admission of its first class in the fall of 2021. Subsequent to a positive candidacy decision students may be notified of acceptance May 2021. Final accreditation decision will be made in August 2023. 

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy, consisting of classroom instruction, fieldwork, and capstone experience may be completed in approximately 29 months. The program is designed to prepare students for leadership and specialized focus in the field of occupational therapy. The curriculum provides a foundation of generalist education with broad exposure to theories and practice areas in occupational therapy with additional training in research techniques that are applicable within and without the clinical setting and concurrent specialized training in the students’ chosen area of  clinical practice skills, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development. 

The 85-hour program includes two 12-week fieldwork education rotations and a 14-week doctoral capstone experience. The capstone experience consists of two parts: the capstone project and the capstone experience. For the capstone experience, the student will complete an individual 14-week capstone experience in the students chosen area of specialization for the purpose of implementing the project. 

Upon completion of degree requirements and dependent on the accreditation decision which will be made in August 2023 students will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) for the practice of occupational therapy. After passing the NBCOT exam, students may apply for licensure in the state in which they intend to practice.

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy is to prepare occupational therapy students to think and act critically, missionally, and globally through Christian service as specialized occupational therapy professionals and leaders throughout their respective communities. 

We believe in teaching students to recognize that occupation in its broadest sense is a great gift from God and therefore requires great responsibility. This responsibility is taught through our core values of faith, service, authenticity, innovation, competency and servant leadership. 

Virtual Meeting with our OT Director

You are invited to join us for one of our Virtual Visits with our Occupational Therapy Program Director, Dr. Catherine Candler. During these live meetings, you'll learn more about our Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and our Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs. Dr. Candler will cover the same material at each event so pick the date that works best for you and register today: 

  • Admission Requirements

    A cohort of 8 students will be accepted from a pool of applications submitted by recent graduates of accredited undergraduate programs for Fall 2021 admission. All application materials must be filed through the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service (OTCAS).  These positions will be determined based on the level of qualification of each student. The admission requirements are:

    1. A completed application for admission with a nonrefundable ACU Graduate application fee.
    2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent. Admission decisions are made based on the assumption that applicants will have the bachelor’s degree by the time of matriculation. If not, the graduate school admission is void.
    3. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2.
    4. Two letters of recommendation. Recommendation forms are available through the OTCAS system. One letter should be provided from an occupational therapist and the other by a professional who has observed the applicant’s work. This includes individuals who have (a) observed the applicant during any healthcare-related volunteer or paid work, (b) previous or present instructors and/or advisors, (c) previous or present employers, or (d) health care professionals.
    5. Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the occupational therapy profession by documenting a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer/observation activity in a professional occupational therapy setting, 80-100 hours is preferable. Applicants are encouraged to complete observation hours in more than one clinical setting. Procedures for documentation are outlined in the OTCAS system. Due to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic the ACU-MSOT program waives the observation/volunteer hour criteria as a requirement for application for Fall 2021 entry.  Please note however, that familiarity with the profession remains a selection consideration.  
    6. Applicants must complete a Personal Statement as prompted by the OTCAS system and a supplemental question as part of the application process. The supplemental question includes spiritual and/or life experiences that influenced the applicant’s decision to apply to occupational therapy school, and clinical experience or observation that evoked passion about occupational therapy.
    7. At the time of application, applicants must demonstrate the ability to complete all required prerequisite coursework prior to enrollment in the first semester of the program. Advance Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit will not be accepted for any prerequisite course. All Occupational Therapy course prerequisites other than Medical Terminology must be taken at an accredited school and successfully completed with a grade no lower than a C. Credit/no Credit designations are not accepted for prerequisite courses. Medical Terminology may be taken as a certificate or continuing education course. All prerequisite coursework must be completed within 7 years prior to enrollment. A maximum of 6 credit hours of prerequisites can be pending at the time of application with the exception of Anatomy & Physiology I and II which must be completed at the time of application.

      Required prerequisite coursework includes: 

      6 Credit Hour Minimum     Anatomy & Physiology I & II
      3 Credit Hour Minimum     Statistics 
      3 Credit Hour Minimum     Abnormal Psychology
      3 Credit Hour Minimum     Life Span Development (or Developmental Psychology)
      Verification of Completion Medical Terminology

    8. The OTD utilizes the online learning management system Canvas and online applications are used during class times for testing and learning activities. Students admitted into the program must have access to a laptop computer with internet and Word, Excel & PowerPoint capabilities throughout the entirety of the program.
    9. In addition verification of required immunizations must be submitted prior to matriculation into the professional curriculum. Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training is required prior to fieldwork placement and will be provided during the program for a separate fee.
  • Certification and Licensure

    The ACU OTD is a new program and is in the application process for candidacy for approval to accept admission of its first class in the fall of 2021. Final accreditation decision will be made in August 2023. 

    Dependent on a positive accreditation decision, graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

    After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

  • Accreditation

    The ACU OTD is NOT currently accredited. The ACU OTD is a new program and is in the application process for candidacy for approval to accept admission of its first class in the Fall of 2021. Final accreditation decision will be made in August 2023.

Degree Details

Required Hours

Required Hours: 85

2021/2022 tuition per credit hour: $1,091

Program Length: 29 months

Example Coursework

Occupational Therapy for Adult Populations

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Seminars I - IV

Leadership in Occupational Therapy

Specialized Occupational Therapy Preparation


Occupational Therapy

Application Deadlines

Fall: December 14