College of Nursing and College of Health Professionals students attend clinicals


Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

The Valparaiso University OTD Program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). We are admitting students now for our first cohort that will begin August, 2023. The program is designed to prepare future Occupational Therapists to enter the field of Occupational Therapy. 

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program is a 109-credit hour program that prepares future occupational therapists for leadership and scholarship in academic communities and/or health care organizations. Valparaiso University is committed to students achieving their highest potential through facilitating intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth with an emphasis on liberal arts education. This allows OTD students to become competent, professional occupational therapy practitioners. Students complete all coursework prior to taking the National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam for Occupational Therapist. The coursework includes all didactic courses, fieldwork experiences (Level I and Level II), and the capstone project.  Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as a capstone project within 6 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

The Valparaiso University Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program will prepare practitioners to provide evidence-based occupational therapy services with integrity and interprofessional collaboration to meet the physical and psychosocial needs of diverse people, environments, and organizations.

Upon completion of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Degree, students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Advocate for occupational therapy services for diverse populations, groups, and individuals as a member of a healthcare team.
  • Assess occupational performance of individuals, groups, and populations using evidence-based concepts and principles.
  • Provide therapeutic interventions based on client centered care and evidence-based principles.
  • Collaborate with the interdisciplinary team, client, and stakeholders to formulate a successful transition from service and document results.
  • Complete all duties in an ethical, legal, safe, and professional manner in accordance with state, federal, and association rules/regulations.

Demonstrate the importance of professional development, support professional organizations, and advocate for the future of occupational therapy services.

  • Goal 1: Prepare graduates with the skills to be compassionate and culturally competent, ethical occupational therapists.
  • Goal 2: Provide a student-centered adult learner educational environment that enables student success.
  • Goal 3: Prepare graduates to provide high-quality patient-centered care as collaborative members of an interprofessional healthcare team.
  • Goal 4: Prepare graduates to lead and serve the profession and in dynamic health care environments.
Official program of study is under review.
Below is a sample schedule:
Year Semester Course Number Course Credits
Start OTD Program January 2023
1 Spring OCTH 701 OT Theory and Framework 3
OCTH 703 Occupational Engagement for the Occupational Therapist 3
IPE 518 Social Determinants of Health 3
OCTH 709 OT Research Clinical Inquiry 3
OCTH 705 OT Evaluation and Assessment 3
Summer OCTH 707 Cognitive Perceptual Assessment and Intervention 3
OCTH 715 Occupational Therapy Ethics and Advocacy 3
OCTH 717 OT Research Methodology 3
Fall OCTH 725 Occupational Performance for the Occupational Therapist -orthopedics 5
OCTH 711 Mental health for the Occupational Therapist 5
OCTH 719 Pediatrics for the Occupational Therapist 5
OCTH 723 Leading the Profession Through Effective Management 3
2 Spring OCTH 713 Occupational Performance for the Occupational Therapist – cardiopulmonary  5
OCTH 727 Occupational Performance for the Occupational Therapist -neurology 5
OCTH 733 OT in Education 3
OCTH 741 FW seminar 1a 4
Summer OCTH 740 Research Implementation 3
OCTH 729 Capstone Discovery 2
OCTH 743 FW seminar 1b 3
2 Fall OCTH 735 Productive Aging for the Occupational Therapist 5
OCTH 737 Assistive Technology for the Occupational Therapist 5
OCTH 730 OTD clinical reasoning 3
OCTH 739 Capstone Design 2
OCTH 742 Clinical Competency for the Occupational Therapist 3
2 Spring OCTH 745 FW level 2a (12 weeks) 7
OCTH 747 FW level 2b (12 weeks) 7
Summer OCTH 749 Capstone Implementation (14 weeks) 8
OCTH 748 Preparation for Licensure for the Occupational Therapist (online) 2
OTD Total 109
Current Cost Year 1


Year 2

Fall, Spring Summer

Year 3

Fall, Spring, Summer

Tuition $17,875 $30,030 $30,745
Student Fees
General fee,  liability insurance
$370 $370 $370
Health Insurance (can be waived with proof of insurance) $1120 $1680 $1680
Lab Coat and Name Pin $50 $0 $0
Drug Screen and Criminal Background Check $138 $117 $117
BLS Certification $75 $0 $75
Lab Fees $3,000 $3,000 $3,000
Books/Supplies (Approximate cost per semester for books and supplies.  Costs vary per semester, with the first semester costs being greater and very low supply costs toward the end of the program)
$2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Membership Fees
















Total $25,033 $37,602 $38,392
  • Fees are subject to change
  • According to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), cost of attendance is defined as total amount of attending the program, which includes tuition and fees, books, supplies, transportation, loan fees as well as fees associated with distance education.

Admission Criteria

In addition to completing the requirements of the Graduate School, students applying to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum of a Bachelors Degree from an accredited institution
  • Meet all admission requirements to Valparaiso University as a degree-seeking student with all required admission documents received by the Admissions Office.
  • Applicants will be notified of their admission status upon receipt of all required forms and information.
  • OTD program applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or higher
  • Letter of intent explaining why the candidate is seeking this degree and goals for using this degree (2-page max)
  • Two letters of recommendation

Prerequisite Courses

CHEM 121 Gen Chemistry
PSY 110 General Psychology
BIO 151 A&P 1
PSY 215 Lifespan Development
KIN 250 or HS 180 Medical Terminology
BIO 152 A&P 2
PSY 235 Abnormal Psychology
STAT 140 General Statistics
ENG 205 HS Writing

Application Process

In addition to fulfilling the admission requirements for the Graduate School, invited applicants will also be required to complete a virtual interview.

Admission Pathway with Priority. Valparaiso University alumni with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and meet the admission criteria are eligible for admittance into the OTD program.  Application and acceptance through the Graduate School is required in order to finalize admission to the OTD.

Standard Admission Pathway. 

Students who have obtained a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and meet the prerequisite criteria are eligible to apply to the OTD program. Application and acceptance through the Graduate School is required in order to finalize admission to the OTD.

Student Technology Requirements

Student Support Services

Academic and student life policies as well as services for graduate students are listed in the GRADUATE CATALOG, which is administered by the Graduate School on behalf of the Graduate Educational Policy Committee.

  1. Complete all requirements for didactic, fieldwork, and capstone project per the occupational therapy handbook
  2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  3. Demonstrate professionalism during interactions with faculty, supervisors, and peers in accordance with Valparaiso University policy.
  4. Complete all requirements for degree completion listed in the Graduate Catalog.

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status 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 c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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