Jun 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy, O.T.D.

General Program Information

Lindsay Williams, Graduate Coordinator
VA Bldg 2 RM 121
P.O. Box 70260
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-7403

Michelle Lee, Ph.D., M.S., Department Chair
100 Hutchenson Hall 
Box 70260
(423) 439-7524
email: leeml2@etsu.edu

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy “helps people of all ages participate in things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Unlike other professions, occupational therapy helps people function in their environments (e.g., home, work, school, community) and addresses the physical, psychological, and cognitive aspects of their well-being through engagement in occupation” (AOTA). 

The Department of Rehabilitative Health Sciences offers the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. The program will be delivered in a traditional, on-ground format. The curriculum will emphasize in-depth evaluation and intervention skills with a traditional strong focus on disease, body functions and structure while integrating activity limitations, participation restrictions, and contextual factors. 

The entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will utilize a multifaceted approach to education with an interprofessional focus, which will prepare graduates to practice with appropriate skills and expertise in diverse practice settings that requires collaboration, teamwork, and the ability to break down silos that are prominent in traditional health care curricula.  

The mission of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy is to prepare practitioner-scholars who empower and improve the lives of clients, communities, and populations through inclusive interprofessional education demonstrating occupation and evidence- based practice.

Accreditation Information

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 http://www.acoteonline.org. 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.


The program identified the following strengths:

  1. The College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences currently houses the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, the Doctorate of Audiology (AuD) program, and the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program. Developing the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program provides a full complement of rehabilitation programs that can be offered in the college. 
  2. With ETSU’s emphasis on interprofessional education and collaborative practice, the OTD program adds both breadth and depth to existing programs and builds on the university’s mission to “provide strong, comprehensive educational, research, and service programs in the health sciences that advance the health and wellness of people throughout Tennessee and Southern Appalachia and rural populations around the world.” 

Remaining Areas of Concern:

Upon review of the Candidacy Application and the additional materials requested, the following area of concern was identified: 

2018 Standard C.1.5. Sufficient Fieldwork Agreements: Although the program has met the minimum requirements for Level II fieldwork Letters of Intent for the 30 students with between 66 and 70 Level II placements, it will need to continue to develop fieldwork agreements to ensure that they are sufficient in scope and number to allow completion of graduation requirements in a timely manner.

ACOTE Action:

Grant Candidacy Status and proceed with the preaccreditation review of the program. The NBCOT school code assigned to the OTD program is 34721. The OTD program is approved for 1 cohort of 30 students per cohort for a total of 30 new students per year.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the OTD program is by a selective admissions process to begin matriculation in the summer semester only. Students apply to the OTD program through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). 

If invited for an interview students must also apply to the ETSU School of Graduate Studies.

Students seeking admission to the professional OTD degree program (entry-level) must meet the requirements established by the School of Graduate Studies. International students must meet the same program-specific requirements for admission to the graduate program that apply to citizens of the United States as detailed in the ETSU School of Graduate Studies Policies.

Students must also meet the following minimum program requirements: 

  1. Have an overall GPA of 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework for domestic students; 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for international students; 
  2. Have a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in the prerequisite courses; 
  3. No grade in a prerequisite course may be less than a “C” (2.0 on a 4.0 scale); 
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation with at least one from a licensed occupational therapist;
  5. A positive evaluation after an interview with the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee

Prerequisite courses or equivalent for admission consideration by the program include the following: 

  • Statistics or Research Methods (3 credits)
  • General Biology with Labs (8 credits) or Biology for non-majors with labs (8 credits)
  • General Physics with Lab (4 credits) 
  • Anatomy and Physiology (8 credits) 
  • Introduction to Sociology or Anthropology (3 credits) 
  • Psychology (9 credits) (including Introduction, Developmental, and Abnormal)
  • Medical Terminology (1-3 credits) 
  • Observation/clinical experience hours: There is no specific number of clinical hours required; however, each applicant is expected to have thoroughly investigated the scope and profession of occupational therapy. Applicants’ understanding of the profession will be considered in their interview.

Retention Requirements

The program will follow ETSU standards for Graduate Academic Retention Standards.

Students in the OTD program must meet the retention standards as set forth for graduate students by the School of Graduate Studies and by the Occupational Therapy Faculty. Grades shall be issued based on the 4.0 scale as set forth in the Graduate Catalog.

An occupational therapy student will be considered deficient for any course grade less than a “C” (2.0), or when the overall grade point average per semester or for all semesters completed in the program is less than a “B” (3.0).

Traditional entry students will matriculate through a fixed, prescribed curriculum in a three-year, full-time doctoral program.

The Occupational Therapy Faculty will meet at a minimum at the end of each semester to determine whether each student should be promoted to the next semester, be placed on probation, or be required to remediate any deficiencies before proceeding to the next semester of study. Promotion will be determined by the student’s didactic performance, clinical performance, and professional behavior.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree Requirements: 107 credits

Core 57 credits
Clinical 26 credits
Evidence-Based Project 8 credits
Capstone Project 16 credits
TOTAL 107 credits