Offered at South University, West Palm Beach.
South University’s post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program is an innovative graduate curriculum that is designed to build the profession’s capacity to empower the advanced clinical-scholar. The program emphasizes advanced leadership, advanced pedagogy, and advanced clinical knowledge that is consistent with the vision of South University where critical thinking, professionalism and community service which are tantamount to transformative learning.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program is designed to give students the opportunity to integrate the art and science of occupational therapy that collaborates creatively with clients to improve health and their participation in life. Through engagement in diverse learning opportunities within the classroom and community, students may graduate as competent, ethically-sound practitioners who will intuitively employ evidence-based practices throughout the many emerging therapeutic approaches. Thus, graduates of the program promote health and well-being through engagement in therapeutic occupations (e.g. everyday life activities) that enhance quality of life for persons in the communities wherever they live, work and play.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
The post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program and its faculty-mentors are committed to developing advanced clinical-scholars who are able to:
- Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to make well-informed judgments regarding content validity in research as well as implement evidenced-based clinical practices throughout the spectrum of care.
- Advocate for clients, communities and entire populations’ right to receive prompt and effective occupational therapy services and employ newly gained transformative knowledge to develop and secure policies at local, state, regional and national levels.
- Employ critical thinking, life-long learning, and analytical methodologies to leverage and justify resources that enhance the effectiveness of advanced therapeutic interventions.
- Critically examine the rapid changes occurring throughout the health care landscape as well as understand issues regarding managed care, third party reimbursement, access to specialty care, and how occupational therapy will weave meaningful occupation into contemporary practice models.
- Collaborate with peers, faculty-mentors, subject matter experts, researchers and practitioners regarding material from peer-reviewed publications and do so during synchronous and asynchronous postings and during formal class presentations.
- Become a self-directed learner consistent with an advanced scholar who is able to understand scientific evidence so that he/she is able to critically analyze, interpret and synthesize data while applying it within specific practice areas.
The Capstone Project (made up of OTD7040, OTD7041, OTD7042, OTD7043, OTD7044, OTD7045, OTD7046), an advanced experiential and research-based project, is considered the pinnacle of the student’s combined experiences within the OTD degree program. The faculty-mentor(s), OTD-Program Director, and Capstone Advisory Committee (CAC) are responsible for assisting each student in developing his/her project. The faculty mentor may be experienced in the health care industry, academia, or research as their scholarly work is deemed central to evidence based practice and/or translational research related to the student’s Capstone Project. Additional members may be added to the committee upon request.
The Capstone Project is directly influenced by the knowledge obtained within the advanced academic environment of the OTD program; however, it can also be shaped by external influences, such as, from the information obtained while working with the student’s subject matter expert (SME) or Capstone Advisory Committee (CAC). Students focus on projects geared toward a service-industry need, specific product, an assessment tool or a detailed document that may address critical issues in the field. The series of courses allow students an opportunity to document, implement, and/or evaluate their Capstone Project methodically and in a structured manner. As such, the course is structured (e.g., development of hypotheses, gathering empirical data, analysis, and implications and outcomes) to elevate the capstone project to a point where significant discovery occurs.
On Campus Intensive
The On Campus Intensive (OCI) is an advanced experiential learning opportunity where OTD students meet and collaborate, critically analyze, and debate course material presented by their classmates and faculty-mentors. The OCI also serves as a formalized and structured process whereby students can meet with their Capstone Advisory Committee (CAC) chairperson (e.g. the CAC chair will always default to an OTD faculty-mentor) and receive guidance and instruction relating directly to their capstone project; Attendance at the OCI is mandatory. If a student is unable to attend the scheduled OCIs, due to a medical or family emergency, he/she is encouraged to contact the Program Director as soon as possible. If attendance at an OCI event was impeded due to health related issues, then medical documentation will be required. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain any information missed during the scheduled OCI.
Applicants who fully meet entrance criteria and have a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution will matriculate through Track A for their core and elective courses. Total credit hours required to graduate with a practice (clinical) Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy at South University is 58 credit hours in this track. Occupational Therapists with a master’s in Occupational Therapy may graduate in a shorter period of time than do their colleagues with a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a related master’s degree in Health Sciences, such as, a Master in Health Service Administration, Master in Clinical Social Work, Master in Health Science, Master of Science in Nursing, Master in Public Health, or Master of Business Administration-with an emphasis on healthcare will also matriculate into Track A.
Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited institution will matriculate into Track B, unless they can demonstrate proof of having taken the required prerequisite courses at an approved institution. Total credit hours required to graduate with a practice (clinical) Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy at South University is 74 credit hours in this track. Occupational Therapists with a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy may require a longer period of time to graduate than do their master’s trained colleagues. This is based on the requirement of taking prerequisite courses embedded within the Doctor of Occupational Therapy curriculum.
Any prerequisite courses considered for transfer will be evaluated by the Program Director for Occupational Therapy.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Standards of Professionalism
Because practitioners of Occupational Therapy are called to the highest professional ethics and understanding that this responsibility begins prior to receipt of a degree, South University post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program students must uphold the following principles of conduct and integrity. These principles promote honesty, trust, and cooperation among the students, their colleagues, the faculty, their patients, as well as, their profession. Students in South University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program are expected to demonstrate behavior appropriate for an advanced clinical career in allied health care and/or occupational therapy education. Appropriate behavior is characterized by honesty, trustworthiness, professional demeanor, respect for the rights of others, personal accountability, and concern for the welfare of patients. Violations of these principles of professionalism may result in referral to the Student Progressions Committee.