Why Occupational Therapy?
The profession of occupational therapy is a dynamic and rewarding career choice! As an occupational therapy practitioner, you can:
- Empower individuals to overcome physical, psychological, or developmental challenges and lead fulfilling lives.
- Work in diverse settings, including hospitals, community centers, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, schools, and many other locations.
- Provide holistic, person-centered care while collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
- Discover purpose in advocating for and empowering your clients to regain their independence and maximize their overall quality of life.
Distinguished, Expert Faculty
Our faculty are leaders and innovators in their fields, bringing both professional experience and academic rigor to the classroom.
What is Occupational Therapy?
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, “occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living” (AOTA, 2023). Occupational therapy (OT) focuses on helping individuals overcome physical, psychological, or developmental obstacles that affect their ability to engage in meaningful daily activities (occupations) and enable them to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives.
OTD Program Philosophy
We believe all people and communities have a right to meaningful participation in occupations that promote health and well-being. Occupational therapy provides a powerful and multidimensional lens to capture diverse human experiences, allowing practitioners to create solutions for engagement in everyday occupations.
The University of New Haven Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is dedicated to preparing compassionate, competent occupational therapists who advance cultural humility and can profoundly impact the lives of individuals and communities. Our program philosophy is rooted in holistic person-centered care, evidence-based practice, cultural competency, and a commitment to service, reflecting our belief in the transformative power of occupational therapy.
The mission of the University of New Haven's Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is to educate and empower future healthcare leaders who will serve as agents of change in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. We are dedicated to fostering a community-based approach to occupational therapy education, where students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel in their profession and inspired to make a lasting impact on the communities they serve.
The vision for the University of New Haven’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is to cultivate a dynamic learning environment that fosters excellence, innovation, and inclusivity, empowering students to become transformative leaders in healthcare, inspiring innovation, and promoting holistic well-being in communities near and far.
General Admissions Requirements
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will use the following admissions criteria:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 with a grade of C or better in each prerequisite course. Prerequisites include:
- Anatomy and Physiology (I & II) with lab - 8 credits
- Human Development – 3 credits (e.g., Child and Adolescent Development, Adult Development and Aging, or Life Span Development)
- Abnormal Psychology - 3 credits
- Statistics - 3 credits (e.g., Statistics, Biostatistics, Statistics for Social Sciences)
- Prerequisites must meet the following conditions:
- Anatomy and physiology courses must be completed within four years of application. All other prerequisites must be completed within ten years of application.
- Each prerequisite course must be completed with a grade of C or better.
- At least ten (10) verified observation hours in the past five years.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Personal statement/essay addressing prompt – “Explain how your preparation, experiences, and interests have led you to a career in Occupational Therapy and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of New Haven.”
- Resume or curriculum vitae highlighting experience, leadership, and educational potential.
- Successful interview (in person or virtual) with an Admissions Committee Team.
In addition to the above requirements, international students must also provide the following information:
- All applicants must submit a course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services (WES) to show their degree is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree.
- All applicants must submit official scores for language proficiency. A minimum TOEFL score of 100, PTE score of 68, or IELTS score of 7.5 is required.
Progression, retention, and graduation policies and procedures are found in the OT Student Handbook. The OT Student Handbook is updated annually and reviewed with students at the beginning of each Level of the program. Successful completion of all didactic, laboratory, fieldwork, and capstone requirements are necessary for graduation. This includes:
- Students must complete all required didactic and laboratory coursework before starting fieldwork.
- Students must comply with all site requirements, including background checks, immunizations, etc., to attend fieldwork experiences.
- All Level II Fieldwork experiences must be completed within 12 months following the didactic portion of the program.
Doctoral Capstone Requirements:
- Students must complete all required didactic and laboratory coursework, Level II Fieldwork, and pass a comprehensive exam before starting the Doctoral Capstone Experience and Doctoral Capstone Project.
- Students must comply with all site requirements, including background checks, immunizations, etc.
- Doctoral Capstone Project and Doctoral Capstone Experience must be completed within 12 months following completion of Level II Fieldwork.
The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) is a 2.75-year full-time program across eight semesters. Our program focuses on a dynamic and developmental framework based on constructivism and transformative learning principles. The curriculum has three levels: Foundations, Occupational Therapy (OT) Process, and Experiential Learning.
In the Foundations Level, students learn the basic principles supporting occupational therapy, building a solid knowledge foundation for advanced practice. Moving to the OT Process Level, students explore clinical reasoning, assessment, and intervention strategies, applying theoretical concepts to real-world situations. Finally, the Experiential Learning Level offers immersive opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in different settings, transforming theoretical understanding into practical, person-centered practice.
This approach not only equips students with requisite skills but also fosters a reflective and adaptive mindset, essential for the ever-changing landscape of occupational therapy.
Read more about our curriculum, objectives, and courses in the OTD program
Course Plan & Course Descriptions
View the program list in the Academic Catalog
The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) has granted the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program Candidacy Status. A program with Candidacy Status may admit students into the OTD Program according to the approved timeline and proceed to the pre-accreditation review step of the accreditation process. The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
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The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) administers the certification examination for occupational therapy practitioners. To be eligible to take the NBCOT exam, candidates must meet specific requirements. Eligibility criteria include:
- Completion of an entry-level occupational therapy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
- Candidates must have a degree (master's or doctoral) from an accredited occupational therapy program.
- Successful completion of all required fieldwork experiences as part of the accredited occupational therapy program.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by NBCOT upon completing ACOTE accreditation (NBCOT, 2022).
As a newly developed program, the University of New Haven Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program has limited outcomes to share at this point. Graduation rates and National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination pass rates will be tracked and shared when available. Once posted, program results from the NBCOT examination can be found online at https://www.nbcot.org/en/Educators/Home#SchoolPerformance.
NOTE: A felony conviction may affect candidates' ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination.
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Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating 2026 Pending
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