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School of Rehabilitation SciencesDoctor of Occupational Therapy

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The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program at Old Dominion University is a full-time enrollment (9 semester), 105 credit, capstone based, cohort designed professional doctoral degree program culminating in student eligibility to sit for the national certification examination and obtain state licensure in occupational therapy practice. The program is an active learning professional curriculum with blended didactic, clinical education (fieldwork), service-learning, and capstone components designed to meet the accreditation standards of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. The faculty of our occupation centered curriculum are dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, and service to the profession, to the university, and to the community.

Applicants seeking admissions to the ODU Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program must meet the ODU requirements for admission:

  • A completed online application to the ODU Graduate School.
  • Transcripts from each academic program attended.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or more in undergraduate coursework.

In addition, applicants will be required to submit documentation through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy Programs (OT CAS) demonstrating the following requirements:

  • Completion (or courses in progress) of the following prerequisites at ODU or another regionally accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 within the past 10 years:
    • Anatomy and Physiology (At least 8 credit hours with labs; the course content must address the organization of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems in humans)
    • Developmental Psychology (One 3 credit hour child development or a lifespan course that includes learning principles and motor, language, cognitive, emotional, and social development)
    • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology (One 3 credit hour course addressing psychopathology)
    • Social Science (Two 3 credit hour courses can include other psychology courses, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, public health, epidemiology, gerontology, and urban studies)
    • Statistics (One 3 credit hour course addressing behavioral, educational, psychological, or mathematical statistics. Business statistics does not fulfill this requirement)
  • Three recommendations from professional or academic referees.
  • Completion of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program Observation Modules and accompanying Reflection Summary. Access the modules and summary.
  • Documentation of current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR/AED Certification) at the level of a Health Professional.
  • Attestation of acknowledgement of the NBCOT Character Review eligibility requirements for certifying occupational therapy practitioners.
  • Applicants will be required to participate in a behavioral interview for admission.
  • Transfer coursework and/or work experience will not be allowed to count toward core and required courses.

Applicants who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy ODU requirements for English language proficiency. To demonstrate English language proficiency, students are required to achieve a minimum score of 230 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an 80 on the TOEFL iBT.

The ODU Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program uses the Canvas Learning Management System throughout the curriculum and to support off campus, online and fieldwork and campus educational experiences. To be successful in the learning environment, students are required to have technology reliability (e.g., computer, internet), basic technical skills (e.g., understand computer terminology, perform computer operations [create new documents, use a word processing program]), internet skills (e.g., use browsers, search for resources, upload/download materials), and effective online communication skills (e.g., use email, discussion boards, chats, and messages).

Admissions Timeline

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program will not admit students into the program until Candidacy Status has been obtained from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE ®) and the program has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Applications to the ODU Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program are made through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS). The OTCAS Application can be accessed through the link below (Coming soon). In addition, once the OTCAS application is submitted, applicants will be emailed a link to complete the information required for the ODU Graduate Application and submit the $50 fee to ODU.

Cohort 1: Matriculation January 2023

  • Application Submission Deadline: September 15, 2022
  • Virtual Interviews: September - October 15, 2022
  • Notifications: September - October 2022

Cohort 2 Matriculation June 2023

  • Application Submission Deadline: February 1, 2023 (Applicants are encouraged to apply beginning fall 2022 as the application review process will begin as soon as applications are verified in OTCAS.)
  • Virtual Interviews: January - February 2023
  • Notifications: January - March 2023
Tuition (8 credits) $4,408.00 $11,096.00
Textbooks $290.00 $290.00
Technology $60.00 $60.00
Student Health (Optional) ($50.00) ($50.00)
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Subtotal $4,817.00 $11,505.00
Tuition (16 credits) $8,816.00 $22,192.00
Textbooks $351.00 $351.00
Technology $90.00 $90.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health $110.00 $110.00
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Transportation $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $9,935.00 $23,311.00
Tuition (16 credits) $8,816.00 $22,192.00
Textbooks $225.00 $225.00
Technology $120.00 $120.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health $110.00 $110.00
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Transporation $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $9,839.00 $23,215.00
First Year (40 credits) Total $24,591.00 $58,031.00
Tuition (8 credits) $4,408.00 $11,096.00
Textbooks $300.00 $300.00
Technology $240.00 $240.00
Student Health (Optional) ($50.00) ($50.00)
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Subtotal $5,007.00 $11,695.00
Tuition (16 credits) $8,816.00 $22,192.00
Textbooks $275.00 $275.00
Technology $150.00 $150.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health $110.00 $110.00
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Transportation Fee $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $9,919.00 $23,295.00
Tuition (16 credits) $8,816.00 $22,192.00
Textbooks $315.00 $315.00
Technology $120.00 $120.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health $110.00 $110.00
General Service $9.00 $9.00
Transportation $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $9,929.00 $23,305.00
Second Year (40 credits) Total $24,855.00 $58,295.00
Tuition (8 credits) $4,408.00 $11,096.00
Textbooks $0.00 $0.00
Technology $240.00 $240.00
Student Health (Optional) ($50.00) ($50.00)
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Subtotal $4,657.00 $11,345.00
Tuition (8 credits) $4,408.00 $4,408.00
Textbooks $0.00 $0.00
Technology $240.00 $240.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health $110.00 $110.00
General Services $9.00 $9.00
Transportation $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $5,326.00 $5,326.00
Tuition (9 credits) $4,959.00 $12,483.00
Textbooks $0.00 $0.00
Technology $270.00 $270.00
Course Related $500.00 $500.00
Student Health Fee $110.00 $110.00
General Service $9.00 $9.00
Transportation $59.00 $59.00
Subtotal $5,907.00 $13,431.00
Third Year (25 credits) Total $15,890.00 $30,102.00
$64,280.00 $145,372.00

These costs are based on current tuition rates and fees. Rates and fees are set by the Board of Visitors each year and are subject to change.

Occupational therapy is a mentally, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Throughout the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program, students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are necessary to provide safe and effective service to individuals, communities, and populations. Technical standards are the skills, knowledge and experience the student must possess with or without accommodation upon admission to and graduation from the OTD Program and reflect the abilities that an occupational therapist must possess in clinical practice.

The OTD program, like the profession and the university, is committed to inclusive opportunities for all. Individuals with unique backgrounds and needs are encouraged to apply and are not required to disclose the nature of their educational and participation needs. However, any applicant with questions about the required technical standards is encouraged to discuss their concerns with the University's Office of Educational Accessibility at (757) 683-4655. Deficiencies in knowledge, skill, judgment, integrity, character, and/or professional deportment which may jeopardize patient safety and/or care may influence academic and fieldwork success, application and acceptance to take the national certifying examination, and possible dismissal from the Program.

Applicants/Students admitted to the OTD program must possess aptitudes, abilities, and skills in the following domains:

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate is a cornerstone in the effective implementation of occupational therapy service. Occupational therapists must be able to understand others and be understood and use communication skills to gather and share information. Doctor of occupational therapy students must be able to effectively:

  • Respectively communicate in oral and written English with diverse populations (e.g., speech volume, articulation, cultural sensitivity).
  • Interpret nonverbal communication of others and understand how one's own nonverbal communication is understood by others.
  • Understand and follow verbal and written instructions (e.g., learning activities, patient care, infection control and prevention protocol).
  • Quickly gather information and convey meaning in academic, clinical, and scholarly settings individually and in small and large groups (e.g., communicating efficiently and clearly with the medical team; communicating data appropriately to clients and team members [fellow students, physicians, nurses, aides, therapists, social workers, and others]).
  • Establish rapport and convey compassion and empathy for clients (e.g., gathering a thorough occupational profile from clients, employing client-centered care, maintaining therapeutic relationship).
  • Communicate accurately and legibly in writing (e.g., student learning outcome products [papers, exams], client observations, plans of care, progress notes).

Observation and Interpretation

Observation and interpretation require the functional use and analysis of visual, auditory, and somatic information. Doctor of occupational therapy students must be able to attend to, observe, and interpret:

  • Live and virtual class instruction including associated printed reading, illustrated, graphic, and projected materials.
  • Lab demonstrations (e.g., clinical techniques, anatomical structures, and body movements).
  • Laboratory specimens (e.g., donor bodies, laboratory-dissected prosections).
  • Clinical instrumentation and observation of assessment results (e.g., dials and digital displays [sphygmomanometers and stethoscope], digital and waveform readings [electrocardiograms], graphic images, human performance).
  • Safety and accessibility of clients' physical environment and the interaction within it (e.g. visual acuity and depth perception for scanning safety considerations within the physical environment and changes in patient condition [lines and leads, color changes, facial changes], auditory capacity to respond to electronic signaling and faint body sounds, and tactile skills to detect vibration, temperature and texture changes, and differences in surface/tissue characteristics(e.g., skin integrity).
  • Observe client function near and at a distance.
  • Emotional affect, nonverbal cues, and responses to interaction and intervention of both individual clients and groups of clients.

Intellectual Abilities and Critical Reasoning Skills

Conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities in critical reasoning and problem solving are required for academic and clinical success in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy students must synthesize, analyze, and interpret large volumes of information from multiple sources and form decisions efficiently and effectively in academic and clinical environments. Doctor of occupational therapy students must be able to effectively:

  • Attend to and analyze concrete, abstract, and theoretical information to inform and articulate rational for sound decision making in academic and clinical environments.
  • Identify, measure, calculate, and synthesize information to establish and test clinical and scholarly hypotheses.
  • Acquire, merge, retain, and apply information learned from instruction, literature, written material, peers, practitioners, and clients to support patient care (e.g., conduct evaluation and gather assessment data, develop plan of care, safely implement intervention).
  • Critically evaluate one's own performance and communicate the limits of one's knowledge to others.
  • Recognize potentially dangerous situations and equipment and proceed safely to minimize risk of injury to self or others.
  • Engage in self-reflection and apply the feedback of others to promote personal and professional growth and development.

Motor Skills

Occupational therapy students require sufficient sensory motor function to safely engage clients in evaluation and therapeutic activity. Doctor of occupational therapy students must be able to effectively:

  • Engage for up to eight hours in prolonged sitting, standing, and mobilizing within academic and clinical settings (e.g., traverse uneven terrain, balance, twist, lean, lift arms over shoulders, pull, push)
  • Execute movements required to engage in active classroom learning and provide therapeutic care (e.g., setting up and moving equipment, positioning clients for engagement in therapeutic activities, lifting and transferring clients, facilitating client mobility using mobility aids, orthotics, and prosthetics, provide emergency treatment [fall guarding, rescue breathing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation]).
  • Lift and carry up to 25 pounds.
  • Manipulate assessment tools (e, g., goniometer), adaptive equipment, and therapeutic media of varying size and weight (e.g., grasp with hands/fingers, twist, manipulate small objects, orthotic fabrication).
  • Safely handle lab and patient materials and fluids (e.g., lab specimens, wound care, urine, blood)


Effective interpersonal skills and ethical reasoning are required of occupational therapy professionals. Honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect for the concerns of others are key aspirational values of the occupational therapy program. Doctor of occupational therapy students must be able to effectively:

  • Demonstrate compliance with standards, policies, and practices set forth in the ODU Graduate Catalog, the OTD Academic Student Handbook, and the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics.
  • Respect the dignity, rights, property, and confidentiality of others.
  • Collaborate respectfully with peers, faculty, staff, colleagues, and care team.
  • Take responsibility for professional competence, conduct, and growth.
  • Demonstrate consistent, professional work behaviors in academic and clinical settings.
  • Monitor and react appropriately to one's own emotional needs and responses.
  • Engage appropriately in advisory and supervisory processes.
  • Display appropriate flexibility and adaptability in the face of stress or uncertainty.
  • Establish interpersonal rapport with academic and clinical faculty, peers, and clients to promote the development of productive and trusting relationships.

The program is expected to seat its first cohort of students in January of 2023. This cohort will graduate in December of 2025 and will be eligible to sit for the for the occupational therapy national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®) in January 2026. NBCOT pass rates for December 2025 graduates will be published in 2027.

Old Dominion University requires full-time students entering the university to submit a completed Health History Form and evidence of having received:

  • 2 doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • 1 dose of Meningitis vaccine after age 16 (or the signed wavier form)
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine (or signed waiver form), and
  • a Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine booster within the last 10 years
  • Proof of a recent (within last calendar year) 2-step PPD Tuberculosis Test or IGRA blood test based on risk factor for TB

You may access the ODU Patient Portal at www.odu.edu/studenthealth. A student's clinical site may require additional vaccinations such as the flu vaccine, this should be discussed with the assigned Preceptor and the Director of Clinical Education.