University of Nebraska Medical Center

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Occupational Therapy Program FAQs

What is the advantage of an OTD program?
An OTD program supports your career aspirations for expertise in practice, program development, leadership, teaching, influencing policy, and much more. A capstone experience and project help you focus your goals to advance health through meaningful participation in everyday living for all people and communities.
What is unique about UNMC’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) program?
The UNMC OTD program integrates course content to learn about the whole person. We learn about the occupations of a person by ages and stages, where they engage in daily life activities, what the evidence is for intervention, and how we can provide excellent services for health and wellness. Courses are concurrent with hands-on learning opportunities in the community. Hands-on learning also includes regular competency assessments with standardized patients.
What else do I learn in an OTD program?
In addition to intervention for individuals, groups, and communities, at UNMC you will learn about scholarly inquiry, advocacy, teaching, and business development. Occupational therapists may become consultants, educators, and entrepreneurs.
When does the entry-level OTD program begin?
The program begins in the fall semester only (August). For exact dates, please visit the Registrar’s academic calendar.
What is the average class size of the program?
We aim for a total class size of 46 students.
How do I apply for the program?
Apply through the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Information and application link on our How to Apply page.
Are observation or service hours required for application?
Observation hours are not required, though experience in health and human service is recommended. Applicants complete an OT Discovery module, exploring the profession through a variety of media for 15+ hours. The more you know about occupational therapy, the better you are able to make a career decision.
What degree do I need to enter the program? Is there a required undergraduate major to apply to the program?
A baccalaureate degree is acceptable in any major area of study from an accredited college or university as long as required prerequisite courses are completed.
Do I have to have all coursework completed when I submit my application?
Applicants who are completing outstanding prerequisite coursework or undergraduate degree will still be considered, if there is a plan in place for completion and other selection criteria are met. Applicants are encouraged to have most of the coursework completed at the time their application is received.
What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
An ideal candidate is a person who has interacted with people from a variety of backgrounds, has investigated the profession, and has relevant experience. An ideal candidate is a person who can manage the rigor of a graduate program, is reflective about their own wants and needs, and is adaptable to challenges of daily life.
Do you give preference to in-state residents?
We encourage residents from all states to apply in support of a diversity of viewpoints.
Is the program at UNMC accredited?
Is the program full-time? How long does it take?
The program is three years in length, starting in August and ending three years later in May. The program runs year round for eight semesters, 33 months.
What is fieldwork?
Fieldwork is an opportunity for students to carry out professional responsibilities and become acculturated to practice under the supervision of qualified personnel. Level I fieldwork occurs in conjunction with didactic coursework during semesters 2, 3, and 4. Level II fieldwork requires a minimum of 24 weeks' full-time experience. Level II is an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and research, administration, and management of occupational therapy services. Students will experience working with a variety of clients across the lifespan and in a variety of settings.
What is doctoral capstone?
A doctoral capstone includes in-depth mentored experience and project. The 14-week mentored, full-time experience emphasizes one or more of the following student-selected areas: advanced clinical practice, research, policy development, program development, advocacy, education, leadership, or administration. The individual capstone project demonstrates synthesis and application of the knowledge gained as well as communication to knowledge users.