Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Division of Occupational Therapy Education Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is unique about UNMC’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) program?
The mission of the Occupational Therapy Education Division is to advance health through meaningful participation in everyday living for all people and communities.

Q: 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.

Q: What is the average class size of the program?
We aim for a total class size of 46 students.

Q: 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.

Q: Are observation or service hours required for application?
Instead of observation or service hours, we ask applicants to complete the OT Discovery module, a minimum of 15 hours exploring the profession through a variety of media. Details are included on OTCAS.

Q: What degree do I need to enter the program? Is there a required undergraduate major to apply to the program?
A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university is acceptable. Any undergraduate major area of study is acceptable as long as required prerequisite courses are completed.

Q: 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, as long as there is a plan in place for completion and as long as other selection factors are met. Applicants are encouraged to have most of the coursework completed at the time their application is received.

Q: 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.

Q: Do you give preference to in-state residents?
We encourage residents from all states to apply in support of a diversity of viewpoints.

Q: Is the program at UNMC accredited?
UNMC is currently an applicant program with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The Council will meet in April 2021 to review the candidacy application and give a status update by May. (301.652.2682 or

Q: Is the program full-time? How long does it take?
The program is designed for full-time study for 33-months. The first four semesters consist of hybrid coursework, with concurrent part-time fieldwork in semesters 2, 3, and 4. Semesters 5, 6, and 7 are either on-line coursework or full-time fieldwork. The last semester is a full-time doctoral capstone.

Q: What is the added value of the entry-level OTD over an entry-level master’s degree?
Each degree prepares students for entry-level practice as an occupational therapist. Currently, either degree level is an acceptable route of entry to the profession. Each degree prepares students to work in diverse practice environments (e.g., hospitals, schools, community centers, homes) with a range of clients (individuals, groups, populations). The doctoral capstone supports advanced expertise in clinical practice, education, advocacy, leadership, administration, research, or program and policy development through advanced coursework and a 14-week doctoral capstone.

Q: 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 work with a variety of clients across the lifespan and in a variety of settings.

Q: What is doctoral capstone?
A doctoral capstone includes in-depth mentored experience and project. The mentored 14-week, 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.