Man in a wheelchair holding an ipad and smiling

Train to Be an Occupational Therapist

As an OT, you'll enhance function, performance, health, wellness and safety for your clients

Occupational Therapy (Doctor of Occupational Therapy)

Offered by: Biology

At the August 3-6, 2017 meeting, the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) considered the Candidacy Application from the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program at Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and voted to GRANT CANDIDACY STATUS.

This action will allow the institution to admit students into the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program according to the approved timeline (June 2018). The Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program at Slippery Rock University will be included on AOTA's list of programs that are holding Candidacy Status and are eligible to admit students.

SRU's Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program offers an on-campus, face-to-face learning format with scheduled off campus fieldwork placements. The curriculum focuses on contemporary practice using evidence-based strategies to provide students with generalist and advanced training learning experiences. Classroom and laboratory learning opportunities are influenced by accreditation standards established by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Program Options: This entry-level doctoral degree program will require 115 credits and will be offered over a 36-month period. The two options for pursuing the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree at SRU will include:

  • Applicants for the program's initial class will require an earned undergraduate degree prior to starting classes in June 2018.


Affordability- The program will be the first doctorate in this field in the State System, and will attract highly prepared students throughout Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. Students will receive outstanding preparation in occupational therapy in preparation for a successful career at a cost less than other programs in the region.

Unique Curriculum- the curriculum will feature evidence-based information in didactic and clinical training experiences integrated with real-life applied clinical case studies.

  • Research classes will culminate with a scholarly project that can be submitted for presentation at state and national occupational therapy conferences.
  • A Grant writing course will ensure that students understand how external program funding is secured.
  • A Community Health & Wellness course will allow students to develop a project from an occupational therapy perspective within the local community. This opportunity will align directly with the goals of the President's Commission on Wellness and the University's strategic goal to support external communities through programming and expertise.
  • Courses will be offered to provide learning experiences to better understand, assess and provide intervention to improve client function, mind, body and spirit no matter their age or stage of development.

Practical Hands-on Experience- The program is planning to offer a faculty and student led outpatient clinic that will offer free to low-cost clinical services to clients of all ages promoting development, safety and aging in place in the environment of choice for special population groups.

Practicum- a doctoral practicum will be a capstone learning experience that will provide students with advanced professional development in clinical practice, administration, leadership, research, program or policy development, advocacy, education or theory development.

Faculty/Student Research- Students will engage in research with faculty members and will have an opportunity to participate in established inter-professional learning opportunities to develop heightened clinical understanding and collaboration.

Program Evaluation Participation- Prior to graduation, students will participate in program assessment/ evaluation activities with faculty members aimed at enhancing all instructional aspects of the program for future students.

Leadership and Advocacy- professional opportunities will be offered for students and faculty members aimed at communicating with elected officials and improving client access to occupational therapy services.


The Summer 2018 application is now live and open for perspective students to apply. All applicants should complete the Online Application and read the instructions. 

Admissions requirements include the following:

1. Applicants must hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree preferably in the nat­ural or behavioral sciences, including the following prerequisites:

  • Anatomy & Physiology: two semesters of lecture and laboratory
  • Biomechanics/ Kinesiology or Physics: lecture with laboratory (if available)
  • Statistics: one course
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Life Span Human Development of Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Sociology or Anthropology: one course in either area.
  • Research Methods: an undergraduate introductory or intermediate research course.
  • Medical Terminology: either in class or online format.

PLEASE NOTE:  All prerequisite courses must be completed with a C grade (2.0) or better. MINIMUM GPA REQUIREMENTS: 3.0 for cumulative GPA/3.0 for prerequisite GPA/3.0 for natural & behavioral science course­work.

2. Completion of 20 hours or more of clinical shadowing/volunteering and super­vised by an occupational therapy practitioner verified by form provided by SRU's OT program. This form is located at: , then click Forms.

Additional Admissions Requirements:

  • Professional Aspirations Statement- Please address Why OT? Why OT at SRU? Who has influenced or mentored you to this point? See the SRU OT Program web site for additional information regarding this requirement.
  • Criminal background check, child abuse clearance and drug screening (10 panel) prior to full acceptance with documentation provided to program
  • Must be able to meet occupational therapy student technical standards
  • Must have method of transportation for both academic and fieldwork experiences
  • TOEFL required for any student without English as first language
  • Conviction of misdemeanor, felony or felonious or illegal act may prevent the student from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice in field of occupational therapy
  • Students are required to carry and pay for their own health insurance and liability insurance with proof required

Accreditation Status

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program at Slippery Rock University has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

 All students must complete Level II fieldwork (OCTH 810 & OCTH 815) and doctoral experiential requirements (OCTH 820) within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program."

Slippery Rock University anticipates a successful accreditation review prior to the first OT class graduating in May 2021. Graduation from an ACOTE accredited educational program makes one eligible to sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to become an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) and to apply for state licensure in the state(s) one wishes to practice.