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: Exercise Science

The entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at Slippery Rock University is in the process to attain full-accreditation status with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Information regarding the program accreditation process and current status can be obtained online at

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).

This entry-level doctoral degree program requires 115 credits and will be offered over a 36-month period:

  • The first academic year of the program is comprised of clinical and applied sciences along with foundational occupational therapy offerings
  • In the second academic year, students are involved in classroom learning experiences that include assessment and intervention with children, youth, and adults and related technology that can be utilized with these populations
  • The third year in the program is based primarily off-site in two Level II (full-time) fieldwork settings and at a doctoral practicum site


Affordability - The program is the first doctorate in this field in the State System, and will attract highly prepared students throughout Pennsylvania and surrounding areas at a cost less than other programs in the region.

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

Doctoral Capstone Experience - A doctoral capstone is the final learning experience providing students with advanced professional development in clinical practice, administration, leadership, research, program or policy development, advocacy, education or theory development.

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

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


The Summer 2021 application opens July 16, 2020.  All applicants should complete the OTCAS (Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Services) application found at OTCAS instructions can be found at

Eligibility requirements include the following:

1.  Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree preferably in the natural or behavioral sciences, or completion of the first three years of the SRU 3+3 Pre-Occupational Therapy major and the following prerequisites:

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

All prerequisite courses must have been taken within the last 10 years and completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

MINIMUM GPA REQUIREMENTS: 3.0 for cumulative GPA/3.0 for prerequisite GPA/3.0 for natural & behavioral science coursework (if a course is taken more than once, all of the grades for that course will be averaged together)

2.   Clinical shadowing/volunteering: Minimum 20 hours clinical exposure supervised by an occupational therapy practitioner (OT or OTA) verified through OTCAS.

Clinical shadowing/volunteering requirement for the 2020-2021 cycle: We recognize that obtaining the required observation hours may not be possible due to the COVID-19 situation. Students who are offered admission to the program and not able to obtain the required 20 hours of clinical exposure, will be provided with an alternative activity to fulfill this requirement.  All required prerequisite courses and observation hours, or the alternate activity, will need to be complete prior to May 22, 2021 for entry into the Summer 2021 cohort. 

3.   Personal/professional aspiration statement.

4.   Three letters of reference: Letter should be from a current or former instructor, current or former employer, and a third professional reference. References from neighbors and family members are discouraged. Professional references may include professors, employers, and volunteer supervisors.

Verified OTCAS applications are reviewed for an admission decision on a rolling basis. Students are encouraged to apply early. Applicants who are offered and accept admission will be required to submit a non-refundable deposit of $500 within 2 weeks of notification to hold a seat in the upcoming class. The non-refundable deposit of $500 will be applied to the tuition.


  • Must be able to meet occupational therapy student technical standards
  • Must have method of transportation for both academic and fieldwork experiences
  • 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

At this time, Slippery Rock University's F-1 Program is unable to issue the appropriate non-immigrant documents to support enrollment in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Until the institution receives approval from the Student and Exhange Visitor Program (SEVP), we do not recommend that international students that wish to reside in the United States on an F-1 student visa apply for this program. We apologize for the inconvenience and are actively working to add these programs. Should hou have any questions regarding the timeline for the approval process, pleease contact

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.

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 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. 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.

Slippery Rock University anticipates a successful accreditation review prior to the first OT class graduating in 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.