Man in a wheelchair holding an ipad and smiling

Train to Be an Occupational Therapist

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

Occupational Therapy (Doctor of Occupational Therapy)

Offered by: The Occupational Therapy Department

The entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at Slippery Rock University has 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 and/or theory development.

Faculty/Student Research - Students engage in research with faculty members and may have an opportunity to present locally, nationally, and even become published. 

Interprofessional Education - Students 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 2024 application is open from July 21, 2023 through March 15, 2024.  All applicants should complete the OTCAS (Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Services) application: 

Eligibility requirements include the following:

1.  Applicants must hold a minimum of 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 I &II: two semesters of lecture and laboratory (3-4 credits each)
  • Biomechanics, Kinesiology or Physics: lecture with laboratory (3-4 credits)
  • Statistics (one course) (3-4 credits)
  • Intro to Psychology (3-4 credits)
  • Life Span Human Development or Developmental Psychology (3-4 credits)
  • Abnormal Psychology (3-4 credits)
  • Sociology or Anthropology: one course in either area (3-4 credits)
  • Research Methods: an undergraduate introductory or intermediate research course (3-4 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit)

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

AP/IB courses are only accepted for Intro to Psychology prerequisite.

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.  A minimum of 20 hours of observation of an occupational therapy practitioner (OT or OTA). You may choose to use this form to track your hours. While use of this form is not required, the information requested is required for verification of observation hours. Please use a separate form for each facility where observation hours were completed.

3.  Personal/professional aspiration statement.

4. Three letters of reference: Letters 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.

Additional Admissions Requirements:

  • Must be able to meet occupational therapy student technical standards
  • Must have reliable method of transportation for both academic, fieldwork and doctoral capstone experiences for distances of up to 75 miles one way
  • 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
  • Students are required to have a laptop throughout their standing in the program
  • Regardless of citizenship, if you are a non-native English speaker, you are required to submit scores that show proficiency in the English language. SRU accepts several methods of English Proficiency (see International Admissions). If applicable, the English Proficiency requirement must be completed and score received by the application deadline.

International Students

  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution (see International Admissions).
  • Regardless of citizenship, if you are a non-native English speaker, you are required to submit scores that show proficiency in the English language. SRU accepts several methods of English Proficiency (see International Admissions). If applicable, the English Proficiency requirement must be completed and score received by the application deadline.

        Should you have questions, please contact

For information related to the total cost of attendance or graduation requirements, please see the related links below.