Catalogue 2017 - 2018

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

General Information

The World Health Organization has heralded the call for a global health workforce to meet the needs of an interdependent world (WHO, 2001 & 2013). International leaders in healthcare have identified a need to invest in developing healthcare workers who are armed with strategies to promote health and prevent disease and injury (Frenk et al., 2010). Creating a responsive, interprofessional healthcare workforce is the domain of professional education (IPEC, 2011).

Program Emphasis

The OTD program at Western New England University is responding to the national and international call for changing the way healthcare is delivered, and the way healthcare professionals are educated by emphasizing:

• population health perspectives that focus on community health, wellness and prevention, and health literacy;
• innovative interprofessional practice models in traditional and community-based health settings that focus on collaborative teams;
• interprofessional education/practice research applications that permit faculty and students to develop as
applied scholars of teaching and practice;
• practitioner, leader, and scholar roles and competencies to revolutionize the delivery of inclusive, equitable, client-centered, evidence-based, culturally-competent, and distinctive occupational therapy

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

• demonstrate the ability to provide high quality occupational therapy evaluation, intervention planning, and treatment using critical reasoning and evidence-based strategies in traditional and nontraditional settings, in diverse systems of service delivery, and as part of an intra/interprofessional team of healthcare providers;
• gather, analyze, and interpret the results of evidence-based evaluations to develop client-centered, culturally appropriate intervention plans;
• acknowledge and demonstrate the principles of ethical practice during academic, fieldwork, and experiential aspects of the program;
• identify and understand the importance of a collaborative healthcare team, and demonstrate the role of occupational therapy as part of an interprofessional team in addressing a variety of healthcare issues, including occupational performance, wellness, and health disparities at the individual and population based levels;
• identify personal goals and appropriate outcomes as a basis for planning a multi-component doctoral experiential capstone project. The project may focus on clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development;
• successfully implement a capstone project that includes completing a research proposal, developing a research question, identifying a theoretical perspective and relevant models of practice, critically appraising the literature, conducting a needs assessment, designing a methodology, collecting and synthesizing data, and interpreting and professionally presenting findings to benefit healthcare practice;
• utilize faculty and external site mentorship to exemplify an integration of didactic and fieldwork experience by modeling leadership in an advanced practice or related setting;
• utilize learning platforms and other technology support information and health literacy in a variety of contexts, and assistive technology to promote functional participation across the lifespan.

Admission Requirements

Candidates seeking admission to the OTD program should have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and be prepared to provide transcripts of all previous academic
work. Transcripts from non-U.S. countries must be evaluated through a recognized evaluation service.
Candidates must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (lower GPA’s will be considered on a case-by-case basis). The GRE is not required for admission, however, GRE scores for testing that occurred with the last five years will be considered in admission decisions if submitted.

Prerequisite coursework must have been completed within 5 years of applying with no grade below a “C” for the following prerequisite courses (25 credits):
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (8 credits)
  • Physics or Chemistry (4 credits)
  • Biological, Psychological, or Educational Statistics (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Sociology or Social Psychology (3 credits)
  • Development Psychology (3 credits)
  • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit)

Candidates will be required to complete and document two volunteer experiences, in two different settings, consisting of a minimum of 14 hours in total. Two letters of recommendation, from individuals with whom you have a professional or academic history (the supervisors for the volunteer/observation hours cannot provide recommendations). Candidates must also complete writing sample. Composite TOEFL score of 80 (internet-based) for non-native English speakers is also required.

Program Structure

Rapidly changing healthcare systems are demanding more of entry-level practitioners. The OTD curriculum is meeting this call by providing academic preparation beyond a generalist level, including advanced graduate knowledge, skills and fieldwork/experiential opportunities. The OTD program is a three-year, full-time program completed over 9 consecutive semesters including summers. The 109 credit curriculum will include:

• Level I Fieldwork (70-140 hours)
• Level II Fieldwork (960 hours)
• Doctoral Experiential Residency (640 hours)

The program combines opportunities for classroom learning, the development of performance laboratory skills, and on-site practice experience (i.e. Level I & Level II Fieldwork). The program integrates sequential course content with a series of 5 Level I Fieldwork experiences (Year One and Two), providing a strong foundation for Level II Fieldwork (Semester 6, 7 & 8), and the Doctoral Experiential Residency (Semester 9). Level II Fieldwork must be completed within 2 years of completing entry-level OTD coursework. The curriculum permits students to develop entry-level skills in current and emerging occupational therapy practice areas. The doctoral experiential residency takes place at an off-campus site, and provides students with advanced skills beyond generalist practice in areas of leadership, research, advocacy and program development/implementation/evaluation.

The curriculum design includes four primary professional themes: Leadership; Scholarship; Clinical Excellence; and Autonomy/Identity. Evolving from these broad themes are the core interwoven threads upon which the curriculum is built. The threads are: Interprofessional Education/Practice; Information/Assistive Technology; Health Literacy, Diversity, and Cultural Competence; and Population/Community Based Health Practices. A series of course sequences are designed to tie the threads into a complete doctoral curriculum. The course sequences include: Adult and Aging Practice 1 through 4; Children and Youth Practice 1 and 2; Population Health and Interprofessional Practice 1 through 4; Research Process/Evidence-Based Practice 1 and 2; Level I fieldwork 1 through 5; Level II Fieldwork 1 and 2; and Doctoral Residency Development and Mentorship 1 through 4.


For a complete overview of the curriculum visit For course descriptions and course prerequisites refer to the graduate course descriptions in this catalog.  


Special Academic Opportunities

Pre-Occupational Therapy
Students who are interested in admission to the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program after graduation, regardless of the undergraduate major, are encouraged to speak with his/her academic advisor about planning for this graduate degree.

For some undergraduate majors, the prerequisite course requirements for the OTD program can be met by general academic electives. For others, students may need to take required prerequisites in the summer session(s). The prerequisites for the OTD program include all of the following:

Human Anatomy and Physiology (2 courses - 8 cr.)
Physics or Chemistry (3 cr.)
Introduction to Sociology or Social Psychology (3 cr.)
Developmental Psychology (3 cr.)
Abnormal Psychology (3 cr.)
Biological, Psychological, Mathematical or Educational Statistics (3 cr.)
Medical terminology (1 cr.).

For additional information about the OTD program, interested students are strongly encouraged to visit the website at and contact the program by email at