Mar 02, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OCTD)

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This 34 month doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) program of combined academic and clinical education is intended for the student who already as a baccalaureate degree and wants to become an occupational therapy practitioner. It consists of 98 semester hours of graduate courses. This graduate professional program is offered at two Michigan locations, the main campus in Kalamazoo and the WMU downtown Grand Rapids campus.

Accreditation Status


The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program 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 preaccreditation 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.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for regular admission to this program, each applicant must present evidence of the following criteria:

  1. An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the most recent 60 hours of undergraduate and graduate academic course work.
  3. Completion of the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). (Currently being waived)
  4. Official transcripts for all college work.
  5. All prerequisite courses must be completed at the time of application to the occupational therapy graduate program.
  6. Departmental approval.
  7. Because admission is considered competitive, the academic criteria listed above should be considered as minimum standards.

Please note the following:

  1. In the admission process, a formula is employed that assigns points for GPA and for other admission topics. Admission to the program is based on the compilation of all points.
  2. Admission to the University does not guarantee admission to the professional occupational therapy curriculum. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be sent to the University Admissions Office in time to be processed prior to the department deadline.
  3. Occupational therapy is a profession that is regulated on national and state levels, and everyone who wishes to practice as an occupational therapist is required to pass the NBCOT Certification Exam after graduating from an accredited program.
  4. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony or who have been charged with a felony and convicted of a misdemeanor, while not prohibited from taking the NBCOT examination, may not be able to practice based on state laws.

Prerequisite Coursework

The following courses are required prerequisites for enrollment in the professional occupational therapy courses. All prerequisite courses must be complete at the time of application to the occupational therapy graduate program.

BIOS 2110 - Human Anatomy
BIOS 2400 - Human Physiology
HSV 2250 - Growth, Development, and Aging
PSY 1000 - General Psychology
PSY 2500 - Abnormal Psychology
MDSC 2010 - Medical Terminology
STAT 366- Data Analysis for Biosciences OR STAT 1600 - Statistics and Data Analysis

Program Requirements

Prior to the first semester of the professional program, admitted students are required to either:

Pass the Information Literacy for Healthcare Professionals Proficiency Exam with a score of 75% or above 
Enroll in and successfully complete HSV 3650 - Information Literacy in the Healthcare Sciences during the first semester

The graduate professional program consists of 98 semester hours in the following areas:

  1. Completion of 72 hours of professional academic occupational therapy education
  2. Completion of 12 hours of Level I Fieldwork
  3. Completion of 6 hours of Level II Fieldwork
  4. Completion of 8 hours of a Capstone Project

This 98-hour sequence of professional education coursework is designed to prepare students to be entry-level general occupational therapy practitioners following the successful passing of the OT certification exam.

Fieldwork Level I requirement:

Students will provide occupational therapy evaluation and treatment to clients in the community under the supervision of a faculty member. A group supervision model is used to facilitate peer learning. Students will have three placements in Level I clinics/sites.

Fieldwork Level II requirement:

Two 3-month, full-time fieldwork sessions are required before completing the final capstone project. Western Michigan University utilizes fieldwork sites primarily in Michigan and the midwest states with some sites throughout the United States.

Capstone Requirements:

Under the guidance of a Capstone Coordinator, students will design and implement a 14-week doctoral capstone experience in one of the following specialty tracks: Teaching, Research or Advanced Practice. This will occur after successful completion of their final 12-week Fieldwork Level II requirement.

Benchmarks for all students admitted to the Occupational Therapy Graduate Professional Program

  • Students will complete all required OT courses with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Students may repeat only one required professional course, and that course only once, to attain a grade of “C” or better.
  • Students who fail to attain a grade of “C” or better in a professional course will be placed on departmental probation.
  • Students who do not successfully complete departmental probation will be dismissed from the program.
  • A second unsuccessful enrollment will result in dismissal from the program.
  • The student must adhere to all departmental policies as established as provided in the Student Handbook at orientation.
  • Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0.

All of the following coursework requires admission to the Professional OTD Curriculum

  • OT Elective   Credits: 3 hours

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