2022-2023 Course Catalog

Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

The vision of the Entry Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Chatham University is to cultivate personal and professional growth as globally-minded citizens and as leaders in healthcare. At its core, the program promotes sustainable health and wellness for all persons, communities and populations.

The mission of the Chatham University Entry Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is to prepare students to be reflective, skilled, ethical occupational therapy practitioners and future leaders by facilitating:

  1. the ability to think and reflect critically about local, national, and global issues impacting occupational therapy practice and make professional judgments which consider and integrate the complex and multifaceted nature of clients' occupational performance.
  2. the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for current and future practice of the profession, in order to enhance and/or sustain the quality of human life.
  3. an awareness of the responsibility associated with the moral, ethical, and legal obligations inherent in the role of an occupational therapist.
  4. an awareness of and sensitivity to diversity through the use of a client centered approach, and a recognition of the role of occupation in maximizing participation, health, and human potential.
  5. sustainable professional growth congruent with attributes of personal integrity and authenticity through life-long learning via engagement in community focused service, professional leadership, and ongoing scholarly pursuits.

The Entry-level OTD program curriculum design is based upon self-directed, active, experiential, and didactic learning strategies. The curriculum focuses on the development of critical thinking/professional reasoning skills, occupational therapy knowledge and evidence-based practice skills, and professional growth and leadership. Students must complete fieldwork training and a doctoral capstone project as part of the degree requirement. Students must also complete all degree requirements no later than six years after the date of first enrollment in the program. A student may petition the Graduate Programs Committee, through the occupational therapy program director, for an extension for a limited period if such extension is sought before the five-year limit expires.

All occupational therapy courses are limited to occupational therapy students unless permission is obtained from the instructor and the program director.

Admission Requirements

How to Apply

Applicants to Chatham University’s entry-level occupational therapy program must use the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Beginning mid-July, applications may be submitted through OTCAS with all admission requirements noted below. Please note the GRE is not required, and there is no supplemental application.

Important Dates For Fall 2023 Admission

Priority Application Deadline: OTCAS Submitted by October 1, 2022
Priority Virtual Interview Date: November 19, 2022
Application Deadline for February Interview: OTCAS Submitted by January 15, 2023
February Interview Date: February 11, 2023*

Chatham’s OTCAS Application Closes June 10, 2023. All interviews after February will be on a rolling space available basis.

All interviews are by invitation only.

In order to be eligible for invite to the admission interview, applicants must have 3 of the 5 prerequisite courses completed by August 31, and at least one of those courses must be human anatomy with lab or physiology (animal or human) with lab or anatomy & physiology I with lab.

*It is highly recommended to e-submit your application to OTCAS on or before January 15. OTCAS’s verification process occurs once an applicant e-submits the application and all official transcripts have been received. Verification involves some processing time, so it is in your best interest to submit all materials as early as possible to ensure your complete, verified application is available for us to review.

Admission Requirements

  • A completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or completion of undergraduate requirements for the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) prior to the beginning of classes.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended sent directly to OTCAS.
  • Overall combined GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 as calculated by OTCAS.
  • Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, grades less than a “C” are not acceptable, and prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than ten years prior to the anticipated start date of the program.

A "Pass" or "Satisfactory" grade for prerequisites will be accepted for coursework completed during the Spring 2020 semester. However, such grades do not impact GPA calculation.

  • At least three of five prerequisite courses completed by August 31st of the application year, and at least one of those courses must be human anatomy with lab or physiology with lab or anatomy & physiology I with lab.
    Prerequisite courses:
    • Human Anatomy with lab - one term**
    • Physiology (human or animal) with lab - one term**
      • **If taking anatomy with physiology, both Anatomy & Physiology I and II with labs are necessary to fulfill the anatomy and physiology requirements.
    • Abnormal Psychology – one term
    • Statistics or Research Methods – one term
    • Developmental Psychology or Lifespan Development – one term
      • A combination of developmental psychology courses that cover the lifespan—birth to death—are also acceptable
    • Optional Neuroscience - one term
      • Neuroscience is not required; therefore, students who have not taken this course will not be disadvantaged during the admission review process. Exposure to this course content is helpful for matriculated students.
    • Two professional letters of reference included in the OTCAS application. Acceptable letters of reference may include those from academic faculty or advisors, from occupational therapists involved in shadowing or work experience, or from supervisors or staff members from volunteer or work experience.
    • Attendance at virtual interview.


    Advanced placement, transfer of credit, or credit for experiential learning is not available to students in the entry-level OT Program for occupational therapy courses due to the integrated and sequential nature of the coursework in this program.


    Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisors to ensure all requirements are met according to the IDP course of study.


    After verifying that the minimum academic requirements are met, the occupational therapy program faculty reviews each candidate's entire application and invites the most talented and qualified students to interview before program faculty and alumni.

    As part of the admission review, Chatham reserves the right to request a background check prior to the offer of admission. The occupational therapy program strives for diversity and gender equity within each class.


    Chatham University has entered into "Articulation Agreements" with a select group of Colleges and Universities. These agreements provide for additional student pre-professional advisement and possible priority admission status for candidates with exceptional applications, demonstrating academic preparation above the minimal acceptable standards.

    Agreements exist with the following institutions for the 2022-2023 academic year: Allegheny College, Baldwin Wallace University, Grove City College, Penn State Mont Alto, Washington and Jefferson College, and Waynesburg University.

    Applicants from these institutions are advised to discuss the articulation requirements with their advisor as well as the graduate admission counselor at Chatham University.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Admission Department:

    Office of Admission
    Chatham University
    Woodland Road
    Pittsburgh, PA 15232
    (800) 837-1290
    (412) 365-1394
    Email Admissions


    International Applicants must submit additional documentation to the Office of Admissions. A list of these documents can be found on the International Admission web page.


    For students beginning Fall 2022:

    Number Enrolled:38
    Average Overall GPA:3.49
    Average Prerequisite GPA:3.48
    Average Age:24
    Out-of-State Residents:47%

    For students beginning Fall 2021:

    Number Enrolled:40
    Average Overall GPA:3.54
    Average Prerequisite GPA:3.68
    Average Age:24
    Out-of-State Residents:37%

    For students beginning Fall 2020:

    Number Enrolled:39
    Average Overall GPA:3.57
    Average Prerequisite GPA:3.6
    Average Age:23
    Out-of-State Residents:46%

Learning Outcomes

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The curriculum design consists of three threads and three levels. The learning experiences are designed to enable the graduate to demonstrate the three major program outcomes at a level consistent with candidacy for entry-level practice:

Outcome #1: Professional Reasoning

Professional Reasoning is defined as “the process that practitioners use to plan, direct, perform, and reflect on client care” (Schell, 2014). Professional reasoning begins with critical thinking which includes the process of evaluating and judging the accuracy of information through questioning and probing of ideas in order to make informed conclusions (Ruggiero, 2014).

Beginning Level: The student will:

  • understand the dimensions of the professional reasoning process across the domains of occupational therapy.
  • understand the importance and the impact of context and environment (cultural, personal, temporal, physical, virtual, and social) on occupational engagement.
  • identify client centered occupational performance problems and ask appropriate questions.
  • describe the value and relevance of evidence-based practice in the OT process.

Intermediate Level: The student will:

  • analyze and generate possible solutions in response to client centered occupational performance problems.
  • synthesize new concepts with previously learned information to make decisions regarding evaluation and intervention.
  • begin to use evidence to support and guide decision making.

Entry Level: The student/graduate will:

  • recognize the role of experience and ongoing self-directed learning in professional reasoning.
  • incorporate evidence-based practice skills in the OT process.
  • examine and analyze the dynamic relationship between the person, environment and occupation in order to prioritize and/or modify appropriate courses of action that effect change in the person, community and/or society

Outcome #2: Occupational Therapy Knowledge and Skills

Occupational Therapy Knowledge and Skills is defined as a dynamic understanding of the theoretical tenets, the domain and process of occupational therapy (AOTA, 2014), and the competent application of that knowledge to OT practice.

Beginning Level: The student will:

  • articulate the basic tenets and foundational history of the profession, including the power of occupation to support health and participation, the concept of client centeredness as a core principle of the profession.
  • understand and use structured interviews, directed observations, and standardized/non-standardized assessment tools, and discuss and document results using professional terminology.
  • identify and describe the domain and process of occupational therapy.
  • define the importance of therapeutic use of self in the occupational therapy process.

Intermediate Level: The student will:

  • select and administer appropriate evaluation methods/tools, including scoring, interpreting and documenting results.
  • formulate and implement a client centered intervention plan, guided by the occupational profile, conceptual models of practice, and the best available evidence.
  • demonstrate appropriate therapeutic use of self in a variety of contexts.

Entry Level: The student/graduate will:

  • modify therapeutic use of self in response to the needs of clients
  • adapt evaluation, intervention, and service delivery methods to meet the dynamic needs of persons, groups, and populations.
  • apply knowledge and strategies related to the management of occupational therapy services, including program development, marketing, and program evaluation.
  • demonstrate the ability to navigate and influence health care policy, occupational therapy practice, and/or societal needs.

Outcome # 3: Professional Growth and Leadership

Professional Growth and Leadership encompasses a myriad of experiences that promote sustainable professional growth including leadership, enculturation into the profession, ongoing self-assessment, and engagement in continuing education and scholarly endeavors.

Beginning Level: The student will:

  • identify and articulate an understanding of behaviors that are consistent with the AOTA Code of Ethics, national, regional and local governing bodies and their implications for practice.
  • understand the role and importance of professional organizations associated with occupational therapy practice.
  • identify and demonstrate behaviors consistent with the role of a professional, including verbal and nonverbal communication, leadership, and active engagement in the learning process.

Intermediate Level: The student will:

  • demonstrate behaviors that are consistent with ethical and legal practice guidelines.
  • identify and use resources and opportunities for professional and scholarly development.
  • reflect upon one's own professional development and identify areas of strength, areas for improvement, and goals for professional growth.

Entry Level: The student/graduate will:

  • generate options for reconciling ethical and/or legal issues and articulate an understanding of the issues relevant to all parties.
  • modify professional presentation and level of content to meet the needs of the person, group, and/or organization.
  • integrate leadership skills and personal strengths congruent with professional authenticity and integrity in order to serve in multifaceted occupational therapy roles.
  • develop a plan for continued scholarly and professional activities.
  • engage in professional, advocacy, and scholarly endeavors.


+Degree Requirements

117 credits, including:

BIO503 Human Anatomy

This course provides a basic understanding of human anatomy, with an emphasis on the osteology and muscles of the upper and lower limbs, including the back. It uses a combination of systems-based and region-specific instruction. Lectures are complimented by laboratory exercises based upon the A.D.A.M. computer program. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory per week.

BIO503L Laboratory: Human Anatomy

Laboratory: Human Anatomy

BIO509 Fundamentals of Neuroscience

This course is designed to examine the fundamental aspects of nervous system function, emphasizing the bases of excitability, synaptic transmission and neuron target interactions. BIO509 introduces students to the basics of integrative neural function, including sensory, motor, learning, memory, and limbic systems. Three hours of lecture per week.

BIO509L Fundamentals of Neuroscience Lab

Laboratory exercises to compliment lectures in BIO509, including study of human nervous system material, brain sections, and anatomical models. Two hours of Laboratory per week.

OTH601 Foundations of Occupation & Occupational Therapy

Students explore the role of occupation as the foundation of the profession and the relationship between occupation and health. Standards of practice, OT roles, history, current practice, and future trends are discussed. Methods of evaluation and documentation are introduced and practiced. Occupations throughout the lifespan and implications for intervention are examined.

OTH603 Intro to OT Assessment & Intervention Skills

Students learn to identify and assess the influence of client factors, performance skills and patterns, activity demands, and context on occupational performance from a physical disabilities perspective. Experiential learning opportunities enable students to gain proficiency in administering and interpreting assessments and practicing intervention strategies related to multiple areas of occupation.

OTH605 Mental Health & Occupational Performance

Students learn and apply the occupational therapy process for clients with mental health disorders. Occupational performance assessment, and intervention planning and implementation are emphasized. Societal and personal attitudes towards persons with mental health disorders will be explored. The social, economic, political, and demographic factors influencing mental health service provision will be addressed.

OTH612 Evidence-based Practice I

This course introduces the role of evidence in occupational therapy clinical reasoning and practice. Students develop research consumer skills, including database search techniques, and critical analysis skills. Students are instructed within lecture and lab formats and with written and oral assignments that develop understanding of evidence based practice.

OTH622 Occupational Performance in Children & Adolescents

Students explore occupational development of children and adolescents, and the interrelationship between the child, occupation, and the environment on participation. Students learn about common pediatric diagnoses, practice models, and intervention sites, and apply this knowledge to occupational therapy evaluation and intervention. Influence of the family, environment, and socio-cultural factors is explored.

OTH623 Occupational Performance in the Aging Population

This course examines the normal aging process with emphasis on occupational performance, activity limitation, and participation restrictions of individuals from adulthood through the life span. Students review the assessment and treatment of clients, including prevention, remediation, and maintenance of wellness. Various practice areas for the adult and aging populations are discussed.

OTH624 Biomechanics & Occupational Performance

Students integrate knowledge of occupational performance with anatomy, neurology, and body factors to learn how impairments can lead to disability or role loss. Assessments and interventions are taught with a holistic approach to the person. Instruction is in both lecture and lab formats, and with written and oral assignments.

OTH626 Occupational Therapy Models of Practice

Theoretical practice models that guide occupational therapy evaluation and intervention are introduced and explored. Engagement in active learning opportunities enables students to describe and implement the occupation therapy process using selected models. Students analyze and relate pertinent occupations therapy literature and case studies to models of practice.

OTH628 Evidence-Based Practice II

This course develops and applies the students' evidence based practice skills. Emphasis is placed on writing focused clinical questions, systematic database searches and critical appraisals of research papers. Students work in small groups with a faculty advisor and individually to analyze and articulate evidence through written and oral assignments.

OTH632 Environmental Interventions

Students learn principles of assistive technology practice and the occupational therapist's role on the assistive technology team. Students explore and critique technology resources, assess environments, and apply information to evaluation and treatment. The impact of environmental interventions on the consumer's ability to engage in meaningful occupations is discussed and analyzed.

OTH635 Pediatric Fieldwork I-A & Seminar

This course provides students the opportunity to observe and engage with practitioners who provide occupational therapy services to infants, children and/or adolescents. This course uses guided assignments and small group discussions to bridge didactic classroom knowledge with the occupational therapy process and practices observed in pediatric settings.

OTH636 Adult Fieldwork I-B & Seminar

This course provides students the opportunity to observe and engage with practitioners who provide occupational therapy services in adult/geriatric settings. Guided assignments and small group discussions are used to bridge didactic classroom knowledge with the occupational therapy process and practices observed in adult/geriatric settings.

OTH637 Functional Neuroscience

This course applies content presented concurrently in BIO509 to the occupational therapy process. Students broaden their understanding of neurological disorders that may affect an individual's ability to perform routine occupational tasks. Students begin to translate the physiological changes incurred secondary to these neurological diagnoses to develop assessment and intervention plans.

OTH641 Neurological Conditions & Occupational Performance

This course emphasizes preparatory, purposeful, and occupation-based interventions as well as exploration of current innovations commonly used in occupational therapy practice. Students learn, apply, practice, compare and contrast evaluative and intervention methods for dysfunction related to neurological conditions. Students practice hands-on techniques, analyze cases, and superimpose purposeful and occupation-based treatment after incorporating various neuro-physiologically based techniques.

OTH643 Evidence-Based Practice III

This course further develops evidence based practice skills by synthesizing the evidence analyzed in OTH 628 to prepare for writing a critical appraisal of topic. Students continue to work in small groups with a faculty advisor and produce a large format poster to report their findings via a poster presentation.

OTH644 Community Based Fieldwork I-C & Seminar

This community-based fieldwork experience emphasizes higher level management and leadership skills, including program development, advocacy and consultation. Students learn about community agencies, population and organizational needs, and the role of occupational therapy practitioners in community based settings. Students complete an organizational analysis, needs assessment, and a program plan which is implemented and evaluated.

OTH645 Professional Leadership & Management

Students explore the meaning of professional leadership/service through self-assessment and engagement in a variety of projects throughout the course. Managerial roles, including communicating, marketing, budgeting, planning and evaluating programs are discussed within the broader context of an evolving health care system. Ethical issues related to occupational therapy are explored and analyzed.

OTH646 Evidence-based Practice IV

In this course, students prepare a critical appraisal of topic using evidence gathered and analyzed in OTH612, OTH628, and OTH643. Students develop a scholarly agenda and learn how to collect and analyze data in preparation for entry level based practice. Objectives are achieved through written and oral assignments.

OTH660 Fieldwork II Seminar

This course provides students with resources and skills that will facilitate their success during Level II fieldwork. In addition, job search skills, resume writing, and interviewing techniques are integrated. Students become familiar with fieldwork II evaluation methods as well as the application requirements and processes for the certification examination and state licensure.

OTH662 Fieldwork Level II-A

This 12-week, full time experience takes place in practice settings that provides occupational therapy services to individuals in order to enhance occupational performance. Students develop entry-level skills in evaluation, intervention planning and implementation, documentation, problem solving, and professionalism in facilities using a variety of service delivery models reflective of current occupational therapy practice.

OTH665 Fieldwork Level II-B

This 12-week, full time experience takes place in practice settings that provides occupational therapy services to individuals in order to enhance occupational performance. Students develop entry-level skills in evaluation, intervention planning and implementation, documentation, problem solving, and professionalism in facilities using a variety of service delivery models reflective of current occupational therapy practice.

OTH707 - lntroduction to Doctoral Capstone (2)
OTH738 - Doctoral Capstone Project Development I (2)
OTH748 - Doctoral Capstone Project Development II (3)
OTH767 - Integrated Occupational Science (3)
OTH780 Education Theory and Instructional Design

Students will examine learning theories and apply principles of instructional design to develop educational objectives and learning experiences for clients, practitioners, students, and stakeholders. Students gain skills in technology used in the teaching-learning environment. Coursework is applied directly to the student's proposed doctoral experience.

Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • OTH665 Fieldwork Level II-B
  • Complete any 2 of the following courses:
  • OTH665I Fieldwork Level II B Part One
  • OTH665II Fieldwork Level II B Part Two
  • Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • OTH662 Fieldwork Level II-A
  • 3
    OTH790 - Doctoral Experience (12)
    OTH795 - Doctoral Dissemination (3)