2023-2024 Course Catalog

Post-Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy

The Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program is designed for occupational therapy clinicians and/or academicians who want to enhance their careers and be professional leaders. Students learn to apply evidence-based literature and bring practice to a heightened level of professional accountability, develop into a professional leader in areas of public policy, professional advocacy, and business management, gain additional theoretical knowledge and clinical competence, and practice concepts of educational theory and measurement as it relates to both clients and students. Each course is intricately connected to the professional student’s practice focus. Student growth is not simply academic; what is learned in “the classroom” can be applied directly to the student’s work setting. The student will grow into an advanced clinician. The professional student’s practice focus may be the setting in which they work, or may extend into the community or an emerging practice area.

Program Structure:
The online OTD program consists of ten (10) courses that are intricately connected to the professional student’s practice focus.

Admission Requirements

  • Free, online application
    • Please list former last or maiden names that may appear on transcripts
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended sent directly from the institutions to Chatham University by emailing Admissions or sending by mail to this address:
    • Chatham University
      Office of Graduate Admission - Berry Hall
      1 Woodland Road
      Pittsburgh, PA 15232
    • graduate@chatham.edu
  • Current resume or vitae
  • Copy of OT license
  • Admissions Essay
    • In 500 words or less, explain your understanding of evidence-based practice versus research, and then describe an area of interest and/or potential problem you are interested in focusing your evidence-based capstone project on. Include why you are interested in this area and why it is relevant for occupational therapy practice. Note: The essay will help us understand your interests related to the capstone project, but in no way represents a firm commitment to any ideas that you share. Students are guided to confirm their capstone topics in the first semester of the program.

To be considered for admission review, please note that either a master’s degree or undergraduate degree in occupational therapy is required. The GRE is not required.

International Applicants

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.

Application Deadline (Fall & Spring):

We are always accepting applications for our fall and spring terms, but recommend submitting by August 1 for the fall term, and November 1 for the spring term. Submitting a complete application as soon as possible is helpful, as space in our cohort program is limited.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the OTD Program, graduates will have developed knowledge and skills to become evidence-based practitioners, advanced clinicians, and professional leaders. Specifically, graduates will:

  1. Become self directed, evidence-based learners through the ability to access and critically evaluate the reliability of electronic databases and web resources.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to access and critically evaluate literature related to occupational therapy.
  3. Apply principles of evidence-based practice as a basis for clinical decision making in the student’s work setting.
  4. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of occupational therapy practice through the study and application of occupational science literature and occupation-based intervention.
  5. Design, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of innovative occupation-based programs in the student’s chosen area of interest.
  6. Develop the skills to become professional leaders in areas of public policy/ethics, professional advocacy, education, and business.


+Degree Requirements

30 credits

OTD740 Occupational Science

Professional students examine landmark occupational science literature and apply learned concepts of human nature and meaningful occupation to observation exercises within their practice focus.

OTD741 Evidence-Based Practice

This course is designed to provide the experienced therapist with a systematic method to critically evaluate and integrate the results of current scientific literature into the clinical decision making process. Students will participate in discussions and practical exercises to articulate clinical questions that can be answered through sources of scientific evidence. Strategies for searching relevant data bases, appraising and evaluating sources of evidence will be presented.

OTD742 Advanced Practice Concepts and Skills

Students apply The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (AJOT, 2014) and conceptual models most relevant for their practice focus to evaluation and intervention processes. Additionally, students redesign facility forms to reflect The OT Practice Framework's language and concepts.

OTD750 Occupational Therapist as Entrepreneur

This course provides the professional student with the knowledge and skills necessary to market and manage an occupational therapy practice in either traditional or emerging healthcare systems. Students develop business plans and marketing strategies and research potential financing through grants or loans. Legal and ethical issues impacting practice are also examined.

OTD751 Capstone Project Design

Students continue to develop their ability to critically evaluate scientific evidence within their practice focus. Through a critical review of the literature, the professional student generates an evidence-based plan of assessment or intervention. This is linked to the Capstone Rotation (faculty approval).

OTD752 Education Theory and Technology

This course, through an examination of learning theories, provides the therapist with strategies to develop optimal learning experiences for their students, clients, caregivers, or employers. Coursework is applied directly in the professional student's educational and/or clinical setting. Students gain skills in current technological tools used in the teaching-learning environment.

OTD760 Leadership and Professionalism

This course examines the meaning of leadership from both a personal and organizational perspective. Students explore leadership theories and styles and the meaning of professionalism through narratives of leaders and related literature. Through group discussion of leadership and professional issues, students reflect and on their own leadership strengths, as well as strategies for applying this knowledge in their professional lives.

OTD761 Proposal Development

This course provides the experienced therapist with the skills and resources necessary for developing competitive proposals, including an IRB proposal, a proposal for a professional presentation, and a proposal for a professional publication. Students will explore and evaluate presentation and publication opportunities, participate in discussions to understand human subject protection, and refine their preliminary IRB proposal, created in OTD 751, to gain approval for their capstone project.

Pre-requisites Complete all 2 of the following courses:
  • OTD741 Evidence-Based Practice
  • OTD751 Capstone Project Design
  • 1
    OTD766 Methods of Evaluation

    Students learn to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and therapeutic interventions. Methods for survey and test construction are examined and practiced with consumers of our services: students, clients, and/or caregivers.

    OTD772 Capstone Implementation and Evaluation

    The methods of evidence-based practice culminate in the professional student's design and implementation of an intervention within their clinical setting. Although an independent study, students network with faculty mentors, administrators, and other professionals to successfully engage in the evidence-based occupational therapy capstone project. Professional students apply concepts from previous courses as they evaluate the efficacy of their individual implemented programs and present their findings. Presentations are conducted on the Chatham University campus to the Master of occupational therapy Program's faculty, students, and area practitioners.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 3 of the following courses:
  • OTD741 Evidence-Based Practice
  • OTD751 Capstone Project Design
  • OTD761 Proposal Development
  • 5

    +Bridge Program

    This program is designed for experienced for Occupational Therapists who hold a Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy but may also be recommended for candidates who have a Master's degree in another field. These students will be admitted to the Bridge to Post-Professional OTD program. Before entering the 16-month cohort, students will complete the following courses. All courses may be completed online at Chatham University:

    OTH690 Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice for Occupational Therapists

    Students acquire evidence based practice literature skills by learning to search data bases for peer reviewed occupational therapy literature and appraising the evidence in terms of a focused research question. Students acquire knowledge of principles needed to critically read peer reviewed evidence through instructor demonstration of evidence appraisal, online group discussions/critiques of research articles, and writing assignments that require the student to summarize and paraphrase salient information in professional language.

    OTH695 Models of Practice in Occupational Therapy

    This course presents occupation based models that guide the practice of occupational therapy. Students will analyze and compare selected models via assigned readings and group discussions. Students will become familiar with elements and characteristics, assessment tools and techniques, treatment planning and intervention strategies, and documentation formats associated with the models presented, and apply selected models to their professional practice.

    ENG528 Academic Writing

    Students develop the writing skills necessary for success in graduate school, including proper citations, time management, and the content and format for two types of research proposals. Students become proficient in the APA style and have the opportunity to resolve grammar and structure problems with the professor.



    For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to the Graduate Admissions Recruiter at 412-365-1825 or at graduate@chatham.edu.