Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Entry)


Mission Statement: The TWU School of Occupational Therapy entry-OTD is a theory-driven, occupation-based program designed to generate evidence-based practitioners who combine the critical characteristics of science with the art of reflective practice. Committed to experiential learning in classroom and community collaborations, Texas Woman’s fosters excellence and adaptive capacity in preparing competent and ethical practitioners, leaders, and advocates.

The entry Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is a full-time educational commitment. Approximately 144 students are admitted annually and attend classes on the Denton, Dallas, or Houston campus. The curriculum is three years spread over four academic calendar years. Students begin in June and typically graduate 3 years later in May, following 36 months of academic preparation and fieldwork experience, inclusive of the capstone experience and project.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Advocate and consult by listening to others, asking appropriate questions, and getting to the heart of the matter.
  2. ​Educate through skilled communication-- adapting and adjusting content delivery based on learner needs to ensure accessibility, engagement, and participation.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

The academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

90 semester credit hours.

This is a three-year program spread over four academic calendar years.

First Year
OT 6113Essentials and Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice 3
OT 6122Occupational Analysis and Therapeutic Tools for Occupational Therapy Practice 2
OT 6183Impact of Metabolic Conditions in Occupational Therapy Practice 3
PT 6703Gross Human Anatomy for Occupational Therapy 3
 SCHs 11
Second Year
OT 6213Applied Neuroscience for Occupational Therapy 3
OT 6244Occupational Performance: Applications and Skills for Musculoskeletal Conditions 4
OT 6283Implications of Musculoskeletal System Conditions on Occupational Participation 3
OT 6293The Art and Science of Evidence-Based Practice 3
 SCHs 13
OT 6313Occupation Across the Lifespan I: Children and Youth 3
OT 6344Occupational Performance: Application and Skills for Neuromuscular Conditions 4
OT 6383Implications for Neuromuscular Conditions on Occupational Participation 3
OT 6393Research Design and Methods for Occupational Therapy 3
 SCHs 13
OT 6413Occupation Across the Lifespan II: Adults 3
OT 6441Occupational Therapy Experiential Learning and Reflective Practice: Field Work (Course may be taken Spring 1, Summer 2, or Fall 2) 1
OT 6463Occupational Performance: Application and Skills for Neuromotor Control 3
OT 6483Implications of Neuromotor Control on Occupational Participation 3
 SCHs 10
Third Year
OT 6513Organization and Leadership in Occupational Therapy 3
OT 6544Occupational Performance: Application and skills for Neurobehavioral Conditions and Mental Health 4
OT 6583Implications of Neurobehavioral Conditions and Mental Health on Occupational Participation 3
OT 6593 Research Implementation and Analysis in Occupational Therapy 3
 SCHs 13
OT 6616Occupational Therapy Fieldwork and Reflective Practice I 6
 SCHs 6
OT 6713Innovations in Occupational Therapy Practice 3
OT 6723Reflective Practice: Occupational Adaptation and Wellness 3
OT 6733Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone Preparation 3
 SCHs 9
Fourth Year
OT 6816Occupational Therapy Fieldwork and Reflective Practice II 6
 SCHs 6
OT 6916Occupational Therapy Doctoral Experiential Component 6
OT 6923Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone Project 3
 SCHs 9
 Total SCHs:  90

Access to Agencies Providing Fieldwork Experiences

Doctor of Occupational Therapy coursework includes requirements that must be completed at clinical fieldwork sites. The responsibility of meeting the access requirements of agencies providing fieldwork placements belongs to the student at their own expense, following procedures outlined in the O.T.D. Student Handbook. The School of Occupational Therapy does not guarantee student access to fieldwork sites. The inability to complete fieldwork requirements may result in a delay or failure to complete the O.T.D. program.


Occupational therapy is a health care field. Each student must submit documentation that all required immunizations are current to Student Health Services at Texas Woman’s University after registration and prior to attendance in any occupational therapy course. Immunizations must remain current throughout enrollment. Students who are out of compliance will be unable to participate in required capstone experiences, fieldwork, field trips, or client interactions on campus which may result in a delay or halt of academic progression.

Background Check

A background check, provided at the student's expense, is required prior to registration in any occupational therapy course. Instructions for completing this requirement is provided after program admission.

Drug Screening

Enrollment in the O.T.D. program requires students to submit to prescreening, periodic, and random drug screens. Drug screening is conducted via the designated third party. Any student with a non-negative drug screen result or who refuses the test will be dismissed from the O.T.D. program. Many fieldwork sites require additional drug testing which may be at the student's expense.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training (CPR)

Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers from the American Heart Association is required of all students in preparation for the requirements of fieldwork sites.  This training is at the student's expense. Instructions for completing this requirement are provided after program admission.

Health Insurance

Personal health insurance is required for any clinical experience that occurs off-site, including field trips, fieldwork, and capstone experiences.  Medical sharing and cooperatives may not be acceptable health insurance providers for clinical sites. 

Malpractice Insurance

Each student must present proof of ownership of malpractice insurance available in the state of Texas each academic year of enrollment. Student malpractice insurance is provided automatically through TWU with enrollment in laboratory and fieldwork courses.

Time Limits

The O.T.D. program is built on a cohort model for progression through a series of integrated modules, each being pre-requisite to the next; therefore, part-time progression is not provided. Significant delays in progression negatively impact probability of successful performance on fieldwork and the NBCOT registration exam, therefore time limits are imposed as follows: Coursework, fieldwork, and capstone must be completed within no more than 60 months from the start date.

Grade Requirements

  • Students must meet the academic requirements of the Graduate School throughout their course of study in the O.T.D. Program.
  • Earning a GPA of less than 3.0 will result in a School of Occupational Therapy academic probation. The student must raise the overall program GPA to 3.0 or higher in the next semester, or be dismissed from the program.
  • Only two grades of C will be allowed during the OTD program. If a third C is earned, the student will be dismissed from the OTD program.

  • Students who earn a D, F, or WF in an occupational therapy course will be dismissed from the O.T.D. program.

  • Students placed under academic probation by the Graduate School and/or the School of Occupational Therapy a second time will be dismissed from the O.T.D. program. Students who fail to satisfy the requirements of probation from the Graduate School will be suspended from the University.

Final Examination

The Doctoral Experiential Component (DEC) consists of a capstone experience and a capstone project. Successful completion of all academic and fieldwork requirements make the student eligible for candidacy/enrollment in the DEC. Successful completion of both parts of the DEC is required for degree completion and eligibility to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board for Occupational Therapy Certification (NBCOT).

Fieldwork Requirements

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree requires six months internship completed in three-month rotations at two fieldwork sites. Fieldwork sites are independent agencies and maintain their own requirements. Fieldwork agencies may request proof of immunization, background checks, drug screens, health insurance, malpractice insurance, CPR training, and fingerprinting. When this is required by an agency, all students assigned to that agency must meet any requirements at their own expense. Failure to meet the requirements may result in delay or failure to complete the O.T.D. program.

  • Any student failing to complete an assigned fieldwork experience with a grade of B or better may repeat fieldwork one time only. Permission to repeat the course must be obtained from the Director of the School of Occupational Therapy. Failure to successfully complete a repeat fieldwork assignment will result in dismissal from the O.T.D. program.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Curriculum Design

While preparing occupational therapists for generalist practice, and facilitating a developing specialty via the doctoral capstone, students in the TWU O.T.D. program will be immersed in experiential and service-learning opportunities that emphasize occupation-based intervention in community-based settings. Consistent with AOTA Philosophy, our curriculum is built upon the foundational concepts of occupation, adaptation, context, and ethics. “Occupations are daily life activities in which people engage… [Occupations are broadly] categorized as activities of daily living, rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation” (AOTA, 2014, p. S43). The ability to analyze any occupation for persons in the context of their personal experience is fundamental to the profession of occupational therapy.

When persons are challenged in the performance of required and desired occupations due to disabling conditions, occupational therapists act to facilitate adaptive responses that promote or restore function. Prominent disabling conditions are grouped into five clusters; metabolic, musculoskeletal, psychosocial factors and mental illness, neuromuscular, and complex neurological conditions. Implications of disabling conditions on occupational participation are revealed in a lecture format, and skills for addressing occupational performance to enhance participation are practiced in the accompanying lab. Skill in addressing disabling and potentially disabling effects of conditions requires supervised application and practice of therapeutic tools, modalities, and strategies with careful attention to the context in which occupational performance and participation occurs.

In addition to promoting adaptation to occupation in context, instilling a strong sense of ethics for the practice of occupational therapy is a constant in the delivery of this professional curriculum. A commitment to using and contributing to evidence-based practice promotes attention to ethical considerations.

Also surrounding and infusing the entire curriculum are essential concepts from science, holism, and professionalism. Prerequisite to performing occupational therapy is a firm understanding of biological, psychological, and social sciences that are reinforced and applied to the profession.

We believe that these essential concepts are inextricably intertwined and therefore we teach and promote holistic practice that uses top-down strategies to address the complexities of adaptation to disabling conditions. Recognizing that professionals are not born, but evolve under caring mentors, we use instruction and modeling to show and grow professionalism among our student body.

Knowledge, skill, and application are threaded through the curriculum, interacting to promote reasoning, performance, and experience to create relative mastery for each student. Mastery is relative in a healthcare environment that is ever-changing, requiring a commitment to continuing education to maintain and promote further competence. Seeds of this commitment to excellence in practice competence are planted with emphasis on reflective practice that leads to planning improved practice.

Consistent with TWU’s commitment to “learning by doing,” this curriculum provides an array of experiential learning opportunities using a “passport” model for tracking students’ variety and depth of exposure to populations and settings. Opportunities for hands-on learning include, but are not limited to in-class simulations (cases, mannequins, standardized patients, patient educators), community-based experiences (field trips, observations, traditional level 1 fieldwork assignments in clinical settings), and service-learning (participation in faculty practice and volunteerism in not-for-profit programs such as respite care, camps, and community-based events related to health care and special populations).

The doctoral capstone provides students opportunities to begin a pathway toward specialization and expertise. “The doctoral capstone shall be an integral part of the program’s curriculum design. The goal of the doctoral capstone is to provide an in-depth exposure to one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development” (ACOTE, 2018). Students will select one or more areas for in-depth exposure to bring forward as a measure of particular relative mastery.

Foundational knowledge is presented in the beginning, with relative mastery expected toward the end. In between, the interplay among knowledge, skills, and application is designed to guide students on their journey of learning and reflection that will lead to competence.