Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Therapy


Vision Statement

The Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy is primarily a research degree that prepares occupational therapists for advanced scholarly careers in academia and practice.  At the completion of the Ph.D. program in Occupational Therapy, the graduate will have demonstrated the ability to contribute new or expanded knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the discipline/practice of occupational therapy, as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals, and national presentations at peer-reviewed professional conferences.  The graduate will have demonstrated competency in the development and completion of a program of research that is judged to be consistent with performance expected for the degree by internal and external reviewers.

Graduates of the TWU Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy program will have acquired the level of knowledge and the ability to demonstrate the performance competencies that are consistent with the program’s vision statement.


Graduates of the program will be:

  • Firmly grounded in the theories of occupation that form the core concepts and assumptions of occupational therapy practice.
  • Well-schooled in research method and analysis that is applicable to everyday practice.
  • Able to apply sound andragogy within educational contexts.

Performance Competencies

Graduates of the program will have successfully:

  • Used occupation-based theory to conduct research that translates the results directly into the everyday practice of occupational therapy.
  • Participated with a mentor in the development and submission of a grant and/or research proposal.
  • Initiated the development/evolution of a collaborative research network.
  • Presented and/or co-presented with a mentor on research findings at professional conferences.
  • Developed and submitted manuscripts on research findings – may be co-authored with mentor and research committee.
  • Taught/co-taught in a graduate course, professional workshop, or other venues as approved by mentor.

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. Publish original scholarly work in scientific journals and present at peer-reviewed conferences.
  2. ​Contribute to the mission of clinical, community, and academic settings by translating knowledge into best practice and andragogy.


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

This 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

The Ph.D. degree plan must include a minimum of 90 semester credit hours of master's/doctoral level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. Coursework that was completed as part of a related master’s or doctoral degree may (with approval) be applied to the Ph.D. degree plan (maximum of 45 semester credit hours). TWU Ph.D. coursework (including dissertation) that is included on the Ph.D. degree plan must be completed within 8 years of the first completed course as a TWU Ph.D. student. In addition, at least 50% of the semester credit hours included on the TWU Ph.D. degree plan must be awarded at TWU.

The organized class courses are offered in a blended format with both online and face-to-face learning. Face-to-face seminars occur at the beginning and end of each Fall/Spring semester, and once in Summer.

Knowledge Base
OT 6223Theory and Knowledge Development in Occupational Therapy3
OT 6243Learning Designs for Occupational Therapy Knowledge3
OT 6353Neuroscience Applications: Occupational Therapy and Adaptation3
OT 6343Theory of Occupational Adaptation3
OT 6333Occupation in Context3
Research Tools
OT 6553Applied Research Design and Methods3
OT 6363Statistical Analysis in Occupational Therapy3
OT 6643Advanced Qualitative Methods in Occupational Therapy3
OT 6623Instrumentation for Measuring Occupational Performance3
Academic Advisory Committee approved elective in Advanced Quantitative Analysis 3
Select 6 SCH from the following
Scholarly Writing in Occupational Therapy
Current Issues and Trends in Occupational Therapy
Grant Writing in Occupational Therapy
Teaching Practicum in Occupational Therapy
Independent Study (Requires Academic Advisory Committee approval. Outside Electives may be included in degree plan under advisement of Research Mentor. Students are encouraged to take advantage of graduate coursework outside of TWU and/or OT to broaden/strengthen his or her program of study.)
Qualifying Examination
OT 6563Programmatic Research Planning (Required)3
OT 6983Dissertation (Repeated through semester of successful proposal defense)3
OT 6993Dissertation (Repeated through semester of successful final defense)3
Total SCHs45

Pre-dissertation Course Work

The student coordinates all initial enrollment through the Ph.D. coordinator.  All Ph.D. degree plans are individualized and are generally finalized during the fall semester of 2nd-year coursework. The student must complete all Research Tool coursework identified on the student’s degree plan before the semester in which the student sits for the qualifying exam. The student must complete all coursework identified as a Required Course on the student’s degree plan by the close of the semester in which the student sits for the qualifying exam.

Qualifying Examination

The overall purpose of the Ph.D. qualifying exam is to 1) stimulate the student’s synthesis of knowledge, 2) evaluate the student’s progress in acquiring necessary knowledge and skills at the Ph.D. level, and 3) evaluate the student’s potential to be successful in conducting dissertation level research. Students must satisfactorily complete the qualifying examination before they are eligible to become a doctoral candidate and enroll in dissertation coursework. Students may petition to sit for the examination in the fall or spring semester preceding the exam. The exam is offered twice a year. Dependent on the recommendation of the student's Qualifying Exam Committee the qualifying examination may be repeated once.

Dissertation Final Examination

Ph.D. candidates must demonstrate successful completion and oral defense of their dissertation research proposal. Dependent on the recommendation of the student's Research Committee, the proposal defense may be repeated once.

Doctoral candidates must demonstrate successful completion and oral defense of their dissertation project. Dependent on the recommendation of the student's Research Committee, the dissertation defense may be repeated once.