7.5 TERMS | 2 YEARS AND 5 1/2 MONTHS, FULL-TIME
Fall: September 5TH, 2023
Occupational therapy enables people to restore their participation in activities of daily living. Occupational therapists also assist individuals with reintegration into the community. The profession is vast and varied, ranging across many different types of settings. OTs are needed across the whole lifespan, caring for newborns, seniors, and everyone in between. In this rewarding field, you can help people to live independently and adapt to new health circumstances or disabilities. You will empower your clients with new skills and adaptations to recover a high quality of life and resume meaningful activities.
The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) at SCU offers a unique blend of primarily remote learning with frequent on-campus experiences over 7 1/2 terms (approximately 2 ½ years) of classroom and experiential learning. SCU’s unique Bridge Program for Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) enables you to earn a doctorate in two and a half years without completing a full Bachelor’s degree. Our values include evidence-based and occupation-focused care, lifestyle health, lifelong learning, and occupational justice.
Students with at least 90 credits from a U.S. Department of Education (USDE) recognized institution can be accepted into the program. SCU does not require students to have a completed bachelor’s degree or to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply.
SCU’s program is the first and only bridge program for Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA) who would like to earn a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. With SCU’s program, students spend two and a half years earning a doctorate. Learn more about the Bridge Program.
SCU offers a unique blended program where students experience 70% online interactive instruction and 30% on-ground experiential learning. This is a on-ground program that only requires students to be on campus three consecutive weeks during the first four terms making it ideal for both in-state and out-of-state students.
SCU’s model of experiential learning in interprofessional settings combines learning alongside other healthcare disciplines, coursework, clinical experiences, community engagement, and campus clubs to expose students to a variety of philosophies, practices and treatment options; help students develop a broad base of knowledge; and prepare future healthcare professionals with a deep understanding of integrative, evidence and team-based, whole-person healthcare.
The Doctoral Capstone helps students develop in-depth knowledge in a designated area of interest. The project has written, experiential, and oral components. For guidance, students participate in a series of two doctoral seminars and four capstone seminars in person or online. Each seminar measures progress to ensure that students fully integrate content from relevant research.
The program of study includes modalities courses for adult and pediatric populations. These courses help train students in physical agent modalities and may be used as educational hours towards the California PAM certificate upon approval.
You are advised by a dedicated faculty mentor from the start of the program. All students meet with the faculty mentor twice a term, and as needed, to problem solve and build successful learning strategies. Your faculty mentor supports your academic and professional performance across the entire curriculum, offering personalized guidance to encourage your success. All students also connect with a Capstone mentor during the Capstone experience.
This simulation technology used by occupational therapists recreates the different types of roadways that clients encounter in the real world. The clinical driving simulator allows students to retrain and test the critical skills needed for clients to get back behind the wheel. The hours of safe and virtually stress-free practice can help clients regain their confidence.
Education at SCU is supplemented by advanced anatomical teaching tools. All learning technologies are available on site, and many are also accessible at home. SCU offers convenient access to anatomy educational materials outside of normal classroom hours. Advanced learning technologies include:
Students train at a modern health center with an enriched teaching environment. The SCU Health Systems provides integrative care to over 45,000 patients per year. SCU Health is equipped with an expansive herbal pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, and an electronic health record system. Located on-campus in Whittier, it has 36 private treatment rooms and 1,000 square feet dedicated to active care space. Interact with other health professions and disciplines and learn how to co-manage patients in an integrated setting within an interdisciplinary team environment. Begin clinical training as early as your second term.
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). The curriculum embeds exam prep questions throughout core courses and after successful completion of this exam and all requirements of the didactic experiential component of the program, the student can take the NBCOT exam necessary for becoming an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR®).
The SCU course Wellness and Lifestyle Health is a valuable step towards the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ALCM) Certification Exam. The course is approved by ACLM as a substitute for the 10 hour conference requirement. Learn more about the Lifestyle Medicine Certification and how it offers students a head start as practitioners.
Brett T Buford, OTD, OTR/L, MA (OT), BS
Emily D Grullon, OTD, OTR/L, BS
Jessica Marfia, OTD, OTR/L
OTD Capstone Coordinator
Rachelle Murphy, DHSc, OTR/L, DipACLM
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Joanna Seber, OTD, OTR/L, MS, BA
Program Director, OTD AZ
Heather Thomas, Ph.D., OTR/L, DipACLM
Interim Program Director, Doctor of Occupational Therapy
DOCTORAL-DEGREE-LEVEL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROGRAM (Program with Candidacy 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 www.acoteonline.org.
In compliance with 34 CFR 668.43, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at SCU provides information pertaining to professional licensure for the program. Students should refer to the information below and contact the appropriate licensing board to ensure they will meet the licensure requirements in the state(s) in which they intend to practice upon graduation.
The program must have a pre-accreditation 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 successfully completing 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.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program meets the educational requirements for licensure in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Some states have requirements in addition to educational requirements – prospective and enrolled students are encouraged to research licensure requirements for the state that they intend to practice in. These licensure requirements vary from state to state.
Neither acceptance for admission into the program nor the subsequent earning of a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree guarantees that a state or a foreign country will grant a graduate a license to practice occupational therapy. Each state and foreign country, through its legislative and administrative process, defines the standards of competency and scope of practice of occupational therapy within its jurisdiction.
Please note that licensure requirements are always subject to change. Although SCU will confirm the licensure requirements on a routine basis, we strongly recommend that you inquire with the licensing agency to confirm that you understand and will meet the requirements for licensure before enrolling in your program of choice. Additionally, while progressing through the program, we recommend that you check licensing agency requirements regularly to monitor whether they have changed in a manner that impacts your licensure plans.
All international students are strongly encouraged to check the credentialing requirements in the country where they intend to practice.
Students are required to complete all didactic and experiential coursework including Level I and II Fieldwork, the Mentored Doctoral Experience and a Doctoral Capstone Project within 5 years of matriculation and achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.75.
Academic history is balanced by personal traits that reflect those needed within the healthcare environment and by skills and background characteristics to provide an opportunity for admission of students with a wide variety of strengths. This process promotes a learning community that can learn together and from each other, as we all focus on developing toward excellence while celebrating differences. All admissions requirements are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Meet all admissions requirements.
Gather the documents you need to apply.
Complete your application through OTCAS.
Applications may be submitted with pending requirements; however, applications will not be reviewed until all requirements are met. Eligible applications with all the completed prerequisite coursework, including transcripts for undergraduate credit hours, will be reviewed upon submission.
The OTD program does not offer advanced placement or accept transfer credits. Transfer students are not accepted.
In addition to the other prerequisites listed below, you may apply for the OTD program if you have completed a minimum of 90 undergraduate credit hours with a combination of science and liberal arts coursework from an accredited institution. A U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from a accredited college or university will also be accepted. A accredited college or university is an institution that holds active accreditation recognized by the Department of Education.
All prerequisite courses must be completed at an accredited college or university. Applications may be submitted with pending prerequisite courses; however, the application will not be reviewed until the official transcript for each pending course is uploaded by OTCAS. Official transcripts verifying successful course completion for all submitted applications must be uploaded to OTCAS by the recommended date of August 31, 2023.
Pass/fail grades will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, however, please note that pass/fail grades are not calculated into the OTCAS GPA.
Students who are missing a prerequisite course requirement or are looking to improve their GPA can choose to take an SCU Accelerated Science course and complete the requirements in as little as five weeks. SCU’s Accelerated Science courses are prequalified and guaranteed acceptance for this program. Click here to learn more.
Core science courses must be completed with a minimum 3.0 grade or above. Each course used to satisfy the requirements below must include a lab and have been completed no earlier than 7 years from the current admissions cycle. Introductory level courses are accepted, but upper-level courses are preferred. Online courses and labs are accepted.
*A combination human anatomy & physiology course will be accepted, however, you cannot use the same course to fulfill both the anatomy and physiology prerequisites. If not titled “Human”, a course description must demonstrate a human focus.
Online courses and labs are accepted.
*Any course not titled “English Composition” must be a writing-intensive course that includes instruction on comprehension, investigation, evaluation, explanation, and refutation.
*The core science prerequisite GPA includes human anatomy and human physiology.
Applicants are expected to demonstrate professionalism in their interactions with the program and our faculty and staff. Applicants who demonstrate unprofessional behavior at any time will not be considered for admission.
The following guidelines are recommended for letters of reference. It is imperative the persons providing references are able to provide specific examples of strengths and accomplishments. One reference should be from a person who can address intellectual and academic abilities. One reference should be from a supervisor in a professional or other work capacity who can address work performance, service commitment, or other areas of background that may be pertinent.
Academic or licensure infractions, misdemeanors, and/or felonies may prohibit participation in required supervised clinical practice, eligibility to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Exam and/or eligibility for state licensure. Due to this, all academic or licensure infractions, misdemeanors, and/or felonies must be disclosed on OTCAS and will be assessed by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis. Failure to disclose the above will result in applicant denial and recension of an enrollment offer, if applicable. Additionally, programs are required to report an applicant’s failure to disclose this information to the American Occupational Therapy Association.
All admissions decisions are made in accordance with our program mission, vision, and goals. Additionally, preference is given to applicants with evidence of the following:
*SCU does not refund OTCAS application fees under any circumstance, including loss of accreditation during the application cycle.
Once the class is fully seated, information about additional requirements will be provided. These may include the following requirements which must be completed prior to matriculation.
*Any student that has resided or is currently residing in New York may be subject to additional fees for the criminal background check retrieval per state law of New York.
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*Tuition is charged at $1,090 per credit hour.
**Program fees listed are for the 2023/2024 academic year and are subject to change. Program fees include charges for technology, malpractice insurance, student health, professional affiliation, and ASB, and are charged every term that a student is enrolled.
** Books, supplies and other equipment not included in this tuition and fee schedule may be required for this program.
$110,090 tuition to complete the program.*
SCU’s Fixed Rate Tuition Guarantee for degree programs allows you to plan your educational investment.
Benefits of our Fixed Tuition Guarantee:
Occupational therapists (OTs) maximize health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities by facilitating participation in everyday living. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
As an occupational therapist, you’ll have many career options available to you across a wide range of environments, from home health to hospitals to assistive living and outpatient clinics (e.g., hand therapy) as well as many emerging and traditional practice areas including community-based service organizations, corporations, prisons, physician offices, schools, and academia.
The diversity of the occupational therapy field allows OT professionals to explore many career options. OTs are found in diverse areas of practice such as teaching in academia, consulting for large and small corporations for lifestyle health and ergonomic assessments as well as in traditional medical practice settings. These include Orthopedics, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Elite Sports, Tactical Sports, Family Medicine and in emerging practice areas inclusive of Community Mental Health Centers. OTs can also start their own business and fill state contracts for patients in need of occupational therapy services.
Your business can be as large or small as you like. You could be the only employee, or you could hire a team of interdisciplinary care providers (OTs, PTs, SLPs) and become an administrator overseeing clinical practice and office operations.
Expected growth between 2018 and 20281
U.S. News & World Report Best Health Care Jobs3
Median annual wage for occupational therapists in the Los Angeles area2
View the links below for additional career and job information.
If you are curious about what you can do with a degree in occupational therapy, watch What Can Occupational Therapy Do For You? This informative video was produced by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
SCU’s program is the first and only bridge program for Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA) that grants a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree. Other institutions only provide a pathway to a master’s degree (MSOT/MOT). With SCU’s program, students spend roughly two and a half years earning a doctorate.
Occupational Therapy Assistant practitioners with a minimum of 90 credits (a bachelor’s degree is not required) from a U.S. Department of Education (USDE) recognized institution can apply for acceptance to the program. Student’s having an existing bachelor’s degree can also be accepted into the program.
To see a list of all OTA bridge programs, visit Educational Programs for OTAs Seeking OT Degrees.
You wouldn’t be looking at this program if you weren’t interested in helping people find their healthiest life. Your dedication and enthusiasm for the growing movement toward whole-person wellness are what makes you the perfect fit for SCU. Now, begin to discover why we’re the perfect fit for you.
Our approach to Interprofessional Education is unique in California and across the country. Here, modern medicine unites with ancient and traditional healing arts to create an environment of engagement. SCU’s groundbreaking IPE model combines curriculum, clinic, community, and clubs to help you develop a broader base of knowledge and gain a deeper appreciation for different perspectives on care which leads to a seamless transition from student to practitioner.
We bring together aspiring students from different disciplines so you can learn and excel side-by-side. The depth and breadth of this dynamic experience will prepare you to one day take the lead in a collaborative, interprofessional practice.
View our application requirements above or fill out a request for information to start speaking with an enrollment advisor today.
If you have 90 credit hours or more and meet other admission standards, you are eligible for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.
Students at SCU have many financial assistance opportunities available to them in order to cover their educational expenses. It is the policy of the Financial Aid Office to assist our students as much as possible to afford their education. Talk with a financial counselor by calling (562) 947-8755 ext 766 or click here to learn more
Fixed Tuition Guarantee Benefits:
It’s not always possible to come to campus. However, there are a variety of ways to see buildings and spaces, interact with current students, and ask staff questions no matter where you are. Check out our virtual experiences to make connections and learn what it is like to be part of the University.