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3+3 Health Studies/OTD

College of Arts & Sciences

Want to make a higher degree of impact? Then earn the occupational therapy profession’s highest degree—the Doctor of Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy is a growing and evolving healthcare profession in which practitioners assist individuals and communities to perform everyday activities of daily living (occupations), adapt environments to improve function in home, work, or leisure settings, and provide client-centered support for participation in life. By earning an OTD Degree you will impact populations with disabilities and those at risk for disabilities, advance community health outcomes by working in interprofessional practice teams, and transform practice in existing settings and emerging areas such as primary care and telehealth. You can change people’s lives for the better—starting with yours! 

Why Choose 3+3 Health Studies/OTD?

Two degrees of preparation—in just six years, not seven. That’s the advantage of earning both a BS and an OTD degree jointly at Western New England. You will save time, tuition, and be positioned to command the salary afforded those with the highest practice degree in the field. When you commit as a first-year student to this early admissions program, you’ll spend your first three years in the Health Studies program focusing on prerequisite OT coursework. After successful completion of five semesters, you will apply to the OTD program during the spring of your junior year. Those accepted into the program will transition into the OTD program at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for their fourth year, traditionally the senior year of study at WNE. After four years, you will join with your undergraduate classmates in receiving your Bachelor of Science degree. Then (with the option to continue to live on campus) it is on to the final two years of doctoral study in the OTD program (including summers) to prepare you for licensure and to work in practice, administration of a department, or academic work in higher education. Learn more about the application process.

What Will You Learn

Your journey begins with a strong background in science. In the Pre-OTD concentration of the Health Studies program you will complete 92 credits of the foundational prerequisite coursework (biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, psychology, mathematical analysis, statistics, and general liberal arts curriculum) with a strong emphasis on lab work. The OTD curriculum, taught in our well-equipped laboratories that simulate therapy settings and actual OT practice settings in the field, is unique as it allows you to immediately apply theory learned in the classroom to hands-on learning. From day one your coursework is integrated with multiple Level I Fieldwork experiences that prepare you for the 24 weeks of Level II Fieldwork in your final year in the program, and set the stage for a customizable 14 week Doctoral Experiential and Capstone Project. You’ll complete both degrees in six years, saving a full year of time and tuition and with no intermediary master’s degree required. You will be well-prepared to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination (NBCOT) that authorizes you to practice as a Registered Occupational Therapist (OTR).

Certification and Licensure

Graduates of the OTD program 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 successful completion of this exam, the graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR). In addition, most states have licensure laws requiring OTs and OTAs to be licensed in order to practice (a few have certification or registration by state agencies). However, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination or attain state licensure.

While the laws and procedures are similar in each state, they are not identical. The process for obtaining a license in the state or states in which an individual may wish to work can be found through the state occupational therapy regulatory agency. The AOTA website has a link to the state boards at http://state.aota.org/reglist.aspx. In order to obtain a license, individuals must:

  • Graduate from an accredited educational program
  • Complete the required fieldwork
  • Apply for and pass the NBCOT exam
  • Apply for a state license and pay a fee for each state/jurisdiction in which the individual wishes to practice or be licensed

Clubs & Organizations

Health Studies students may have interests in: Alpha Lambda Delta (First-year honor society), Biology Club, Chemistry Club, and Pre-med Club. Many of our students also participate in varsity and intramural sports, special interest groups, and student government.


In this dynamic cross-disciplinary program, you will be mentored by outstanding faculty in the Department of Physical and Biological Sciences and the Division of Occupational Therapy with wide-ranging academic credentials and expertise supported by clinical experience. Our distinguished faculty members conduct fascinating research, yet outstanding classroom teaching and mentorship are always each professor’s top priority.