University News

Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program Offered

Published: January 11, 2017 | Categories: Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, All News

“The program is unique to this area...”

Therapist with patient

Cathy Dow-RoyerWestern New England University announced a new Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program to begin in the fall of 2017. The new academic program received Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) and is now accepting applications. “The program is unique to this area,” says Dr. Cathy Dow-Royer Ed.D., OTR/L, professor and founding director of the program. “It is the only nine-semester professional doctoral program that bypasses a master’s degree prerequisite requirement.”

Rapidly changing healthcare systems are demanding more complementary skilled medical practitioners including NPs, PAs, and OTs (Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Occupational Therapists). The Occupational Therapy program at Western New England University is meeting this national and international call by providing academic preparation beyond a general OT level. The program includes advanced graduate knowledge, skills, and fieldwork opportunities. 

“With an aging U.S. population, and advancements in the OT field, it is an exciting time to be a part of occupational therapy,” explained Dr. Dow-Royer. “Breakthroughs in information technologies, including remote telehealth methods, and the use of assistive technologies for improved movements, vision, or driving; and the latest research on interprofessional education and team practice, this program will give therapists new tools to help their clients actively function in their homes and work places, and live much fuller lives.” 

The OTD program is a three-year graduate academic program completed over nine consecutive semesters, including summers. The program combines classroom learning, the development of motor learning and performance laboratory skills, two levels of on-site fieldwork experience, and a 640-hour Doctoral Experiential Residency.

The program will not require a master’s degree for admission, and students will go directly to earning a doctorate degree over the three-year academic program. Those applying to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a G.P.A. of 3.0 among other requirements. Students with degrees in all undergraduate majors will be considered, however all applicants will be required to successfully complete the prerequisite coursework prior to admission. 

“Occupational therapists have a direct impact on the lives of individual patients and clients,” says Dr. Dow-Royer. “As leaders in current healthcare settings and emerging practice areas, our graduates will be equipped with the research evidence and the policy perspectives necessary to create a global health workforce, and be positioned to enact transformation in healthcare systems through the creation of interprofessional practice teams.” 

For questions regarding the Doctor of Occupational Therapy visit, or email the Division of Occupational Therapy at, or call 413-782-1517.