OTD student in lab
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Transforming Health and Well-being

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new online OTD Distance Pathway. Click through our web pages for more information. We are currently accepting applications and expect to be able to share admissions decisions by early April 2024.

As one of few OTD programs in the country with an eight-semester curriculum model, WNE will help you complete your degree faster and more affordably, in less than 3 years! Students have the option to choose the path to their degree by enrolling in our on-campus program or our distance pathway. Learn about our available scholarships!

In our entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, you'll become a practitioner-scholar and a transformative leader in the dynamic field of occupational therapy. Our program prepares you to assist individuals and communities in performing daily activities, adapt environments for improved function, and offer client-centered support for active participation in life.

Equipped with the latest research evidence and education to support your growth as a leader and entrepreneur, you will be well-positioned to:

  • Impact diverse populations, including those with and without disabilities
  • Contribute to community health advancements
  • Shape the development of the role of occupational therapy on collaborative interprofessional teams
  • Navigate evolving healthcare settings, including emerging areas like telehealth, technology and innovation, and community-based programming for all client populations

Explore our various pathways to an OTD degree, whether you're starting from high school or continuing from undergraduate education, you can choose the path that aligns with your educational journey.

Why Choose the Doctor of Occupational Therapy?

As the pioneering occupational therapy program in western Massachusetts offering an entry-level doctorate, we proudly assume the role of visionaries, setting innovative benchmarks in graduate professional education. Committed to accessibility, our dual degree 3+3 pathways in Psychology, Neuroscience, or Health Studies enable high school students to seamlessly enter the OTD program in their senior year. Additionally, our curriculum is available through both on-campus and hybrid distance pathways, fostering inclusivity by accommodating students from diverse locations and backgrounds. This adaptability not only caters to the needs of aspiring high school students but also empowers professionals to advance their careers without disrupting their current roles.

What to Expect

Our Doctor of Occupational Therapy program paves the way for students to become healthcare leaders. Immerse yourself in hands-on clinical experiences from the very first semester, setting the stage for a comprehensive OT doctoral education. Think an OTD degree is right for you? See how we do it at WNE.

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What Will You Learn?

In response to the evolving demands of healthcare systems, our OTD curriculum goes beyond the generalist level, offering advanced academic preparation. With a focus on occupational performance across the lifespan, our curriculum spans various practice settings and emphasizes population health, interprofessional practice, management, leadership, and entrepreneurship on local, national, and global scales. Completing the 109-credit OTD curriculum over 8 consecutive semesters, students engage in a dynamic learning experience that integrates classroom education, clinical skill development, and hands-on implementation.

The program structure involves a series of 5 Level I Fieldwork experiences in the first two years, creating a robust foundation for advanced Level II Fieldwork in Semesters 6 and 7. The culmination of the program is the Doctoral Experiential Project in Semester 8, preceded by mentorship courses in Years Three to Five. This comprehensive approach ensures students are well-prepared and equipped for the complexities of contemporary occupational therapy practice.

Top Five Reasons to Choose The Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy
OTD student

Save Time and Tuition

Earn the top-tier entry-level OT degree more affordably and conveniently than pursuing a doctorate later in your career.

OTD student

Doctoral Degree Prepares Students to be Leaders and Scholars of the Profession

With an OTD degree, you will be equipped with the research evidence and the policy perspectives necessary to lead the movement toward a global healthcare workforce.

OTD professor and students

Small Class Sizes Mean Individualized Attention and Support

With a maximum cohort of 35 and a typical faculty-to-student radio of 1:8 in clinical labs, you'll receive individualized attention.

OTD professor

Numerous Hands-on Experiential Opportunities That Are Intentionally Integrated

The expanded doctoral curriculum includes five semesters of integrated Level I fieldwork including our student-run OT clinic, 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork, and a 14-week Doctoral Experiential Capstone project.

OTD student

Four Performance Laboratory Settings to Mirror "Real-world" Experience

Our three clinical laboratories and off-campus Health and Wellness house are specifically designed to provide applied learning opportunities in realistic environments.

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Bear Paw Center

The B.E.A.R P.A.W Center stands for Bringing Equity, Accessibility, and Rehabilitation to People Achieving Wellness. The Bear Paw Center (BPC) is one of the first student-run occupational therapy pro bono clinics in the country and serves as a model for other institutions.

Bear Paw Center

Students in OTD lab

Doctoral Experiential (DEx)

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapists (ACOTE) requires entry-level Occupational Therapy programs culminate in a Doctoral Capstone. At WNE, the Doctoral Capstone is referred to as the Doctoral Experiential (DEx).

DEx Projects

Students doing fieldwork


Learn more about fieldwork experiences at over 1,000 sites, and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Fieldwork Education Standards for entry-level OTD programs and the Doctoral Experiential.