Feb 07, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Occupational Therapy, Entry-level, O.T.D.

The University of Southern Maine (USM) offers a professional, entry-level Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy (OTD) for people who hold a baccalaureate or master’s degree in a discipline other than occupational therapy. The entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctoral program systematically guides students through foundational knowledge and practice. Advanced skill development is the focus of this program, with emphasis on competency in practice, research, and program development, producing ethical, evidence-based practitioners and leaders within the field.

Required Courses

Program Policies

In addition to the general policies described in the Academic Policies section, specific policies of this program are as follows.

Time Limit:

The program’s academic work is designed to be completed within 9 semesters of being admitted to the program. To ensure continuity of application of academic concepts and to meet accreditation standards, all fieldwork MUST be completed within 24 months following completion of academic preparation. The time limit for completion of the OTD program is dated from the date of first matriculation and ends at five years.

Grade Policy:

All courses in the occupational therapy curriculum must be completed with a minimum of B- (2.67) in order to carry graduate credit. If a student receives a grade below B-, the student must repeat the course in the next semester that it is offered. Because occupational therapy courses are not offered every semester, it may be necessary for the student to take a leave of absence from the program until the required course is offered again. A student is only permitted to repeat one course. If a student receives a grade below B- in a second course, he or she may be dismissed from the program.

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in each semester in order to progress in the program. A student whose grade point average falls below a 3.0 in any semester will be placed on academic probation and will have one semester to bring the grade point average up to at least a 3.0. Students who fail to do this may be dismissed from the program. A student may not be placed on probation more than once.

Transfer Policy:

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program abides by the University of Southern Maine transfer policy as outlined in the graduate catalog. Students may transfer a maximum of 6 credits from a MOT degree or from another OTD program. In addition, all transfer courses must be evaluated by the OTD Program Director to determine whether they meet the content requirements of the appropriate ACOTE standards. Only those courses that meet the standards will be accepted for transfer.

Program Requirements

Students in the entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program will complete 114 credits consisting of 9 semesters of coursework, including 6 months of full time fieldwork. All courses in the curriculum must be completed with a cumulative average of B or higher. 

Students are required to complete three Level I Fieldwork experiences in mental health, community practice, and pediatric or adult settings. Level I Fieldwork is completed concurrently with the semester in which the relevant coursework is taken. Students are also required to complete two 12-week Level II Fieldwork experiences in two different settings. 

Students are expected to design a capstone project that demonstrates excellence in a chosen area of study at the level of a doctoral student, and it must be evidence-based. There are numerous resources that the student can use to develop their project; however, one of the critical pieces of the project is the unique design and critical thinking demonstrated in the capstone project proposal. The capstone should be designed within the roles and functions of the occupational therapy practitioner. OT roles are numerous and may include clinician, educator, practitioner, scholar, advocate, consultant, director, administrator, and researcher. These roles may be distinctly different by area of practice, level of clinical experience, or competency of the occupational therapist. The capstone may be focused at the level of an individual client, group, communities, or populations. The capstone may be designed in one of several areas, which align with the accreditation standards for the entry-level OTD and cover a broad range of important areas for the field of occupational therapy. These areas include:

  1. Clinical practice skills

  2. Research skills

  3. Administration

  4. Leadership

  5. Program and policy development

  6. Advocacy

  7. Education

  8. Theory development


Personal health insurance is required for all students in this program.

As part of Level I and II fieldwork placements, students will be required to complete an annual criminal background check and fingerprinting as part of their requirements. If a student has been convicted of a felony and is uncertain if their conviction may jeopardize potential board certification, they should participate in NBCOT’s Character Review Process and should complete the Early Determination Review to determine eligibility to sit for the NBCOT exam (required for licensure). Students should also check with the Maine State Licensure Bureau regarding eligibility for certification and licensure in the state.

Students are required to become members of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).