2009-2010 Graduate Catalog

Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy

Jack Williams, Dean, College of Health Sciences
Ruth S. Ford, Associate Dean and Chair, School of Occupational Therapy

Ruth S. Ford, Yvette C. Hachtel, Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld, Christine Manville, Scott D. McPhee, Teresa Plummer, Jeanne Sowers, Shelley Hix, Sue Young, Mary Dietrich*, Tamara Garvey*, Camille Turner*, Chris Golden*, Patricia Harvey*, Gayle Hoesel* and Gary Robinson*.

School of Occupational Therapy Vision

The School of Occupational Therapy's vision is to offer a comprehensive education to graduate students in a Christian environment, preparing them to become, and continue to be, occupational therapy practitioners who are committed to evidence and occupation based practice, life-long learning, service, and advocacy.

School of Occupational Therapy Mission

The School of Occupational Therapy provides comprehensive graduate education within a Christian, learning environment to enable students from diverse backgrounds to positively impact the community at large and enhance the human condition through appreciation of diversity, problem-solving, and utility of meaningful, and purposeful occupations.

In achieving its mission, and that of the university, the School of Occupational Therapy provides:

1. Comprehensive, student-centered programs that encompass the scope of practice of occupational therapy and build upon the students' liberal arts and science foundational knowledge, their understanding of issues related to globalism and diversity as preparation for practice.

2. A Christian learning environment that promotes and assists in developing professional behaviors that incorporate the values and attitudes of excellence, caring, honesty, and respect that are consistent with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for the American Occupational Therapy Association.

3. Didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences that provide exposure to a broad range of traditional and emerging healthcare and human service delivery models

4. Exposure to basic skills associated with the potential varied roles of an occupation therapist as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, leader, researcher and advocate for the profession and the consumer.

5. Opportunities to prepare the student to be a self-directed life- long learner by encouraging independent inquiry, critical thinking, clinical reasoning, self- reflection, and self- assessment.

6. To provide a foundation in occupational therapy research allowing the student to be an effective consumer of the latest research and knowledge bases that undergirds practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge.

7. An education as a generalist with a broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.

8. An opportunity to identify and develop an area of advanced practice that is developed and refined in the experiential component or "residency" and the culminating project.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate - OTD Program

The occupational therapy curriculum is designed in such a way as to reflect the values and intent of the profession. Based upon the profession's philosophy, the university's vision and the program's mission, the curriculum, which includes both didactic clinical fieldwork components, and residency provides a learning experience that will prepare Belmont University graduates to enter various service delivery arenas. Students follow a structured, integrated sequence of learning experiences that prepares them as an entry-level generalist and a 16 week residency, allows the individual student to develop an area of advanced practice. Building upon a student's liberal arts education, the School of Occupational Therapy's main objective is to provide a professional graduate program that will prepare graduates to: As illustrated by the OTD Doctoral Standards (2006), a graduate from Belmont University’s School of Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program, the student will:

  • Have acquired, as a foundation for professional study, a breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences and an understanding of issues related to diversity.
  • Be educated as a generalist with a broad exposure to the delivery models and systems used in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • Have achieved entry-level competence through a combination of academic and fieldwork education.
  • Be prepared to articulate and apply occupational therapy theory and evidence-based evaluations and interventions to achieve expected outcomes as related to occupation.
  • Be prepared to be a lifelong learner and keep current with evidence-based professional practice.
  • Uphold the ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.
  • Understand the distinct roles and responsibilities of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant in the supervisory process.
  • Be prepared to advocate as a professional for the occupational therapy services offered and for the recipients of those services.
  • Be prepared to be an effective consumer of the latest research and knowledge bases that support practice and contribute to the growth and dissemination of research and knowledge.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of delivery models, policies, and systems related to the area of practice in settings where occupational therapy is currently practiced and where it is emerging as a service.
  • Demonstrate thorough knowledge of evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate active involvement in professional development, leadership, and advocacy.
  • Relate theory to practice and demonstrate synthesis of advanced knowledge in a practice area through completion of a culminating project.
  • Develop in-depth experience in one or more of the following areas through completion of a doctoral experiential component: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.

The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. AOTA's phone number is (301) 652-AOTA.

Graduates of the 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 individual will be an Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice; 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.

Phi Theta Epsilon

Pi Theta Epsilon is the national academic honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. This society recognizes and encourages superior scholarship among students enrolled in professional entry-level occupational therapy programs at accredited schools across the United States. The honor society chapter on Belmont University's campus is Beta Upsilon.

Student Organization

The Belmont Student Occupational Therapy Association (BSOTA) promotes increased awareness of the profession and assists occupational therapy students in their development as young professionals by encouraging participation in research projects and working with advocates to impact health care at the local and national levels. Membership is open to all students enrolled in the occupational therapy program.

Requirement for Admission to Occupational Therapy Graduate Programs

Admission to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate or Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree programs is based on qualifications and space availability. Admission is awarded without regard to sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, or handicap.

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Degree Program


I.    Applicants to the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy degree program must have completed or shown evidence of substantial work toward the following in order to be considered for admission:  Baccalaureate degree or higher ¨  OTD applicants must have a baccalaureate degree* or higher in a field other than occupational therapy, from a regionally accredited college or university. The recommended minimum grade point average (GPA) is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 

Graduate Record Examination Score (GRE)

An acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years.  A combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE is recommended.  GRE score reports should be forwarded to Belmont University from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).  Please specify Institution Code 1058 and School Code 0618 to the ETS.

II.   Application Form and Fee: Submit a completed graduate application form with a $50.00 non-refundable application fee. Checks should be made out to Belmont University.

III.   Official Transcripts: Submit official transcripts from all universities and/or colleges attended. Transfer students from a college or university abroad are also responsible for having their transcripts evaluated by a credential evaluation service such as World Education Services (WES).

IV.   References: Using the enclosed forms, have two references submitted. At least one of the references must be from a healthcare provider, preferably an Occupational Therapist.

V.    Observation hours: A candidate must demonstrate familiarity with occupational therapy in the form of 50 hours  of observational, volunteer experiences or prior work experience in occupational therapy. These hours do not have to be completed prior to the application process, but must be completed before the start of occupational therapy classes.

VI.    Essay: Using the form provided, submit a one page, handwritten statement explaining how becoming an occupational therapist will help you reach your career goals.

VII.    Interview: Each eligible candidate must take part in an interview with a faculty member.  Opportunities for individual interviews are offered during the Preview Days scheduled during the fall and spring semester.  You will be contacted about interview dates after you apply and meet admission requirements.  If you any questions, please contact our Admissions Assistant at otd@mail.belmont.edu.

VIII.   Prerequisite Courses: Students are required to have a grade of B or better in all pre-requisite classes as this has been a good indicator of future success in professional level graduate work in occupational therapy.

Pre-requisite Needed:

Human Anatomy (w/lab) and Human Physiology (w/lab) If these courses are taught as Anatomy and Physiology I and II, both courses must be completed.
Statistics A statistics course from a math department or psychology department can be used to meet this requirement.
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Anthropology Either Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Anthropology must be taken to meet this requirement.
Abnormal Psychology
Medical Terminology
Biology With a concurrent lab
Courses Strongly Recommended to Have: Human Growth and Development
Courses Helpful to Have: Physics; Effective Writing; Public Speaking; Computer Literacy

IX.   Deadline for Application:   We have an early decision deadline of January 1st (all application materials must be in including interview).  Our regular decision deadline is March 15th.  Those applying after these dates will be contacted for subsequent class application. Decisions regarding the acceptability of applicants for the occupational therapy program will be made by the Occupational Therapy Admissions Committee after evaluation of all pertinent application materials.  Applications cannot be accurately reviewed until all application materials are received and requirements have been met. New applications are required for those who defer a year or miss the cut off dates for admissions.

Please Note:  If you are accepted in the OTD program, you will be required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR for infant, child and adult) and first aid training.  You will also be required to submit results of a criminal background check.  Background Check information will be mailed to you in the summer preceding your first semester. All application materials should be sent directly to:  Belmont University, Office of Admissions, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212.

If you have any question regarding the Admissions Requirements for the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy program, please contact our Admissions Assistant at 615-460-6798 or otd@mail.belmont.edu.

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