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Graduate Catalog 2010

Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy

Cathy R. Taylor, Dean, College of Health Sciences
Vacant, Associate Dean, School of Occupational Therapy and Program Director OTD Program
Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld, Program Director of MSOT Program, School of Occupational Therapy|
Debra Gibbs, Interim Director of OTD Program

Yvette C. Hachtel, Shelley Hix, Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld, Christine Manville, Teresa Plummer, Sue Young, Tamara Garvey, Elena Espiritu, Debra Gibbs, Emmy Dagnan, Camille Turner.

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.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate - OTD Program

Belmont’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD) is designed for those who wish to enter the field of occupational therapy at the highest level of preparation.  Candidates may apply for admission after completing a bachelor's degree.

The doctoral degree program is different from the master's level program in several meaningful ways. OTD students have the opportunity to go beyond the generalist requirements of a master's level program. The additional coursework, exposure to research, clinical fieldwork and residency requirements prepares students for leadership and provides clinical skills to advance their OT practice.

The traditional weekday format of the program consists of seven semesters completed over a 36-month period. Doctoral students in the School of Occupational Therapy must complete all program requirements for graduation within 6 years from starting the program.

The curriculum is based upon problem solving and collaborative learning. Through the integration of classroom experiences and clinical observation, the program blends theoretical understanding with the practical application of occupational therapy intervention, developing professional behaviors in the process.

Fieldwork education is designed to provide occupational therapy students with opportunities to integrate academically acquired education with practice. It is during the fieldwork experience that the student can learn, practice and refine skills of observation, evaluation, treatment planning, implementation and communication. In the fieldwork setting the student begins to define his or her future roles as a practicing occupational therapist and can develop the necessary self-confidence and affective characteristics essential to meeting the demands for this challenging field. Fieldwork provides many opportunities for feedback which promotes professional behaviors and attitudes and clinical expertise.


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, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

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.

Minimum Admission Requirements

1) Candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (degree in any field) or be in the senior year of undergraduate study. A completed bachelor's degree is required prior to enrollment, as evidenced by a final official college/university transcript.  A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

2) Candidates must achieve a grade of B or better in all prerequisite courses, which must have been completed within ten years prior to application.


Required Prerequisites


Human Anatomy & Physiology I with lab


Human Anatomy & Physiology II with lab


Statistics (from a math department or psychology department)


Introduction to Psychology


Abnormal Psychology


Introduction to Sociology OR Introduction to Anthropology


Biology with lab


Medical Terminology

1 - 3

Candidates are expected to have no more than two incomplete prerequisites (as verified by OTCAS) to be considered for an interview opportunity.  Submitted applications which do not meet this standard will be deferred for consideration until this requirement is fulfilled.  All prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring semester prior to enrollment.  If not completed successfully, the candidate’s admission will be withdrawn. 

In addition to the required prerequisites, students are recommended to complete Human Growth and Development, and the following courses are also helpful: Physics, Effective Writing, Public Speaking, and Computer Literacy.

3) Candidates must achieve competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years.

4) Candidates must complete a personal essay as part of the OTCAS application.

5) Candidates must demonstrate familiarity with occupational therapy in the form of a minimum of 50 hours of observational, volunteer, and/or work experience in occupational therapy prior to application.

6) At least one of the two recommendations required for application must be from a licensed occupational therapist.

Application Procedures

The School of Occupational Therapy receives applications for doctoral program admission and most applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy College Application Service (OTCAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Application instructions can be found on the Belmont University school page by clicking the "Participating Programs" link at

Applicants should review the Minimum Admission Requirements and Important Admission Dates (linked on the OT website) before beginning the application process.   Application deadlines are among the Important Admission Dates.

Interview Invitations
Eligible candidates will be invited to campus for an interview with a faculty member. The admissions process is competitive and only a select number of applicants are invited to interview. Please see the Important Admission Dates page for when interview days are scheduled.

Required After Acceptance
Candidates accepted into the OTD program will be required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR for infant, child and adult) and first aid training prior to enrollment. In addition, they will be required to submit results of a criminal background check and must comply with immunization requirements. The School of OT retains a copy of each student's record to verify health and immunization compliance and to satisfy any requests from fieldwork site administrators. These requirements are not only for the health and safety of our students but also for the safety of the patients they will be serving outside the university. Instructions and forms on completing these requirements will be communicated during the summer preceding the first semester.

Question regarding the Admissions Requirements for the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy program should be directed to our Admissions Assistant at 615-460-6798 or .

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