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Belmont University Graduate Catalog 2016-17

Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy

Cathy R. Taylor, Dean, College of Health Sciences & Nursing
Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld, Chair, School of Occupational Therapy
Tamara Garvey, Program Director of MSOT Program, School of Occupational Therapy
Sabrina Salvant, Program Director of OTD Program, School of Occupational Therapy
Emmy Dagnan, Elena Espiritu, Tamara Garvey, Debra Gibbs ,Yvette C. Hachtel, Allison Koch, Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld, Christine Manville, Natalie Michaels, Teresa Plummer, Sabrina Salvant.

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 experiential component requirements prepares students for leadership and provides clinical skills to advance their OT practice

The depth and breadth of the curriculum is designed to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of a generalist occupational therapist who has had a broad exposure to current practice settings and emerging practice areas. Students are educated in the use of occupation to provide therapeutic intervention for individuals and groups of all ages through in-depth exploration of evidence-based literature. In addition, the doctorally prepared practitioner has demonstrated the ability to synthesize advanced knowledge in a practice area through completion of the experiential component.

Starting in the spring of the first year, students begin the first of three Level I fieldwork experiences. Students engage in directed observation and participate at clinical fieldwork sites where they can begin to apply principles taught in previous and concurrent coursework. Through completion of a series of courses related to scholarship, students work together collaboratively to develop and complete a culminating research project. Upon completion of all of their academic work, students then enter the community to apply their knowledge, skills and abilities through completion of their Level II Fieldworks. Belmont has established over 800 clinical sites in occupational therapy across the United States. In the final semester students complete their experiential component. Successful completion of this experience depends on their ability to integrate the four curricular themes of Clinical Excellence, Scholarship, Service and Leadership to affect a positive social change. Students must successfully complete all Level II Fieldwork assignments and the experiential component of the program within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the OTD degree program. In all cases, all graduation requirements including didactic academic coursework, fieldwork and the experiential component, must be completed within 6 years (72 months) of starting the OTD Program."


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 Credits
Human Anatomy & Physiology I with lab (4)
Human Anatomy & Physiology II with lab (4)
Statistics (from a math department or psychology department) (3)
Introduction to Psychology (3)
Abnormal Psychology 3
Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Anthropology (3)
Biology with lab (4)
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.

7) Students need to be aware that felony related charges and convictions may prevent participation in fieldwork experiences. In addition, a criminal record may prevent the student from taking the NBCOT exam and also from becoming licensed. A student should contact NBCOT if there is a prior criminal record that might interfere with eligibility to sit for the national exam.

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