The Occupational Therapy Program offers a curriculum leading to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.) degree. This full-time, continuous, entry-level doctoral curriculum is designed to deliver the academic and clinical education required to prepare students for their professional role as key members of the healthcare team and as integral practitioners in the healthcare delivery system. The curriculum for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is a continuous, full-time program, extending 33 months from matriculation to graduation, with a maximum completion time of 49.5 months. It is also required that all Level II fieldwork and doctoral experiential internship requirements must be fulfilled within 16.5 months of completion of the didactic portion of the program.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program offers a balanced combination of foundational, clinical, research, and experiential coursework designed to foster therapists who are self-directed, thoughtful, and caring professionals. Approximately two-thirds of the 160 curriculum credits are devoted to courses that are centered on the processes and practice of occupational therapy, including fieldwork experiences and the doctoral capstone and internship courses. The remaining one-third of the credits include content focused on research, leadership, and professional development, and program development. Fieldwork Level I experiences are simultaneous with the occupational therapy practice courses to emphasize psychosocial contributions to occupational engagement. This strong curricular framework succeeds in preparing graduates who are practice leaders in occupational therapy.
Occupational Therapist Role
As an occupational therapist, you are trained to provide treatment and services that help individuals of all ages — infants to the elderly — regain, develop, or master everyday skills so they may live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. You'll assess your clients' physical and mental challenges and develop a plan to address the activities of daily living that suit them best, focusing first on critical daily routines such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating. Client plans then may be expanded to include education, caring for a home and family, or finding and holding a job.
Learn more about the requirements and find quick links to relevant catalog content to guide you in your application process.
Individuals applying for admission to the College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program must submit documentation for the following minimum requirements before the academic year commences for the incoming class:
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Grades of C or better for prerequisite coursework; grades of C- are not acceptable.
- Completion of the minimum number of prerequisite courses in the prescribed subject areas at regionally accredited colleges or universities.
- Satisfaction of the standards set forth by the Admissions Committee (including documentation of academic and professional promise in prospective students).
- Completion of the Occupational Therapy Program's interview process. On-campus interviews are by invitation only. Applicants are invited to an interview based on evidence supportive of excellence in:
- Academic achievement
- Oral and written communication skills
- Articulation of the domain and scope of OT practice
- Community service
- Leadership in extracurricular or other activities
- Completion of a first aid course within the three years prior to enrollment.
- Current certification by the American Heart Association in Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers.
- Demonstration of a people or service orientation through community service or extracurricular activities.
- Motivation for and commitment to healthcare as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer work, or other life experiences.
- Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with clients and colleagues.
- Commitment to abide by Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
- Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check.
Admission Requirements Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the minimum GPA required for admission?
- You are required to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Grades of C or better are required for prerequisite coursework; grades of C- are not acceptable. The average GPA of our applicants is 3.4.
Do I need to take the GRE?
- No, GRE scores are not required to apply.
What prerequisite courses do I need to take?
- You can view all required prerequisite courses, and all other application requirements, in the Course Catalog
Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses before I submit my application?
- You do not have to have your prerequisites completed prior to applying to the program. All of your courses must be complete before matriculation into the program.
Does it matter when I completed my prerequisites or when I obtained my baccalaureate degree?
- It does not matter how recently you earned your degree. In fact, we encourage people to apply who are considering a career change, or may be returning to graduate school after an absence. However, it is required that the Anatomy and Physiology courses have been completed within the previous five years.
What are the undergraduate majors of your students?
- There is no specific major required for our program, as long as all of the prerequisite courses are completed. Our students have baccalaureate degrees in all areas, with the most common being psychology, kinesiology, and exercise science. We encourage students from diverse academic backgrounds to apply; many of our students majored in areas such as business, art, and English.
What are the most important qualifications that you look for in an applicant?
- We look for applicants who are well-rounded and have a strong history of academic excellence, a commitment to service, and experience in leadership roles. We look for applicants who are person-centered and who are sensitive to individuals or groups who experience disability, social stigma, or limited access to healthcare.
Are there certain settings you prefer my OT observations to be in? How many hours of observations do I need?
- We do not require a certain number or type of OT observations. We prefer applicants to observe or experience OT in diverse settings to ensure that the applicant understands the variety of settings and practice within OT. We also encourage applicants to consider opportunities to observe in other healthcare and social service fields where they will encounter diverse populations.
The curriculum for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is a continuous, full-time program, extending 33 months from matriculation to graduation. The maximum allotted time for completion of this program is 49.5 months. It is also required that all Level II fieldwork and successful completion of a competency requirement be accomplished prior to the commencement of a 14-week, full-time doctoral internship.
The general education, professional training, experience, and personal character development of occupational therapists uniquely prepare them to respond to and meet the needs of individuals who face challenges participating in their daily lives.
To qualify for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree (OTD), students must:
- Satisfactorily complete all courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher;
- Satisfactorily complete the required minimum number of 160 credit hours in the curriculum;
- Receive a favorable recommendation for Doctorate degree conferral from the Program faculty to the Program Student Academic Review Committee and from this committee to the CHS Student Promotion and Graduation Committee;
- Receive a favorable recommendation for Doctorate degree conferral from the University Faculty Senate;
- Settle all financial accounts with the University; and
- Complete all graduation clearance requirements as instructed by the Office of the Registrar.
For the 2023-2024 school year, the cost of tuition is $50,603. The total cost of tuition and fees is $51,406. For all 33 months of attendance, the total cost of tuition and fees is $154,218. For all 33 months of attendance, the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, books, food, housing, transportation, and other expenses, ranges from $230,950 (living with parents) to $271,375 (living off campus).
For detailed information about the total cost of attendance, visit the Cost of Attendance section on the Student Financial Services website. The total cost of attendance figures includes tuition/fees, estimates for books, supplies, and living expenses, etc.
Tuition rates are subject to change each academic year for all enrolled students. Visit the Tuition & Fees page for important information regarding tuition.
Visit the Leave of Absence, Withdrawal Notification, and Refund Policy page for the policy and procedure for leave of absence, withdrawal and refund.
For the Student Financial Services contact information, visit the Financial Aid page.
- Female: 87%
- Male: 13%
- Average overall GPA: 3.40
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 graduate will be an occupational therapist, registered (OTR).
In addition, all states require licensure 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.
As an occupational therapist, you are trained to provide treatment and services that help individuals of all ages — infants to elderly — regain, develop, or master everyday skills so they may live independent, productive, and satisfying lives. You'll assess your clients' physical and mental challenges and develop a plan to address the activities of daily living that suit them best, focusing first on critical daily routines such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating. Client plans then may be expanded to include education, caring for a home and family, or finding and holding a job.
Your education as an occupational therapist typically includes a bachelor's degree in fields such as biology, kinesiology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, liberal arts, or anatomy. All of those subjects, in addition to strong communication skills, a desire to help others, and actual experience working with people with disabilities, are valuable to the performance of your future profession. Fieldwork assignments provide the opportunity to put your classroom instruction into practice and learn the expectations of the profession under the guidance and model of an experienced practitioner. Your entry-level professional study prepares you to be a generalist first; you may decide to specialize at any time during your career.
Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings, including public schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, mental health centers, nursing homes, long-term care and psychiatric facilities, physician offices, outpatient rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, community health programs, and private practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for occupational therapists to increase at a faster than average rate of 24 percent through 2026.
The president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) was cited by Monster.com describing "six hot OT practice areas," including:
- Support for 'aging in place,' including assisted living, home safety, and home modification
- Driver assessments and training programs, including low-vision rehabilitation
- Community health and wellness, such as Alzheimer's disease, caregiver training, disease management, and life skills training
- Addressing the needs of children and youth
- Ergonomics, design, and accessibility consulting
- Technology and assistive-device development and consulting
If you want to be the type of healthcare professional who sees a whole person rather than a symptom or illness; someone who gets to know your patients as people and wants to be involved in your community; someone who is compassionate, has a healing touch, and communicates well; and someone who enjoys knowing a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, a career in occupational therapy may be just right for you.
Sources: American Occupational Therapy Association; http://ExploreHealthCareers.org; US News & World Report, August 17, 2008; OT Practice, January 2005
The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA, and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.
Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411.
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(One student voluntarily withdrew from the program.)
(Two students voluntarily withdrew from the program.)
(One student voluntarily withdrew from the program.)
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NBCOT Exam Passing Rates
Visit the NBCOT School Performance page for passing percentage rates by school.
View our presentations to learn more about Occupational Therapy.
Anja Goetten, College of Health Sciences - Occupational Therapy, Illinois, Class of 2024
“My faculty have set a great example for me. I aspire to be as wonderful as they are one day!”
Remon Basely, College of Health Sciences-Downers Grove, OT Program
"The faculty members are actually treating us as future colleagues."