In the Occupational Therapy Program, you will learn how to improve the daily lives of your patients through responsive, compassionate, and evidence-based treatments.  We're focused on providing you with the right balance of student-centered coursework and diverse clinical experiences to build your future as a key member of the healthcare team. Our caring faculty experts continue to practice in the field and are able to provide the education and mentorship you need to succeed as an occupational therapist in a wide-range of settings.

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Fast Facts



Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0

Length of Program

33 months, full-time

Class Size


2019 Class Profiles (Class of 2021)

  • Female: 45 (90%)
  • Male: 5 (10%)
  • Average Age: 23
  • Average Overall GPA: 3.6
  • In-State: 46 (92%)

Occupational Therapist Professional Responsibilities

  • Evaluation and treatment
  • Screening and education
  • Consultation
  • Research
  • Administration

Fieldwork Academic Education and Doctoral Internship

Occupational Therapy students are provided a number of different experiential opportunities during the course of the program.  Three Level I Fieldwork rotations are concurrent with the Practice courses (Children, Adults, Psychosocial) within the second year of the curriculum.  Level II rotations are full-time for 12 weeks each during the second and third years of the curriculum, prior to the Doctoral Internship.  The Doctoral Internship is a 16-week, full-time experience toward the end of the third year of the curriculum.

Graduation Rate

The total number of graduates from the Midwestern University Master of Occupational Therapy program during the 3-year period of 2016-2018 was 143 with an overall graduation rate of 95%.

Graduation Year Student

National Certification Exam Scores

The three-year pass rate for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination is 100%. Program results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) can be found online at

Career Opportunities

Occupational Therapists provide evaluation and intervention, education, consultation, management, wellness and prevention services. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association*, occupational therapists work in Skilled Nursing Facilities, Pediatrics, Rehabilitation, School Systems, Acute Care, Geriatrics, Home Health, Orthopedics, Mental health, OT Professional Education and/or Research.

*American Occupational Therapy Association,

Licensure Requirements

Occupational Therapy is a registered and/or licensed profession in all 50 states. To become licensed to practice as an occupational therapist in most states (including Illinois), a student must graduate from an ACOTE-accredited or approved educational program and pass the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Most states (including Illinois) require status as an occupational therapist registered (OTR) to become a licensed occupational therapist (OTR/L). A prior felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT Certification Exam or attain state licensure.

Job Placement

100% of the students who graduated obtained positions as occupational therapists.

Time to Employment

Graduates obtain positions as occupational therapists within four months of completion.

US Employment Projections through 2024

Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the the average for all occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018-19 Edition, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet at (visited January 12, 2019).

Median Annual Salary

The median annual salary of occupational therapists was $83,200 in May, 2017. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018-19 Edition, Occupational Therapists, on the Internet at (visited January 12, 2019).

Admission Requirements


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:

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. 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.
  3. Completion of the minimum number of prerequisite courses in the prescribed subject areas at regionally accredited colleges or universities.
  4. Satisfaction of the standards set forth by the Admissions Committee (including documentation of academic and professional promise in prospective students).
  5. 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
  1. Completion of a first aid course within the three years prior to enrollment.
  2. Current certification by the American Heart Association in Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers.
  3. Demonstration of a people or service orientation through community service or extracurricular activities.
  4. Motivation for and commitment to healthcare as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer work, or other life experiences.
  5. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with clients and colleagues.
  6. Commitment to abide by Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
  7. Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check.

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Prerequisite Courses

Students must complete these courses with a grade of C or better; grades of C- are not acceptable:

Course Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
Human Anatomy1, 234
Child Development34
Sociology of Aging or Psychology of Aging34
Abnormal Psychology34
Other Social and Behavioral Sciences34


1The Anatomy and Physiology requirements may also be fulfilled by taking Anatomy and Physiology I and Anatomy and Physiology II, as some universities offer combined courses.

2Human Anatomy must be completed successfully within 5 years of admission to the Program. The lab component with cadaver experience is strongly recommended.

Additional courses in the sciences and mathematics are recommended, including chemistry, physiology, physics, and biology. General education electives are also recommended to demonstrate competency in English composition, oral communication, problem-solving behavior, logic, and ethical theories.

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Program Description


The Occupational Therapy Program was awarded Candidacy status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in August, 2016; the Program will offer a curriculum leading to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree for qualified students which replaces the professionally accredited entry level master's degree that the program has awarded since 1995.  The entry-level OTD 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 practice leaders 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.  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 16-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.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program offers a balanced combination of foundational, experiential, research, and program development coursework designed to foster practice leaders who will meet the occupational needs of individuals and communities through compassionate, innovative, and evidence-informed practice.  The Program will provide students with a thorough complement of coursework.  Of the 160 required credits in the curriculum, approximately one-third are earned in foundational OT process and practice courses; one-third are focused on research, professional praxis, leadership and program development courses; and one-third of the credits are concentrated on experiential coursework. The strong curricular framework succeeds in preparing graduates who are able to enter the profession of occupational therapy and make a difference in the world.

The Occupational Therapy Program is open on a competitive admission basis to applicants who have received a baccalaureate degree in any field, but who have not completed an accredited Occupational Therapy program.  The Program does not accept students who transfer from another Occupational Therapy program. The curriculum is designed to prepare entry-level practitioners to provide occupational therapy services in the home, community, and clinical practice settings that require independent judgment, leadership, and self-directed practice. The Program provides the foundation for graduates to identify and contribute to effecting solutions to excellence in healthcare for individuals of varied ages, diagnoses, and occupational challenges as well as influencing the academic and clinical education of future practitioners.  The graduates of the Program will be practice leaders who are well-suited and prepared to make meaningful, ongoing contributions to society, healthcare, and the profession through leadership and collaborative efforts with others in occupational therapy and interprofessional education, practice and research.

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program, graduates are expected to: 

  1. Deliver evidence-informed, occupation-based and occupation-focused services to individuals and groups to promote health, well-being and quality of life.
  2. Meet the occupational needs of culturally and socially diverse individuals and communities through advocacy and leadership.
  3. Develop and implement innovative programs for occupational therapy services in traditional and emerging areas of practice.
  4. Engage in clinical research to facilitate promotion and dissemination of knowledge.
  5. Uphold the ethical standards, values and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession in one's work, service, and ongoing professional development.

These outcomes are accomplished through:

  1. A curriculum model based on intentionally sequenced courses that serve as vital links between application, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  2. Intentional dynamic integration of authentic clinical experiences across the curriculum.
  3. Critical application of current research and available evidence to improve occupational therapy practice and contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.
  4. Occupation-focused coursework and fieldwork experiences designed to embrace critical and ethical reasoning across the lifespan.
  5. Collaboration to facilitate individual and group work to develop leadership, team building, and professional skills, behaviors and attitudes.

Planned Program Improvements

The Occupational Therapy Program will fulfill the requirements for accreditation in 2019 including submission of the complete self-study and the on-site visit by representatives of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

New Training Opportunity


The Midwestern University Occupational Therapy Program is pleased to announce a training program, Tiered Occupational Therapy (TOT): Preparing Scholars to Work in School Mental Health. The TOT is a federally-funded, one-year intensive training program designed to prepare highly qualified Doctoral-level OT scholars to work within school communities to address the mental health needs of children and youth. Scholars admitted to the TOT program will receive a sizable stipend to off-set their education, and will agree to work in schools or early intervention for two years after graduation.

For more information about the TOT Program, please contact Lisa Mahaffey, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, TOT Project Director, at



The Midwestern University 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) 652-6611, x2914 and its Web address is

Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411.

Campus Safety


Students on the Downers Grove Campus benefit from a safe and secure suburban learning environment. Located 25 miles west of Chicago, our beautiful gated campus features 105-acres of wooded land and provides students with excellent living and learning opportunities. In addition, the University maintains a strong record of campus safety and has earned several partnership and citizen awards from local fire and police departments.

At Midwestern University, the safety and security of all members of our academic community is a top priority. For more information about our campus safety statistics, visit the national Campus Safety and Security database at

Diane Baldemor is a 2014 graduate of the Physical Therapy Program.

Safi Mohammed, College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM), Class of 2014.

Chessa Calabrese is a proud member of the inaugural class of the College of Dental Medicine-Illinois.

Phil Huang, D.O., is a 2012 graduate of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Tolu Akinwale is a 2013 graduate in the Chicago College of Pharmacy, where he has learned to provide pharmaceutical care in a wide range of community and institutional settings.

Allison Rushing, D.P.T., is a 2012 graduate of the Physical Therapy Program on the Downers Grove Campus.

I cannot wait to be a practitioner who will be able to utilize my understanding of patients’ occupations in therapy in order to help them to live life to the fullest.

Zachary Karlinski is a student in the Chicago College of Pharmacy.