In your investigations, you will find that programs are sometimes organized by lifespan categories such as pediatrics, adults, and older adults. Sometimes programs are organized by sub-specialties of the field such as orthopedics, neuro, hands, and wellness. You will also see programs structured by settings such as school-based practice, community-based practice, and medical model practice. Rather than sub-specialties or lifespan, the Duke OTD program of study is organized according to the enduring ideas of the profession. These are the threads that run throughout all practice areas.
In year one, you will learn why occupation is considered a mechanism of health and various models that guide expert thinking about occupation. Learning will range from the geopolitical factors that influence occupation all the way down to specific body functions that can influence occupation. Then you will learn ways that occupation can be disrupted by events such as acquired disability, stigma, bullying, life transitions, natural disasters, and poorly designed environments. Throughout the entire program of study, you will learn how expert occupational therapists think about, talk to people about, watch people doing occupations, how they analyze what they hear and see, and how they collaborate with clients to create goals. You learn the skills expert occupational therapists use to enable access and participation in occupation. These skills include coaching, adapting, consulting, educating, and designing. Taken together, the skills you learn in Year One constitute the occupational therapy process.
In year two, you learn how expert occupational therapists use the occupational therapy process to impact occupation through interventions targeting groups, organizations, and communities. These skills include creating education programs, conducting program evaluations, designing programs, and conducting research. Also in Year Two, you have the opportunity to customize your program of study through Advanced Practice Courses and Electives.
Year three includes your culminating practice experiences. These include two 12-week Level II Fieldwork experiences and one 14-week Capstone experience.
Please refer to the School of Medicine Bulletin for additional information on courses.
OTD 500 Occupation as a Mechanism of Health
Students study what it means to understand humans and health from an occupational perspective. Students practice identifying and analyzing what people, do and why. The focus is on how multiple factors transact to influence how people engage in and experience occupations. One factor includes how people move during occupation in context. Therefore, the course includes an interdisciplinary and occupation-based anatomy component.. 3 credits
OTD 501 Occupation, Occupational Therapy, & Care Systems
The first course in a three-part series of courses focused on how societal and practice-based contexts have influenced the practices of occupational therapists over time 2 credits
OTD 502 Occupational Science
Students explore the science that is dedicated to generating knowledge about occupation, including how occupational science evolved from occupational therapy over the 20th century and its formalization in the late 20th century. 2 credits
OTD 504 Enabling Occupation Skills I
This is the first course in a of 4-part series of Team-based Learning courses. The series focuses on the skills and processes involved in enabling occupation. In Part I, students learn and develop ten essential skills for enabling occupation paired with the skills of client-centered enablement and applying the occupational therapy process to a range of practice situations. 3 credits
OTD 505 Assembling, Creating, & Translating Knowledge I
Part one of a two-part research series, this course involves an overview of epidemiology as the foundation of public health and as a set of tools that support occupational research that is community-based, community-engaged, and community-empowering. Working collaboratively with a team of peer colleagues and a community partner, students design and implement a research project at the intersection of occupation, diversity, and health. 3 credits
OTD 506 Formation for Service I
This course is Part I of a series that occurs across the curriculum. Formation refers to developing the groundwork for professional identity as an occupational therapist. Developing a professional identity means intentionally forming in oneself the ways of engaging with self, others, and the world that are distinctive to being an occupational therapist. Through the series, students establish the alignment between who they are, their vocation, and occupational therapy's distinct knowledge and contributions. In Part I, students clarify values, beliefs, assumptions, and strengths. They hone skills to carefully observe, listen to, and support others in group and team contexts. They explore philosophical reflections on occupational therapy, critiques of the field, and accounts of the professional identities and formation stories of occupational therapists. 2 credits
OTD 507 Applied Practice Experience (APEx) IA
In this two-week experiential, students apply content from first-semester coursework to simulated practice scenarios, followed by application to practice settings. 1 credit
OTD 508 Occupational Transitions I
This course is one in a four-part, co-occurring series focused on applying the occupational therapy process to situations in which occupations are disrupted. Here, students assess and create interventions for situations where occupation is disrupted by issues in the environment, including physical, social, cultural, virtual, and political environments. 3 credits
OTD 509 Occupational Transitions II
This course is one in a four-part, co-occurring series focused on applying the occupational therapy process to situations in which occupations are disrupted by issues in physical, social, cultural, and political environments. Attention is given to the use of technology and data to assess the impact of environmental disruptions on individuals, groups, communities, and populations and to design and implement environmental interventions.3 credits
OTD 510 Occupational Transitions III
Also part of the four-course series on occupational transitions, students in this course become proficient in administering the OT process with clients whose occupations are disrupted or in transition due to the impacts of health conditions such as mental illness, neurological events, burn injuries, visual impairments, and intellectual or developmental disability. Students also explore the underlying anatomy/neuroanatomy elements of transitions resulting from health-impacting conditions. 3 credits
OTD 511 Enabling Occupation Skills II
Students use the Kawa Model and other models to integrate their learning occurring in the transition series courses addressing occupational transitions due to human development, environments, and health conditions. Students explore client narratives and appreciate the complex contextual elements that enable, support, challenge, limit, and determine what occupations people engage in, how they engage and how they experience occupation. 3 credits
OTD 512 Assembling, Creating, & Translating Knowledge II
In the second course in the two-part research series, students continue to develop and implement research at the intersection of occupation, diversity, and health through a community-engaged research project. Students design and conduct a qualitative study in collaboration with a community partner, analyze the results, and present the findings at a public poster session. 3 credits
OTD 513 Formation for Service II
This course is Part II of a series that occurs across the curriculum. Students consider the formation of a professional identity in relation to service with and alongside others – colleagues, clients, and neighbors. Students explore how frameworks for service, therapeutic use of self, self-empathy, and power dynamics shape their commitment to service as an emerging occupational therapy practitioner. 2 credits
OTD 514 Applied Practice Experience (APEx) IB
In this two-week experiential, students apply content from second semester coursework to simulated practice scenarios, followed by application to practice settings. 1 credit
OTD 515 Innovation and Everyday Leadership
Students analyze the informal ways people innovate and exert leadership on behalf of individuals, communities, populations, and the profession. Students examine their actions through an innovation and leadership lens to identify the ways in which they are everyday leaders. They examine their formal and informal leadership roles and discuss those roles in light of leadership and entrepreneurship theories. Students discover how to influence change in the profession by working with the governance and political processes of various professional organizations. 2 credits
OTD 516 Teaching, Learning, and Change
Students discover learning theory and change theory at the foundation of occupational therapy's longstanding use of education as an intervention. Students create theory- and research-driven education plans that are centered on occupations for patients, clients, fieldwork students, academic students, and the public. 2 credits
OTD 517 Enabling Occupation Skills III
Students integrate content from each co-occurring course through team-based learning. They demonstrate enabling occupation skills that are related to each co-occurring course and continue to conduct the occupational therapy process with individuals across the lifespan, from infancy to advanced old age, communities, and populations. 2 credits
OTD 518 Formation for Service III
Students are formed for service by becoming aware of systemic issues that promote health disparities and occupational disruptions and injustices. Students explore issues of power dynamics, occupational justice, therapeutic use of self, advocacy, and creating partnerships with individuals, groups, and communities to enable flourishing and greater access to and participation in occupation. 1 credit
OTD 519 Applied Practice Experience (APEx) IC
In this two-week experiential, students apply content from third-semester coursework to simulated practice scenarios, followed by application to practice settings. 1 credit
OTD 600 Needs Assessment and Programming to Support Occupation
Students conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, design a program aimed at improving access to and participation in occupation, and write a grant proposal for the proposed program. Students demonstrate and explain occupational therapy’s value and contributions to health outcomes. 3 credits
OTD 601 Occupation and Technology
Students develop practice skills to assess, select and advocate for assistive technologies that can improve the alignment between the occupations someone needs to do, the context in which they do them, and their capacities. 3 credits
OTD 602 Occupation, Occupational Therapy, & Care Systems II
Students develop an understanding of the systems that influence occupational therapy practice in diverse settings These systems include service delivery models, policy, regulatory bodies, reimbursement systems, credentialing requirements, ethics, liability, and expectations for lifelong career development. Emphasis is on how to influence systems as needed in order to create contexts where the value and distinct contribution of occupational therapy to peoples' health and well-being can be fully realized. 2 credits
OTD 603 Enabling Occupation Skills IV
Students develop an understanding of the systems that influence occupational therapy practice in diverse settings. These systems include service delivery models, policy, regulatory bodies, reimbursement systems, credentialing requirements, ethics, liability, and expectations for lifelong career development. Emphasis is on how to influence systems as needed to create contexts where the value and distinct contribution of occupational therapy to people’s health and well-being can be fully realized. 3 credits
OTD 604 Formation for Service IV
This course is part four of a series. Students focus on skills related to lifelong professional development, including the scope of professional responsibilities and accountabilities to entities such as Review Boards, clinical trials, ethics committees, boards of directors, and university systems, as well as regional, state, national, and international OT organizations, interdisciplinary colleagues, and occupational therapy assistants. 2 credits
OTD 606 Capstone Project I
The Duke OTD Capstone is a two-course series followed by a 14-week, in-person capstone experience (after level II fieldwork placements). Throughout the two capstone courses, students start their capstone project and prepare for their capstone experience. This is an applied project course, which means students work collaboratively to design and implement authentic and impactful projects. This course is the culmination of the entire Duke OTD curriculum; an opportunity to explore a topic that is inspiring and meaningful to them. 2 credits
OTD-619 - Applied Practice Experience (APEx) ID
In this two-week experiential, students apply content from their fourth-semester coursework to simulated practice scenarios, followed by application to practice settings.
OTD- 607 Advanced Practice Course I
In this 5-week course, students use the occupational therapy process to analyze and adapt occupations to optimize 5 performance and promote health and well-being. The course deepens understanding of activity analysis and the person-environment-occupation transaction and enables students to address performance challenges with adaptive interventions, including adaptive devices, compensatory strategies, environmental modifications, and graded approaches to ADLs. The process is applicable to optimizing all areas of occupation, including education, work, instrumental activities of daily living, and others. Students provide interventions that are occupation-based, grounded in evidence, and culturally competent.
OTD - 608 Advanced Practice Course II
In this 5-week course, students use the occupational therapy process to address UE function and improve participation in occupation through remediation and compensatory approaches. The course reviews assessments and occupational performance analysis skills gained in former OTD courses. These skills are integrated with new health conditions, interventions, and psychosocial issues. Interventions include activities to prepare clients for occupation such as therapeutic activities, therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education, custom orthoses, and physical agents (i.e., ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and superficial hot/cold). Interventions also include the use of adaptive devices and task modification to support and challenge UE movement capacities.
OTD - 609 Advanced Practice Course III
In this 5-week course, students use the occupational therapy process to assess cognition and reduce/increase cognitive load through remediation and compensatory approaches. The course reviews activity analysis and occupational performance analysis, with particular attention to identifying process skills and mental functions. While the course primarily addresses cognitive rehabilitation and habilitation, the process is applicable to optimizing all client factors such as motor skills, visual skills, and others. Students provide interventions that are occupation-based, grounded in evidence, and culturally competent.
OTD 612 Comprehensive Assessment and Management of Practice
In this course, students begin the transition to the responsibilities of a practicing occupational therapist. Through a supervised team approach, students complete the full OT process with community volunteer clients. Students assess volunteers' occupational supports and needs, plan and implement interventions to optimize occupational engagement, establish a discharge plan, complete documentation, and practice billing for services. This course builds upon earlier foundational experiences in APEx and coursework to further develop professional reasoning, therapeutic use of self, evidence-based practice, and enabling skills in preparation for Level II Fieldwork. 3 credits
OTD 616 Formation for Service V
This course is Part V of a series that occurs across the curriculum. In this final course, students explore tools to support their resiliency as emerging occupational therapists. Students consider stewardship as a framework for serving clients facing occupational transitions, injustices, or disruptions. Students create a professional development plan for their upcoming year of Level II Fieldwork and Capstone experiences. 2 credits
OTD 617 Capstone Project II
The Duke OTD Capstone is a two-course series followed by a 14-week, in-person capstone experience. Students synthesize knowledge, skills, and dispositions gained across the curriculum to design a self-selected project implemented after Level II fieldwork placements. 3 credits
OTD 611 Customized Learning Project
This course is a seminar-style discussion to frame customized learning projects (CLP) from an occupational perspective. Students can complete a chosen project in line with their interests anytime across their didactic coursework and receive credit for the project through this seminar. Students define an occupational perspective and determine how this perspective guides the design and implementation of their CLP. Credit is determined by how extensive experience was and course completion. (20 hours = 1 credit, 40 hours = 2 credits, 60+ hours = 3 credits)
OTD - 620 Occupational Justice and Social Entrepreneurship
Students explore the synergies between occupational justice and social entrepreneurship in response to state and local occupational injustices and challenges. They generate strategies and occupation-centered options to mitigate and eliminate social ills. Students are inspired and empowered by the passion, stories, and prosocial concerns of successful occupational therapy social entrepreneurs who are part of their knowledge community. The course culminates in a juried presentation of a proposed occupation-centered social enterprise or innovation for the local community.
OTD 621 - Becoming an OT Social Entrepreneur
Students explore personal and professional prosocial concerns, values, and priorities and examine the relationship between these factors and social entrepreneurship as a career path. Students design a strategic plan for pursuing occupation-centered social entrepreneurship based on self-assessment, coaching, and advisory feedback
OTD - 622 - Introduction to Low-Vision Rehab
This course focuses on occupational therapy's role in vision rehabilitation services. Students study the history of low vision rehabilitation, basic anatomy and diseases of the eye that are associated with low vision, evaluation tools, and therapeutic approaches. Students learn to use visual, non-visual, optical, and technology strategies to support occupational engagement for people with low vision.
OTD - 623 -Occupational Therapy in Acute Care
Acute and critical care occupational therapists enable clients to engage in chosen and meaningful occupations in preparation for the next level of care. In this course, students learn a systems-based approach to addressing occupations impacted by medical complexities for diverse populations.
OTD 624- Spirituality and Religion in Occupational Therapy
This course examines spirituality and religion in health care and occupational therapy practice. Students acquire methods of assessing spiritual strengths and needs as well as approaches that consider spirituality as a person's relationship with themselves, other people, and the transcendent. Learners explore religious occupations and develop skills related to assessment, intervention, ethical discernment, and clinical reasoning to address spiritual and religious concerns in OT practice.
OTD Level II Fieldwork IIA - 12 weeks
Students complete a 12-week full-time fieldwork experience.
OTD 701 - Fieldwork IIB - 14 weeks
Students complete a 12-week practice, 2 didactic
OTD-700 - Capstone Experience - 14 weeks
Students complete a 14-week capstone experience.