The OTD Curriculum

How to Choose an OTD Program

Dr. Barb Hooper, Founding Program Director and Division Chief, Duke Occupational Therapy Doctorate, talks about the Duke OTD curriculum and the key things to consider when choosing an OTD program.

No two occupational therapy programs are the same.

Yes, all programs have to meet minimum standards for accreditation but how those standards are met, and what additional opportunities you will have beyond the minimum, varies from program to program. What are the criteria, then, that will help you choose a program that is right for you? We think these ten criteria are important in selecting a high-quality educational experience:

  1. How the curriculum was developed and why it was developed that way is clear to you;
  2. The program’s view of occupational therapy is clear and compelling; this view is manifest in the program’s vision and inspires you;
  3. The vision, mission, aim, and outcomes for the program all align with each other;
  4. The program’s desires for who you will become as a result of your studies (these are usually expressed in the program outcomes) matches how you want to develop as a professional;
  5. There is intentional integration of coursework and direct experiences through fieldwork, simulation, engagement with the community and profession, and your life experiences before OT school;
  6. The learning community is broad and diverse;
  7. The learning approach matches how you learn;
  8. You get a sense that people care about each other;
  9. There is a commitment to growing the evidence-based practices and inquiry of occupational therapy and occupational science.
  10. You are convinced that people are passionate about occupation as the core idea of occupational therapy and that idea energizes the whole education program