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Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Development of the Occupational Therapy Doctor (OTD) 

In response to rapidly changing environment within occupational therapy, WVU has initiated the process of developing an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program to complement its 2+3 MOT Program. The OTD is in the "applicant stage” of accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). This is the first stage of the accreditation process and involves curriculum development, admissions standards, and all aspects of program development and evaluation. Students can apply to the OTD program within the established application period but cannot be admitted or notified of admission into the program until candidacy status is obtained (anticipated December 2020). For additional information on accreditation, please see below. Interested students should also review ACOTE’s Prospective Applicant Letter.   

The Division of Occupational Therapy anticipates accepting their first cohort of doctoral students in December 2020 to begin classes May 2021. Students entering WVU in the fall of 2019 or later who want to pursue the OTD degree must complete an undergraduate degree, apply to the OTD program, and be accepted into the program before beginning classes in the OT program. For WVU students, the OTD track within the Exercise Physiology major will contain all of the pre-requisite courses needed to enter the OTD. Students from other majors from WVU or from other institutions who have completed the pre-requisite courses are encouraged to apply.

The program will remain competitive and a limited number of students will be admitted.  Students will still have to complete volunteer hours, get recommendations and, if selected, interview for one of the spots in the class.  

The West Virginia University entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation 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 30852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates 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). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

The timeline for the Accreditation process for the OTD is as follows:

August 14 - Candidacy Application Due

December 2020 - ACOTE Candidacy Application Decision

December 2020 - Student may be notified of acceptance into the program

May 2021 - First Class Starts

November 1, 2022 - Initial Report of Self-Study Due

April 2023 - ACOTE Decision on Pre-accreditation Review of Self-Study

June 2023 - First Class Begins Level II Fieldwork

August-November 2023 - Initial On-Site Evaluation Time frame

December 2023 - ACOTE Review of ROSE and Accreditation Decision

January 2024 - First Class Begins Doctoral-Level Capstone Component

May 2024 - First Class Graduates

2024 - NBCOT Certification Examination