Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health care profession in which therapists work with people whose abilities to manage everyday tasks of living are affected by developmental deficits, the aging process, environmental barriers, physical injury or illness, or psychosocial issues. Occupational therapists are in high demand across the country as critical caregivers in today’s rapidly growing health care system. The profession offers many opportunities for a career rich in both meaning and reward.

Occupational therapists help individuals of all ages identify and return to the occupations and activities that are important to them. The word occupation refers to how people use time, or are occupied in their daily lives. Occupational therapists assist people to adapt old methods or learn new strategies so they can participate in valued life activities and roles after illness or injury. OTs are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, homecare, schools, private practice, and community agencies.

The MS in Occupational Therapy at Sage is the only master-level Occupational Therapy Program in New York’s Capital Region accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Qualified men and women who possess a bachelor’s degree and who fulfill the prerequisite courses for the Occupational Therapy Program may apply directly through the Sage Graduate School. Students can complete the 80-credit program in just over two years, including a research project and six months of full time fieldwork. Upon successful completion of academic, research and fieldwork courses, students are awarded an MS degree in Occupational Therapy and are eligible to sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) that leads to national certification and eligibility for state licensure.

The Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) at Russell Sage College is the only doctoral-level Occupational Therapy Program in New York’s Capital Region.  The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program at Russell Sage College is registered with the New York State Education Department and has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Qualified men and women who possess a bachelor’s degree and who fulfill the prerequisite courses for the Occupational Therapy Program may apply directly through the Sage Graduate School. Students can complete the 100-credit program in three years, including a research project, six months of full time fieldwork and the Doctoral Capstone Experience. Upon successful completion of academic, research fieldwork courses, and the Capstone Experience, students are awarded an entry-level Doctoral degree (OTD) in Occupational Therapy and are eligible to sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) that leads to national certification and eligibility for state licensure.

Program Accreditation

Russell Sage College's Occupational Therapy program is registered with the New York State Education Department and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929.  You may contact ACOTE by phone at (301) 652-6611 and by visiting www.acoteonline.org. The most recent reaccreditation was granted in December 2016. Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the national certification exam that is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice occupational therapy; however state licenses are usually based on the results of the national certification exam. A felony conviction may affect a student’s placement in fieldwork settings, or a graduate’s ability to sit for the certification exam or to attain state licensure.

Mission and Philosophy

MIssion - The Sage Occupational Therapy Program encourages students to be self-directed and engaged actively in their learning.  The program provides opportunities for reflective practice and critical inquiry with vibrant problem solving.  We emphasize experiential learning that builds occupation-based clinical reasoning practices explicitly linking the person, environment and occupation.  Our graduates will occupy diverse workforce roles and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals, populations and society.

Philosophy - In occupational therapy, we believe in the positive relationship between occupation and health. Occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life (WFOT, 2012). Occupations carry both practical and symbolic significance, and include things people need to, want to and are expected to do.

Occupations can be observed by others, occur over time, have purpose and meaning, occur in context, and are influenced by a person’s performance patterns, performance skills, and underlying client factors (AOTA, 2020).

The Russell Sage College Occupational Therapy Program recognizes engagement in occupations as the core of individual, community, and societal well-being.

Occupational engagement occurs within complex relational systems that provide connection to other persons and environments. The curriculum design of the program emphasizes the contextualized lived experiences of individuals and the intricate nature of occupational engagement. The Person-Environment-Occupation model serves as the theoretical framework for the program.

In accord with the Russell Sage College mission, “To be, to know, to do,” occupations are vehicles for doing, becoming, and knowing in the world.

References

Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process—Fourth Edition. (2020). American Journal Occupational Therapy 2020;74 (Supplement_2):7412410010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S2001

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2018). Philosophy of occupational therapy education. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(Suppl. 2), 7212410070. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.72S201

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2017). Philosophical base of occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(Suppl. 2), 7112410045. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.716S06

World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2012). Definition of Occupational Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.wfot.org/about-occupational-therapy.

Occupational Therapy Curriculum Design

The occupational therapy curriculum emphasizes the person, environment and occupation relationship and incorporates an experiential approach that focuses on students engaging as active learners.  Foundation and upper level clinical courses promote an understanding of the dynamic relationship between health, well-being and occupational engagement for a person’s ability to participate in valued life activities and roles.  Students are immersed in learning opportunities to both promote clinical reasoning skills and develop a systemic view of health and service delivery system. The curriculum model is organized around three elements: Foundations and Professional Identity, Evaluation and Intervention in Practice Settings, and Professional Responsibility and Research. It is further supported by three major themes that are infused throughout coursework: Person-Environment-Occupation Relationship, Therapeutic Use of Self, and Entry Level Practice.

Foundations & Professional Identity

Foundational courses provide students with a basis for understanding the distinct occupational perspective and how the profession contributes to health promotion and participation in society.  The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework is introduced along with the major practice models and theoretical frameworks that define the language and philosophy of occupational therapy.  Students explore the intersection of the areas of occupation, client factors, performance skills and patterns as well as context and environment.

Evaluation & Intervention in Practice Settings

Evaluation and intervention courses focus on a variety of service delivery models and provide a framework for developing client-centered intervention.  The application of practice models within this content guides the development of critical thinking. Students engage in case driven labs and fieldwork experiences to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to clinical settings, in order to hone clinical reasoning skills, and achieve entry level competence.

Professional Responsibility & Research

Students learn about the roles and associated responsibilities of the OT profession through coursework that addresses occupational therapy service delivery, advocacy, ethics and health policy administration.  A multi-course research sequence prepares students for scholarly inquiry guiding them to become evidence-based practitioners.  Working collaboratively with faculty, and clinic and community-based sites, student teams develop and implement research studies whose outcomes augment current literature and meet the information needs of research partners.  The culminating requirement is a presentation at the annual Graduate Research Symposium. Through these experiences, students develop the broad perspective required for promoting and providing best practice.

Supporting Themes

Person-Environment-Occupation Relationship

Students explore how factors related to the person, environment and occupation impact health, well-being and participation in society.  Throughout the curriculum students engage in scholarly inquiry, case-based learning, and field experiences with persons, groups and organizations. Together these learning activities assist students to analyze the elements that promote occupational performance.

Therapeutic Use of Self

Students develop skills in forming therapeutic relationships through experiences that foster self-awareness, personal maturity, and effective communication.  Emphasis on client-centered practice supports the student’s ability to engage in a collaborative intervention process.

Entry Level Practice

Entry level practice as an occupational therapist is facilitated through the development of critical thinking skills, therapeutic use of self, and professionalism. The application of ethics, evidence-based practice, and clinical reasoning are woven throughout coursework and fieldwork experiences.  Students develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for best practice.

Fieldwork

Students complete five part-time and full-time fieldwork experiences to refine clinical reasoning and therapeutic skills while working with clients. Level I fieldwork involves three multi-week experiences in clinical settings integrated within first- and second-year coursework. Level II fieldwork involves two full time, 12-week internships during the summer and fall following the second year of study. These affiliations give students the opportunity to practice the clinical skills learned in the classroom in occupational therapy settings under appropriate supervision. The expected outcome of Level II fieldwork is entry-level therapist performance and independent practice.  Sage maintains a working relationship with 500 clinical sites located throughout the country.

Doctoral Capstone Experience (OTD Only)

The Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE) is an individually designed, thorough, student experience in a practice setting in one or more of the following areas of study: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development.  It requires students to construct an individualized learning plan with specific objectives designed to meet planned outcomes. Practice settings will be consistent with the program’s curriculum design. Each setting will provide supervision for the student appropriate to the setting and as agreed upon in collaboration with the student’s Faculty Mentor and the Capstone Coordinator. The student will be mentored by an individual with expertise consistent with the student’s area of focus (this supervising individual may or may not be physically located within the practice setting and may or may not be provided by an occupational therapist).

The DCE may be completed within the Capital District or elsewhere as opportunities present themselves that meet the goals and objectives identified in the student’s individualized learning plan.  Final determination for Capstone site will be completed through advisement with the Doctoral Capstone Coordinator.

Faculty

Students enjoy an excellent student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 that facilitates personal attention and close working relationships. The Russell Sage Occupational Therapy faculty are specialists in the fields of pediatrics, psychosocial practice, rehabilitation, gerontology and research. To ensure fresh program content delivery, Sage faculty are engaged in scholarly work and clinical practice in addition to their teaching responsibilities. Sage professors hold advanced certification in pediatrics, neurorehabilitation, sensory integration, neurodevelopmental treatment, and hand therapy. Faculty doctoral degrees and advanced study include occupational therapy, chronic illness, expressive arts, education, ethics, maternal health and pediatrics. They are able to bring new ideas and technologies into the classroom, and expose students to contemporary practice in their respective therapy specialties. Students also benefit from faculty expertise through collaboration in ongoing research projects.

OT Program Outcome Statements

At the conclusion of the occupational therapy educational program, students will:

Foundations & Professional Identity

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of the profession, the scope and role of occupational therapy within the health delivery system, and its contributions to health promotion, wellness and participation in society.
  • Establish and sustain client centered therapeutic relationships.
  • Function in the generalist role and assume a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Develop professional behaviors, attitudes and actions reflective of ethical standards and values.
  • Demonstrate a strong command of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework language when communicating effectively in writing or speaking to a variety of audiences.
  • Advocate for the profession and the people we serve through active participation and membership in community and professional organizations.

Evaluation & Intervention in Practice Settings

  • Value culture and other person-environment factors in developing meaningful interventions across clinical and community settings.
  • Apply knowledge of the relationship of theory to practice using theoretical models and frames of reference to guide clinical reasoning.
  • Distinguish and use appropriate screening and assessment methods to determine client goals and document the need to refer to other disciplines as indicated.
  • Develop and implement occupation-based intervention plans that support the client’s ability to return to desired habits, routines, roles, and rituals within their environment.
  • Document services to ensure accountability and meet standards for reimbursement.
  • Work cooperatively with members of interprofessional teams and other stakeholders within the health delivery system.

Professional Responsibility & Research

  • Integrate knowledge of state, federal and professional standards and regulations that shape community and clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate skills in the management of occupational therapy services including supervision and an understanding of the health care team, budgeting and reimbursement and leadership.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the occupational therapy scope of practice through legislative advocacy, consumer education and knowledge of trends and opportunities.
  • Critically analyze research literature to make evidence-based decisions and engage in scholarly activities that contribute to best practice
  • Apply current research methods to design and execute a novel research study.

Additionally, OTD students will:

  • Demonstrate ability to analyze and adapt environments to promote occupational health and wellness.
  • Develop an understanding of healthcare policy’s impact on occupational therapy scope of practice, in relation to trends as well as state, federal and professional standards
  • Develop understanding of reimbursement regulations and the role legislative advocacy to or for the profession.
  • Reflect and develop leadership style in relation to management of occupational therapy services including an understanding of healthcare teams, supervision and evaluation of occupational therapy services.
  • Establish a professional development plan that articulates professional leadership and scholarship goals, including exploration of diverse roles such as lifelong learner, collaborator, entrepreneur, innovator and advocate.
  • Reflectively integrate research evidence into occupation-based practice with clients and communities, through critical analysis of current literature, execution of a novel research study and engagement in scholarly activities that contribute to best practice.

OT Program Curricular Objectives

Foundations and Professional Identity
  1. Demonstrates consistent personal and professional ethical behavior
  2. Demonstrates positive interpersonal and interprofessional skills
  3. Communicates the values and beliefs of OT to clients, staff and family
  4. Demonstrates beginning use of professional OT language
  5. Seeks and responds constructively to feedback
  6. Takes responsibility for own learning
Evaluation and Intervention in Practice Settings
  1. Adheres to safety regulations in regard to safety of self and others
  2. Demonstrates ability to establish rapport with clients and team members
  3. Demonstrates respect for diversity factors and lifestyle choices of others
  4. Analyzes impact of person-environment factors on OT evaluation and intervention
  5. Selects appropriate screening and assessment tools based on client need, context and environment
  6. Refers to specialists for consultation and intervention
  7. Uses standardized and non-standardized screening and assessment tools appropriately
  8. Uses theories, practice models, and frames of reference to guide and inform evaluation and intervention
  9. Makes informed practice decisions based on critical analyses of the evidence
  10. Develops and implements occupational based interventions based on appropriate theoretical approach and client needs
  11. Demonstrates skills in supervising and collaborating with OTAs
  12. Documents services and maintains records to ensure accountability and meet reimbursement and facility standards
  13. Demonstrates knowledge and compliance with reimbursement mechanisms
  14. Monitors and reassesses the effect of OT intervention and need for continued or modified services
  15. Develops discharge plans and terminates OT services as appropriate
  16. Report evaluation results and modify practice as needed to improve outcomes
  17. Provides client and family education to support occupational participation
Professional Responsibility and Research
  1. Manages time, schedules and prioritizes workload appropriately
  2. Develops strategies for effective use of OT and non-OT staff
  3. Understands trends in models of service delivery and their effect on OT practice
  4. Considers the impact of contextual factors on management and delivery of OT services
  5. Demonstrates ability to design processes to manage quality and develop program changes
  6. Understands factors that promote policy development and provision of OT services
  7. Demonstrates knowledge of state, federal and professional standards that shape practice
  8. Demonstrates knowledge of advocacy to benefit consumers and the profession
  9. Identifies opportunities to address societal needs by participating in the development and marketing of OT services
  10. Understands and critiques research studies
  11. Uses research/professional literature to make evidence-based decisions
  12. Designs and implements novice research studies relevant to occupational therapy
  13. Identifies strategies for ongoing professional development
  14. Participates in professional activities to advance the profession.

Program Academic Standards

The M.S. in Occupational Therapy and O.T.D. are professional education programs.  Students enrolled in the program must demonstrate achievement in academic and clinical competencies necessary for professional practice, and meet academic standards consistent with graduate school criteria.  Students must also demonstrate effective professional behavior as detailed in the Standards of Professional Behavior.

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • A minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained in Occupational Therapy coursework each semester.  A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in probation for the following semester.
    • If the semester GPA is below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, the student will be subject to suspension from the full-time program.
    • A student must attain a minimum overall 3.0 GPA prior to enrolling in fieldwork courses.
    • A student must achieve a minimum overall 3.0 GPA to be eligible to graduate.  A grade of "C" or lower will not be rounded up.
  2. Passing Course Grades 
    • If a grade of “F” is obtained in a course, the student will be suspended and the course must be repeated before continuing in the curriculum.  A course may be repeated only once and the student must achieve a minimum of “B-” (“P” is pass/fail course) on the second attempt.  If a student receives a grade of “F” in two OT Program courses, the student will be dismissed from the program.  A grade lower than "C" will not be rounded up.
  3. Lab Practical/Proficiency Exam Grades
    • After the first semester of the program, each student is expected to pass every oral/practical/proficiency exam on the first attempt with a minimum passing grade of 80%.  If unsuccessful, the student will be allowed one retake of the exam.  If the student does not achieve the minimum passing grade of 80% on the retake, the student will receive a grade of “F” for that course and will be suspended from the program.
    • The second occasion that a student needs to repeat an oral/practical/proficiency exam will result in probation.  On the third occasion, the student will be suspended from the  program.
    • Each student is expected to demonstrate competency in all safety items in order to successfully pass the lab practical exam or proficiency.
    • Repeat of a lab practical is at discretion of an instructor to meet minimum standards.  The redo of a lab practical will earn a maximum of 80%.
  4. Professional Behaviors
    • Professional behavior feedback is provided by one course instructor each semester.
    • Professional behaviors require mastery learning in time management, safety, ethics, professional behaviors, and verbal and written communication.  Students must "Meet Standards" in order to go to fieldwork.
    • A student receiving "needs improvement" on time management, engagement, ethics, or safety, and/or has greater than 6 total areas of "needs improvement" will be reviewed by every course instructor the following semester.
  5. Retention and Dismissal
    1. Probation
      •  A student who receives a grade of “C” or “C-” in any course will be placed on probation for the next semester.  Probation for two consecutive semesters will result in suspension.  Probation for three semesters will result in dismissal.
      • Violations of the OT Program’s Standards of Professional Behavior or AOTA Code of Ethics are also grounds for being placed on probation.
    2. Suspension
      • Suspension from the program will be for a one-year period of time.  A program of remediation will occur during this time period.  Since the program is a lock-step curriculum, courses that were not successfully completed cannot be repeated until the following year.
      •  A second suspension results in dismissal.
      • Repeated violations of the OT Program’s Standards of Professional Behavior or AOTA Code of Ethics are also grounds for suspension.
    3. Dismissal
      • A student is subject to dismissal from the OT Program for any of the following:
        • Student receives a grade of “F” in two courses;
        • Student has to retake a lab practical/proficiency exam in three courses;
        • Student has two suspensions;
        • Student has three probations;
        • Student does not achieve a minimum grade of “B-” (“P” in pass/fail course) when repeating a course;
        • Egregious conduct that violates professional and/or legal standards.
      • A student who is academically dismissed from the OT Program may apply for readmission after a period of one year.  A program of reassessment and review will be required during this period.  Students having difficulty maintaining the academic standards may be required to enroll in an extended curriculum.
      • Students who withdraw or who are dismissed for reasons other than GPA will have their records reviewed for possible readmission by Occupational Therapy program faculty.  Readmission will be determined by the faculty based on this review and any additional criteria required at the discretion of the faculty.
  6. Fieldwork
    • By the terms of the College’s contractual agreement with fieldwork sites, only students who have satisfactorily completed the requisite professional courses and demonstrate safety and competence in all lab proficiency exams/check-offs will be placed in fieldwork.
    • Students must have demonstrated the ability to meet the academic and program standards of the OT Program outlined in the OT Student Handbook, demonstrate effective interpersonal communication, professional behavior, and judgment necessary for the field setting, and be recommended by faculty for fieldwork education.
    • Faculty will formally review all students’ progress at the end of the spring semester of the second year of professional coursework (or equivalent) to ensure that students are demonstrating mastery of material and are ready for Level II fieldwork.  This appraisal includes a review of students’ grades and professional behavior.  Faculty retains the final decision to approve students for fieldwork placements.
    • Students who frequently display unprofessional behavior and/or judgment, or who are unable to address professional behavior concerns that have been identified by faculty, will be required to appear before a sub-group of the OT Program faculty that includes at a minimum the fieldwork coordinator, program director, and faculty advisor.  This faculty group may impose sanctions which can include probation, suspension, or dismissal from the program, and/or delay the student from engaging in the fieldwork portion of the curriculum.
    • Students must successfully complete Level II fieldwork within 15 months beyond the date of completion of evaluation and intervention courses, or repeat the course(s), and/or demonstrate academic and clinical competency in the course(s) prior to beginning fieldwork experiences.
    • Students must obtain permission of faculty prior to repeating a failed fieldwork experience.  Failure to complete a fieldwork or having to be removed from a placement may result in a student’s dismissal from the program.  Students who need to repeat more than one Level II fieldwork course will be dismissed from the program. 
  7. Academic Leave
    • All students are required to maintain continuous matriculation in the program.  In the event a leave of absence is required, this must be requested and approved by Occupational Therapy Program faculty in order for the student to maintain a place in the program and eventually be eligible to graduate.  Students who have requested and obtained a leave of absence from the program will need to complete program requirements in the time frame indicated in the letter from the program approving the leave.  In most cases a leave will not be approved for a period in excess of one calendar year.  Students who have been inactive in coursework or who are two or more years beyond the date of completion of their last Level II Fieldwork placement will need to request permission of the faculty to be readmitted to the program.  Students will be required to repeat all of the evaluation and intervention courses or demonstrate academic and clincial competency in each of these courses, via examination, to be allowed to complete the program and be eligible to take the certification examination.

Admission Requirements for M.S. in Occupational Therapy

Applicants may wish to visit the college and meet with a representative of the Occupational Therapy program. Candidates should call the OT program office at (518) 244-2266 to schedule an appointment with the program director. There are two points of entry into the M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program: direct entry through Sage Graduate Schools or through Russell Sage College via the 3+2 accelerated program or more traditional 4+2 program.

Direct Entry through Sage Graduate School

Qualified men and women who possess a baccalaureate degree and who have fulfilled the prerequisite courses for the graduate program in Occupational Therapy may apply directly to the M.S. in Occupational Therapy program through Sage Graduate Schools. In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to Sage Graduate Schools, the successful applicant to the M.S. in Occupational Therapy program will demonstrate evidence of the following:

  • Earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum 3.25 GPA in overall undergraduate study and OT Program prerequisite courses with a science prerequisite GPA of 3.0.
  • Completion of OT program prerequisite courses with grades of “C” or better in each required course.
  • Completion of at least 20 hours of clinical observation under the supervision of an occupational therapist before beginning the professional program. Applicants are encouraged to complete clinical observation hours as early as possible. Students who are unable to complete observations prior to submitting the admission application must include a letter outlining a plan for completion of these hours with their applications (see observation documentation form in application packet).
  • Submission of Academic Standards Statement and Documentation of Clinical Observation Hours Form with the Sage Graduate School Application (forms are available on the Sage OT program website).
  • Submit complete application by February 1 priority deadline.  After the February 1st deadline, applicants are reviewed on a rolling basis and admitted as space permits.

Entry through RSC 3+2 Accelerated Program to M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program

Students entering college directly from high school or transferring at the undergraduate level may apply to Russell Sage College for the 3+2 bachelor’s degree leading to the M.S. in Occupational Therapy. Students admitted to the accelerated five-year program at Russell Sage College will choose an RSC undergraduate major. The bachelor’s degree in the chosen major is awarded from Russell Sage College at the end of the fourth year and the M.S. in Occupational Therapy is awarded from Sage Graduate School at the end of the fifth year, plus fieldwork.

Undergraduate Academic Standards for Acceleration to M. S. in Occupational Therapy Program

Students who enroll at RSC in the 3+2 bachelor’s degree leading to the M.S. in Occupational Therapy may enroll in OT graduate courses during their fourth year of undergraduate study and are guaranteed acceptance to the graduate OT Program, providing they maintain the following academic requirements in the first three years of undergraduate study:

  • Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in undergraduate study;
  • Achieve a minimum 3.0 in science GPA in OT Program prerequisite courses;
  • Achieve a grade of “C” or better in all OT program prerequisite courses;
  • Complete and document 20 hours of observation with a licensed occupational therapist; and
  • Complete undergraduate major requirements, RSC general education courses, and OT program prerequisites;
  • Transfer students must complete a minimum of 45 undergraduate credits at Sage prior to entering the graduate program.

Admission Requirements for O.T.D.

Applicants may wish to visit the college and meet with a representative of the Occupational Therapy program. Candidates should call the OT program office at (518) 244-2266 to schedule an appointment with the program director. There are two points of entry into the M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program: direct entry through Sage Graduate Schools or application as a Master’s student to progress to the OTD Program.

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status 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.

The program must have a preaccreditation 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.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 18 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3.

Admissions Criteria:

  1. Direct Admission to the OTD (Rolling Admissions)

Qualified students who possess a baccalaureate degree and who have fulfilled the prerequisite courses for the graduate Program in Occupational Therapy may apply directly to the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy Program through Sage Graduate School. In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to Sage Graduate School, the successful applicant to the OTD Program will demonstrate evidence of the following:

  • Submit official transcripts of all previous undergraduate or graduate study.
  • Earn a minimum 3.25 grade point average (GPA) in undergraduate study, including OT Program prerequisite courses. Note: courses and grades from all schools attended are used to calculate GPA for admission.
  • OT Prerequisite courses: Anatomy & Physiology I and II (with labs), Introduction to Psychology (General Psychology), Human Development (Lifespan Development), Abnormal Psychology, Statistics, 3 credits of Sociology or Anthropology, and Medical Terminology
  • Earn a Science GPA of 3.0 in OT Program prerequisite courses (Anatomy & Physiology I & II).
  • Provide two letters of reference
  • Provide current resume
  • *Submit a career goals statement (your relationship to OT/what brought you to OT?)/personal essay to include information pertaining to the desire to complete the Doctoral Degree (~1-2 pages). This essay may address OT background, choice or history of desire for Major and the course of action towards an OTD (a capstone idea)*.
  • Provide documentation of at least 40 hours of clinical observation (can be a combination of alternate activities including searching capstone ideas and listed alternate activities) under the supervision of an occupational therapist before beginning the professional program with forms from packet listed below.
  • Submit complete application by February 1 priority deadline with supplemental forms.
  • Interview with Program Director and at least one other core faculty
  1. Master’s Admission with OTD progression request:
  • Submit official transcripts of all previous undergraduate or graduate study.
  • Earn a minimum 3.25 grade point average (GPA) in undergraduate study, including OT Program prerequisite courses. Note: courses and grades from all schools attended are used to calculate GPA for admission.
  • OT Prerequisite courses: Anatomy & Physiology I and II (with labs), Introduction to Psychology (General Psychology), Human Development (Lifespan Development), Abnormal Psychology, Statistics, 3 credits of Sociology or Anthropology, and Medical Terminology
  • Earn a Science GPA of 3.0 in OT Program prerequisite courses (Anatomy & Physiology I & II).
  • Provide two letters of reference
  • Provide current resume
  • *Submit a career goals statement (your relationship to OT/what brought you to OT?)/personal essay to include information pertaining to the desire to complete the Doctoral Degree (~1-2 pages). This essay may address OT background, choice or history of desire for Major and the course of action towards an OTD (a capstone idea)*.
  • Provide documentation of at least 40 hours of clinical observation (can be a combination of alternate activities including searching capstone ideas and listed alternate activities) under the supervision of an occupational therapist before beginning the professional program with forms from packet listed below.
  • Submit complete application by February 1 priority deadline with supplemental forms.
  • Interview with Program Director and at least one other core faculty
  • AND following the first or second semester completion of Program of Study, the graduate student requesting transition to the OTD must demonstrate a minimum GPA in coursework of 3.25 within the first semester of the Program.

*OTD Essay:  Please complete a clear and concise personal essay supporting the applicant’s rationale to pursue the OTD as a degree with careful attention to your ideas toward a desired doctoral capstone experience.  The doctoral capstone is a 14-week practicum experience in an advanced area of learning that occurs separate from your level II fieldwork experiences. Consider a topic area you may be interested in in any of the following areas of occupational therapy: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development.

OT Prerequisite Courses for all Programs


The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to entry to any graduate OT Program:

  • Anatomy & Physiology I and II (with labs);
  • Medical Terminology
  • Introduction to Psychology (General Psychology)
  • Human Development (Lifespan Development)
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Statistics
  • 3 credits in Sociology or Anthropology
  • Recommended: Physics with Lab

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

OTH 501 : Neuroscience

This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the human nervous system The laboratory/discussion format is devoted to topographical study, clinical problems, concept of the neurobehavioral sciences, the study of sensory systems, the quality of motor responses, and an introduction of neurological assessment. Open only to matriculated OT students.

Credits

4

OTH 504 : Foundations of Occupational Therapy

The profession's historical roots, and the guiding documents that outline constructs and terminology of the profession, scope of practice, code of ethics, and guidelines for supervision related to occupational therapy practice are investigated.  In addition, the profession's relation to the concept of disability, wellness, patient rights, and environmental modifications are explored.

Credits

2

OTH 504L : Foundations of Occupation Therapy Lab

In OTH-504 Lab, the terminology of the practice framework in relation to the person, environment, and occupation are examined.  Skills related to group facilitation, scaffolding, grading and modifying activity, and individual patient care skills are practiced.

Credits

1

OTH 507 : Functional Anatomy & Applied Kinesiology/Labs A and B

This course provides an overview of the anatomical and movement dimensions of human occupation. Emphasis is on understanding how musculoskeletal function within an environmental context can support or hinder occupation. Case based discussions focus the concepts in both lecture and lab. Through lectures, discussions, and experiential learning, students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the dynamic relationship among movement, environment and occupation. The impact of pathology and aging on the biomechanics of human posture and movement will be introduced. Students will also develop a proficiency in anatomy/medical terminology. Two labs accompany this lecture. In the Functional Anatomy lab, students utilize problem based learning to explore the prosected cadaver specimen. In the Applied Kinesiology lab, students develop skills in palpation, biomechanical activity analysis, and the assessment of range of motion, strength and resultant occupational performance within the context of normal movement.

Credits

6

Prerequisites

Matriculated student in the OT program

OTH 512 : Technology & Adaptations

This course focuses on the adaptation of the individual and/or the environment to enhance or improve occupational performance.  Topics include background and legislation, environmental and contextual adaptation, changing needs over the lifespan, consumer usability and compliance, current trends, models, barriers, assessment, education, funding, recycling/replacing, and hands-on discovery of high and low assistive technology devices, adaptive seating, wheelchairs, computer utilization and other technology.

Credits

1

OTH 514 : Occupational Performance in Children & Youth

This course presents an integrated view of development with a focus on the occupations of childhood including movement, play and adaptive/social behavior in babies, toddlers and youth. The focus of this course is in comparing and contrasting typical and atypical growth and developing appropriate observational and clinical skills necessary for professional practice. Performance concerns, disease/disabilities, and family/cultural dynamics that occupational therapists would likely encounter in professional practice with children will be reviewed.

Credits

3

OTH 515/515L : Engagement in Occupation in Adulthood with Lab

Engagement in meaningful roles, relationships and patterns of occupation promote health, wellness and the recovery process across the adult lifespan are explored.  Topics include the role of the occupational therapist in health promotion and lifestyle redesign, mental health and addiction management, community integration through engagement in occupation, recovery oriented methods for self-management of chronic conditions, palliative and end-of-life care.  The view of the person as a biopsychosocial and spiritual being in relationship with others and the environment is examined.

The laboratory component focuses on the development of therapeutic relationships and occupational storytelling; group process and facilitation skills; mindfulness based stree reduction skills and methods for personal lifestyle redesign that are transferable to work with various populations.  Personal attitudes related to illness, disability, spirituality, the aging process and death are examined.

Credits

4

OTH 567 : Research Methods for Health Professions

This course is the first of a multi-course research sequence. Students are introduced to different models and paradigms of research and presented with an opportunity to examine quantitative and qualitative approaches to conducting research. Topics include: conducting literature reviews, occupation-centered research, quantitative and qualitative research designs, data collection and analysis strategies, writing research proposals, researcher ethics, and the responsibilities of an evidence-based practitioner. Upon completion of this course, students will submit a research proposal for future study.

Credits

3

OTH 606 : Evaluation & Intervention: Hand/Upper Extremity Rehabilitation/Lab

The purpose of this course is to explore the occupational therapist's role with clients who have difficulty performing their everyday occupations due to common musculoskeletal problems, with an emphasis on the upper extremity / hand. Issues discussed include the impact of disabling events on occupational performance and the role of the occupational therapist in assisting the client to adapt their home, work and leisure activities, and environments. Students will learn the evaluation and intervention process, including planning, selecting appropriate methods, developing skills in assessment, and progressing interventions over time. Beginning documentation skills will be practiced in the form of evaluations, SOAP Notes, and intervention plans. The role of the Occupational Therapy Assistant in evaluation and intervention will be explored with a focus on the collaborative nature of the supervisory relationship. Laboratory activities will focus on clinical reasoning and skill in evaluation techniques, and planning/ implementing appropriate interventions. Universal precautions will be discussed and utilized in laboratory activities.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

completion of OTH 507 , OTH 514 or 515

OTH 608 : Foundations of Physical Rehabilitation with Lab A

In this course, common practices and preparatory methods are examined in relation to the client's occupational performance.  Topics include splinting assessment and selection, special care units, functional mobility (transfers, ambulation, and wheelchairs), assistive dressing, and physical agent modalities.  Application to case studies examine the need for common assistive technology and environmental modifications.

In physical rehabilitation skills lab (OTH-608AL), experiences include construction of splints and practice of safe patient handling techniques related to basic mobility and dressing skills, including use of common adapative equipment and techniques.

 

Credits

2.5

Prerequisites

OTH 507 , OTH 514 or 515

OTH 608BL : Modalities Lab

In the physical agent modality lab (OTH-608BL), experiences include demonstration of safe application of thermal and electrical modalities as preparatory methods to occupational therapy treatment.

Credits

1

OTH 609 : Evaluation and Intervention: Psychosocial Settings with Lab

This course focuses on psychosocial evaluation and intervention in various settings. Individuals and families are viewed within a framework that considers how biological, psychological, and sociocultural issues influence occupational behavior. A client-centered approach is emphasized, with a corresponding interest in the client's subjective experience of meaning through activity. Though this course focuses on occupational therapy in mental health settings, implications for psychosocial practice in other contexts are discussed. Course content is intended to broaden the student's psychosocial perspective, applicable theoretical base, and clinical reasoning skills in working with individuals and families in various practice settings.

Credits

4

OTH 611 : Evaluation/Intervention: Adult Physical Rehabilitation I

This course provides an exploration of how occupational performance in adults is impacted by movement related issues.  Current theories of Central Nervous System (CNS) dysfunction, motor control and motor learning are examined.  Theoretical frames of reference that guide OT evaluation and intervention of CNS dysfunction are presented.  Evidence based practice as it applies to neurorehabilitation is explored.  Assessment and Intervention of neuromotor, cognitive and perceptual problems are explored using a client centered approach.  Particular focus is placed on neurotechnologies, relevant adjunctive therapies, movement, handling skills and occupation based intervention for movement related dysfunction.  Laboratory sessions focus on the development of observation, clinical reasoning and intervention planning skills for working with adults with CNS dysfunction.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

OTH 612 : Management of OT Services

This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the organization and management of occupational therapy services. Offered prior to student's full time Level II Fieldwork, students learn about the range of practice contexts and how policy issues influence OT practice; trends in models of service delivery; and managerial functions including human resource management, financial management and program management. Issues of reimbursement, marketing, program evaluation, and advocacy are explored. Special emphasis is on understanding the supervisory role, OT/OTA collaborative relationships and supervision as it relates to developing and implementing fieldwork education.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

OTH 624 or 623 or 626

OTH 616 : Evaluation & Intervention: School Based Practice with Lab

This course focuses on the application of educationally relevant occupational therapy service provision to support the school age child with specialized learning needs in the context of the public or private school setting.  Lecture topics inlcude: legislation, understanding eligibility for special education services, collaborative team building, screening, assessment, developing, planning and implementing educationally relevant interventions, models of service delivery, documentation, the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process, issues related to diversity, transitions from school to adult services, policy development, and alternative strategies for supporting children in the educational process.  Laboratory experiences focus on administration of and interpretation of assessments, and intervention strategies through use of case students, videotape cases, and actual fieldwork cases.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

OTH-514

OTH 617 : Evaluation and Intervention: Early Intervention Settings with Lab

The focus of this course is in the application of principles of typical and atypical growth and development to support the development of students' observational and clinical skills that are necessary to evaluate and formulate a comprehensive intervention plan in pediatric practice for babies and toddlers in early intervention and preschool-age children.  Course topics and activities include application of sensory processing and neurodevelopment theory to assessment and treatment in home and community settings; motor control and motor learning; therapeutic use of toys in play; working with caregivers; oral motor control and swallowing in evaluation and treatment of eating and feeding disorders; motor planning and executive processing; orthopedic aspects of developmental disabilities, interdisciplinary team coordination; the role of the OTA; supervision, safety, management of practice environments; the impact of culture and environment on intervention practices and outcomes; legislation that enables practice; documentation and evidence-based practice with young children.

Credits

4

OTH 618 : Evaluation and Intervention: Adult Physical Rehabilitation II with Lab

This course is the second part of a two-semester course addressing the assessment and intervention methods for adults in various physical rehabilitation settings. Topics include the impact of chronic illness as it relates to occupational performance, discussion of the varied physical rehabilitation treatment settings, and the role of the OTA and other specialists within the varied settings.  Clinical topics include cardiopulmonary conditions, spinal cord injury, amputations, burns, dementia, vision, cognition, oncology, speech and dysphagia, pain, trauma and infection.  The laboratory course includes experiences in demonstrating use of appropriate assessment tools, safe patient handling techniques for occupational therapy treatment, and practice of clinical reasoning skills.

Credits

4

OTH 620 : Community OT Practice

This course provides students with a community orientation to the practice of occupational therapy. Course discussions and exercises examine how community-oriented policies, theories, and models can be effectively bridged into practice. Students examine current health care trends that impact the interrelationships of person, environment, and occupation within a community-based setting. They identify a population whose health and well-being could be enhanced by an intervention from a community-based occupational therapist; determine the contribution of an occupational therapy consultation; develop a client-centered program; and investigate funding mechanisms to meet the needs of the agency and its consumers.

Credits

1.5

Prerequisites

OTH 622 : Fieldwork Seminar

The fieldwork seminar is a prerequisite to Level II Fieldwork. It is designed to assist students in their professional socialization and to identify issues related to professional behavior. Students will participate in a group process to effect personal change, to develop and apply communication skills, and to facilitate professional development. Through discussion and role-plays students are encouraged to become reflective practitioners who are more personally aware of themselves, the roles they are expected to play, and how their values and communication patterns may facilitate or interfere with the therapeutic process. Topics include: values as determinants of behavior; ethics; effective communication; group leadership and dynamics, teaching tools and strategies, and professional portfolio development.

Credits

2

OTH 623 : Level I Fieldwork: Psychosocial Settings

The overall purpose of the student fieldwork experience is to provide students with exposure to role emerging psychosocial practice settings where occupational therapy services can benefit consumers. The opportunity to work in primarily community settings with diverse populations and service providers help students to develop an understanding of how occupational therapists can address the needs of underserved populations. The focus of the learning experience is the application of skills learned through coursework to include observation, written and verbal communication, professional behavior, individual and group participation with clients, and beginning level evaluation and treatment planning.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

OTH-503, OTH-504, , OTH-515

OTH 624 : Level I Fieldwork: Physical Rehabilitation

The overall purpose of the fieldwork experience is to provide students with exposure to clinical settings through observation and participation in the treatment process. The opportunity to work with clients and therapists helps students to examine their reactions to clients, themselves, and other personnel while integrating academic learning with clinical practice. The focus of the learning experience will be the application of skills learned through coursework to include observation, written and verbal communication, professional behavior, individual and group participation with patients and clients, and beginning level evaluation and treatment planning.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

completion of OTH 606, 608

OTH 626 : Fieldwork I: Pediatric Setting

The overall purpose of the student fieldwork experience is to provide students with exposure to clinical practice through observation and participation in the treatment process. The opportunity to work with clients and therapists helps students to examine their reactions to clients, themselves and other personnel while integrating academic learning with clinical practice. The focus of the learning experience will be the application of skills learned through coursework to include observation, written and verbal communication, professional behavior, individual and group participation with patients and clients, and beginning level evaluation and treatment planning.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

OTH 627 : Fieldwork IIa

This full time, 12-week affiliation is one of two fieldwork Level II experiences that follow successful completion of evaluation and intervention coursework. This clinical education component gives the student an opportunity to apply didactic material and to interact with clients/patients in a therapeutic setting. Practice of evaluation, goal setting, note writing, and application of therapeutic techniques appropriate to the student's skill level are carried out under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist or other qualified personnel. Students are expected to be functioning as entry-level therapists at the end of each fieldwork experience. Successful completion of this fieldwork education component is a requirement for graduation from the Occupational Therapy Program.

Credits

5

Prerequisites

Take 55 credits from the department of OTH

OTH 628 : Fieldwork IIb

This full time, 12-week affiliation is one of two Fieldwork Level II experiences that follow successful completion evaluation and intervention coursework. This clinical education component gives the student an opportunity to apply didactic material and to interact with clients/patients in a therapeutic setting. Practice of evaluation, goal setting, note writing and application of therapeutic techniques appropriate to the student's skill level are carried out under the supervision of a registered occupational therapist or other qualified personnel. Students are expected to be functioning as entry-level therapists at the end of each fieldwork experience. Successful completion of this fieldwork education component is a requirement for graduation from the Occupational Therapy Program.

Credits

5

Prerequisites

Take 55 credits from the department of OTH

OTH 636 : Clinical & Professional Reasoning Seminar

Professional issues related to supervisory and clinical issues are examined in relation to legal, ethical and professional responsibilities and behaviors.  Topics include credentialing, ethics, fieldwork education, career management and professional development.  Client cases with complex and chronic conditions are examined using evidence based practice and modeling professional clinical reasoning.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

Take 55 OT credits in professional program

OTH 669 : Research Seminar I

This seminar is a continuation of a curricular sequence designed to provide students with an opportunity to conduct research. Prerequisites for this seminar include successful completion of OTH 567 and the on-line research certification course. Throughout the seminar students will perform critical reading exercises and facilitate in-class discussions intended to develop new understandings about research. Students will work in research teams and participate in a variety of tasks including: obtaining study approval with the Institutional Review Board, collecting quantitative and qualitative data to address the research questions proposed in their studies, and exploring preliminary interpretations with their research sites. This course will further prepare students to complete their final research project.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

OTH 670 : Research Seminar II

The Research Seminar is designed to be the culminating experience of the master of science in occupational therapy. This course will continue to provide students with a working knowledge of research methodology focusing on data analysis, writing, and reporting skills. Data collected in the previous semester will be analyzed, interpreted and reported back to research participants. The class meetings will involve data entry using computer software programs, peer debriefings, and other analytic discussions related to formulating the research findings. Each student will be required to write a final manuscript following the format outlined by a peer reviewed journal. As a final requirement, students are required to present their research experiences at the Graduate School Research Symposium.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

OTH 701 : Capstone Project Planning

OTD students will use scholarly trends in Occupational Therapy to design the culminating experience of the entry-level doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD). This course moves from personal and professional transformation toward the transformation of practice.  During this experience, students will reason beyond the competencies of entry-level therapists by applying clinical practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and/or theory development to plan and initiate the Doctoral Capstone (DC). This course will engage the student to seek and connect with the fieldwork site and a mentor for this professional experience in combination with developing their personal learning objectives.  OTD students only.

Credits

3

OTH 702 : Advocacy, Leadership and Education

OTD Graduate students will develop an understanding of advocacy, philosophical foundations of leadership and educational theory.  Students examine current trends and shifts in healthcare and world climates, using professional resources to relate evolving leadership philosophies and characteristics. Students will develop their own leadership and teaching philosophies in relation to professional practice, and in preparation for work in administrative roles and academic settings.  Students will apply leadership skills as they examine program/service implementation and evaluation, and advocacy for, and education of, people, populations and the community in a variety of settings (i.e. clinical, administrative, academic, or policy making setting, etc.).  OTD students only.

Credits

3

OTH 703 : Professional Development and Reflection

OTD Graduate students develop reflective practices to assess self, the environment, the program and client outcomes through knowledge of learning outcomes and program evaluation.  Students will design an evaluation plan to assess the process of program design and implementation, program efficacy and client outcomes.  Students will apply leadership and management abilities effectively evaluate one’s Doctoral Capstone through reflection and outcome measure of oneself, mentor, site and program. OTD students only.

Credits

2

OTH 704 : Funding in OT Practice Capstone Planning

Doctoral students will expand on Community OT Practice through self-directed application of occupational therapy to community practice to explore how community-oriented policies, theories, and models can be funded through grant application.  Students carry over concepts from capstone planning to fund their Doctoral Capstone, while substantiating the contribution of an occupational therapy in that practice area.  Students submit a grant for funding mechanisms to meet the needs of the agency and its consumers.  OTD students only.

Credits

3

OTH 705 : Doctoral Capstone

The Doctoral Capstone is the culminating experience of the Entry-level Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD). The experiential component is an individually designed, in-depth, student experience in a practice setting in one or more of the following areas of study: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development. Students implement an individualized learning and reflection plan with specific objectives designed to meet set goals. The experiential component crafts diverse meaningful opportunities that impact our local community.  Students present their research experiences at the Graduate School Research Symposium.  OTD students only.

Credits

9