Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Program Overview

The MGH Institute Entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program is a three year, full-time, graduate program.  The purpose of the EL-OTD program is to prepare occupational therapists for entry into professional practice.  The Institute EL-OTD curriculum has a strong emphasis on occupation, professional reasoning, interprofessional collaboration, and evidence based practice – essential skills for an occupational therapist in today’s complex practice environments.  Principles of adult and active learning guide the teaching and learning methods for the program.  These principles embrace experiential and reflective learning in the natural context of professional practice. 

The EL-OTD curriculum sequence gradually builds professional knowledge, skills and attitudes, taking the student from a generalist skill level to an area of advanced practice with a concluding capstone / scholarly project. Opportunities for demonstration of professional competency, reflection, and continuous formative and summative assessments are integrated throughout the curriculum preparing the learner for the transition from student to professional.  Features of the OTD program include:

  • Active and case-based learning in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs
  • Clinical placements at leading health care and educational sites in Boston and beyond
  • Onsite clinical centers and interprofessional learning opportunities with students and practitioners across the health professions
  • Mentorship from faculty who are scholars and leaders in the field, across a wide range of specialties  

As the first occupational therapy program in New England to educate students at the doctoral level for entry into practice, we are committed to the growth and development of scholarly clinicians who will lead in today’s ever-changing care delivery system and advance the practice and profession of occupational therapy.  Institute faculty are a mix of master clinicians, educators, researchers, and scholars who are major contributors to the professional and academic communities.

Fieldwork Experiences

The MGH Institute curriculum provides early and consistent exposure to clients using the large and diverse practice community of metropolitan Boston and beyond.  Full- and part-time fieldwork experiences are integrated at every stage of the curriculum, allowing learners to continually connect theory with practice. Students complete a total of five Level I (part time) fieldwork placements and two Level II (12 week, full time) fieldwork placements.  These placements occur in a variety of settings − including schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, onsite centers, research laboratories and other community settings, preparing students for contemporary practice across the continuum of care.

Advanced Doctoral Experience

Following successful completion of all Level II fieldwork and program competencies, students complete an advanced doctoral 560 hours (14 weeks, full time) experience. In these faculty-mentored experiences, students have the opportunity to develop advanced skills in one or more areas of focus including: research, administration, advanced clinical practice, program and policy development, education, or advocacy.

Accreditation and Certification

The OTD Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), which is located at the Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD  20814. Phone: (301) 652-6611.

The OTD is a professional (clinical) doctorate.  Graduates of the program will receive a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree and are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  To practice as an occupational therapist a state license is also required. Requirements vary from state to state; however, state licensure is usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam.