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Doctor of Occupational TherapyCurriculum

Mission and Vision


The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Old Dominion University is designed to graduate diverse, intellectually inquisitive, and innovative occupational therapy practice leaders, advocates, and scholars, who, through their understanding of the relationship of occupation, health, and wellbeing gained through rigorous didactic and clinical academic pursuit, find scientifically grounded practical solutions to the everyday occupational needs of society.

The program is a rigorous academic program that promotes effective clinical decision-making skills to prepare healthcare providers capable of treating diverse clients across the lifespan. Through its collaborative network of strategic partnerships involving the healthcare, educational, and community-based infrastructure in the region, the program will leverage in-class didactic learning with service learning (civic engagement) and practicum experience to improve the health and wellbeing of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world.


Our vison is to be recognized as an inclusive program that cultivates diverse leaders, advocates and scholars in healthcare, education and research that serve the right and need of society to participate in occupations that give life meaning and improve health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and populations in the metropolitan Hampton Roads region of Virginia, our nation and the world through inquiry, collaboration, and innovation.

The ODU OTD program embraces an interprofessional and collaborative education approach involving all healthcare and rehabilitation professionals who use scientific principles and evidence-based practice for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of acute and chronic diseases, the prevention of injury and disease prevention for individuals and communities, and the promotion of optimum health, wellness, and quality of life for populations. As a Minority Serving Institution, the program provides students from diverse backgrounds expanded opportunities to become healthcare professionals and builds a more diverse healthcare workforce in the region.


The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at Old Dominion University is grounded in the fundamental belief is that all human being have the right and need to participate in meaningful occupations throughout their lives.[1] We believe that the health and wellbeing of individuals and our community are improved when we endeavor to understand and embrace our socio-cultural diversity and life experiences, and, through synergistic partnership and innovation, promote the participation of all people in meaningful and health-promoting occupations and desired roles of society.

The philosophy of teaching and learning of the Occupational Therapy Program at Old Dominion University places student at the center of learning that is completely and explicitly situated in a context of occupation in which practice innovation, leadership, and scholarship is developed through synergistic partnerships with our community.

Student Centered Learning:

  1. All learners bring an array of experiences and knowledge to the learning context.[2] We draw on students' prior knowledge and design evidence-based learning activities in which that knowledge can both serve as foundation and link to novelty and new insights.[3]
  2. Learning requires active engagement and a grappling with and reflection of the differences between prior knowledge and new ideas. We encourage students to identify and explore contradictions and reflect on and draw conclusions from new experiences to empower them to evaluate and revise prior knowledge and transform their perspectives.[4]
  3. Learners are social beings, and they continually shape their knowledge through interaction with others within the learning, practice, and client community. We create a learning environment safe for active engagement, social interaction, challenging discourse, and making (and learning from) mistakes.[5]
  4. Learners invest in, create, and guide the knowledge that is relevant and meaningful for them. We create learning conditions involving high participation, inductive application, and tolerance for uncertainty.[6]

Occupation Centered Learning:

  1. Occupation is the central focus of occupational therapy education.[7]
  2. Each course and each semester are situated in the core subject of occupation around which students develop skill in occupational analysis and synthesis.
  3. When creating innovative and practical solutions to critical needs of the community and profession, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in collaboration with community partners.
  4. Students learn to apply their knowledge of the healing benefits of occupation through the application of practice innovation, leadership, and scholarship to serve as a resource to improve the occupational performance, participation, and justice of the community.

Synergistic Partnerships:

  1. In active partnerships with the interprofessional learning, practice, and client communities, students explore socio-cultural diversity and discover unique solutions to meet the critical occupational needs of the community.
  2. Students apply knowledge to real-life scenarios embedded throughout the curriculum in collaboration with the program's clinical learning collaborators to facilitate the understanding of client-centered care, the profession's theoretical foundations, evidence-based practice, and professional reasoning.[8]
  1. 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. 716S06
  2. Mukhalalati, B.A. & Taylor, A. (2019). Adult learning theories in context: A quick guide for healthcare professional educators. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 6, 1-10.
  3. Fink, L.D. (2015). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. Jossey-Bass.
  4. Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning to Think like an Adult. Core Concepts of Transformation Theory. In J. Mezirow, & Associates (Eds.), Learning as Transformation. Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress (pp. 3-33). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  5. Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.
  6. Schulman, L.S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainly. Association of American Colleges and Universities, 91(2), 1-8.
  7. Hooper, B., Mitcham, M. D., Taff, S. D., Price, P., Krishnagiri, S., & Bilics, A. (2015). The Issue Is—Energizing occupation as the center of teaching and learning. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(Suppl. 2), 6912360010.
  8. Boyt Schell, B., Gillen, G., Scaffa, M., & Cohen, E. (2014). Willards and Spackman's Occupational Therapy, 12th Ed. Wolters Kluwer, Lippencott Williams and Wilkins.

Program Outcomes

The ODU OTD program graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings as practitioners, scholars, administrators, and educators to include healthcare, educational, and the community. They are prepared to work with diverse clients with a range of illnesses, injuries, and disabilities across the life span, and they are prepared to analyze and apply evidence to design individualized intervention, establish and implement programs, and lead interdisciplinary teams to meet the needs of individuals, communities, and populations.

Graduates are prepared to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the determinants of health and the influence of occupation on the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the experiences of culturally diverse individuals, communities, and populations, and the competencies required to mitigate challenges in healthcare access and outcomes.
  • Analyze and apply the theories and conceptual models that guide occupational therapy practice across the human lifespan and distinguish occupation as its central outcome.
  • Gather, analyze, and interpret relevant data to determine the relationship of occupations, client factors, performance skills, performance patterns, contexts and environments on health promotion and satisfying occupational performance and participation.
  • Utilize culturally appropriate, client-centered, occupation-focused, and evidence-informed principles to design and implement occupational therapy practice using remedial, adaptive, compensatory, consultative, and educational approaches in a variety of professional settings across the lifespan.
  • Collaborate with interprofessional teams to support individuals, communities and populations access and optimally participate in occupations that give life meaning and improve health and wellbeing.
  • Access, appraise and interpret research to guide decision making.
  • Produce and disseminate guided, individualized, scholarly projects that advance occupational therapy practice and meet the needs of individuals, communities, and populations in the Hampton Roads region and beyond.
  • Identify, design, and engage in initiatives that meet society's occupational needs within existing organizations and through new, entrepreneurial services and programs to move the profession of occupational therapy forward as an integral discipline in healthcare, human services, and education.
  • Apply principles of leadership and advocacy to improve service access and delivery in complex systems and organizations, influence policy and regulation, and manage personnel and programs.
  • Demonstrate responsibility for life-long learning and the development and translation of best available evidence for practice, policy, and research.

Our student learning outcomes are:

  1. Graduates promote the health and wellness of diverse individuals, groups, and populations through occupational engagement across the life span through holistic, patient-centered, occupation-based, and evidence informed practice.
  2. Graduates advance the practice of occupational therapy by applying comprehensive knowledge of the profession's theoretical and evidentiary base.
  3. Graduates influence traditional and emerging practice markets by optimizing leadership and advocacy capacities and employing creative, collaborative, and innovative problem solving.


The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is a full-time enrollment (9 semester), 105 credit, capstone based, cohort designed professional degree program culminating in student eligibility to sit for the national certification examination and obtain state licensure in occupational therapy practice. The program is an active learning professional curriculum with blended didactic, fieldwork and service-learning experiential, and capstone components designed to meet the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) accreditation standards.

Summer Year 1

OCCT 721 Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice 2 credits
OCCT 749 Occupations I 6 credits

Fall Year 1

OCCT 750 Occupations II 4 credits
OCCT 752 Occupation, Health and Wellness across the Life Span 3 credits
OCCT 754 Professional Reasoning and the Occupational Therapy Process 3 credits
OCCT 756 Professional Identity and Ethical Formation 3 credits
OCCT 821 Theories of Inquiry and Scholarly Literature 3 credits

Spring Year 1

OCCT 751 Occupations III 3 credits
OCCT 752 Pediatric Habilitation and Rehabilitation: Theory and Practice 6 credits
OCCT 769 FW I Pediatrics 1 credits
OCCT 755 OT Evaluation of Occupational Performance 3 credits
OCCT 822 Using Evidence to Inform Practice 3 credits

Summer Year 2

OCCT 841 Online Education and Learning in Healthcare and Health Education 2 credits
OCCT 843 Online Leadership and Advocacy in Occupational Therapy Practice 2 credits
OCCT 845 Online Health Care Policy and Program Management 2 credits
OCCT 847 Online Therapeutic Relationship and Client Collaboration 2 credits

Fall Year 2

OCCT 850 Adult Rehabilitation: Theory and Practice 6 credits
OCCT 852 Evaluation and Intervention of the Upper Extremity 3 credits
OCCT 869 FW I Adults 1 credits
OCCT 854 OT Technology and Context Adaptation 2 credits
OCCT 856 Interprofessional Telehealth Care 1 credits
OCCT 858 Critical Analysis of Occupational Therapy Practice 3 credits

Spring Year 2

OCCT 851 Productive Aging and Rehabilitation: Theory and Practice 3 credits
OCCT 853 Mental Health Promotion and Recovery: Theory and Practice 6 credits
OCCT 870 FW I Psychosocial 1 credits
OCCT 855 Occupational and Activity Analysis 2 credits
OCCT 859 Scholarship of Practice Approaches and Design 3 credits
OCCT 890 Practice Scholar Seminar I 1 credits

Summer Year 3

OCCT 868 FW II A 6 credits
OCCT 870 Online Community and Population Health 1 credits
OCCT 891 Online Practice Scholar Seminar II 1 credits

Fall Year 3

OCCT 869 FW II B 6 credits
OCCT 871 Online Professional Development Planning 1 credits
OCCT 892 Online OT Practice scholar Seminar 1 credits

Spring Year 3

OCCT 893 Capstone 7 credits
OCCT 894 Online Practice Scholar Symposium 2 credits


Active and applied learning is the cornerstone of the ODU OTD program and is integrated across and in alignment with the curriculum. The fieldwork education components of the curriculum are co-designed by the faculty, fieldwork educators, and students and led by the program's Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (AFWC) to ensure that active learning experiences support program learning objectives and student interests.

Fieldwork I: In their first and second years in the program, ODU OTD students participate in over 240 hours of structured Fieldwork I experiences that are co-led by the AFWC, program faculty, and fieldwork educators. During their fieldwork experiences, students engage in a combination of applied coursework, simulated activities, structured community-based activities, and supervised evaluation and intervention of clients. In alignment with course content, students engage in evaluation and intervention planning within a variety of practice settings and a diverse array of clients. Faculty led experiences in client care followed by debriefing aligns with each of the evaluation and intervention courses and strengthens students' knowledge of occupation and its value in promoting health, the occupational therapy process, leadership and advocacy, and the translation of evidence to practice.

Fieldwork II: At the start of their third year, students begin their fieldwork II experiences. Fieldwork II is characterized by two twelve-week full-time experiences in occupational therapy practice in a variety of settings with individuals, communities, and populations. Students are placed in a variety of settings where they engage in delivering services to individuals, communities, and populations within a traditional apprenticeship model of professional supervision. During this fieldwork experience, students additionally participate in innovative occupation focused intervention implementation and research, program development and assessment, and education.

To learn more about the ODU OTD Fieldwork Program or to join our Consortium of Associate Faculty and Fieldwork Educators please contact our AFWC, Nancy Krolikowski at nkroliko@odu.edu.

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