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  • Occupational Therapy Doctorate
  • Online

Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

  • Virtual Information Sessions

    We invite you to join us for a virtual information session to learn more about Gannon University's online post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program. We invite you to join us by video or phone. Registration is required and a link will be sent via email before the session.

  • Program Overview

    First Graduates of the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy program

    The mission of the post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program is to enable occupational therapists in any practice area to develop roles and skills beyond that of the therapist-clinician. Our program supports their development toward practitioner-scholars who can translate knowledge, including cross-disciplinary theories and research, into practice, and who are capable of serving as change agents in new and expanded arenas within the field of occupational therapy.

     The post-professional OTD curriculum is designed to prepare practicing occupational therapists to become advanced practitioners capable of serving as evidence-based leaders. The capstone component is an integral part of the program. It is designed to develop occupational therapists with advanced knowledge/skills in one of the following eight areas: clinical practice, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory development.

     With a keen understanding of the responsibilities of the practicing occupational therapist that holds a master's degree, this mission is accomplished by offering a two-year, part-time online program. It combines web-based instruction with a onetime campus visit to present Capstone to faculty and students. Our program is unique in that post-professional OTD students have an opportunity to interact with both MSOT students at the Erie, PA campus and entry-level OTD students at the Ruskin, FL campus.

    Quick Facts

    DEGREE AWARDED: Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

    ADMIT TERM: Summer


    TUITION: $770/credit (no additional fees) for 2020-2021 academic year

    LENGTH OF PROGRAM: 2 years; flexible options may be available upon request

    MODALITY: ONLINE, no residency requirement

    PLAN OF STUDY: Part-time


    • Flexible, online learning environment designed for the practicing clinician in today's field.
    • Opportunity to interact with master's level OT students and entry-level OTD students.
    • Curriculum that allows the opportunity to develop a personalized capstone process that tailors the program to the individual goals and expectations of the clinician.


    The Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate is a doctoral degree which is awarded upon the successful completion of the following 34 credits:

    Summer I
    DOCCT 900 Applied Research in Clinical Practice (3)
    DOCCT 90 Advanced Occupations  (3)
    Total: 6

    Fall I
    DOCCT 902 Capstone 1 (2)
    DOCCT 844 Community Based Interventions  (3)
    Total: 5

    Spring I
    DOCCT 903 Capstone 2  (2)
    DOCCT 873 Emerging Models of Practice in OT
    Total: 5

    Summer II
    DOCCT 910 Advanced Leadership and Ethics  (3)
    DOCCT 912 Reasoning and Evidenced-Based Practice (3)
    Total: 6

    Fall II
    DOCCT 906 Analysis of Policy and Change in OT (3)
    DOCCT 918 Teaching in Practice and Community (3)
    Total: 6

    Spring II
    DOCCT 907 Capstone Project (3) 
    DOCCT 871 Entrepreneurial Management Practice in OT (3)
    Total: 6

    Total Credits: 34

    Alumni Success

    Marie Johnson, OTR , Assistant Vice President of Rehabilitation Services
    Erie County Medical Center


    "Yesterday I attended a strategic planning session for the hospital where I work. I thought I would bring a copy of the OTPF and the WHO document we received in our first semester course. A lot of time was spent presenting the hospital’s current statistics on finances, programs and challenges. Then a speaker with a PhD from Harvard presented trends and challenges in healthcare. So much of the information presented was familiar to me from the OTD program.  Leading health indicators, population health, and health disparities were discussed. Local data was presented on the quickly growing segment of people over the age of 65, the high poverty rate, educational disparities, and how all of this impacts the future of value-based healthcare. I have to say that I was already aware of the language, and the local statistics due to a project I worked on in my second semester on Meals on Wheels of WNY.  Additionally, the Affordable Care Act was discussed at a very basic level, and I felt like I already had a baseline level of knowledge about that information too. It is not that I needed to know this information, but I felt so much better informed.  A year ago, this would have all been foreign to me. I was on the edge of my seat thinking about the big picture and a year ago I would have been more likely trying to understand the individual statistics, concepts and what they represent. It was another personal fulfilling moment in my educational journey."

    Marie Johnson, OTR


  • Course Descriptions

    DOCCT 844: Community Based Interventions

    This course provides therapeutic intervention via programming development, with concentration on community-based practice and populations.  There is a special emphasis on the needs of the elderly, health/wellness programs, the homeless, and the child and youth populations, home care programming and interventions, and community partner identification, development, and relationship cultivation.  Through the program development process, the student will learn, understand, and implement community programs for identified facilities and populations.

    DOCCT 871 Entrepreneurial Management Practice in OT

    Administrative and organizational theory applied to occupational therapy service delivery.  Content includes personnel relationships and supervision, systems analysis, program planning, budgeting, space and facilities planning, communication, and programs for staff and student development.  The course also includes marketing, the professional association, national certification, state regulations, productivity, quality assurance, and an overview of ethics and legal issues.  All management and organizational topics are viewed within the perspective of the dynamics of the health care industry.

    DOCCT 873 Emerging Models of Practice in OT

    This course will examine emerging models of practice in the field. These will vary, based upon current Occupational Therapy theory, practice and service delivery models. In-depth exploration and understanding of current healthcare policies; social, demographic, and political issues driving the healthcare system; influences in delivery of services in OT. Informatics will be utilized as primary sources. Participants will examine new methods and settings in which to provide OT intervention and may apply these in a local agency or organization. Participants will also evaluate the effectiveness of these services and modify them as needed.

    DOCCT 900 Applied Research in Clinical Practice

    This course provides an overview of research design from the perspective of the hierarchy of levels of evidence. Students will examine common designs of studies from lowest to highest levels of evidence in terms of purpose of study, question formulation, methodological features and significance of findings for application in practice.

    DOCCT 903 Advanced Occupations

    This is a course in the study of occupation performance analysis. Through various learning activities, students develop and communicate mechanisms to infuse a lifelong learning model to professional practice. This course will also examine the role of occupation in enhancing the health of populations through health promotion, health education and prevention of illness.

    DOCCT 905 Capstone 1

    Capstone I is designed as a self-directed and professional exploration and development course of study. It is the stage that focuses the ppOTD student on where they are now; where they want to go, and how they will get there. During Capstone I the ppOTD student is laying the foundation for what comes next. A series of journals, annotations, and learning how to formulate objectives rounds out the beginning capstone course.

    DOCCT 906 Capstone 2

    Capstone 2 is an extension of Capstone 1. The goal is to develop skill sets in a particular area (beyond that of a generalist level) as part of the process of formulating the objectives and completing the culminating Capstone project.

    DOCCT 907 Capstone Project

    During this course, students complete a final project that demonstrates the synthesis of occupational therapy theory, evidence-based practice principles and advanced knowledge in a practice area. Students demonstrate skills of self-direction, self-sufficiency, independence and professionalism expected of therapists prepared at the doctoral level. The final component of the course requires the student to complete a professional written report and oral presentation.

    DOCCT 910 Advanced Leadership and Ethics

    This course will examine leadership roles, practices and ethical responsibilities as they relate to diverse organizational settings. Evolving leadership theories and styles will be explored as well as ethical dilemmas. Students will identify strategies for improving personal and professional responsive leadership efforts after analyzing their own leadership strengths. Self-reflection, self discovery, integrity, credibility as well as other leadership concepts and themes will influence this course.

    DOCCT 912 Reasoning & Evidenced-Based Practice

    This is a course for occupational therapists designed to develop essential skills for conducting evidence-based practice. It will focus in detail on appraising the internal, external, and statistical validity of evidence related to intervention effectiveness and predicting client outcomes. The course proceeds to examine evidence gathered using a variety of quantitative methods including group designs and meta-analytic approaches. Readings are selected from a variety of peer-reviewed journals related to health and disability to introduce students to the interdisciplinary literature that may provide valuable evidence for occupational therapy practice.

    DOCCT 916 Analysis of Policy and Change in OT

    This course provides students with an introduction to health care change and examination of policies related to occupational therapy in the United States. Students will review the history of disability policy, and examine social, medical and political models and their influence on the delivery of health care and occupational therapy practice. An understanding of political process related to health care and major players in policy development will be explored along with the use of advocacy on micro and macro levels. Critical analysis of the use and impact of clinical outcome measures in occupational therapy and their effect on policy making will be covered.

    DOCCT 918 Teaching in Practice and Community

    This course will examine the foundations of adult learning as well as their application in educating the public and addressing health literacy. This course identifies the advanced practitioner’s role in various practice settings and the impact of ethical, political, legal, socio-cultural, and economic factors affecting programmatic goals. This course will explore personal teaching and learning styles and Boyer’s Scholarship of Teaching.

  • State Authorization

    View Gannon's State Authorization for more information on SARA and state authorization. Have a complaint about a distance education program or courses? Read the state contact information document to learn more about filing a complaint.

    Student Success

    Gannon's Online Engagement Coordinator facilitates our online new student orientations, implements strategies to ensure that online students are active in their online courses, and provides general online student support through a variety of high-touch methods to engage students and support student retention efforts. Gannon online students can reach out with general questions about online learning or how to remotely access Gannon's comprehensive student services.