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Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

  • Occupational Therapy Doctorate
  • Online
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  • Program Overview

    Virtual Information Session

    Gannon's post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (ppOTD) program invites interested candidates to learn more about the program's enrollment requirements, curriculum, and outcomes at upcoming virtual information sessions. Dr. Kris Legters will be giving a short presentation and answering any questions candidates may have. We look forward to meeting you! 

    PPOTD Graduation 2021

    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 and external to 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: 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, 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 the capstone project to faculty and students.

    PPOTD Graduation (2) 2021

    Quick Facts

    DEGREE AWARDED: Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

    ADMIT TERM: Summer


    TUITION: $770/credit (no additional fees) for 2021-2022 academic year

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

    MODALITY: ONLINE, no residency requirement

    PLAN OF STUDY: Part-time


    Schedule a 1:1 Virtual Information Session (via phone or Zoom)
    • Flexible, online learning environment designed for the practicing clinician in today's field.
    • 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
    PPOTD 900 Applied Research in Clinical Practice (3)
    PPOTD 902 Advanced Occupations  (3)
    Total: 6

    Fall I

    PPOTD-911, OT in Community Health and Wellness (2)
    PPOTD-915, Capstone Project Development (3)
    Total: 5

    Spring I

    PPOTD-920, Expanded Models of Practice for OT (3)
    PPOTD-925, Capstone Project Proposal  (3)
    Total: 5

    Summer II

    PPOTD-930, Advanced Leadership and Ethics (2)
    PPOTD-935, Reasoning & Evidenced Based Practice (3)
    Total: 6

    Fall II
    PPOTD-940, Analysis of Policy and Change in OT (3)
    PPOTD-945, Teaching in Practice and Community (3)
    Total: 6

    Spring II

    PPOTD-950, Entrepreneurship for the OT Professional (3)
    PPOTD-960, Capstone Project (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

    PPOTD 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.

    PPOTD 902 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.

    PPOTD 911 OT in Community Health and Wellness

    Students will explore applications of occupational therapy practice and practitioner skills in various community settings, roles, and programs. The course includes examination of health and wellness interventions within community-based practice and with varying populations. Using documents from the World Health Organization, Healthy People, various community-oriented models and theories, and the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, students will engage in program planning and development as well as the evaluation process. Community partner identification, needs assessment, and sustainable program development will prepare students for various roles in community practice. The student will work to design a community-based program with a specific population in mind.

    PPOTD 915 Capstone Development Project

    This course introduces the student to the capstone project and process. Through engagement with faculty, Capstone Advisor, and mentors, the student will begin the initial steps of their capstone project. Exploration of evidence-based literature and other materials will assist the student in identifying a topic area for further examination. Using their critical appraisal skills, students will select and analyze literature that supports their capstone project idea. Students will also begin to document their doctoral journey in journal format. In preparation for completion of the OTD, students will begin to develop a professional portfolio that illustrates their professional accomplishments.

    PPOTD 920 Expanded 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.

    PPOTD 925 Capstone Project Proposal

    This course builds on the Capstone Development course as students begin their Capstone project proposal through development of a literature base that supports the project, selection of a theory, model or conceptual framework, and development of the procedures necessary for carrying out their project. Students will explore various research designs, steps for data analysis, and be prepared to explain the purpose, rationale, and usefulness of their intended project to audiences both internal and external to the profession of OT. Students will continue to document their ppOTD and capstone journey as well as add to their professional portfolio.

    PPOTD 930 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.

    PPOTD 935 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.

    PPOTD 940 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.

    PPOTD 945 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.

    PPOTD 950 Entrepreneurship for the OT Professional

    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.

    PPOTD 960 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.

  • 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.

  • Student Success Image

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. 100% of students will maintain a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA throughout the program.
  2. 75% of graduated students’ capstone project will be accepted at a scholarly event within 1-year post graduation (i.e.: AOTA, state conference) or scholarly article submission to peer-reviewed journal or professional publication.
  3. 100% of graduating students will demonstrate participation in a professional organization to further OT advocacy efforts.
  4. 75% of graduates will remain members in their national and/or State OT association 1-year post graduation.
  • Apply Online
  • Graduate Admissions

    Phone: 814-871-7407
    Toll Free: 1-800-426-6668

    Office Location:
    Gitnik Manse
    162 W. Sixth St.


  • Online Demonstration Course

    Try the demonstration online course to preview how online learning works at Gannon University. Log in as "ppotddemo" for the username and "ppotddemo" in lowercase letters for the password.

  • Online Learning Readiness Assessment

    Online instruction can be different from instruction in the classroom.  Before enrolling in an online program at Gannon, you should first assess your readiness for stepping into the online learning environment. Your results from the online questionnaire will help you identify the requirements necessary to succeed at online learning and areas you may need to explore before starting your online program.