Transform the future of healthcare with an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Built on the Mercy principles of hospitality, discovery, and service, Carlow’s entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program will help prepare you for a meaningful career in healthcare. You will develop deep roots in humanistic theory, emphasizing a balance of physical, emotional, and social health and wellness, participate in interprofessional experiences, engage in community service, and complete applicable fieldwork.

View or download our program’s mission and outcomes [pdf]

Upon graduation, you will be prepared to transform the future of practice using an occupational justice-informed approach to health and well-being. 

Boy kneeling on the floor and connecting dots on a piece of paper
In Grace Library, spanning the third and fourth floor of the University Commons, there are numerous quiet spaces and study rooms for individuals and groups to use.
Credits required: 

100 credits

Cost per credit: 


Time to degree:

As few as 8 semesters


On campus

Occupational Therapy Doctorate curriculum

Throughout the OTD curriculum, we have integrated interprofessional experiences into course-based learning activities and community-based experiences. Shared spaces and faculty create daily interprofessional interactions, while critical thinking and ethics courses provide interprofessional discussion and reflection. You will participate in fieldwork experiences (Level I & II) that allow you to bridge your knowledge between classroom and practice using an occupational justice-informed approach. Completion of a doctoral capstone project will position you to identify areas of need in practice to address under-resourced individuals, groups and populations.

  • Level I fieldwork (3 required): discover, develop and enhance your professional identity and apply your classroom knowledge to your experiences located on campus and in the surrounding Pittsburgh, Pa community
  • Level II fieldwork (2, 12-week required, pre-requisite of the doctoral capstone experience): apply clinical and technological skills in a variety of supervised practice settings (interprofessional & evidence-based) and focus on environment and community concepts (education & advocacy)
  • Doctoral Capstone Experience (14-week course): address a link to the domain of OT, occupational justice, and health and wellbeing to promote occupational engagement of clients (individuals, groups, or populations).

The OTD curriculum is taught through a whole-health perspective that works to develop your whole person for innovative practice in healthcare, dedicated to optimizing health and well-being as a path to occupational justice.

Quick facts

  • Learn interprofessionally
  • Become a powerful citizen of justice in society and healthcare
  • Prepare yourself to be an innovative leader in healthcare

Read about the Carlow difference [pdf]

Bridge illustration diagramming occupational therapy's curriculum
one happy confident young Chinese college student in campus

Career opportunities for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists, as defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association, are skilled health care professionals who use research and scientific evidence to ensure their interventions are effective. With strong knowledge of a person’s psychological, physical, emotional, and social makeup, occupational therapy practitioners can evaluate how your condition (or risk for one) is affecting your body and mind, using a holistic perspective.

Ranked one of the best jobs by U.S. News & World Report, OT is slated to grow 16% over the next 10 years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

View or download the occupational therapy information sheet [pdf]

Sitting at a table, a hand is holding a pen over accreditation papers.


Carlow University’s Occupational Therapy program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD  20814-3449, phone: +1 (301) 652-AOTA, website:

The entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate program is in the process to attain full-accreditation status with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Information regarding the program accreditation process and Carlow University’s current status can be obtained by contacting ACOTE c/o AOTA at +1 (301) 652-AOTA or online at ACOTE is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929.

View or download our accreditation timeline [pdf]

Admission requirements and application process

Apply now for admission in Fall 2022!

Apply by:

Sept. 15 (Carlow UG/Alum)
Dec. 1 (General)

Start term:


*In order to best accommodate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the OT department will accept any service, volunteer, and/or observation experiences as fulfilling the required 20 observation hours. We understand traditional clinical sites are still not completely open to students, however, there are many social justice organizations that still need our help. Consider volunteering at a local agency that serves the needs of our citizens. If you have any questions, please contact us directly.

Erin Phillips
Olivia Miller, ’21, biology major and runner on the track & field/cross country team.

Program Director Erin Phillips

“I invite you to discover the new Occupational Therapy program at Carlow University! We would love to have you join us as a part of your graduate educational journey toward a career in OT. Through the lens of Catholic social teachings, guided by the Sisters of Mercy, we will discover what it means to work for and thrive in a “just and merciful world.” As part of the OT program, it is our desire to help you transform into a person-centered health care provider and socially conscious citizen. Today, as you investigate this career, you take the first step toward a lifetime of meaningful work.”

– Erin Phillips, OTD, MSOT, OTR/L, DipACLM, Associate Professor & Founding Program Director for Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy faculty

Contact Admissions

If you are interested in this graduate program, our Admissions team is available to help you with the next steps, including scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

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