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

Built on the Mercy principles of hospitality, discovery, sacredness of creation 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.

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

Quick facts

  • Learn interprofessionally (alongside other aspiring healthcare professionals)
  • 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]

Lock in your tuition!

If you plan to start your occupational therapy (MSOT, OTD) degree in Fall 2023, you are eligible to lock in your per-credit tuition rate for your whole program duration as long as you are continually enrolled in the program.

Get started today!

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

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

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.

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 14% over the next 10 years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

View or download the occupational therapy information sheet [pdf]

Admission requirements and application process

Applications are open for Fall 2023 on the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS).

▸ View the full list of admissions requirements and application process.

Early assurance (conditional admission) for High School students to apply: View our helpful fact sheet [pdf] that offers guidance on the process and requirements.

Apply now!

Priority Deadline: Dec. 1

Start term:


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


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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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The Carlow University entry-level masters and doctoral occupational therapy degree (MSOT/OTD) programs has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929, (301) 652-AOTA, Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation does not assure eventual accreditation. 

To be eligible to take the NBCOT certification exam, OTR candidates must graduate with an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an ACOTE accredited occupational therapy (OT) program. Per USDE regulations, all credits and degrees earned and issued by a program holding Candidate for Accreditation status are considered to be from an accredited program. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. The Carlow University OT Program meets the educational requirements for certification in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

ACOTE lists programs by accreditation status — feel free to take a look:

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