OTD Program Director:

Karen Jacobs, EdD, OTR/L, CPE, FAOTA 617-353-7516

Boston University’s post-professional OTD program is open to graduates from any ACOTE-accredited entry-level occupational therapy program, or (for international applicants) graduates of a WFOT-approved program.

Students will complete two courses per semester and travel to campus twice—once at the beginning of the program and again upon the completion of the degree. Students may begin the distance education post-professional OTD program during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

The program consists of 33 credits, or ten courses. Students may be required to complete six foundation courses, depending on their past educational experiences, prior to their doctorate study. The foundation course curriculum is described below.

Students will take two courses per semester, each lasting seven weeks. The program can be completed in 16 months. Students can begin the program at one of three entry points within the year: spring, summer, or fall. Concurrently, you will work on your doctoral project each semester. Please visit Boston University’s sample OTD Core Curriculum page and contact OTD Program Director Karen Jacobs for an up-to-date schedule.

Foundation Courses

There are six foundation courses that must be completed prior to starting the core course curriculum. Students may waive these courses based on evidence that the required content and competencies have been met through previous graduate studies. Students with MA, MS, MSOT, and MOT degrees may waive courses and should contact OTD Program Director Karen Jacobs about this process. We expect that most students will need to complete two of the foundation courses. Only graduates of the Boston University online post-professional Master of Science for Occupational Therapists program will be able to waive all six foundation courses.

SARHP561: Evidence Based Practice I

This course is the first of a series of two courses on evidence-based practice for physical therapy and athletic training students. It is designed to develop essential skills for conducting evidence-based practice. The evidence that supports evidence-based clinical practice comes from three sources: 1) accumulated clinical experience, 2) the patient's values and circumstances, and 3) results of studies reported in the research literature. It takes skill to combine these three sources of evidence into effective and efficient physical therapy and athletic training practice. This course develop the student's ability to formulate answerable clinical questions, to search for and select relevant research literature, and to analyze the clinical applicability and the validity of the results and conclusions of the selected studies. (Credits: Var)

SARHP650: Health Care Management

This on-line graduate course introduces the fundamentals of management in the health care environment. It was designed to develop and enhance student understanding of the health care system and the social forces affecting health care, and to provide skills needed to function effectively in a management or supervisory role. Topics covered in this course include United States policies and legislation affecting healthcare management; the roles of a manager; conducting a market analysis; operating, cash and capital budgeting; process analysis; and risk management. Students will develop, design and execute a formal presentation. (Credits: Var)

SAROT617: Contemporary Trends in Occupational Therapy

This on-line graduate course examines three important current topics of discussion in occupational therapy. The first theme is client-centered practice: What is contemporary thinking about this principle and how does my practice reflect this principle? The second theme is occupation-centered practice: What does it mean to have occupation as the core focus of practice and what are current challenges to keeping this focus? The third theme is looking outward: How do the concerns of occupational therapy relate to work emerging in other fields and where might we find knowledge to enhance our practice, or collaborators who share similar concerns and values? The course assignments are designed to facilitate critical reflection on the student's own practice in relation to these developments. (Credits: 3)

SAROT618: Directed Study in Evidence Based Practice

This on-line graduate course builds on the knowledge and skills that were introduced in HP561: Evidence Based Practice and provides further practice in appraisal and application of research evidence. The course revisits some of the measurement issues introduced previously in more depth and examines other research approaches that provide evidence for practice, including single subject research and prediction designs. Additional topics include; how to use research evidence to evaluate and refine the models that guide clinical decision-making, and how to apply the methods and measures of research to gather outcomes evidence in one's own practice. The major assignments of the course are completed through participation in a virtual journal club with students collaborating in small groups to examine evidence on a question of mutual interest. (Credits: 3)

SAROT900: Scholar Project I

This on-line graduate course gives students the opportunity to apply the skills developed in the first two evidence-based practice courses Evidence Based Practice (EBP) and Directed Study in Evidence Based Practice: to investigate an intervention question related to their own practice. Students will conduct an in-depth search for evidence, analysis of best evidence, and the outline of a synthesis that proposes the current, "best answer" to the clinical question posed. Students will work as partners to provide assistance, guidance, and feedback to each other during this structured process. (Credits: Var)

SAROT901: Scholarly Paper II

This on-line graduate course completes the work begun in Scholarly Paper I. The specific emphasis of work in this course is on preparing evidence summaries in different formats that are suitable for client/consumer, management, and peer audiences. (Credits: Var)

Core Courses

Please visit Boston University’s sample OTD Core Curriculum page and contact OTD Program Director Karen Jacobs for an up-to-date schedule.

SARHP720: Educational Theory and Practice

This on-line graduate course focuses on developing effective teaching techniques and strategies that are needed in a variety of clinical and academic contexts. Topics covered in this course include; identifying instructional settings in one's own practice, the impact of ethical, legal, and economic factors on the educational process, principles of major learning and instruction theories, effective teaching strategies for learners at different developmental stages, strategies that facilitate motivation and improve compliance, and writing behavioral objectives for instruction. Students design and deliver a formal presentation and create a client-education brochure. (Credits: Var)

SAROT610: Health Promotion and Wellness

This on-line graduate course focuses on developing a health promotion program grounded in theory. After an introduction to the field of public health and the role of occupational therapy in the area of health promotion and wellness, the course guides the student in the development of a program related to a health issue in his or her practice setting. The student will be introduced to frameworks and theories from pubic health and other disciplines and will then apply these as he or she develops a health promotion program. The student will read about and discuss programs in health promotion at the individual, group, and population level, for people with and without disabilities, and in a variety of environments. (3 credits) (Credits: 3)

SAROT910: Social Policy and Disability

This on-line graduate case-based course examines current models of and perspectives on disability and their influence on social policy. The history of disability policy is examined as well as the ways in which social, medical, and universal models are manifest in current health and social service delivery systems in the US and other developed countries. The course also examines cultural assumptions about the nature of health, disability, and quality of life and the implications of cultural differences for practice models and methods. (Credits: 3)

SAROT911: Practicum in Social Policy and Disability

This on-line graduate course engages students in the critical analysis of policy and disability theory in their major area of practice (e.g., ergonomics, medical rehabilitation, early intervention, mental health services). They must complete critical reviews of additional reading related to their specific field of application as well as a sequence of analyses of the impact of relevant policies on resource allocations, service delivery methods, and reimbursement. (Credits: 3)

SAROT915: Evaluating Clinical Theory and Research

This course is designed to help students think critically about the ways in which theories and models are used to guide clinical practice. In particular, we will examine the distinction between models of function and disablement and theories of how change occurs as a result of intervention, as well as how these models may or may not be related. We will examine how theories and models describe or explain a phenomenon at different levels of analysis and the types of scientific evidence required to support or refute the propositions reflected in clinical models and theories. The course is limited to students in the OTD program and is offered exclusively on-line. (Credits: 3)

SAROT916: Practicum in Theory Analysis

This course builds on OT 915: Evaluating Clinical Theory and Research. Students examine the contrasting views of mechanistic, organismic, and contextual models, and contemporary expressions of these approaches in the clinical theories. The course investigates explanatory models of change through a critical examination of the theoretical bases of intervention approaches in occupational therapy. Students examine in depth a theory relevant to their doctoral project. The course is limited to students in the OTD program who have completed OT 915. It is offered exclusively on-line. (Credits: 3)

SAROT920: Outcomes Measurement and Monitoring I: Program Evaluation

This on-line graduate course examines quantitative and qualitative methods developed for systematic program evaluation, providing the foundation knowledge and skills needed to complete an evaluation plan for the Doctoral Project. Examples of program evaluations from the clinical literature are examined and their applicability to programs in the student's area of clinical practice evaluated. (Credits: 3)

SAROT921: Outcomes Measurement and Monitoring II: Individual Client Monitoring

This on-line graduate course builds on methods introduced during the foundation courses on evidence-based practice to develop skill in the application of quantitative methods of outcome evaluation for individual clients. These methods include client surveys, performance assessments, continuous performance monitoring, and single-subject designs. The course prepares the student to identify and/or create appropriate methods to evaluate individual results for the evaluation plan for his or her Doctoral Project. (Credits: 3)

SAROT925: Capstone

This on-line graduate Capstone course is the final course in the post-professional OTD program. This course also includes a two-day, on-campus stay at Boston University. Students will prepare for and deliver a 45-minute presentation on their doctoral project to an invited audience from the greater Boston community. After receiving written faculty feedback from this presentation, students will formulate a written response with modifications, and/or counter-argument; and prepare a final version of the proposal that is suitable for professional dissemination. (Credits: 3)

SAROT930: Doctoral Project

This is an on-line graduate course in the post-professional OTD program. Concurrent with each full semester (fall, spring, summer) in the OTD program, students register for one credit of the Doctoral Project. In the fourth semester of the program, students register for 3 credits of the Doctoral Project course. The Doctoral Project is organized around the student's proposed innovation in practice. It is in the form of a series of qualifying tasks, each of which represents a critical phase of the proposal. Guidance in the doctoral project will be through a combination of three elements: Faculty advising and mentorship, peer mentorship and a.Circle of Advisors composed of a minimum of two professionals with content expertise in the doctoral project. The project outcomes include: Description of a short-coming, gap or specific need in the student's area of practice; compilation of a theoretical and evidence base to support the proposed project; description of the proposed program; evaluation plan; funding plan; dissemination plan; executive summary and Fact Sheet. (1 credit each full semester until completed, 3 credits in the final semester - a minimum of 6 credits) (Credits: Var)

Curriculum, courses, and program requirements are subject to change.

OTD questions

  • For questions about the OTD program or the application process, please contact the OTD Program Director Karen Jacobs at kjacobs@bu.edu (email preferred) or 617-353-7516.
  • For current students who have registration questions, please contact the BU Sargent College Academic Services Center in room SAR-207 (635 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215), sargrad@bu.edu, or 617-353-2713.