Combined Doctor of Occupational Therapy/PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences (OTD/PhD)

The OT department offers a 6-year combined Occupational Therapy Doctorate/PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences (OTD/PhD) Program for students with exceptional academic promise and strong motivation for a career in research. Entry-level OTD students who express interest in the combined OTD/PhD program will begin mentored research training in a research lab their first and second years of the OTD program, through grant-funded research assistantships, college-funded graduate assistant positions, or through independent study (minimum of 5 hours per week). OTD students may formally apply to the combined OTD/PhD program in their third year, following the application deadline for all PhD program applicants (December 1). Applicants will be required to submit a letter of recommendation from their BU research mentor.

Students accepted into the combined OTD/PhD program may enroll in RS 910 Directed Reading with their research mentor during the first two summers of the OTD program. Mentored research experiences and reading of the research literature through enrollment in RS 910 will provide a foundation of knowledge that will allow for an accelerated schedule of the PhD portion of the program. Please be advised that acceptance into the combined program is dependent upon the availability of faculty mentors and grant funding to support student fellowships.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for the OTD/PhD program will be maintained for each individual program as students will be expected to master both sets of skills/knowledge.


The graduate will have achieved competence for entry-level occupational therapy practice by providing client-centered, theory-driven, evidence- and occupation-based assessment and intervention for all clients (individuals, groups, and populations).

Rehabilitation Sciences

Students will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to design, conduct, and evaluate research in rehabilitation science.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theory and existing research in rehabilitation sciences.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively disseminate original research findings to peers/colleagues.
  • Be able to articulate appropriate professional skills and ethical behaviors needed for successful academic and/or research careers.

Requirements During the OTD Degree

  • Students must complete a minimum of 5 hours/week of mentored research in a faculty member’s research lab for 4 semesters of the OTD portion of the program.
  • Students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better at the end of their first semester of the OTD program. A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required throughout the OTD portion of the combined program.
  • Students accepted into the combined OTD/PhD program will be required to complete their Doctoral Capstone & Practicum (OT 949) through conducting research in their mentor’s research lab.
  • Students in the combined OTD/PhD will be required to submit a research manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal to fulfill the requirements of OT 948, which will also fulfill one of the PhD degree requirements.

Please refer to the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program for requirements and additional information.