Admissions for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Students interested in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program should review this website about the OTD program and all of the pages related to admissions prior to emailing questions. A wealth of information is located here for your convenience.

Information Sessions

Informational sessions including tours of the department are held at various time throughout the year. During the information sessions, information on both the Master of Sciences in Occupational Therapy program and OTD program is provided. To register, please complete the online registration which includes your name and email address, and the number of people attending.

If you are unable to attend one of the informational sessions, you may schedule an individual appointment.

Information Session Dates, Times, and Delivery Formats
  • [REGISTER] Wednesday, July 17, 10:00:11:15am (In-Person)
  • [REGISTER] Tuesday, August 20, 2:00-3:15pm (Virtual)
  • [REGISTER] Friday, September 20, 11:00am-12:15pm (In-Person)

Directions to Occupational Therapy Department (PDF)


Application Requirements

In order to be eligible for acceptance into East Carolina University (ECU)’s entry-level OTD program, the following requirements must be met.

  1. First year students in the ECU MSOT program
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in the ECU MSOT program
  3. Grades of B or better in all completed competencies to date in the ECU MSOT program
  4. Grades of B or better in all completed courses to date in the ECU MSOT program
  5. Adherence to all ECU Academic Integrity policies during the student’s enrollment in the ECU MSOT program
  6. Consistent attendance and punctuality in all didactic coursework, community-engaged learning opportunities, and research activities in the ECU MSOT program
  7. Record of professional communication with faculty and staff in the ECU MSOT program
  8. Appropriate professional behaviors

How Do I Apply to the OTD Program?

This entry-level OTD application process is applicable to ECU MSOT students who have been already admitted to the MSOT program AND have started in the MSOT program. If you are not already in the ECU MSOT program, please see the “Admissions for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program” under the “Programs” menu on the top.

Applications must be submitted to the Department of Occupational Therapy. The following documents must be submitted during Semester 2 (Spring), with the application deadline to be announced:

  • OTD Application Grade Summary Form that describes grade summary of all grades and GPA from Semester 1 of the MSOT program
  • OTD Application Recommendation Form completed by MSOT faculty advisor

In addition, an interview will be conducted.


Application Timeline

Entry-Level OTD Application Due March 20, 2024

After Spring Break of Semester 2 of the ECU MSOT program, MSOT students may begin submitting applications. The deadline for complete applications for 2024-2025 is March 20, 2024. Any application that is incomplete will not be reviewed.

After application submission,

  • An interview will be conducted.
  • The application will be updated with applicants’ grades during Semester 2 and GPA of the MSOT program, when they become available.
  • Notification will be sent by email regarding acceptance and waitlist before Semester 3 of the MSOT program starts.

Frequently Asked Questions for Admissions

What are the differences between the entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs?
All students are initially accepted into the MSOT program, with the program goal of developing exceptional occupational therapists, primarily in the clinical role.
Didactic and experiential coursework in the 24-month MSOT program is focused on gaining knowledge and demonstrating proficiency in clinical skills across the lifespan and across types of conditions. All students are engaged in evidence-based scholarship, and skills in clinical reasoning and professionalism will be facilitated and demonstrated through a variety of instructional methods.

MSOT students who pursue the OTD will build on the skills demonstrated during the primary phase of the program, as they engage in an additional year of education. In addition to excellence in clinical skills, OTD students will advance their scholarly outcomes through additional learning opportunities in research, leadership, and advocacy skills through coursework and the capstone experience. The four primary areas of the community-focused capstone experience are clinical practice, research, education, and/or program development. The OTD experiences will include consideration of appropriate community-based involvement.

How many students are accepted into the programs?
Currently the Department of Occupational Therapy is accepting up to 8 OTD students per admission cycle.

Do you admit students before the application deadline?
We do not do rolling or early admissions. All applicants are reviewed together after the application deadline.

Are there quotas in your programs for in-state students? Out-of-state students?
All qualified, interested applicants are considered for admission, regardless of the state of residence.

What type of GPA is required for admission?

The application requirements include cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in the ECU MSOT program, grades of B or better in all completed competencies to date in the ECU MSOT program, and grades of B or better in all completed courses to date in the ECU MSOT program.

What type of degree is required for the entry-level OTD program?
All applicants must be already in the ECU MSOT program and have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution. ANY undergraduate degree is acceptable.

Can I work and go to school at the same time?
The curriculum is very demanding and requires a student to devote a great deal of time to completing course assignments. It is not recommended that students be employed outside of the university while enrolled in the program. External work can place you in a state of conflict with classmates when completing group work, which is a large part of many courses. However, some graduate assistantship positions are available throughout the university and within the department, which are designed for students who need to earn additional funds. At the end of the curriculum, students will be working full time (40+ hrs) on a fieldwork assignment for six months and will find it very difficult to maintain employment. We encourage applicants to plan accordingly.

How long are the full-time programs?
The entry-level OTD program is 34 months, including summer. The last 3 semesters of the 8 semesters are spent in the field completing Fieldwork II or capstone experience.

Do you have any scholarships available? How do I apply for these?
Information on scholarships is available through the ECUAWard Portal and available for students currently enrolled in the program.

Can I transfer into your program from another university?
At this time, ECU OTD program does NOT accept credits from OT students transferring from another school’s OT program. These students are encouraged to apply to ECU MSOT program with the post-baccalaureate applicants.

Does the program offer specialization in any areas of practice?
The accrediting body ACOTE has standards that require an entry-level program prepare students as a generalist. Thus our occupational therapy programs are designed to prepare graduates for practice in all settings. Occupational therapists should anticipate working with a variety of individuals of all ages and should be competent in all types of practice. The programs focus on teaching clinical reasoning skills and evidence-based practice a therapist can use when approaching novel situations. Through the selected research projects, students can enhance their knowledge and experience in a particular area of practice.

What are the types of fieldwork required?
There is a 1 week supervised fieldwork experience, 40 hours, during each of first Spring and Summer Semesters. Once all academic course work has been successfully completed, OTD students will complete two separate full-time supervised 12-week internships in a variety of settings and during the Summer Semester 6 and Fall Semester 7.

What is the difference between the Capstone Experience and the Capstone Project?
The Capstone Experience is a full-time 14-week in-depth exposure to a specialized area of occupational therapy (clinical practice, research, education, and/or program development), with a community-focus. OTD students may choose to have a primary and/or secondary area of focus during the Capstone Experience. This is a self-directed experiential learning opportunity for students to meet their individualized capstone objectives.
The Capstone Project is a culminating synthesis of the in-depth exposure and knowledge gained throughout the Doctoral Capstone process, to include the Capstone Experience. This will be disseminated by the OTD student at the end of the OTD program.

What is the difference between the Capstone Experience and Fieldwork?
Students will engage in two Level I Fieldwork experiences and two Level II (12-week) Fieldwork experiences. These fieldwork experiences will take place in a variety of settings and across multiple semesters of the program. The goal of fieldwork is to gain general and entry-level practitioner skills. After completion of all fieldwork experiences, the OTD students will then begin the doctoral capstone experience. This is one 14-week long, in-depth exposure to a specialized area of practice, self-directed, and individualized to the OTD students’ professional goals and objectives.

Do I have to have an area of research interest?
Research is required for completion of the program and is considered an integral part of a good graduate curriculum. However, a beginning graduate student may not have ideas for research that they would like to pursue. The faculty members have developed a process to share their interests, to encourage students to explore interest areas, and to learn the research process in progressive steps. All students will have completed a project in which they have an expressed interest upon graduation. Past projects can be viewed on the Masters Projects website.

Where will I live?
ECU does not have on-campus graduate housing. The allied health campus (where the occupational therapy program and classes are housed) is separate from the primary campus. There are several affordable apartment complexes in very close proximity to our building. Most of these apartment complexes only rent to graduate students and professionals. It is encouraged that students live in close proximity to campus for ease in meeting with peers for group projects and class community opportunities; however, some students do chosoe to commute on a daily basis.

What is the cost of the program?
Please see Estimating the Program Cost under the “Overview of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program”.