Main Content

Doctoral Degree in Occupational Therapy

SIU occupational therapy student working with patient on arm rotation

The Southern Illinois University OTD Program has extended the application cycle for Fall 2024. Interested applicants can see the requirements for admission

In addition to the posted requirements, applicants will need to apply to the SIU graduate school and interview with the admission committee.

Qualified applicants may email Dr. Christine Watt at by July 15th for further information.

The entry-level doctoral program is designed to prepare students for practice, engage in research and scholarship, and reach beyond entry-level in the development of professional leadership skills in advocating for clients, services, and outcomes of intervention

The SIU OTD program is designed to be completed in three years. Our 103-credit hour, full-time, occupational therapy doctorate program is offered within a hybrid weekend format utilizing a blended learning model that incorporates on-line and on-campus learning experiences.

On-campus sessions meet approximately 8-10 weekends per term and include two 12-week full-time 40 hours per week supervised Level II Fieldwork placements. These are scheduled in the summer of year one and spring of year two of the program, culminating in a 14-week full-time 40 hour per week doctoral capstone experience and completion of a capstone project in spring of your final year.

Essential Skills

The essential skills associated with participation and progression within the occupational therapy program includes:

  • Professional responsibilities
  • Observation skills
  • Communication
  • Intellectual, conceptual and analytical skills
  • Motor and psychomotor capabilities
  • Behavioral and social skills

Program Requirements

This full-time, three-year program requires 103 credit hours, presented in a hybrid format with online and on-campus lectures and labs. Students complete two 12-week full-time (40 hours per week) supervised clinical fieldwork placements off-site, followed by a 14-week (40 hours per week) capstone experience and project. To sit for the NBCOT Certification Examination, the program must be accredited.

Graduates become OTRs and need licensure for practice, typically based on the exam results.

Compass IconCheck out the course sequence, which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all three years. View all related courses and the handbook.

SIU campus in the spring

Application Process

The occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program will utilize the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy Programs (OTCAS) as part of our application process. The OTCAS Application, in addition to the SIU Graduate School Application, must be completed for consideration.
2024 Application Cycle Info⇒

OTCAS Application Website

SIU Graduate School Application

Application Timelines

OTCAS application for Fall 2024 opens July 21, 2023.
Use the OTCAS Applicant Help Center for assistance with this application.

SIU application for fall 2024 opens September 4, 2023

For priority consideration, applications must be verified by OTCAS on or before November 15. The final application deadline is February 1.

Qualified applicants for the program will receive email notifications by December 15 for the initial round of interviews with the faculty, and by February 15 for the final round. Interviews will take place between January 15 and February 1, as well as between February 15 and March 1. Admission decisions will be made by March 15.

Application details:

SIU application
Items needed to complete the Graduate School Application:

  • Personal Data Information
  • Program Information
  • Previous Colleges
  • Public Safety Questions
  • Proof of Residency

OTCAS application
It is the responsibility of the applicant, without exception, to meet all application deadlines and maintain all updates to the applicant’s OTCAS application.

To ensure email delivery, add to your address book. Also periodically check the “Messages” section of your application as any email that is sent from OTCAS can also be found there.

Letters of Recommendation should be submitted to OTCAS only

Cost Estimate

The estimated cost for this program is $48,358.50 for 103 credit hours based on Fall 2023 in-state tuition. Below is a breakdown of the tuition, fees and other known expenses, however, fees are subject to change.

Cost Description
$469.50/hour Tuition for Illinois residents
$80.00/hour University Fees
$14,276 Housing per academic year
$1100/year Textbooks/Supplies
$175/year Fieldwork Database
$65 Grad School Application
Distance Education Fees Online students pay some mandatory fees, but not the same fees as on-campus students *

Student Health Insurance must be obtained independently and Fieldwork and Doctoral Capstone Experience costs will vary based on location and facility requirements.

Students enrolled in certain off-campus and online courses are assessed the following tuition and fees for those courses whose section numbers are in the range of 900 through 999. The tuition rate is equivalent to the corresponding on-campus rate that the student would be charged if taking on-campus courses as an Illinois resident and, for undergraduates, will be subject to the same guarantees as the on-campus rates. The fees consist of the Information Technology Fee, the Student Services Building Fee, the Student-to-Student Grant Fee (for undergraduates), and a Distance Learning Fee. Use the tuition calculator to determine total cost of attendance for off-campus or online


The entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program, offered through the School of Health Sciences within the College of Health and Human Sciences, has been granted candidacy status for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

7051 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 510E
Bethesda, MD 20814

Technology Requirements

Students are required to have access to a computer and a mobile device for use while in the program, and have access to a reliable broadband internet connection. Available information on browser support for an optimal experience that offers better performance, accessibility and security for access to the D2L Learning Management System is available here.

Disability Support Services

We are committed to enabling students with differing abilities, access to completing the course of study within the occupational therapy doctorate program by means of reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If accommodations are needed by a student to perform the essential skills and requisite abilities, he or she must notify Disability Support Services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and accessible experience for all students with disabilities. Disability Support Services coordinates the implementation of accommodations, if you will need to seek support services on the basis of diagnosed disability, you will need to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For more information regarding disability support services at SIU, visit the Disability Support Services website.

Graduation Requirements

Students in good standing in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at the time of graduation must complete all coursework requirements for the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate degree, with a grade of B or better in all coursework, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Students must successfully complete two (full-time) 12-week supervised Level II Fieldwork placements and all requirements for a 14-week off-site individual Doctoral Capstone Experience and Doctoral Capstone Project; having successfully completed all degree requirements within 5 years of matriculation.

For students to be eligible to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Certification Examination, the program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted accreditation. After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.


Danila J. Cepa
Program Director
Office: CASA 128

Kim Parr
Assistant Professor of Practice
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Office: CASA C120A

SIU students sitting at a picnic table laughing together on campus