Doctoral Degree

Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Pursue your goal of becoming an occupational therapist at Widener. Here, you'll engage with expert faculty and undertake high-quality community and clinical experiences.

Program Overview

The doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) program consists of coursework, field experiences, and mentorship programs designed to enable students to become ethical, contemporary occupational therapy practitioners who adopt the values necessary to:

  • Work interprofessionally to contribute to the vitality and well-being of the community or individual served
  • Utilize evidence to inform professional reasoning and decision-making
  • Practice using a client-centered, occupation-based approach
  • Collaborate with individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations to identify culturally relevant personal and communal goals
  • Strive to maximize the fit between the individual and their personal, social, cultural, physical, virtual, and community environments
  • Serve as leaders in their community

This program has been granted candidacy status for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)

Program Information

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is

The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

View the Accreditation Timeline

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Admissions Requirements

  • Complete online application and pay application fee through OTCAS.
  • Admission will be granted to students who demonstrate the capacity for graduate-level studies through performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and a satisfactory grade point average (GPA) at the undergraduate level.
    • The GPA for combined science courses is expected to be at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Competitive students will have a combined science GPA of 3.5 or greater.
  • Transcripts must be sent to OTCAS.
  • GRE scores should be in the 50th percentile to be a competitive candidate. You should send the scores to OTCAS using the code 4134.
  • You must have 20 hours of volunteer or paid experience in a supervised OT setting.
  • Three letters of recommendations should be submitted through OTCAS. At least one must be from an occupational therapist, at least one must be from a professor, and one can be from any other source. Do not use family members or family friends as reference sources.
  • Interviews are held, with invitation.

Enter with a Bachelor's Degree

Applicants holding a bachelor’s degree in any discipline may apply to the program under the entry-level OTD track.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the program early to assess the need for completion of prerequisite course work. Courses taken in preparation for entry may be completed at Widener University or at another university or college.

Widener's Pre-Occupational Therapy Career Pathway

Through our pre-occupational therapy pathway, students are encouraged to apply to the professional OTD Program through the OTCAS system. Students within the College of Arts and Sciences who major in anthropology, biology, fine arts, psychology, or sociology will be able to take courses to meet all prerequisite requirements. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree before entering the OTD Program.

  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II with Lab
  • Physics
  • Statistical Methods
  • Lifespan Human Development or equivalent
  • Abnormal Psychology or equivalent
  • Sociology or Anthropology (preferably cultural)

All students must apply through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) website. Upon completion and verification of the application, you may be asked to come for an interview day. Our soft deadline is November 15, and our hard deadline is February 29.

Program Highlights

The OTD program will engage you in dynamic experiential learning methodologies, student-faculty scholarship activities, intentional personal interactions, facilitated leadership opportunities, and service activities in the culturally diverse local community throughout the curriculum.

Faculty Mentorship & Interprofessional Learning

At Widener, you’ll learn from and build relationships with industry experts as they support and prepare you to be a leader in the field. Students and faculty connect interprofessionally across other departments of the School of Human Service Professions through shared academic and experiential opportunities supporting holistic approaches to care.

PT student community engagement

Community & Clinical Experiences

You'll experience a meaningful education with unique clinical experiences, including work with diverse and underserved local communities through the community pro-bono clinic, and opportunities to participate in other community-based clinics conducted by a variety of other Widener programs in the School of Human Service Professions.

Pro-Bono Clinic

Here, you'll give back to the community by working at our student-run pro bono clinic, which provides compassionate and cost-effective care to uninsured and underinsured members of the Chester community.


Our occupational therapy faculty are industry experts who remain active in clinical practice, scholarly inquiry, and professional engagement. They serve as role models, mentors, and knowledgeable resources.

Wendy L Wachter-Schutz
Founding Program Director of Occupational Therapy

“It is the hope of the OT Program faculty to prepare students to be evidenced based and professional critical thinkers, civic minded leaders, and interprofessional practitioners. We will also lead our future graduates to work with diverse populations to help individuals and groups to best engage in their meaningful activities as independently as possible."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

You will be ready to meet and treat clients on your first day on the job. Our hands-on experiential curriculum will put you on the inside track to a long and successful career.

  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • Einstein Healthcare Network
  • Main Line Health
  • Crozier Medical Center

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Mental health & psychiatry 
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • School systems

Industry Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Financial Aid

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Next steps to apply

We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).

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