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School of Adult and Graduate Education
sage@cedarcrest.edu
610-740-3770

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Curriculum

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate’s year-round curriculum is made up of a variety of courses incorporating lectures, research, and hands-on field experience and is guided by four main principles:

  • Clinical Excellence
  • Scientifically Informed Practice
  • Leadership & Advocacy
  • Occupational Justice & Positive Social Change

Courses will be offered sequentially and only once per year.

For complete course information, visit the Graduate Catalog.

Courses

Foundations of Occupational Therapy (3 credits)

Students will be introduced to the occupational history and the philosophical underpinnings and tenets associated with the profession.  Occupation and non-occupation based theories, models, and frames of reference often associated with occupational therapy will be presented.  The relationship between occupational science and occupational therapy will be explored).

Research I: Scholarship & Evidence-Based Practice (2 credits)

This introductory course focuses on quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and how to locate, select, analyze, and critique scholarly studies to support evidence-based practice in occupational therapy. The course explores ethical decision-making in research and the IRB process.

Anatomy, Movement, & Occupational Performance (4 credits)

Students will explore anatomical structures, systems, functions, and the principles of biomechanics as and their relation to occupational performance, process, and practice.  Students will acquire the skills necessary to understand how physical and pathological dysfunction and environmental factors impact a client’s occupational choices and participation.  The course is comprised of both lecture classes and laboratory experiences.

Occupational Behavior & Clinical Reasoning (2 credits)

Students will be introduced to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF), which provides a foundation for the occupational therapy process.  Activity analysis, clinical reasoning, and observation skills will be introduced and developed through experiential teaching and learning methods.

Leadership Development & Social Change (2 credits)

Students will be introduced to and will analyze various leadership theories and models.  Students will explore the concepts of personal and group leadership within the context of improving the community through social change.  Occupational therapists' role in setting public policy and participating in community, national, and international professional associations will be illuminated and considered.  Students will contemplate ways in which leadership and social change can be used as a framework to guide their doctoral capstone experience

Group Dynamics & Contexts (2 credits)

Students will be provided a foundation in group leadership models and theories, therapeutic communication skills, team-building approaches, conflict resolution, and therapeutic use of self, which will enable them to utilize groups as a therapeutic medium.  Group dynamics, such as formation, process, development, and structure, will be introduced in the course using experiential teaching methods.  Diverse cultures and contexts, and their influence on group dynamics will be considered throughout the course.

Research II: Scholarly Project

After being exposed to qualitative and quantitative approaches in the previous semester, students will choose either Qualitative Research & Occupational Performance or Quantitative Research & Occupational Performance to complete their research project.

Qualitative Research & Occupational Performance (2 credits)

This qualitative research course focuses on how to read, understand, and evaluate qualitative research as part of evidence-based practice in occupational therapy. Students will be led through the process of selecting a topic, developing research questions, and distinguishing how the type of question determines the qualitative research design. Students will learn components of qualitative research, including understanding, critiquing, and evaluating qualitative research and relevant literature, data collection, coding and analysis, and rigor in qualitative research.  The students will work in small groups to design, complete, and present a qualitative research project that has relevance to the occupational therapy profession to expert reviewers.

Quantitative Research & Occupational Performance (2 credits)

This quantitative research course focuses on how to read, understand, and evaluate quantitative research as part of evidence-based practice in occupational therapy. Students will develop the skills necessary to understand psychometric concepts and apply collection, data analysis, and necessary statistical procedures to a research question.  Students will work in small groups to design, complete, and present quantitative research, which has relevance to the occupational therapy profession to expert reviewers.

Children & Adolescents Development, Occupations, & Performance (4 credits)

In this course, students will examine the functional implications of pediatric conditions, physical, cognitive, and psychological development, and environmental, social, and political context on the occupations and occupational performance of children, adolescents, and their families.  Emphasis is placed on working with diverse populations, the family unit, and interprofessional practice in school and rehabilitative settings. This course has a lab component to provide students with the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge, develop clinical reasoning skills, and enhance communication skills in various practice settings.  

Children & Adolescents Evaluation & Skills Lab (4 credits)

This lab focuses on occupational therapy evaluation, intervention planning, and outcomes related to habilitation and rehabilitation requiring skilled occupational services.  This lab component requires students to apply knowledge and concepts acquired in Children & Adolescents Development, Occupations, & Performance and prerequisite courses to experiential learning scenarios for pediatric clients and their families in natural and simulated contexts.  Students will practice clinical reasoning skills, therapeutic use of self, intervention planning, and measuring therapeutic outcomes in a rehabilitation context to promote participation in daily occupations.

Level I Fieldwork: Children & Adolescents (1 credit)

Traditional clinical settings and faculty-led teaching experiences will be used to re-enforce the principles and clinical reasoning skills acquired in the child and adolescent-based didactic courses. Directed observation and experiential teaching methods will allow the students to apply, practice, and further develop professional behaviors, communication skills, and general practice skills to support child-based populations and their families in various practice settings. 

Functional Neuroscience & Occupational Performance (3 credits)

This course will instruct students in recognizing and understanding the relevance of neuroanatomical structures and functions of the nervous system and how impairments of this system impact clients and their occupational performance.  Evidence-based neurorehabilitation models, motor control approaches, and acquired conceptual knowledge will be applied to the occupational therapy process.

Doctoral Experience Milestone: Introduction & Exploration (1 credit)

The purpose of the doctoral milestone courses is to provide students with the opportunity to organize the progress of the capstone project into manageable interim targets set in a logical sequence.  Assignments designed to support milestones are housed within the courses. Students will be introduced to the components and responsibilities associated with the Doctoral Capstone.  The course instructor and the OTD Faculty Advisor will provide guided support as students explore opportunities for their capstone experience and capstone project.

Adult Development, Occupations, & Performance (4 credits)

In this course, students will examine the functional implications of adult conditions, physical, cognitive, and psychological development, and environmental, social, and political context on the occupations and occupational performance of adults.  Emphasis is placed on working with diverse populations, vocation, and interprofessional practice in rehabilitative settings. This course has a lab component to provide students with the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge, develop clinical reasoning skills, and enhance communication skills in various practice settings.  

Adult Evaluation & Skills Lab (4 credits)

This lab focuses on occupational therapy evaluation, intervention planning, and outcomes related to habilitation and rehabilitation requiring skilled occupational services.  This lab component requires students to apply knowledge and concepts acquired in Adult Development, Occupations, and Performance and other prerequisite courses to experiential case studies and learning scenarios for adult populations.  This lab will incorporate natural and simulated environments.  Students will practice clinical reasoning skills, therapeutic use of self, intervention planning, and measuring therapeutic outcomes in a rehabilitation context to promote participation in daily occupations.

Level I Fieldwork: Adults (1 credit)

Traditional clinical settings and faculty-led teaching experiences will be used to re-enforce the principles and clinical reasoning skills acquired in the adult-based didactic courses. Directed observation and experiential teaching methods will allow the students to apply, practice, and further develop professional behaviors, communication skills, and general practice skills to support adult-based populations in various contexts.

Psychosocial Approach to Occupations (3 credits)

In this course, psychosocial aspects are applied to human functioning and occupational performance.  Common psychosocial disorders, assessments, interventions, and community-based programming are addressed.  Students will evaluate and plan interventions strategies for adults living with psychosocial impairments.  The role of occupational therapists working with adults experiencing mental health issues in diverse community-based and inpatient settings are considered.

Level I Fieldwork: Psychosocial (1 credit)

Traditional clinical settings and faculty-led teaching experiences will be used to re-enforce the principles and clinical reasoning skills acquired in the psychosocial didactic course. Directed observation and experiential teaching methods will allow the students to apply, practice, and further develop professional behaviors, communication skills, and general practice skills to support diverse adult populations experiencing mental health challenges.

Special Topics in Occupational Therapy (2 credits)

Using the pillars of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Vision 2025 as a framework, students will explore special topics and emerging practice areas where occupational therapists can make an impact on the delivery of occupational therapy services. Students will identify emerging practice areas and describe the role and contributions of occupational therapists to these clients.

Doctoral Experience Milestone: Proposal (1 credit)

Students will draft a capstone proposal for their capstone experience, which provides a comprehensive experience in advanced clinical practice, scholarship, administration, advocacy, leadership, program and policy development, education, or theory development.  Students will draft individualized learning objectives, and a plan for supervision, in collaboration with the OTD faculty advisor.  The capstone project will be completed during the program’s final semester.

Older Adult Development, Occupations, & Performance (4 credits)

In this course, students will examine the functional implications of older-adult conditions, physical, cognitive, and psychological development, and environmental, social, and political context on the occupations and occupational performance of older adults.  Emphasis is placed on working with diverse older adult populations, aging’s effect on occupations, vocation, retirement, leisure, caregivers, death and dying, and interprofessional practice in rehabilitative settings. This course has a lab component to provide students with the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge, develop clinical reasoning skills, and enhance communication skills in various practice settings.

Older Adult Evaluation & Skills Lab (4 credits)

This lab focuses on occupational therapy evaluation, intervention planning, and outcomes related to the habilitation and rehabilitation of clients requiring skilled occupational services.  This lab component requires students to apply knowledge and concepts acquired in Older Adult Development, Occupations, and Performance and other prerequisite courses to experiential case studies and learning scenarios for older adult populations.  This lab will incorporate natural and simulated environments.  Students will practice clinical reasoning skills, therapeutic use of self, evaluation, intervention planning, and measuring therapeutic outcomes in a rehabilitation context to promote participation in daily occupations.

Level I Fieldwork: Older Adult (1 credit)

Traditional clinical settings and faculty-led teaching experiences will be used to re-enforce the principles and clinical reasoning skills acquired in the older adult-based didactic courses. Directed observation and experiential teaching methods will allow students to apply, practice, and further develop professional behaviors, communication skills, and general practice skills to support older adult-based populations in various contexts. 

Practitioner as Educator (3 credits)

In this course, students examine the role a practitioner may assume as an educator in clinical and academic settings.  Theoretical principles and models of teaching and learning will be utilized to develop skills in formulating instructional design plans for adult learners.

Research III: Systematic Review (3 credits)

This course will guide students through a systematic review of the literature that is applicable to their capstone experience. Using the systematic review, students will complete a draft literature review to show evidence and support for the capstone experience and capstone project.

Doctoral Experience Milestone: Partnership (1 credit)

Students will work collaboratively with OTD faculty advisors to locate sites and populations to support their capstone experience.  Students will secure community partner mentors who have expertise in the students' area or population of interest.

Fieldwork Level IIA (8 credits)

Level IIA Fieldwork is a twelve-week learning practicum, which takes place under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist in various medical, community, school, and emerging practice settings. The fieldwork experience is designed to advance skills acquired in didactic courses and labs. Fieldwork promotes evaluation and intervention planning, develops problem-solving abilities, enhances clinical reasoning skills and reflective practice, facilitates professionalism, ethical decision-making, and therapeutic use of self. The fieldwork experience is supported by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the Fieldwork Educators. First of two Level II fieldwork experiences.

Management in Healthcare I (1 credit)

Students will learn and apply basic management principles to the supervision and development of personnel in various service delivery systems, including non-traditional settings.

Fieldwork Level IIB (8 credits)

Level IIB Fieldwork is a twelve-week learning practicum, which takes place under the direct supervision of an occupational therapist in various medical, community, school, and emerging practice settings. The fieldwork experience is designed to advance skills acquired in didactic courses and labs. Fieldwork promotes evaluation and intervention planning, develops problem-solving abilities, enhances clinical reasoning skills and reflective practice, facilitates professionalism, ethical decision-making, and therapeutic use of self. The fieldwork experience is supported by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the Fieldwork Educators. Second of two Level II fieldwork experiences.

Management in Healthcare II (1 credit)

Students will develop and demonstrate the skills needed for the development, management, and administration of occupational therapy services in various practice settings. Students will create a business plan and develop a marketing strategy for effective service delivery.

Integration of Learning in Occupational Therapy (3 credits)

This course is strategically placed in the curriculum after students have completed their foundation and core competency courses and their Level II Fieldwork placements. The course provides students with the opportunity to integrate knowledge, theory, and fieldwork experience as they prepare for practice as an occupational therapist. Students are encouraged to take a reflective approach as they consider the core competencies necessary for entry-level practice and as they prepare for a higher level of understanding in the advanced occupational therapy courses. Students will reflect on client interactions and utilize knowledge gained from their fieldwork experiences to complete course assignments.

Advanced Leadership & Advocacy in Occupational Therapy (3 credits)

Students will expand on the generalist knowledge acquired in OTD 524 to advocate for occupational therapy and the delivery of services to address societal needs and population health. Students will incorporate and apply concepts from the Social Change Model of Leadership Development to their capstone experience and capstone project.

Capstone I (3 credits)

With guidance from OTD faculty advisors and community partner mentors, students will finalize their learning objectives, the Memorandum of Understanding, and all additional documentation required for their capstone experience. Students will also complete their literature review, develop a needs assessment, and formulate an evaluation plan to support their capstone project. If applicable, students will complete an IRB for research-focused capstone projects.

Health and Well-being (3 credits)

This course examines how occupation and lifestyle impacts health, well-being, participation, and the prevention of disease and dysfunction in individuals, groups, and populations.  Models of health promotion will be discussed and applied to demonstrate knowledge of how social determinates impact population health and welfare.

Occupational Justice (3 credits)

This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the correlation between various contexts (sociocultural, socioeconomic, education, community, and political), diversity, occupational justice, and health and well-being at multiple ecological levels. The course design allows for examination and application of knowledge regarding personal culture and its impact on practice and the culture of diverse clients and its influence on their health beliefs, practices, and occupations. The course will include in-depth discussions of social justice theories, public policy, cultural effectiveness, and how marginalization and stigmatization impact access to healthcare.

Capstone II (3 credits)

Students will finalize their capstone proposal, which provides in-depth experience in either advanced clinical practice, scholarship, administration, advocacy, leadership, program and policy development, education, or theory development.

Doctoral Capstone Experience (9 credits)

This experiential course allows students to enhance their skills in advanced clinical practice, scholarship, administration, leadership, advocacy, program and policy development, education, or theory development. The Doctoral Capstone Experience will last 14 weeks and may take place in a traditional or emerging practice area. Students will be expected to meet their learning objectives and perform at a level beyond that of an entry-level occupational therapist.

Doctoral Capstone Dissemination (1 credit)

Students will disseminate results from their capstone project in the form of a scholarly paper and an oral capstone presentation.