The post-professional OTD program is a part-time, structured online curriculum serving occupational therapists' need for distance access and flexibility to acquire advanced practice skills. The OTD program trains occupational therapists to become visionary leaders, engage in inter-professional education and practice, and facilitate research translation. Students enter as a cohort in the spring/fall semesters and complete the program over three years of part-time study.

The occupational therapy program resides in the Department of Kinesiology. Occupational therapists interested in pursuing advanced research training may also apply to the M.S./Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a track in Occupational Science. The purpose of the graduate program is to prepare clinicians, researchers, and teachers who possess a solid foundation in both the theoretical and applied aspects of the disciplines of occupational therapy and science.

Fall Deadline July 15
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline November 16 for international applicants; March 31 for domestic applicants
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 2

Applicants for all graduate programs must complete a UW–Madison Graduate School application.

OTD (Post-professional)

An official copy of a current state license to practice OT in the U.S. will be required for admission.

A minimum equivalency of 30 UW–Madison credit hours taken as a graduate student beyond the Bachelor’s degree is also required. It is expected that most applicants will meet this requirement through having obtained a master’s degree in occupational therapy or related field. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in OT may apply but will be required to complete graduate credits to meet any deficiencies (as outlined on our website).

In addition, applicants must submit:

  • Personal statement responding to prompts provided on the graduate application page;
  • Current resume or CV;
  • Official transcripts per the instructions on the application page; and
  • Letters of recommendation (two required, one additional optional) from professors, co-workers, supervisors, and/or other professionals who can speak to the applicant's capacity to be an adult learner, potential for leadership, and capabilities to succeed as a graduate student.​

Further information about the admissions process can be found here.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Scholarships are sometimes available to graduate students in the OTD Program. Financial assistance is limited and opportunities vary from year to year. Students enrolled in the OTD program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Students who are considering applying for financial support should see the OTD Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid webpage for further information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
No No Yes No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 64 credits (34 beyond the M.S.)
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (32 credits out of 64 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires students maintain a graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for courses numbered 300 and above (excluding research) to receive a degree. Conditions for probationary status may require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Curricular requirements (all didactic courses) must be passed, in conformity with GPA and grad requirements, above. Capstone project proposal and final product must be reviewed and approved by a committee of graduate faculty per Graduate School policy.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements Breadth is provided via interdisciplinary training (minor requirement waived).

Required COURSES

The OTD has a prescribed curriculum of 64 credits total, 34 beyond the masters' degree.

Summer 1
EPD Professional Literacy Courses (minimum of 2)
KINES 699 Independent Study1-4
or OCC THER 890 Inter-Professional Development for Leadership
Fall 1
OCC THER 811 Applied Leadership and Management in OT3
KINES 785 Human Occupation and Health2-3
Spring 1
OCC THER 812 Current Trends Shaping Occupational Therapy Practice3
OCC THER 881 Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Capstone Project I1
Summer 2
OCC THER 813 Advanced Practice in Interprofessional Contexts3
EPD Professional Literacy Courses (minimum of 2)
KINES 699 Independent Study1-4
or OCC THER 890 Inter-Professional Development for Leadership
Fall 2
OCC THER 871 Application of Occupational Therapy Evidence in the Practice Environment2
OCC THER 881 Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Capstone Project I1
EPD Professional Literacy Courses (minimum of 2)
KINES 699 Independent Study1-4
or OCC THER 890 Inter-Professional Development for Leadership
Spring 2
OCC THER 872 Using Information to Optimize Practice3
OCC THER 881 Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Capstone Project I1
Summer 3
EPD Professional Literacy Courses (minimum of 2)
KINES 699 Independent Study1-4
or OCC THER 890 Inter-Professional Development for Leadership
Course on Communicating OT to Inter-Professional Audiences3
Fall 3
OCC THER 881 Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Capstone Project I1
Course on Advanced Outcome Measurement in Occupational Therapy3
Spring 3
Course on Capstone Project V - Project Completion, Presentation and Dissemination3
EPD Professional Literacy Courses (minimum of 2)
KINES 699 Independent Study1-4
or OCC THER 890 Inter-Professional Development for Leadership
Total Credits34-50

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 30 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework should be less than five years old to be considered, additional justification and/or documentation are needed for work taken between five and ten years. Work more than ten years old will not be considered.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No undergraduate coursework will be allowed to count toward OTD requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between University Special and Graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. These credits are considered part of the total allowable credits available for a student to transfer. Coursework should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation is needed for work taken between five and ten years. Work more than ten years old will not be considered.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. See Probation on the Graduate School website.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor to meet UW information management needs, and accordingly, and of its own volition, the department assigns an advisor to each student. The advisor is a graduate or clinical faculty member.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis. The OTD Program Coordinator will advise students in the early stages of their studies until a permanent advisor is assigned. The advisor may also serve on the student's capstone project committee.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.


Prerequisites: State license to practice OT; master's degree or equivalent.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. (Foundational Knowledge) Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the evolution of the profession, the social and global forces influencing practice, delivery models, policies, and systems, including interprofessional and emerging areas of practice.
  2. (Foundational Knowledge) Articulate and apply underlying theories, concepts and techniques of occupational therapy intervention to health promotion and well-being for the prevention of disease and dysfunction.
  3. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Articulate the knowledge, roles and practices of other professions with whom occupational therapists typically engage in practice.
  4. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Formulate systems to gather, analyze and interpret data from a practice setting.
  5. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Translate evidence into best practice for the continued development of the profession.
  6. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Develop and implement an interprofessional, scholarly capstone project that addresses an identified service system, intervention or programmatic problem, relates theory to practice and demonstrates synthesis of advanced knowledge in a practice area.
  7. Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Demonstrate an understanding of the process for locating and securing grants and how grants can serve as a fiscal resource for scholarly and programmatic activities.
  8. (Scientific Inquiry and Theory Development) Evaluate the outcomes of the capstone project and communicate findings to an interprofessional audience in a clear, understandable manner through a peer-reviewed report or presentation.
  9. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Empirically monitor client progress and treatment efficacy in practice.
  10. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Identify and apply appropriate tools for measuring practice outcomes at the individual and systems level.
  11. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Synthesize current knowledge, available evidence and responses to interventions to inform new approaches to practice problems.
  12. (Practice Reasoning and Decision Making) Demonstrate the skills necessary to lead and manage an interprofessional team.
  13. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate commitment to professional growth through the creation, implementation and monitoring of a career development plan.
  14. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate active involvement in professional development, leadership, and advocacy for the benefit of constituents and the profession.