Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Develop, enhance and advance practice through knowledge translation and application

UIC’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program produces practice-scholars who specialize in advanced practice, education, applied research, leadership and management in occupational therapy. Our program is designed for students who want to take on roles as advanced clinicians, applied scholars, managers and educators in a wide range of settings.

We focus on developing your professional skills through a strong mentorship model. You’ll work closely with a faculty mentor to tailor the program to your specific career goals, and immerse yourself in areas of study like:

  • Advanced practice in a specific area, setting population, age range or community
  • Advanced education, teaching and learning, knowledge, skills and evidence
  • Leadership in management, administration, program development and education, policy systems, and innovative, evidence‐based practice

Like our associated PhD programs in disability studies and rehabilitation sciences, the OTD program provides applied research knowledge and skills, but shifts that focus to using existing evidence to applying existing evidence to professional and community-based practice.

Our students fall into three categories:

  • Currently practicing occupational therapists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in OT
  • Students currently enrolled in an accredited MS OT program that want to continue on to a post-professional OTD
  • Students who are currently enrolled in the UIC MS program or want to co-enroll in the MS and OTD programs

Stats and Facts

Elizabeth Peterson headshot
Part of leadership team that secured $2.5 million grant to develop online training modules for healthcare providers
52
students have graduated from the program since its founding
1st
qualitative research paper to win Best Paper Award from the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers authored by Joy Hammel and Susan Magasi
UIC OT's working at table for ScreenABLE Saturday
ScreenABLE Saturday
Health and wellness event empowers women with disabilities
Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar leans against a building wall. The background shows a city crosswalk
Talking the walk
Team of researchers aim to make Chicago a city of walkable neighborhoods - for everyone

Your career

As the field of occupational therapy continues to grow, many OTs find themselves needing advanced knowledge and skills in evidence-based practice, education and applied research.

Entry-level degrees in occupational therapy focus on developing generalist practitioners. The OTD program focuses on developing advanced practitioners with specialized expertise, advanced knowledge and skills, and the ability to take on leadership and educational roles in the field. We focus on evidence-based practice and research that can be applied to improving your practice and developing new areas of innovative practice.

For the currently practicing occupational therapist, an OTD offers opportunities for career development and advancement. For a currently enrolled master’s student, an OTD offers the opportunity to enter the field with advanced knowledge and skills

Learn from the best

  • Joy Hammel

    Joy Hammel

    2016 UIC University Scholar identifying key environmental barriers to the full participation of disabled individuals

  • Susan Magasi

    Susan Magasi

    Chair of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Communications Committee

  • Mansha Mirza

    Mansha Mirza

    Focusing on people with disabilities and chronic health conditions among underserved immigrant and refugee communities

Understanding by doing

Our program is based in a Scholarship of Practice, embedding real-life learning experiences through applied projects, advanced practicums and self-directed learning. You’ll work closely with faculty members within your lines of inquiry, ensuring that you have quality experiences doing mentored work that is relevant, forward-thinking, and will make a difference both in practice, and in the lives of diverse OT clients, families and communities.

You’ll complete an OTD project representing major applied work done with your faculty mentor and community of learning, involving planning, implementation, evaluation and dissemination. This gives you the opportunity to experience how a program of scholarship is developed, advances over time, and fits different components together. This project can be an evidence-based practice review, educational case study, or creation and evaluation of training, assessment or intervention program.

Marjani Jones

We're here for you

Still wondering what an OTD can do for you? Contact Marjani Jones and get your questions answered.

You can contact Marjani at: