Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

On the Forefront
The University of Michigan-Flint is proud to have the first entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) in the state of Michigan. The OTD program is a professional (or clinical) doctorate, which is the highest level of academic preparation that an entry-level occupational therapist can obtain. Our program preparation for the entry-level OTD exceeds that of an entry-level master’s degree. Being on the forefront of this professional movement allows our students to be among the most coveted graduates regionally and nationally. A dual degree option of OTD/MBA is available for students who are interested in starting their own private practice or business.

Innovative Curriculum
The OTD program at UM-Flint utilizes a learner-centered teaching approach. Incorporating authentic educational activities and experiences, students build their confidence through active hands-on learning. Students also benefit from inter-professional education opportunities with our prestigious Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and other health professional programs. Occupational therapy students are able to hone their patient-centered health care practices across disciplines by utilizing the vast experiences in labs, clinics, and community settings.

The Michigan Advantage
The College of Health Sciences (CHS) at UM-Flint has a valuable partnership with Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. This connection allows our students access and opportunities with highly skilled occupational therapy clinicians, and researchers. Guest lectures, clinical placements, and work-shops give our students the skills they need to specialize in areas such as spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputations, lymphedema, hand therapy,complications of cancer treatment, and many more.

Curriculum Format
Classes are structured so that students have a variety of ways to learn. Traditional classroom styles feature faculty and guest lectures, state-of-the-art lab work, and collaborative group activities.

Estimated Student Costs for Adequate Financial Planning for Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program

Doctoral Capstone Project
Students will complete a capstone experience and project in collaboration with clinical and community partners. The capstone project includes an in-depth experience in one or more of the following areas of focus:

  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Clinical practice skills
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Program and policy development
  • Research skills
  • Theory development

Academic Advising

At UM-Flint, we are proud to have many dedicated advisors who are the experts students can rely upon to help guide their educational journey. Book an appointment today.

Admission Requirements

The OTD admissions process uses the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) centralized application service. The most competitive applicants demonstrate knowledge of the depth and breadth of the profession, as well as consistent academic performance, maturity, and values associated with health care professionals.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall
  • Completion of the following prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall, minimum GPA of 2.75 in science courses, and no grade lower than a C (2.0):
  • Prerequisite Courses
    • 4 credits in biology with laboratory, to exclude botany
    • 4 credits in physics with laboratory
    • 4 credits in human anatomy with laboratory**
    • 4 credits in human physiology with laboratory**
    • 3 credits in political science (American national government and politics)
    • 9 credits in psychology (Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Abnormal Psychology)
    • 3 credits in Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Anthropology (for those applying for fall 2022 admission and beyond)
    • 3 credits in statistics
    • 1 credit in medical terminology (in a letter-graded course)
    • 3 credits in biomechanics (some kinesiology courses will be considered if biomechanics was a component of it)
    • 1 credit introduction to health careers
      • The OTD prerequisite courses cannot be satisfied via experiential learning or advanced placement. 

**If a 5-6 credit combination of anatomy and physiology class is taken, the course content must be reviewed.

  • Prerequisite courses should be completed within 7 years of applying to the program; prerequisite courses taken more than 7 years prior will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Updated First Aid and CPR certification: CPR certification must include infant, child, adult CPR with AED training for Healthcare Providers. In order to receive certification, actual hand on experience with mannequins is required (online coursework only is not accepted). This will need to be kept updated for each year in the program. Certification should be through the American Heart Association class “Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers” or through the American Red Cross class “CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers.”
  • 60 or more hours of observation of occupational therapists in two or more types of clinical settings; 125 or more hours in four or more settings recommended. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the UM-Flint OTD program is pleased to offer an alternative option for volunteer/observation hour requirements for this application cycle. We are happy to discuss this with you. Please contact Christina Wixson via email at 
  • Demonstration of computer and word processing competency to include, but not limited to, internet navigation, utilization of software and learning management systems (i.e., Blackboard), e-correspondence, and database exploration.

Applicants admitted to the OTD program must demonstrate that they possess the attributes necessary to succeed in a challenging curriculum as well as perform in the practice of occupational therapy. Essential and technical standards are the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical abilities required for satisfactory completion of the OTD curriculum and development of professional attributes required of all students at graduation. While an applicant is not required to disclose the specifics of any disability, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request reasonable accommodation if they cannot demonstrate these Essential and Technical Standards without accommodation.

Graduates of the program 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 graduate 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 NCBOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT examination or attain licensure status. Students in good standing may be allowed to take the exam during their last semester. Students may also wait until after graduation to take the exam.

For the Fall 2022 admission period, UM-Flint will use the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). The application will be available July 16, 2021 through May 1, 2022. 

  • Up to forty students will be admitted once per year in the fall semester.
  • The UM-Flint Occupational Therapy program operates on a rolling-admission basis; we encourage you to apply early.
  • The deadline to submit all your documents to OTCAS is May 1, 2022 to ensure full consideration of your application.  It can take up to six weeks for OTCAS to send UM-Flint all of your documents after you have submitted them to OTCAS.
  • If you do not submit all OTCAS materials to OTCAS by May 1, 2022, the materials may arrive at UM-Flint late and could take your application out of consideration.
  • While May 1, 2022 is the application deadline, applicants have longer to be verified by OTCAS.

Submit the following to OTCAS by May 1, 2022:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended in the United States (foreign transcripts are to be sent to the Office of Graduate Programs, not OTCAS)
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted to OTCAS
  • Observation of Occupational Therapist Hours
    • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the UM-Flint OTD program is excited to offer Alternative Observation Hours opportunities for the 2021-2022 Admissions Cycle.  60 Hours are required.  In person observation hours will be accepted, if completed.  Please contact Christina Wixson at to learn more about how to satisfy this requirement. Alternative options include videos, webinars, podcasts, Ted Talks and more.

Submit the following directly to UM-Flint by May 1, 2022:

  • $55 UM-Flint Supplemental Application Fee (paid online)
  • Transcripts and diplomas or certificates of graduation from any colleges and universities you have attended from outside the United States (do not send to OTCAS)
  • International students must submit additional documentation

The application process for the Fall 2022 cohort includes an interview with OT faculty and OT clinical practitioners. The qualifying applicants will receive an invitation for this interview to be conducted in person or via teleconference call.


The UM-Flint entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), allowing students to be admitted to the program. AOTA is located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number is (301) 652-AOTA, Next in the process for a new program, is Accreditation Status. The program must have a preaccreditation 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). The University of Michigan-Flint fully expects to be granted Accreditation Status prior to our first graduating class.

Additional Accreditation Information