The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who seek to become a registered occupational therapist. Through this program, you will learn how to help patients overcome physical, sensory or cognitive obstacles and will make a meaningful impact on patient care.
BS to Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT)
The Bachelor of Science in Health Science/Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT) program at Saint Joseph’s University lets you earn a Health Science BS and DrOT in just six years — less time than the typical seven to eight years it takes to get both degrees.
This accelerated DrOT program is designed for undergraduate students who have a clear vision for their career in occupational therapy. Through our proven curriculum and diverse fieldwork experiences, you’ll master the skills and expertise required to practice as an occupational therapist. You’ll gain a strong foundation in the sciences and humanities, examine how disease and disability affect the way people live and learn how to work effectively with clients of all ages and backgrounds in a variety of healthcare settings.
You’ll advance from the pre-professional (Years 1-3) to the professional phase of the program (Years 3-5) by meeting all academic criteria and program requirements. You can enter this program as an incoming first-year student through our direct-entry admission pathway or as a transfer student.
What Sets Our Program Apart
Saint Joseph’s is one of only a handful of universities in the country to offer an accelerated pathway to the clinical Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT) for students entering directly from high school. You can get a doctorate in occupational therapy with just two additional years instead of the traditional three years of training required after earning your bachelor’s degree.
After the program, you’ll be ready to sit for the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination — an exam you’ll need to pass if you choose to obtain a license to practice occupational therapy in the U.S. Our first-time pass rate results is 100% for our DrOT program (2021).
You’ll participate in clinical fieldwork experiences in a variety of healthcare settings beginning the first semester of your professional year. This includes two 12-week level II fieldworks, working with patients of all ages from infants to the elderly, and a 14-week doctoral experiential component.
You’ll also get to work in simulation and clinical labs housed inside Glasser/Woodland Hall — from a pediatric sensory lab to a home care lab — giving you a taste of working in a professional healthcare setting.
Taught by faculty who are active practitioners, our established curriculum covers six OT intervention courses rather than the typical two or three offered by other OT programs. These include:
- Contextual and rehabilitation approaches to interventions
- Developmental, psychosocial and cognitive issues
- Assistive technology
As a doctoral OT student, you’ll conduct, publish and present research based on your interests. You’ll also get involved in grant-funded projects with noted professors. Graduates have investigated topics such as:
- Aging and health
- Technology use by children with disabilities
- Upper extremity orthopedics Integrative medicine
Interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities can be found as early as the first year of study. You’ll work with different healthcare professional students in the physical therapy, physician assistant and pharmacy programs at St. Joe’s, as well as with students in other academic institutions. You'll also participate in medical mission trips with other healthcare professionals.
Top 4 Reasons to Get an Occupational Therapy Degree
- OT is a growing, stable field. Employment prospects for OT are projected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030 — much faster than the average 7% for all occupations. It also comes with a solid salary — the median salary for occupational therapists is $86,280 per year in 2020.
- You’ll make a difference. You’ll learn how to use therapeutic techniques and tools to help individuals of all ages regain and maintain their ability to perform everyday activities.
- OT is a flexible career path. You’ll get to work as an occupational therapist in diverse settings — from hospitals to schools — or enter other areas such as academia, technology and policy.
- You’ll have more job satisfaction. Occupational therapy is considered one of the best healthcare jobs in the U.S.
Students in the DrOT program attend class full-time and must complete 121 hours of coursework. They’re also required to complete:
- Two level II fieldwork courses for a total of 24 full-time equivalent weeks off-site in the community
- A 14-week, 560-hour experiential, during which they complete the capstone project
Courses in the DrOT program are delivered primarily onsite, with lab and fieldwork experiences required off-site in the community, and one course online (OT 697) which complements the doctoral capstone.
Technology Competency Requirements
It is required that students have internet access and satisfactory computer skills to complete course requirements. Assignments may include online work, presentation formats, researching the literature and sending files electronically. Communication with instructors is done via email or internet meetings.
To assist with online learning throughout the program, all new incoming DrOT students are required to complete the specified orientation course to the University’s learning management system.
View required courses for this program in the academic catalog. Please contact us if you have any questions about the program curriculum.
The tuition for direct-entry BS/DrOT students entering fall 2022 is $27,500/year (year 1-3) and $40,000/year (year 4-6). *Pricing does not include room and board, health insurance or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page for more information.
Financial aid may be available to you to help offset the cost of your degree. Explore your options on our Financial Aid page.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT) program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). ACOTE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
More information can be obtained at:
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite
200 North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
All states in the United States require a license to practice occupational therapy. Each state also has specific legislation describing the process for obtaining a license to practice and specific licensure application requirements.The primary criterion for obtaining a license in any state is passing the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy Examination (NBCOT). Learn more about OT licensure requirements and our NBCOT exam pass rates for the DrOT program.
Why Study Occupational Therapy in Philadelphia?
Here in Philadelphia, you’re in the heart of the health science industry, surrounded by more than 250 medical facilities. The city’s diverse population and rich healthcare employment opportunities offer a unique environment to gain OT experience in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers and long-term care residences.
BS/DrOT Admissions Information
How to apply
- Apply online. Applications are free.
- Submit your official high school transcripts from all high schools you’ve attended. A list of senior year coursework must be present.
- Complete one of the Common Application essay prompts.
- Submit a letter of recommendation. Up to two additional letters may be submitted.
- Submit SAT/ACT scores. These are optional, but you can submit them if you feel they’ll strengthen your application.
All materials can be uploaded via the Saint Joseph’s Application or the Common Application. Learn more about how to submit your application materials.
Our regular application deadline is March 1. Visit our Undergraduate Admissions page to learn more about application deadlines.
If admitted as a direct-entry student, you’ll be able to identify occupational therapy as your major field of study. No additional application is required to enter the professional phase of the program. To maintain guaranteed admission into the professional phase of the occupational therapy curriculum, which typically begins in May of the third year of study, you must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a program specific cumulative GPA of 3.00 (all courses with an OT prefix and prerequisites for the DrOT program).
Required High School Coursework Mathematics:
- 2 years of algebra
- 1 year of geometry
- Higher-level math encouraged in senior year (trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus)
- 3 years of science with a lab
Visit our Undergraduate Admissions page to learn more about required high school coursework for BS/DrOT students.
How to apply
- Apply online. Applications are free, and there is no deadline to apply. Transfer applications are reviewed on a rolling basis year-round.
- Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities you attended.
- Submit an official high school transcript or an official copy of a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). (If you have an associate’s degree or 30+ college credits prior to your enrollment at Saint Joseph’s, these transcripts are waived.)
- Submit one to three letters of recommendation.
- Submit a professional goal statement — this should explain in detail your interest in the professional program to which you are applying, how you developed this interest, your career goals and any attributes and accomplishments you believe will enhance your future academic and career success. Also, please tell us why you have chosen to apply to Saint Joseph’s.
- Submit SAT/ACT scores. (If you have 24 or more credits, you don’t have to submit scores.)
- It is highly recommended that applicants have begun the required 50 hours of shadow experience for the professional phase of the program.
If you’ve taken college coursework but have not received a bachelor’s degree, you may also transfer into the pre-professional years of the DrOT program. To be considered, you must:
- Complete all prerequisite courses.
- Complete a minimum of 18 undergraduate credit hours and at least 2 prerequisite courses at Saint Joseph’s.
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all courses required as a prerequisite.
- Complete 50 hours of observation or shadowing of an occupational therapist before entering the fourth year of study.
- Enroll no later than the fall semester of the third year of study.
Please contact us for a list of prerequisite courses that you need to complete preceding enrollment at Saint Joseph’s. This list will be available on the Academic Catalog in mid-June. You can also visit our Transfer Admissions page for information about transfer credit equivalencies or contact us if you have any questions.
If you’re applying as an international student, you must provide proof of English Language Proficiency and Certification of Finances along with your application. Check the Undergraduate Admission page for more information about the application process and additional requirements for international students.
From my fieldwork experience, I learned the importance of family and client-centered care, motivational interviewing and how I can incorporate a person’s occupations into the intervention process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Occupational therapy is a health profession focused on helping clients develop the functional capacity to live independently, care for personal needs and participate in work, school or community activities.
Occupational therapists assist people in getting back into the flow of life. You’re vital in providing new solutions to doing everyday tasks and to preserving people’s independence as their physical abilities change. As an occupational therapist, you may work in a hospital, community health center or in social services. You can also pursue a career as an educator, trainer or researcher.
Courses in Saint Joseph’s BSHS/DrOT program are delivered primarily onsite on our University City campus, with lab and fieldwork experiences required off-site in the community. You’ll take one course online (OT 697) which complements the capstone experience.