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.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT)
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT) is a doctorate degree that prepares you to become a successful OT practitioner, researcher or leader in a variety of medical and community settings. It’s the highest level of formal education available to entry-level occupational therapists. By earning your occupational therapy degree from Saint Joseph’s University, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact on patient care.
Saint Joseph’s accredited three-year DrOT program offers the opportunity to work with patients of all ages in the Greater Philadelphia area and neighboring states every semester starting in your first semester through fieldwork experiences and a doctoral capstone project. You’ll also get to publish research, collaborate with noted professors on grant-funded projects, and network with students and alumni in student organizations like the Student Occupational Therapy Association.
You can enter this program if you already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and have completed all prerequisites. We also offer a BS to DrOT pathway for incoming undergraduate students (through our direct-entry admission pathway) and transfer students.
What Sets Our Program Apart
After the program, you’ll be qualified to sit for the National Board for 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 for the DrOT program since 2018 is 98%.
You can learn more about NBCOT program results across different institutions by visiting https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance.
You’ll participate in clinical fieldwork experiences in a variety of health care 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 health care setting.
Our established curriculum allows you to take six OT intervention courses rather than the typical two or three offered by other OT programs. Courses are hands-on and cover:
- Contextual and rehabilitation approaches to interventions
- Developmental, psychosocial and cognitive issues
- Assistive technology
You’ll learn from and work with award-winning OT faculty who bring a wealth of knowledge from their own clinical practice and research spanning a variety of topics — from technology to social and occupational justice issues.
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 health care professional students in the physical therapy, physician assistant and pharmacy programs at Saint Joseph's, as well as with students in other academic institutions. You'll also participate in medical mission trips with other health care professionals.
View required courses for this program in the academic catalog. Please contact us if you have any questions about the program curriculum, prerequisite courses and other requirements.
If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences, sociology, psychology or other related fields and have taken our prerequisite courses, you can complete the DrOT program in three years of continuous study. You will need to attend class full-time and complete 121 hours of coursework. You’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 project, during which you 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 two courses online (OTH 675 and OTH 711), 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 on the University’s learning management system.
BS to Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DrOT)
Enter the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program as a first-year undergraduate student to earn a BS in health science (BSHS) and DrOT in just six years. Students who’ve taken college coursework but have not received a bachelor’s degree may also transfer into the pre-professional years of the BS/DrOT program if they meet all prerequisite requirements.
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Saint Joseph’s accredited Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree who seek to become a registered occupational therapist. The program takes less than three years to complete (two years of continuous study and a six-month off-site fieldwork component) if you already meet all prerequisites.
The tuition for DrOT students entering fall 2023 is as follows.
- $45,750 - Year 1
- $45,750 - Year 2
- $30,500 - Year 3
*Pricing does not include room and board; health insurance; or any professional, clinical or transportation fees. Visit our Tuition & Fees page for a detailed cost breakdown. Please note that the Tuition and Fee page reflects the 2023-2024 costs, which will be changing for students beginning the program in Fall 2024.
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 for 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 health care employment opportunities offer a unique environment to gain O.T. experience in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers and long-term care residences.
DrOT Admissions Information
You must meet the following requirements to be considered for admission to the DrOT program:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences, sociology, psychology or other related fields from an accredited university or college
- Complete all prerequisite courses listed below by the start of the program in May
- 3.0 Cumulative and 3.2 Prerequisite GPA with at least a C or higher in all prerequisite courses
- A minimum of 50 hours of shadow experience with documentation from a licensed occupational therapist professional prior to the start of the program in May.
- You may use the Occupational Therapy Shadowing Form to document any additional or required shadowing hours that you complete. Forms from other schools are acceptable so long as they include all of the information needed.
- Two letters of reference are required (letters from OT practitioners highly preferred)
- OTCAS essay: A statement as to why the student wants to enter the profession of occupational therapy. Within this statement applicants are expected to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy gained from observation, reading, and personal or family experiences.
Required prerequisite courses should be completed by the end of the spring term preceding enrollment at Saint Joseph's University including:
- Anatomy & Physiology, with lab (8 credits)
- Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
- Advanced Writing (3 credits)
- Intro to Sociology or Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)
- Medical Terminology (2 credits)
- Physics (with or without lab) (3 credits)
- Psychology of Human Growth and Development (Developmental Psychology course that covers the whole human lifespan) (3 credits)
- Statistics (3 credits)
GRE scores are not required. Candidates are also not required to interview.
Please contact us for a list of prerequisite courses that you need to complete by the end of the spring term preceding enrollment at Saint Joseph’s. This list will soon be available on the Academic Catalog. You must also have internet access and satisfactory computer skills to complete course requirements.
The application deadline for admission to Saint Joseph’s DrOT program is March 30, 2023 for the class that begins in May 2023.
Applications for 2023-2024 will be available via the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) in July. No supplemental application is required. Please submit all documentation directly to OTCAS.
Admission decisions are made as applications are completed, therefore it is recommended candidates apply early. Candidates are not required to interview.
Graduate applications must be submitted by March 1 for review.
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 Graduate Admission page for additional requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 therapy is an in-demand health care field. Employment prospects for OT are projected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030 — much faster than the average 7% for all occupations. It’s also considered one of the best health care jobs in the U.S.
With an OT doctoral degree, you can work as an occupational therapist in a number of diverse environments, including:
- Community health centers
- Social services
- Clients’ homes
OT professionals also work in research, academia, technology, communications, policy and administration.
Analyzing a workspace for ergonomic safety. Helping a patient, post-surgery, find a way to cook dinner that doesn't cause pain. Designing a community program that gets people with developmental disabilities living independently.
Occupational therapists can play a role in all this and more. 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 DrOT are delivered primarily onsite at our University City location, with lab and fieldwork experiences required off-site in the community. You’ll take two courses online (OTH 675 and OTH 711), which complements the capstone experience.
Interested in Pursuing a Career in Occupational Therapy?
To become an occupational therapist, you must first earn an undergraduate degree in a health professions field, followed by a master's or doctorate degree in occupational therapy. Upon completion, you will need to pass the licensure exam and become certified. Saint Joseph’s University offers a wide-range of occupational therapy programs including direct-entry for first-year students, masters and doctoral programs.
Learn more about the information and resources provided to help you decide if a career in occupational therapy is right for you.