The Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is designed to prepare students to enter the field of occupational therapy at the doctoral level.
Our department partners with the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Applications to this program are sent to and processed by OTCAS.
Note: We communicate with applicants via email, so please provide a valid email address and adjust your email settings to allow mail from Jefferson.edu.
Program Requirements (for enrolled students)
- 3 years of doctoral coursework
- 2 full-time Level II Fieldwork rotations (12 weeks each)
- Doctoral experiential component (residency - 640 hours)
- Passing score on a Competency Examination
- Completion of a final scholarly project including oral presentation and plans for dissemination
In December 2017, the Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Entry Level Program at Thomas Jefferson University-Center City, Philadelphia Campus, Pennsylvania, was granted the Status of Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University Integration
The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) family of Occupational Therapy (OT) programs are offered in multiple delivery formats – weekday, weekend and online – on three different campuses: Center City, East Falls and Bucks County.
Prospective applicants can apply to their program of choice, considering personal factors, educational preferences and career goals.
Applicants who are interested in learning more about the integrated University can do so by visiting our Frequently Asked Questions Page.
**This application is supported by Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Students using Internet Explorer or Safari may not have full functionality of the application.
Application Open Date: July 18, 2018 (OTCAS for Fall 2019)
**Interviews (for qualified candidates): Begin in October and continue until the program is full
Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions to February 1, 2019
To be considered complete and eligible for review, an OTCAS application must be verified and all applicable documents (test scores, letter of recommendations, etc.) must be submitted in the directed manner and received by the program deadline date. Verified applicants will be sent the Thomas Jefferson University Supplemental Application by email after our office downloads your OTCAS application.
Please note that the OTCAS verification process can take 4-6 weeks. It is important to keep this information in mind when determining if you will meet the deadline.
Decisions are granted on a rolling basis throughout the cycle until the class is filled. The OTCAS opens in July. We highly encourage applicants to apply well in advance of the application deadline. We will contact academically eligible applicants via e-mail to schedule an admission interview (provided space is still available). Decisions include: Offer of Admission, Denied Admission, Hold for Grades and Waitlist.
Prerequisites must be completed by the time the student enters Thomas Jefferson University. You do not need to have all of your prerequisite coursework completed before you apply, but the majority should be completed before an admissions decision can be made. Prerequisite courses for the program are measured on the semester credit scale; courses taken on the quarter credit scale will be converted to the semester credit scale. You may also earn credits through standardized tests, including the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Advanced Placement (AP). Earned credits through standardized tests are subject to approval.
Questions about Prerequisites can be directed to:
1-877-JEFF-247 or 215-503-8890
OT Observation Hours
Jefferson’s OT Department requires 30 OT observation hours across two or more settings. Jefferson does not have a specific form required to log OT observation hours; please complete the observation hours section of OTCAS to document your observation hours.
Degree & GPA
Students must complete their Bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution before the start date of the program. A 3.0 overall and 3.0 prerequisite GPA are highly recommended.
26 semester credits from specific course areas.
All science courses (A&P I and II w/ Lab and Physics w/Lab) must be completed within 10 years of application to Jefferson. Courses can be completed in an on-campus or online format. Courses must be completed with a grade of “B-” or above to meet the prerequisite requirement. A grade of “C+” or below will not meet the prerequisite requirement. You may also earn credits through standardized tests, such as AP & CLEP, pending department approval. Credits are calculated on a semester scale; if courses are taken on a quarter scale, the credit hours will be converted to the semester credit scale.
|COURSE TYPE||CREDITS REQUIRED|
|Anatomy & Physiology I*||4|
|Anatomy & Physiology II*||4|
|Developmental or Lifespan Psychology||3|
|Cultural Anthropology** OR Sociology||3|
|Physics w/ Lab (Recommended but not required)||4|
* 8 credits of A&P I and II or 4 credits of Human Anatomy and 4 credits of Human Physiology required. Labs must be included.
** If a student’s institution does not offer Cultural Anthropology, a course that covers multiple cultures and/or ethnicities from a broad perspective based in anthropology or the social sciences will be accepted. We encourage students to contact the Admissions Office to confirm their course will meet the prerequisite requirement.
Technical Standards Required For Occupational Therapy Student Performance in Classroom, Laboratory and Fieldwork/Residency (for OTD) Settings
Students participating in the Occupational Therapy Programs at Thomas Jefferson University must have essential skills to perform successfully as a student. These requirements apply to classroom, laboratory and clinical/fieldwork/residency environments. Students must be able to perform the following with or without reasonable accommodation:
Student must possess sufficient COGNITIVE skills to:
- Acquire, process, retain and apply knowledge through a variety of instructional methods such as written materials, oral delivery, visual demonstrations, laboratory experiences, clinical experiences and independent learning.
- Complete reading assignments, search and analyze professional literature, and apply information gained to guide practice; learn, retain and use information from texts, journals, documentation and other written sources.
- Process (measure, calculate, analyze, synthesize and evaluate) large amounts of complex information; apply theoretical concepts to practice activities and perform clinical problem-solving in a logical and timely manner.
- Apply mathematical and basic statistical skills.
- Perceive and understand three-dimensional relationships and spatial relationships necessary for education and practice-related tasks such as moving in a variety of environments, designing treatment equipment and fabricating splints.
- Participate equitably in cooperative group learning activities; actively participate in class discussions and as a member of a team.
- Orally present information to groups of people.
- Maintain attention for 2-4 hours; tolerate days when classes may last 8-10 hours.
- Take and pass tests/quizzes in a variety of formats.
- Complete written assignments and produce written documentation in standard and organized English.
- Apply knowledge and judgment required to demonstrate ethical reasoning and behavior.
- Apply safety knowledge and judgment to a variety of situations.
- Comply with fieldwork site rules and regulations.
- Demonstrate problem-solving skills and judgment necessary to modify evaluation or intervention methods when necessary to address the specific needs of client (behavioral, cultural, etc.), in order to maximize client performance.
- Apply clinical reasoning and judgment necessary for interpretation of evaluation data and development of treatment plans.
- Identify and select occupations that are goal directed and motivate and challenge clients.
- Demonstrate judgment necessary to establish priorities and develop and use strategies.
Student must possess sufficient BEHAVIORAL/SOCIAL-COMMUNICATION SKILLS, AND PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIORS to:
- Demonstrate positive interpersonal skills including, but not limited to, cooperation, flexibility, tact, sympathy and confidence.
- Demonstrate respect for diversity, including but not limited to, socio-cultural, socioeconomic, and spiritual and lifestyle choices.
- Collaborate with classmates, clients, family members, significant others and team members.
- Function successfully in supervisory and instructor-student relationships; change and adjust behavior and performance in the classroom, laboratory or clinic on the basis of instructor feedback.
- Communicate in the English language effectively and clearly in oral and written forms, using proper spelling, punctuation and grammar to explain procedures and teach skills.
- Use language appropriate to the recipient, with faculty, peers, clients and other health professionals from different social and cultural backgrounds to obtain information from clients, peers, faculty, supervisors and other professionals.
- Use communication skills needed to practice safely.
- Use therapeutic communication skills such as attending and active listening during therapeutic interactions; and motivating and facilitating client behaviors in order to maximize client performance.
- Communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally; elicit and describe factual information and perceive information derived from verbal and nonverbal communication and social cues.
- Be appropriately assertive as required to speak in class, initiate and guide the therapy process, establish limits as needed for the safety of self and clients and establish professional identity within complex systems.
- Utilize the computer for communication and class assignments.
- Exhibit professional demeanor including appropriate language and dress, and acceptance of responsibility for conduct.
- Demonstrate organizational and time management skills and ability to prioritize activities effectively as needed to attend class and fulfill class requirements.
- Exhibit flexibility and adapt to changing environments and expectations.
- Cope with stresses encountered in the intensive educational process as well as clinical practice environments.
- Demonstrate consistent work behaviors including initiative, preparedness, dependability, punctual attendance and work site maintenance.
- Tolerate working in environments where there is exposure to disability, illness, pain and death.
- Observe persons and scenarios and elicit relevant information for use in assessment and intervention.
- Plan, guide and implement both individual and group interventions.
- Maintain ethical standards including honesty, integrity and confidentiality at all times.
- Produce the required volume of work in the expected time frame.
Student must possess sufficient PHYSICAL AND SENSORY (SENSORIMOTOR) skills to:
- Tolerate sitting for up to 2 hours at a time, over an 8-10 hour period.
- Tolerate periods of physical activity for up to 8-10 hours per day.
- Demonstrate coordination, equilibrium and sensory functioning required to manipulate parts of, or whole bodies of, simulated and real clients for purposes of evaluation and treatment.
- Demonstrate mobility and ability to move within environments adequately to access and maneuver within locations and destinations including classroom, laboratory and clinical settings.
- Demonstrate sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, eye/hand coordination, strength and integrated function of the senses of vision, hearing, tactile sense, vestibular (movement sense) and proprioception (sense of muscles and joints) to manipulate and use common occupational therapy equipment, devices, materials and supplies, and demonstrate competency in the use of these objects within assessment and treatment procedures commonly used in occupational therapy practice.
- Demonstrate motor skill capacities with sufficient levels of strength, endurance and fine and gross motor coordination to safely, accurately and effectively engage in a wide variety of therapeutic techniques, activities and occupations used in the occupational therapy assessment and intervention process including the ability to lift and move objects, adequate manual dexterity, arm and hand function needed to use tools and perform other manipulative activities, use of limbs and trunk in bending, twisting, squatting, kneeling, reaching, pushing, pulling, holding, extending and rotating.
- Tolerate physical contact with others; tolerate manipulation of his/her own body by peers or instructors for instructional purposes.
- Demonstrate sufficiently high degree of coordination of motor skills and vigilance to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately, including performance of CPR.
- Travel to fieldwork site.
Fieldwork and Residency/Experiential Placement:
Fieldwork placements are not available in all states, and state availability for fieldwork placement and residency is subject to change.
Create an account in OTCAS through the applicant portal and follow the directions to complete the application.
Supplemental Application & Fee
The supplemental application will be emailed to all verified applicants beginning in early October.
Once we receive your OTCAS application, we will send you an e-mail containing a supplemental application and a login ID (you will receive a second, separate email with your PIN). Complete the application according to the e-mailed instructions.
You must include your OTCAS ID number and the date you completed the OTCAS application on the supplemental application.
A $25 supplemental application fee must be paid with a credit card.
Submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended to OTCAS using the Transcript Request Form. Send official transcripts to OTCAS at:
PO Box 9120
Watertown, MA 02471
If your coursework was completed outside of the United States, you must submit a course-by-course evaluation from one of the following foreign evaluation agencies:
- World Education Services, Inc.: www.wes.org
- Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.: www.jsilny.com
- Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.: www.ece.org
- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO): https://www.aacrao.org/
- International Consultants of Delaware: http://www.icdeval.com
Include your CV or resume on the OTCAS application in the "Extracurricular Activities, Honors, Work Experience and Licenses" section.
The GRE or MAT examination is required for admission.
Students can submit official GRE scores directly to OTCAS. Official MAT scores must be sent directly to Thomas Jefferson University.
- GRE Designated Institution (DI) Code: 7438
- MAT Code: 9910
GRE or MAT scores are not required for students who have already earned a conferred Master's degree.
Highly competitive applicants score within the 50th percentile or above in each section of the GRE and overall on the MAT.
GRE/MAT test scores must be taken within 5 years of the program start date.
Complete the standard essay found on the OTCAS application. Your personal essay should address why you selected Occupational Therapy as a career and how an OT degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you to achieve your goals.
Under Jefferson-specific questions, there is a supplemental OTD essay you are required to complete. Please read and respond to the essay prompt.
Two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application. Students should submit the two letters of recommendation to OTCAS. Letters can be written by a: professor, academic administrator, professional or volunteer supervisor or manager. One professional or volunteer letter and one academic letter are preferred. Letters from family, friends or co-workers will not be accepted.
Applicants will need to enter the name, title, and email address of the individuals writing the recommendations in the “Evaluation” section of the online application. Your recommenders will received an email from OTCAS with a recommendation form they will complete online.
Submit documentation of all volunteer or work experience in OTCAS, include experiences both within and outside of healthcare.
Please see our additional information for applying as an International Student.
English Language Proficiency
Send official TOEFL scores (if applicable) to:
Thomas Jefferson University
130 South 9th Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19107
TOEFL code = 2903
Drug, Criminal Background & Child Abuse Clearances
All students who are offered admission are required to have a criminal background check and child abuse clearance. Some clinical sites may require health professions and pharmacy students to be fingerprinted and/or undergo a drug test. The Office of Admissions will provide you with the appropriate information to complete these requirements, as needed.
Clinical rotation and fieldwork sites that require a criminal background check, child abuse clearance and/or fingerprinting may deny a student’s participation in the clinical experience, rotation or fieldwork because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction or a record of child abuse. Clinical sites may also deny participation in clinical experiences for other reasons, such as failure of a required drug test, or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance. As participation in clinical experiences, rotations or fieldwork is a required part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation, denial of participation by a clinical site may result in delay of graduation or the inability to graduate from the Program.
Regardless of whether or not a student graduates from Thomas Jefferson University, individuals who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be denied certification or licensure as a health professional. Information regarding individual eligibility may be obtained from the appropriate credentialing bodies.
Potential students considering entering (or who have already entered) an occupational therapy educational program can utilize NBCOT’s Early Determination Review Process to determine his/her eligibility if they are concerned of an issue in their background that may prevent them from being eligible to sit for the certification exam.
Phone: 1-877-JEFF-247 or 215-503-8890