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Helping people live full, meaningful lives.

Empowering individuals to reach goals and maximize independence.

Occupational Therapists assist people in achieving their goals, maintaining or rebuilding their independence, and participating in the everyday activities that they need to do or that simply make life worth living. Our program is a three year curriculum, which combines didactic and clinical education.


Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

The Doctorate in Occupational Therapy program at the University of South Dakota has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. The majority of this program is delivered face-to-face, on campus, with exception of Level I & Level II Fieldwork and the Capstone Experience, and is designed for individuals who do not hold a degree in occupational therapy. Students who entered the MS program in Fall 2014 were given the option to transition to the doctoral program. Students entering in Fall 2015 were also given the option to choose to pursue the MS or OTD degree. If accreditation at the doctoral level is granted, USD will only offer the doctorate and students entering in Fall 2016 and beyond will be accepted at the doctoral level only. See accreditation for more information regarding the ACOTE accreditation process.

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Post-Professional Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD)

The post-professional clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at the University of South Dakota is designed for licensed occupational therapists who graduated with a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy and wish to advance their careers through the development and application of new knowledge and skills. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree is conferred upon completion of a five semester, 24 credit curriculum that is offered fully online and is uniquely tailored to the professional aspirations of each practitioner.

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Admission Requirements

Application Deadline:

OTD —  Early application deadline is Oct. 3, 2016 to be considered for early interview on Nov. 16, 2016. General application deadline is Jan. 3, 2017 to be considered for an interview on either Feb. 22 or 23, 2017.

Post-professional OTD — The post-professional OTD will begin in fall 2015 with a cohort beginning each fall for 5 years. The deadline for application for fall 2017 is June 1, 2017.

The Classroom & Beyond

  • Job Security

    Occupational Therapists have an incredible employment outlook with 2% unemployment.

  • High Certification Rates

    Our students consistently achieve a nearly 100 percent pass rate on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam.

  • Jumpstart your OT Program

    You may be eligible to secure your seat a year in advance through our Occupational Therapy Scholar Program.