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USD's Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree Rated Among Nation's Best

One occupational therapy student is in a harness to help those who have mobile disabilities. Two students and a professor look on. USD's occupational therapy doctorate program was identified as one of the nation's best.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The doctorate degree offered by the University of South Dakota’s Occupational Therapy Department has been rated as one of the top OT doctorate degrees in the nation.

Healthgrad identified the nation’s top 15 OT doctorate programs (OTD degree) based on factors, including faculty excellence, fieldwork opportunities and graduate outcomes. USD’s OT program was praised for its real-world learning opportunities, holistic perspective and for its training in how health conditions influence occupational performance.

According to Barbara Brockevelt, Ph.D., chair of USD’s Occupational Therapy Department, the doctorate program offers health professionals a diverse set of important skills that benefit patients and the public.

"Our graduates have a unique skill set in leadership, management and entrepreneurship which enables them to practice in traditional medical settings as well as innovative community based models," Brockevelt said. "Our graduates focus on both the clinical and social determinants of health."

USD’s Occupational Therapy Department has offered the OT doctorate since 2016, and during the past three years there have been 59 graduates of the doctorate program. One hundred percent of the program’s graduates have passed their boards and gained certification and licensure, 31 percent of the graduates are South Dakota residents and 90 percent reside in the immediate five-state region.

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USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News