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2021-2022 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Combined Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

Qualified M.S. in OT students may be admitted to a combined master's/doctoral program in order to obtain both a master's in occupational therapy (M.S. in OT) and a postprofessional doctorate in occupational therapy (Dr.O.T.) within an accelerated time frame. Students admitted to the combined degree program will count up to nine credits of doctoral work taken during their M.S. in OT degree in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the M.S. in OT. After completing 82 credits (to include the nine credits of Dr.O.T. courses) and all requirements for the M.S. OT degree, students are awarded their master's degree and will be eligible to continue with the Dr.O.T. coursework.

The Dr.O.T. degree constitutes 36 credits; the M.S. in OT-Dr.O.T. combined degree has a minimum of 27 credits remaining for the doctoral degree after completion of the 82 credits required for the M.S. in OT degree. All M.S. in OT requirements must be met, including the research project and completion of Level II Fieldwork experiences. Upon completion of the M.S. in OT, graduates will be qualified to sit for the professional certification exam offered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The OST Department recommends students pursuing the combined M.S. in OT/Dr.O.T. degree to take and pass the NBCOT certification exam prior to the start of full-time Dr.O.T. coursework. The department requires that the certification exam be successfully completed prior to the end of the second Dr.O.T. semester. Any student who has not passed the certification exam after the second Dr.O.T. semester will be granted a one semester leave of absence in order to achieve this program criteria.

Graduate students enrolled in the occupational science and therapy Master of Science traditional and hybrid programs will be eligible to apply for conditional admission in the combined degree program after completion of the first semester of coursework in the Master's program. Conditional admission will require M.S. in OT students to submit a letter of interest and commitment. Students will be assigned a Dr.O.T. faculty advisor throughout the M.S. in OT program to complete the application process. Students will complete the remaining Dr.O.T. application steps in the final semester of the M.S. in OT program, which consists of the completion of GVSU's graduate application, summative course documentation for the combined degree courses, a critical evaluation of an occupational therapy article, submission of a personal statement that includes goals for program completion, as well as an interview with Dr.O.T. faculty. This will be a two-step process (conditional admission and final approval) that ensures students have ample time to explore professional interests and gain insight into research opportunities prior to finalizing the decision to apply to the Dr.O.T. program. In addition, students who did not choose to apply early in the program for conditional admission, may still apply later in the program as long as they complete the necessary admission requirements and faculty advising.

Application Requirements to the Combined Degree:

Students may apply to the Dr.O.T. program as early as the completion of their first semester in the M.S. in OT program; students in both the traditional and hybrid cohorts are eligible to apply. In order to take full advantage of the combined degree option, interested students will need to apply for the combined degree program prior to registering for any of the three M.S.O.T. courses that will be replaced. Based on the current M.S. in OT course sequence, traditional students would apply before the spring/summer I semester; hybrid students would apply before the winter I semester. Students may apply after this time frame, but the combined degree would be granted with three to six M.S. in OT course credits being replaced with Dr.O.T. course credits.

Requirements for application include:

  1. Good standing in the M.S. in O.T. program, minimum GPA of a 3.25 in M.S. in O.T. courses
  2. Critical evaluation of an occupational therapy article
  3. Submission of a personal statement, including specific goals and timelines for completion
  4. Interview with OST faculty members
  5. Three letters of support from professional colleagues, supervisors, or faculty
  6. Professional resume

Requirements for combined degree program students:

  1. Attainment of NBCOT certification following completion of Level II Fieldwork
  2. Continuous employment as an occupational therapist throughout doctoral coursework

Graduation Requirements for Combined Degree:

Students who are accepted to the combined degree program will take courses in the M.S.in OT and apply three Dr.O.T. courses as a substitution for related M.S.in OT content areas. The students will complete the following Dr.O.T. courses during the M.S.in OT coursework:

The combined degree course sequence guides at the bottom of this document contain the plans for completion of the M.S.in OT courses and fieldwork experiences with the three listed Dr.O.T. courses taken in lieu of three M.S.O.T. courses. Combined degree course sequence guides for completion of the M.S.in OT. and Dr.O.T. degrees through both the traditional and hybrid M.S.in OT course delivery options are included.

Students will graduate with their M.S. degree in occupational therapy at the conclusion of Level II Fieldwork part one (OST 660) and part two (OST 661), provided they meet all university and degree requirements for the M.S.in OT degree.

Graduation without completion of the Doctoral Program:

For those students who are accepted to the combined degree program but decide to pursue the master's degree only, the OST Department will accept the three completed Dr.O.T. courses (OST 710, OST 715, and OST 735) as meeting the program requirements for the master's degree. The students taking the Dr.O.T. courses in lieu of three M.S.in OT courses will meet, and exceed, the M.S.in OT student learning outcomes from OST 555 - Professional Socialization in Occupational Therapy, OST 660 - Level II Fieldwork (Part 1), and PNH 535 - Grant Writing.

Students who complete the M.S.in OT degree with the three Dr.O.T. courses but elect to matriculate into the Dr.O.T. program at a later date are required to reapply to the Dr.O.T. and fulfill its General Admission Requirements, but can utilize the nine credits of OST 710, OST 715 and OST 735 toward the degree. Per GVSU's Graduate School policy, in order to be awarded the Dr.O.T. degree and credential the remainder of the Dr.O.T. coursework would need to be completed within a period of eight years from the date of entry in the initial Dr.O.T. course.

Occupational Therapy Traditional Delivery Sequence of Courses

Fall I

Winter I

Spring/Summer I

Fall II

Winter II

Spring/Summer II

TOTAL: 82 credits

Upon completion of these 82 credits, students will be awarded their M.S. in OT degree, will take and pass their NBCOT certification exam, and begin Dr.O.T. coursework listed as follows.

Occupational Therapy Hybrid Delivery Sequence of Courses

Fall I

Winter I

Spring/Summer I

Fall II

Winter II

Summer II*

Fall III*

Winter III**

Spring/Summer III**

TOTAL: 82 credits

*Part-time fieldwork; **Full-time fieldwork

Upon completion of these 82 credits, students will be awarded their M.S.in OT degree, will take and pass their NBCOT certification exam, and begin Dr.O.T. coursework listed as follows.

Core Courses (All Dr.O.T. students will take):

Policy, Advocacy, and Leadership Courses

Education Courses

Advanced Practice Courses

Doctoral Project:

Additional Credits

All Dr.O.T. students will complete ONE of the following:

Upon completion of these 27 credits, students will be awarded their Dr.O.T. degree.



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