DrOT Program - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an Entry Level Doctorate (OTD) and a Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy?

Entry Level Doctorate (OTD): This degree prepares entry level or new practitioners. Students typically must hold a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study prior to entering an entry level doctoral program (AOTA, 2015).

Post Professional Doctorate (OTD or DrOT):  This degree prepares occupational therapists who are already credentialed and practicing OT professionals with skills that are above entry level. Students must hold either a Bachelor’s degree in OT AND a Master’s degree in any field of study or OT, prior to entering a post professional doctoral program. GVSU distinguishes the post professional doctorate with use of DrOT (ASAP, 2007). 

  1. What is the application process?

 and click the “Apply” button.

  • You will be prompted to begin an online application.
  • Items to complete: General Application, 3 References, Transcripts, Resume, Personal Statement
  • The $30 application fee is waived if you have previously applied to GVSU as either an undergrad/grad.
  • New cohorts are accepted 2 times each academic year, Fall and Winter semesters.
  • Applications are accepted all year. As soon as your application is complete, we will schedule interviews and begin the enrollment process, don’t wait!
  • Deadline for Fall applications is August 1st. Deadline for Winter applications is December 1st.
  • After you submit a complete application, the DrOT program will contact you for an in person or virtual interview and provide a prompt for the writing sample.
  1. Do I need a Master’s in OT to apply?
  • You DO need to have a Master’s degree but it doesn’t need to be in OT, example, you might have a BA or BS in OT and a Master’s in Business.
  • This program does not currently offer a bridge option from BA or BS to DrOT, so students do need a Master’s degree for the Post Professional Program at this time.
  • GVSU has been approved to offer a Combined Degree program for students enrolled in the GVSU Masters of OT programs. This means that masters students can apply to the DrOT program and take 3 DrOT courses in place of 3 masters courses, shortening cost and time in completing the DrOT. Masters students MUST complete their degree and pass fieldwork and the National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Exam prior to final admission to the DrOT program. (More information below)
  1. How long will the program take me?
  • Students complete 36 credit hours over 6 consecutive semesters (incl. Summer).
  • Students will graduate in 2 years.
  • Students may work with their advisor to determine an alternate timeline for degree completion.
  • Students may choose to take 1 class instead of 2 classes in a given semester if need be.
  1. How many classes will I take each semester?
  • Students take 2 classes each semester, 3 credits for each course.
  • Students may choose to decelerate and take 1 class instead of 2 in a given semester.
  1. Will it be possible to work while completing this program?
  • YES!! In fact, we encourage students to work full or part time as coursework will relate to your professional career path and interests.
  1. How often do I need to come to campus?
  • Students travel to GVSU 1-2 times total during the 2 year program. Orientation is typically virtual via zoom but may be offered in person in the future. The other campus visit is for the Capstone Celebration.
  1. How much will it cost?
  1. What is the combined Degree Program?
  • The combined master of science and doctor of occupational therapy program at Grand Valley State University offer students the opportunity to earn two degrees, meeting their unique personal, academic, and career goals. Pursuing a combined degree can reduce the cost and total time required to complete both.
  • The combined degree program allows students to complete the master's and doctorate OT programs with nine credits counting towards both degrees. It is an ideal pathway for students seeking advanced practice skills in OT preparing them for advocacy, leadership, and teaching opportunities.
  • This path waives the required 2 years of practice experience and in place of this requirement will consider:
  • academic performance through the master's courses;
  • six months of full-time work during level 2 fieldwork experience;
  • NBCOT certification (following completion of level 2 fieldwork); and
  • continuous employment throughout the doctoral coursework.

Page last modified October 18, 2022