The postprofessional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (Dr.O.T.) at Grand Valley State University is designed for practicing occupational therapists who have a desire to expand knowledge and advance practice skills in the areas of policy, advocacy, leadership, and education. The program provides practitioners the opportunity to explore innovative and emerging topics in chosen areas.

Students will develop knowledge and skills directed toward enhancing leadership and advocacy, participating in public policy activities, dealing with social determinants of health, providing research-based interventions, and educating new therapists. The program will serve only master's degree credentialed students and qualifies graduates to hold advanced administrative positions in clinic or government settings and to teach at the university level.

12% Job Growth
In the U.S. by 2024
West Michigan Talent Provider Rank
Median Annual Salary

Source: EMSI, 2020


According to data collected by EMSI in 2020, occupational therapists made a median annual wage of $84,115 in the U.S. In addition, the job outlook for occupational therapists is expected to grow 12% in the U.S. and 9% in Michigan by 2024. Occupational therapists graduating from Grand Valley's D.R.O.T. program are able to work in areas, such as:

  • Hospitals/acute care
  • School systems
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Private practice
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Source: EMSI, 2020

The Skills Employers Want

The D.R.O.T. program at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in the occupational therapy field.

Advanced Skills

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Treatment Planning
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Basic Life Support
  • Nursing
  • Home Care
  • Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Caregiving
  • Geriatrics

Common Skills

  • Communications
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Written Communication
  • Management
  • Presentations
  • Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Coordinating
  • Customer Service

Source: EMSI, 2020

Other Reasons to Study Occupational Therapy at GVSU

  • You only need to come to campus twice: The Dr.O.T. program is taught in a hybrid format. Students are required to travel to GVSU’s Grand Rapids campus a total of 2 times during the program, minimizing travel expenses.
  • The only clinical degree like it in Michigan: GVSU is the only public university in Michigan to offer a postprofessional O.T. clinical doctorate degree.
  • In-state tuition for non-residence: Grand Valley offers the same graduate tuition rate for in and out of state students.
  • Best practice: The program focuses on critical thinking and the use of occupation in treatment and supports a client-centered, evidenced-based approach to therapy.
  • 25-30% of high schools employ O.T. professionals: There is a nationwide need for O.T. educators. You can teach while you practice.
  • Advancement opportunities: Occupational therapists with a clinical doctorate are more likely to advance in their field.


The curriculum offers an online postprofessional doctorate in occupational therapy across six semesters totaling 36 credits. All Dr.O.T. students will be required to have completed a Master’s degree with a minimum of 75 credits beyond the B.S. degree for the Dr.O.T. degree to be conferred. The Master’s degree does not need to be in Occupational Therapy. Any student with a Master’s degree of less than 36 credits will be required to complete additional coursework.

Dr.O.T. students will study a variety of topics, including:

  • Occupational science
  • Public policy, advocacy, and leadership
  • Education
  • Advanced practice

Visit the online catalog for course offerings and degree requirements.

Course Offerings

Occupational therapy students at graduate poster day.


The admissions requirements for the Dr.O.T. program can be found below. Contact us at for equivalent qualifications.

  • Two years of practice experience as an OTR.
  • GPA of 3.25 over the last 60 credit hours.
  • Critical evaluation of an occupational therapy article.
  • Personal statement, including identification of specific goals and timelines in completing Dr.O.T. program.
  • Personal interview with two OST department faculty members.
  • Three letters of support from professional colleagues, supervisors, or department heads.
  • Professional resume outlining work history and continuing education experiences.
  • The $30 application fee is waived if you’ve already applied to Grand Valley.

Visit the online catalog for admission requirements.

Admission Requirements

Do you have questions about this unique program? Our FAQ can help!

Frequently Asked Questions


When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)


For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll and is subject to change 2019-2020.

Application Deadline

The admissions deadline for the Dr.O.T. program is August 1 to enter Fall semester and December 1 to enter Winter semester. The $30 application fee is waived for alumni to Grand Valley. Please visit

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