Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Therapy

Embrace your calling to contribute to evidence-based practice through research, and to shape the next generation of occupational therapists through teaching by earning your Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Therapy degree.

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An OT professor demonstrates the correct procedure for aligning the bones of the forearm before wrapping a cast.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Therapy (PhD) degree prepares occupational therapists for advanced scholarly careers in academia and practice.

Our OT PhD graduates will have demonstrated the ability to contribute new or expanded knowledge, skills and attitudes to the profession of occupational therapy, as evidenced by publications in peer reviewed journals and national presentations at peer reviewed professional conferences.

The PhD in Occupational Therapy curriculum consists of three components, core coursework, qualifying examination and dissertation. Students typically enroll for 3-6 credit-hours per semester and complete the degree with in 4-6 years. (Students must complete their degree, including dissertation, within 8 years.) 

Faculty mentors are located at the Denton, Dallas and Houston campuses. Courses are conducted primarily online with one or two campus visits per semester, rotating between the Dallas and Houston centers.

BSWIR OT Fellowship in Physical Rehabilitation

AOTA Fellows at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation are eligible to enroll in PhD courses as non-degree seeking students.

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OT PhD Program Requirements

The OT PhD program requires a minimum of 90 semester credit hours of masters/doctoral level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree — a minimum of 45 semester hours will be completed as a part of the doctoral program curriculum. Curriculum includes:

  • Core course work
  • Research Tools
  • Electives
  • Qualifying Examination & Dissertation

See full program requirements in the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy

Program Contact 

Admission Deadlines

Applications are accepted at any time, but best consideration will be given to those received by April 15 prior to the desired Summer or Fall start date.  Admissions to our graduate programs are competitive.  Applicants must complete all steps in order to be considered for admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Initial certification as an occupational therapist by National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).  Graduates from non-U.S. baccalaureate programs, recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists who otherwise meet admission requirements, need not be certified by the NBCOT to pursue the Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy.
  • Graduate-level degree.
  • 3.2 minimum GPA in graduate-level work
  • Original score report from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) taken within 10 years of application date. 
  • Satisfactory English language proficiency score (if applicable).

Graduates from non-U.S. baccalaureate programs, recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists who otherwise meet admission requirements, need not be certified by the NBCOT to pursue the Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy.

  • The Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy at TWU is based on a mentorship model. Applicants will be matched with a faculty mentor prior to beginning the program. Complete the following steps:
    • Take the GRE General Test and submit your GRE scores to TWU (Code 6826). 
    • Complete the School of OT PhD Application and Essay (PDF) and upload into application under Letter of Intent.
    • Current resume.
    • Email addresses for three academic or professional individuals familiar with your academic capabilities, who can provide letters of recommendation to be requested through and submitted into the application. 
    • Verification of certification as an Occupational Therapist (via NBCOT or WFOT)
    • Participate in an admissions committee interview.
    • Complete a Faculty Mentor Agreement.

Technology Requirements for the Program 

Graduate Admission

Begin by reviewing your program's website to see if there are additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs  via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal following instructions below.  
  2. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU. See the International Admissions website for more details.
  3. Submit Recommendation Requests
    If your program requires you to submit names for recommendations you will need to do it in the application.
  4. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants, can be paid by:
    1. Credit card - Pay Online through the application as the last step before submitting the application. The second portion of the application will not be available until the application fee has been received.
    2. Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - Payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 304 Administration Drive, Suite 102, Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    3. Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (down the hall in ACT).
    4. Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar Application Fee Waiver. TWU Alumni may be eligible for the Alumni Advantage Fee Waiver. Check your eligibility here: If eligible submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission
    5. Following fee payment return to the application dashboard where supplemental application documents can be uploaded. The online application will list which documents are needed to fulfill the program admission requirements. You can also check the program's website.

For more information or assistance with the application or graduate admissions, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants

The PhD in Occupational Therapy at TWU is based on a mentorship model. Applicants must first match research interests and speak directly with a potential faculty mentor before entry into the program. Candidates must have a current occupational therapy license and are required to meet the general requirements for graduate admission, as well as the School of Occupational Therapy PhD requirements for admission.

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Page last updated 10:04 AM, March 26, 2024