Program of Study



Program of Study

Shaping OT leaders

In the St. Kate's OTD, you'll be educated to become an advanced, ethical leader in your professional community. You'll develop the vision and skill needed to reinvigorate your OT practice — and influence change in our healthcare systems. You'll be prepared to:

  • Create and lead systems change
  • Diminish health disparities and occupational injustice
  • Work effectively in cross-cultural settings with diverse clientele
  • Advocate for the profession
  • Bring a global focus to your practice
  • Influence policies that affect accessibility to OT services
  • Teach to meet a growing need for educators in the field
  • Innovate by bringing OT services into nontraditional settings
  • Solve ethical dilemmas using factual, creative, logical, scientific and value-sensitive modes of thought to address current practices, evolving practices and research

Learn with a national leader

You'll learn in an OTD program with a long and distinguished history of shaping the OT profession. St. Catherine University's nationally ranked OT graduate programs are housed in the university's Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. The school is an innovative, comprehensive leader in health professions education, offering undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs in dozens of disciplines. 

Specialty areas: Individualize your learning

Unlike other OTD programs, which may require you to study in predetermined tracks, you'll have the flexibility to lead, influence, teach and innovate in the area of your choice.  You'll expand your skills and knowledge through mentorship, practical applications and best use of evidence.  

The program does not have pre-designed "tracks." Your specialty area is based on the reason you are interested in pursuing the OTD. Examples of the variety of possible specialties include adolescents with autism, healthcare ethics, occupational therapy education, or immigrants and refugees.

You will deepen your knowledge and skill-set through self-directed projects applied to your specialty. You will then share your projects with fellow students who have their own specialty topic areas. It’s an approach we believe is enriching and inspiring, and that results in professionals who are well-rounded team leaders.

Practical, action-oriented curriculum — culminating in doctoral research

Our clinical doctorate is results-oriented. The OTD curriculum places a strong emphasis on practical or clinical application of coursework. Four of our six core OTD courses are five-credit classes that incorporate intense application experiences with course materials, and build toward a final doctoral project.

The doctoral project involves a thorough proposal, implementation, evaluation and publication or presentation in a peer-reviewed venue. You will be matched with a faculty advisor throughout your OTD program and doctoral project.

International scope

Global perspectives on health care and international community-based rehabilitation are woven through the curriculum. As an OTD student, you will also have opportunities to facilitate and participate in our international OT programs.

Finish in three years or less

The St. Catherine University Occupational Therapy Doctorate, designed for working occupational therapists, may be completed on a part-time basis over 2-1/2 to 3 years.

You may start the program in fall semester (starts in September), spring semester (starts in February) or summer session, and study year-round.  See our admission page for details on how to get started.

The OTD curriculum

The program requires 35 graduate credits of coursework, listed below:

  • Ethical Leadership
  • Advanced Evidence Based Practice
  • Evolution of Ideas in Occupational Therapy
  • Educational Methods and Practices
  • Occupation, Participation and Justice
  • Organizational Administration
  • Doctoral Project Proposal and Methods
  • Doctoral Project

For full curriculum details, including descriptions of individual courses, see our graduate catalog.