The St. Catherine OTD creates opportunities for you to grow professionally and develop leadership skills in your field. Our clinical doctorate is action-oriented. It emphasizes practical application, along with independent, critical thinking skills that will allow you to direct your career.

Individualized specialties

Our approach to the curriculum is unique in giving you the choice to deepen your knowledge in your own individualized specialty area. 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 application

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.

Leadership education

Leadership education is one of the cornerstones of St. Catherine University. Our OTD curriculum prepares you to:

  • Create and lead system change

  • Diminish health disparities and occupational injustice

  • Work effectively in cross-cultural settings with diverse clientele

  • Solve ethical dilemmas using factual, creative, logical, scientific and value-sensitive modes of thought to address current practices, evolving practices and research

  • Communicate well verbally and in writing

  • Excel and influence in your specialty area

  • Practice lifelong learning

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.