Occupational Therapy

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Demonstrate your commitment to health care practice by earning an innovative degree from the George Washington University (GW).  Founded in 1824, GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to offer an advanced-practice Occupational Therapy (OT) Doctorate (OTD) degree program for practicing occupational therapists. An advanced practice (or “post-professional”) OTD is designed for practicing occupational therapists who wish to earn a clinical doctorate.

The GW OTD program addresses the advanced practice needs of occupational therapy professionals who are interested in interdisciplinary care of post-acute and chronic conditions. Post-acute care, which takes place in the home, rehabilitation settings, and skilled nursing facilities, accounted for the largest and fastest-growing category of Medicare spending from 1994-2009 (Chandra, Dalton, & Holmes, 2013). GW’s 36-credit OTD program will develop occupational therapists to contribute to the evidence base across the translational spectrum regarding cost-effective, quality care for individuals following hospitalization.  Adding to the evidence base in post-acute care requires working with other stakeholders across the broad spectrum of research, practice, and policy. The GW OTD program trains OT clinician scholars to engage in a multidirectional and interprofessional integration of basic research, client-oriented research, population-based research, and policy - Association for Clinical Research Training (ACRT). Graduates are able to measure and improve health conditions affecting our society, especially in the clinical area of post-acute and chronic care.

Connecting Research, Practice and Policy in Post-Acute Care

GW is a premier research institution focused on the nexus between education, research, technology, health policy, and person-centered care. GW’s OTD faculty are experts in technology-enhanced higher education, measurement, post-acute care, translational research, team science, and health services research.

GW’s OTD program enables graduates to transition from the level of generalist to that of a translational OT clinical scholar. After obtaining this degree, graduates will be able develop, evaluate, and promote new occupational therapy approaches to assessment and treatment in post-acute and chronic care that are grounded in neuroscience and reflect a transdisciplinary perspective.

What Will I Learn?

The GW OTD program prepares graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to demonstrate to individuals how to accomplish daily tasks using therapeutic activities. Occupational Therapists employ a holistic perspective when advising clients to perform activities — the environment is adapted to fit the needs of the person, where the person is the essential component. 

Graduates of the GW OTD program are equipped to demonstrate understanding of the following knowledge domains:

1. Transdisciplinary Practice and Research

  • Provide leadership in transdisciplinary teams in post-acute and chronic care
  • Utilize critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills in order to define and resolve occupational performance issues

2. Scholarship in Occupational Therapy

  • Utilize research methodologies from three paradigms (quantitative, qualitative and mixed) to develop and improve OT practice and programs
  • Apply empirical knowledge and the scientific method to address occupational performance issues

3.  Advanced Concepts in Function and Learning

  • Implement and contribute to evidence-based OT in post-acute settings
  • Apply knowledge bi-directionally so that basic science, practice, and policy inform and are informed by one another
  • Integrate scholarly activities with everyday practice

Online Education

GW’s OTD program uses an online learning format. The online courses use a dynamic media for self-disciplined and self-directed students to pursue a clinical doctorate while preparing for professional advancement. For more information about online education at GW, visit the Online Education page.