Occupational Therapy Curriculum

Two boys playing with xylophone

The online advanced practice Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program requires the successful completion of 36 credit hours. 

Transfer credits will only be awarded for course equivalents. Up to 9 credit hours may be transferred for credit.  Please contact the program director for more information.

Coursework (36 credit hours; 3 credits each)

HSCI 6212 Teaching Strategies in the Health Professions

The purpose of this course is to develop student teaching skills in medical and health science settings. The course design illustrates teaching and learning practices grounded in Andragogy, contributing to curriculum program objectives of “enhancing teaching skills.” The course provides opportunities for using the experiences of the learners, engaging in active and self-directed learning, and relating course materials to the learners’ current roles and/or challenges affecting teaching and training and development of professionals. The course provides an opportunity to explore foundational concepts of adult learning and the drivers, content, and environment of the learning process, both of specific learning events and over time. (3 credit hours)

OT 8215 Quality Improvement Through Translational Practices

This course will introduce learners to concepts in quality improvement and the current post-acute healthcare environment that is creating a culture of quality and value-based purchasing. Learners will understand the components of a quality indicator, including both process and outcome indicators. Learners will reflect on how the field of health care generally, and their own practice specifically, can benefit from defining and monitoring quality. The course will also consider how to develop and validate quality indicators and implement quality improvement projects, exploring the connection with evidence-based practice. Learners will learn how to track and monitor quality improvement projects. (3 credit hours)

OT 8220 Measurement of Human Function and Learning

Measurement is an essential feature for quantifying and understanding change in human performance. In particular, this course will focus on changes in performance that occur in clinical environments, in adult educational settings, and in research programs. This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of measuring human function including selecting, implementing, and evaluating assessment tools. Topics include: levels of measurement; purposes (e.g., screening, diagnosis, effectiveness, decision-making); issues in selection of assessment tools; proximity of the measure to the “intervention”; utility including reliability and validity; precision including range, targeting, and sensitivity to change; and efficiency and practicality (including different kinds of assessment e.g. PROM, clinician-observed performance, tool-based). In addition, the course will look at the process of instrument development based on FDA guidelines. The course will provide opportunities to try out and reflect on the experience implementing, scoring, and interpreting different assessments for clinical practice, education, and research purposes. (3 credit hours)

OT 8272 Mixed Methods in Translational Health Sciences

This course provides an introduction to mixed methods as a legitimate design tradition, with a unique set of procedures for data collection, analysis, and strategies to assure rigor and accuracy. The course will begin with an overview of qualitative research traditions as the basis for integrating qualitative and quantitative design components in a mixed methods study. Special emphasis will focus on maintaining the scientific rigor of the predominant design tradition while building in flexibility to adequately address complex translational questions. Learners will design a mixed methods study to address a translational research question. (3 credit hours)

OT 8274 Program Theory and Health Innovations

A translational approach to practice requires health intervention programs that are evidence-based, have a theoretical foundation, and are based on strategies to support fidelity. The purpose of this course is to introduce program theory as the basis for designing health intervention programs that can be tested using scientific methods, replicated in practice, and inform policy. The program development and evaluation process used in this course is applicable to a wide range of health intervention programs, including programs delivered through health education, telemedicine, group therapy, and one-on-one treatment. The deliverables from this course will serve as the basis for the capstone project in OT 6276. (3 credit hours)

OT 8275 Capstone Preparation

This course is designed to result in a well-defined, evidence-based, and feasible capstone proposal, including literature review, problem statement, project goals and procedures, evaluation approach, timeline with benchmarks, recruitment plan, and application for human subjects oversight (i.e., IRB approval), if indicated.  Designed as a combination of didactic information, peer discussion, and advisor discussions, this course will train students to more effectively communicate the purpose, rationale/theory, and design of their proposed capstone. (3 credits)

OT 8276 Doctoral Capstone

The mentored doctoral capstone project represents the culmination of the Advanced Practice OT degree. The purpose of the doctoral capstone project is for the learner to demonstrate advanced skills in evidence-based OT practice. Building on work initiated in OT 6274 (Developing and Testing Health Intervention Programs), the learner works collaboratively with a primary mentor and capstone advisory committee to implement and evaluate a project that reflects an identified need in the learner area of practice, and which reflects the GW OTD program’s emphasis on translational science. Doctoral capstone projects will require the learner to synthesize, integrate and apply coursework into a consequential project. Thus, the course is conducted as a doctoral seminar with learners working independently but engaging in structured online discussions with faculty and their learning cohort. (3 credit hours)

HSCI 6285 Principles of Collaboration and Team Science

Health, technology, social, and environmental problems impacting our world are complex and there is an increasing need to address the issues through collaborative scientific pursuit. These types of complex scientific challenges necessitate cross-disciplinary engagement and a high level of collaboration, sometimes referred to as team science. This three-credit course offers foundational and practical guidance about how best to engage in collaboration and team science: to pursue complex science questions, to work effectively with team members, and produce high impact research outcomes that help meet society’s needs.

HSCI 6270 Research Methods for the Health Professions I

This course provides an overview of the role of evidence-based knowledge and research in everyday professional work. Students will be introduced to several bodies of literature to better understand 1) an interdisciplinary perspective on health, and 2) multiple frameworks available to support research questions. As the basis for life-long learning, students will learn to critique articles and base decisions on available evidence. (3 credit hours)

HSCI 6271 Research Methods for Health Professionals II

This course continues work initiated in HSCI 6270 Research Methods for the Health Professions I. In Research Methods II, students will build upon their knowledge and skills pertaining to the evaluation of evidence, the development of a research question and the design of a methodology appropriate for the inquiry. An understanding of the mechanics and fundamental components of data analysis will also be covered.  Students should have completed HSCI 6270 prior to registering for this course. (3 credit hours)

Electives (choose two)

Elective courses are offered in the areas of Health Care Quality and Policy, Higher Education and Online Teaching, Advanced Special Topics in Occupational Therapy Practice. Courses elected in consultation with program advisor.