Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is a profession that evaluates and treats people across the lifespan to participate in their everyday life activities. Occupational therapists work in numerous settings such as schools systems, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, home health, and psychiatric settings to treat physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes in order to regain the highest level of functioning.

Why choose the Samuel Merritt University Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program?

  • All of the SMU faculty practice within the field of OT, covering mental health, pediatrics, hand therapy, adult/geriatric rehabilitation and consulting
  • Students at Samuel Merritt University experience anatomy and physiology class with cadaver dissection
  • All students complete a small group research project under the direct guidance of a faculty member
  • Classes are small (just 42 new students each fall) and the student to faculty ratio of 7:1 provides an optimal learning environment for doctoral study
  • The OTD program offers three free clinics to the community (pediatrics, adults and psychosocial) where students evaluate, treat and document on their assigned clients
  • Classes offered at our Oakland campus with easy access to the entire San Francisco Bay Area

The three-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program enrolls just 42 students each fall. Because of the small class size, admission to the program is competitive. We encourage students who are interested in the program to attend an information session either in-person or via webinar to learn more about the program and the admission process. Students are also able to meet with an admission counselor in-person or over the phone to review their application before the application is submitted.

What happened to the Master's program (MOT)? 

In spring of 2016, Samuel Merritt University received approval to transition our Master's of Occupational Therapy program to an entry-level doctoral program. The change extends the curriculum by one year; however, all of the admission requirements remain the same. This move is in line with the American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA) view that future occupational therapists will need to be doctorally prepared for entry-level practice by 2025. We believe that moving our program to a doctoral-level program now is consistent with Samuel Merritt University's reputation as a leader in healthcare education. All students applying for entry to the fall 2017 term will apply to the entry-level doctoral program; the masters-level program is not accepting applications. 

Application Deadline: October 1 at 11:59 p.m. EASTERN time

Questions about applying to the OTD program?
Contact the Office of Admission