Shenandoah University’s 107-Credit Doctor of Occupational Therapy Is Delivered In A Flexible, Hybrid Format, With A Combination Of Online And Applied Learning Opportunities In The Classroom And Community.
Occupational therapy is a form of therapy for those recuperating from physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life. Shenandoah University’s Division of Occupational Therapy (SUDOT) program prepares you to become a skilled and compassionate occupational therapist, serving a diverse range of patient populations in a variety of health care and community-based settings.
Upon graduation, all students from the Shenandoah University’s Division of Occupational Therapy (SUDOT), will receive an Entry Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy. The Entry Level Doctorate has been granted Candidacy status with the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the NBCOT.
The SUDOT Entry Level Doctorate program is located at the health professions building in Winchester Virginia. The Health professions building is located within the campus of Valley Health. This is a hybrid program with over 50% of the content delivered online.Students complete application of online learning content with experiences in the classroom setting working with faculty and community partners. Close faculty mentorship, combined with the program’s small class sizes and practical learning experiences, prepare you to enter the field as a professional dedicated to service, ethics, and leadership.
Program pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and Shenandoah’s curriculum committee.
Meet Shenandoah's Occupational Therapy Director Cathy Shanholtz
The director of Shenandoah University’s occupational therapy program, Cathy Shanholtz, O.T.D., describes how the university’s hybrid doctorate program in occupational therapy is unique and filled with plenty of hands-on opportunities for experiential learning.
Occupational Therapy at Shenandoah University
Welcome to Shenandoah University’s Division of Occupational Therapy. We offer three distinct programs in unique hybrid and online curriculum models to meet the needs of diverse learners. Our students graduate prepared to be a leader in the field of occupational therapy and make a difference locally, nationally, and abroad.
The Shenandoah Occupational Therapy program offers students the opportunity to learn all the skills they will need as an entry-level occupational therapists. These skills include evaluation of clients, treatment planning, being an evidence-based practitioner, and specific treatment interventions such as adaptations to the client’s environment, splinting and mobility skills.
The majority of coursework in the Shenandoah University occupational therapy programs is based on a hybrid model with over 50% of the content delivered online. Under this model students will attend class face to face one day a week and complete additional work online for the rest of the week. Online work includes recorded lectures, readings, and various interactive online assignments.
What is Occupational Therapy?
What is Occupational Therapy and what does an OT do?
Occupational therapy is a health profession that helps people across the lifespan engage in meaningful tasks that provide their life with purpose. From a holistic approach, occupational therapists use evidence based therapeutic activities to address the needs and goals of individuals and groups.
Career and Salary Possibilities
Occupational Therapy Rankings
- The current U.S. News and World Report ranked Occupational Therapists as #11 in Best Health Care Jobs and #13 in 100 Best Jobs in January 2019.
- Glassdoor ranked Occupational Therapists at #4 for their 50 Best Jobs in America in January 2019.
Occupational Therapy Salary Projections
The current US News and World Report indicated that occupational therapists made a median salary of $83,000 in 2017 and that the profession is expected to grow by 24% from 2016-2026.
Recent reporting from alumni indicate that a majority of starting salaries was between $60,000-80,000 with over 20% of graduates making above $80,000. (Sample size 15 respondents from 2017)
- 13.3% | 40,000 – 60,000
- 60% | 60,000 – 80,000
- 20% | 80,000 – 100,000
- 6.7% | 100,000 – 120,000
Occupational Therapy Employment Projections
Recent alumni obtained entry level positions in:
- early intervention
- home health
- long term care/skilled nursing facility
- mental health
- hospital (non-mental health)
Data from 2017 indicates that all reporting recent graduates of our program were employed in OT or OT related positions within 6 months of graduating.
Shenandoah University’s 107-credit Doctorate In Occupational Therapy is delivered in a flexible, hybrid format, with over 50% of the content delivered online.
As part of the hybrid curriculum, our students engage in weekly face to face learning with their peers and faculty members. These experiences are well planned and executed to maximize learning outcomes to supplement online materials. Examples include students working in small groups to analyze the systems of a homeless shelter to order to make health promotion recommendations, students working in pairs with children to increase balance, posture, coordination and sequencing at an equine assisted therapy ranch, and students working alone with community members to understand their client’s self-perceptions of performances in everyday activities.
** marks all online courses
Semester 1 (Summer): Foundational OTD
OT 700 Foundations of Occupational Therapy
This course introduces students to occupational therapy history, the philosophical basis of the profession, theories and models of practice and frames of reference that shape professional practice. (3 credits)
OT 701 Experiential Learning and Professionalism
This is a preparatory course for the Level I and Level II Experiences. Students will examine the experiential learning component of the occupational therapy curriculum and OT professionalism. (1 credit)
OT 702 OT Framework and Activity Analysis
This course explores the dynamic nature and purpose of occupations. Students will explore occupations throughout the lifespan and apply the OT profession’s framework in order to observe, analyze and synthesize the client’s engagement with occupations. (3 credits)
OT 704 Functional Anatomy and Movement
This course addresses the anatomical, kinesiological and physiological structures of the human body and how they influence movement and occupational performance. (4 credits)
OT 705 Research: Introduction**
This course will set the foundation for the research course progression by introducing foundational concepts including evidence-based practice, levels of evidence, research traditions and the role of theory in research. (2 Credits)
Semester 2 (Fall)
OT 710 Group Dynamics
This course prepares students to understand the theoretical foundation of group dynamics in occupational therapy practice and to apply principles of group process within a variety of settings across the lifespan. (3 credits)
OT 711 Level I Experience: Group Dynamics
This course is the first of the seven Level I experiences sequence. In groups, students will design and implement group interventions. In their groups, students will utilize occupational models to plan clinically appropriate activities and discussions in small group formats. (1 credit)
OT 712 Communication and Documentation**
This course introduces students to multiple platforms for interacting and communicating effectively and professionally. Students will utilize technology to analyze and evaluate occupation and occupational needs through effective communication with patients, families, communities and interprofessional and intraprofessional team members. (2 credits)
OT 714 Occupation & Health: Participation
This course will address the relationship of philosophy and research to health and occupation. Students discuss theories and models linking occupation to individual health, public health and health changes. (3 credits)
OT 715 Research: Quantitative
This is the second course in the research sequence and will focus on the development of skills to validate practice, evaluate evidence and inform clinical decisions. This course introduces quantitative (experimental) design and statistical analyses typical in occupational therapy research through design, implementation and analysis of a quantitative project. (3 credits)
OT 718 Occupational Performance: Neurological
This course emphasizes the dynamic interactions between the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and occupational engagement. (4 credits)
Semester 3 (Spring)
OT 720 Devices, Technology, Accessibility
This course focuses on the assessment and application of environmental interventions. Methods of educating clients to improve their occupational performance, collaborating with clients to select and modify environmental interventions, and advocating for funding and policies to support environmental interventions will be addressed. (3 credits)
OT 721 Level I Experience: Community
This course is the second of the seven Level I experiences sequence. In groups, students will apply scientific and theoretical knowledge to the OT Process in various communities, populations and settings. (1 credit)
OT 723 Theoretical Perspectives
This course is designed to examine the theories, models of practice and frames of reference that guide and inform interventions for persons, groups and populations in a variety of occupational therapy practice contexts and environments. (2 credits)
OT 725 Research: Qualitative
This is the third in the research course sequence and introduces interview and observation through the lens of qualitative research methods. This course introduces qualitative design typical in occupational therapy research through design, implementation and analysis of a qualitative project. (2 credits)
OT 732 Occupation & Health: Service Delivery and Systems
This course will provide an overview of healthcare management principles necessary for understanding, applying and practicing in a diverse healthcare environment. The interplay of dynamic OT healthcare systems, intervention planning and outcome measures will be examined in relationship to political, regulatory, economic and social forces that affect OT service delivery. (3 credits)
OT 734 Occupation & Health: Population **
This course will explore population health in relationship to social determinants, health literacy and contextual factors. The relationships of these factors to the health and well-being of populations are also explored. (2 credits)
OT 735 Research Project: Introduction
This is the fourth in the research course sequence. Students will work In small groups with a research mentor to critique scholarly literature and complete a literature review that will support a research project. (1 credit)
Semester 4 (Summer II)
OT 740 Assessments
This course instructs students in the process of selecting and applying assessments to determine the need for occupational therapy intervention. The merging of cultural and contextual client factors with scientific evidence, current occupational therapy best practice and bias will be addressed in relation to assessment choice. (3 credits)
OT 741 Level I Experience: Assessments
This course is the third of the seven Level I experiences sequence.Students will observe and apply assessments during occupational therapy intervention. Students will interpret the ways that assessment choice is influenced by cultural and contextual client factors, scientific evidence, current occupational therapy best practice, and bias. (1 credit)
OT 744 Traditional and Emerging Practice Areas
This course focuses on students’ development of practice skills across traditional and emerging practice areas. Methods of educating clients to improve their occupational performances and collaborating with individual clients, groups and other interprofessional team members. (3 credits)
OT 745 Research Project: Design
This is the fifth in the research course sequence. Students will continue to work in small groups with a research mentor established in OT 735. Students will design and develop a project to submit for institutional review board (IRB) approval. (2 credits)
OT 746 Doctoral Capstone: Introduction**
This course is the first of a four-course capstone sequence. Students explore clinical practice skills, research approaches, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education and theory development of occupational therapy professional practice in order to develop an individual capstone project idea. (2 credits)
Semester 5 (Fall II)
OT 801 Level 1 Experience: Specialization
This course is the final of the seven Level I experiences sequence. Students will explore and practice scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge in areas of practice with individual learning projects. (1 credit)
OT 805 Research Project: Implementation
This is the sixth in the research course sequence. Students will continue to work In small groups with a research mentor established in OT 735 to implement the research project designed in the previous two courses. (2 credits)
OT 810 Occupational Performance: Mental Health
This practice-focused course requires analysis and application of the occupational therapy process for individuals with mental health conditions in a variety of treatment settings. Occupational performance capacities and limitations for pediatric, adolescent and adult populations will be analyzed using both standardized and non-standardized assessments. (3 credits)
OT 811 Level I Experience: Mental Health
This course is the fourth of the seven Level I experiences sequence. Students will observe the therapeutic process and apply scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge to practice in behavioral health, or to psychological and social factors that influence occupation. (1 credit)
OT 817 Leadership and Management
This course examines the management and leadership skills necessary in occupational therapy practice. Emphasis is placed on the application of management strategies and development of knowledge in multi-level systems. (3 credits)
OT 818 Teaching and Learning**
This course focuses on learning theories within the context of healthcare practice and higher-level education in order to effectively acquire skills for clinical and academic teaching roles. (2 credits)
OT 820 Occupational Performance: Pediatrics
This is an advanced course in pediatric interventions in which therapeutic skills needed to work with a variety of pediatric clients and their families are addressed. Students will apply occupational therapy models, frames of reference and scientific evidence to evaluations, interventions, and community programming in specific pediatric practice areas. (3 credits)
OT 821 Level I Experience: Pediatrics
This course is the fifth of the seven Level I experiences sequence. Students will observe the therapeutic process and apply scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge to practice with pediatric clients and their families. (1 credit)
Semester 6 (Spring II)
OT 825 Research Project: Completion
This course is the final course in the research sequence. Students will continue to work In small groups with a research mentor established in OT 735, to complete the research project and disseminate findings. (2 credits)
OT 830 Occupational Performance: Adults
This is an advanced course in adult interventions in which therapeutic skills are needed. Students will apply occupational therapy theories and models, complete specialized evaluations and treatments of adult clients and create appropriate goals for adults with diverse diagnoses. (3 credits)
OT 831 Level I Experience: Adults
This course is the sixth of the seven Level I experiences sequence. Students will apply occupational performance assessments and occupational therapy practice with adult individuals or communities. (1 credit)
OT 836 Professional and Scholarly Practice
This course focuses on the process of locating and securing grants and promotion of the occupational therapy profession through education of other professionals, service providers, consumers, third-party payers, regulatory bodies, and the public. (3 credits)
OT 837 Occupation & Health: Policy & Advocacy***
This course will examine current policy issues relative to OT practice. Future service delivery models to address societal needs will be examined. Professional policy issues related to ethics and liability will be addressed in the context of professional interactions and service provision. (2 credits)
OT 847 Doctoral Capstone: Design
This course is the second of a four-course capstone sequence. Students design individualized doctoral capstone projects in one or more areas: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development. (3 credits)
Semester 7 (Summer III)
OT 801 Level 1 Experience: Specialization
This course is the last of the seven Level I experiences sequence.Students will explore and practice scientific, theoretical, and practical knowledge in areas of practice with individual learning projects. (1 credit)
OT 851 Level II Fieldwork A
This course is the first of two Level II Experiences sequence; the sequence is intended to prepare competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Clinical placements expose students to a variety of client ages, diagnoses, and clinical settings, and provide experiences that promote clinical reasoning, professionalism, and reflective and ethical practice. Students complete a minimum of 24 weeks full-time supervised by an occupational therapist. (Part 1 of 2) (6 credits)
Semester 8 (Fall III)
OT 852 Level II Fieldwork B
This course builds on the clinical work completed in OT 851 and expands student experience in delivery of OT services. The goal of this experience is to allow student to increase clinical skills, professionalism, clinical reasoning and demonstrate competency to that of an entry-level OT practitioner. (Part 2 or 2). (6 credits)
Semester 9 (Spring III)
OT 858 Doctoral Capstone: Experience
This course is the third of a four-course capstone sequence. Students develop advanced knowledge in a specific area of focus under the supervision of a site mentor in one or more areas: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education or theory development. (8 credits)
OT 859 Doctoral Capstone: Dissemination
This is the final course in the doctoral capstone sequence. Students disseminate capstone experiences and project outcomes with the larger community. Students demonstrate scholarly work and specialty experience beyond that of an entry-level practitioner. (3 credits)
National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist (NBCOT)
Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by the NBCOT. After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be a registered occupational therapist. Most states require licensure to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure. In addition, fieldwork placements may be limited or unattainable in out of state locations due to varying state restrictions.
The Shenandoah University Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program does not have graduate NBCOT National Certification Exam data or graduation rates to report at this time.
The SUDOT entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is currently in candidacy status. We are seeking accreditation status and have received a tentative schedule of the accreditation process through the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE, is an Associated Advisory Council of the Executive Board of the American Occupational Therapy Association).
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) & Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
(301) 652-2682 or 301-652-AOTA
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc.
12 S. Summit Ave., Suite 100
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
Phone (301)990-7979 Fax (301)869-8492
SUDOT requires potential students to go through OTCAS for the application process. This is an online centralized application service located at www.otcas.org which has a thorough and accurate list of all required documents and prerequisites for the program. For a list of the prerequisites, please go to Shenandoah University that can be found on the list of participating programs located on OTCAS.
Current Shenandoah occupational therapy student Brenna Mauro shares her thoughts on what incoming OT students should know about OT school. Shenandoah University lets you benefit from her experience as she offers great advice about being successful by staying organized, being kind to yourself, and embracing the entire process of OT education.
Who can apply to the Entry Level Doctoral Program?
- Applicants that hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher
- Students who have a Bachelor’s Degree from an Accredited College must have an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
- Shenandoah undergraduate juniors who are guaranteed accepted to SUDOT as a freshman
- Early Assurance Undergraduate Shenandoah University students must have an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.2.
Prerequisite courses taken during the COVID-19 outbreak (starting Spring 2020) with a P/NC or P/F grade of “P” will be accepted for credit. In situations where candidates were awarded P/F grades, the grade point average (GPA) for those grades is not impacted in the calculation of GPA. SUOT will only consider the GPAs calculated by OTCAS.
The GPA requirements for program admission will not change.
Applicants must still have the following academic requirements to be admitted:
A Minimum 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA)
A Minimum 3.0 prerequisite grade point average (GPA) with 3.2 preferred
All students must have completed the following courses with grades of “C” or better:
- 3 credits: General Psychology
- 3 credits: Abnormal Psychology, 200 level or above.
- 3 credits: Statistics Course content must include descriptive and inferential statistics
- a minimum of 6 credits: Two sequential courses in Human Anatomy & Physiology. Content must include lecture and laboratory sections to include human structure and function, including the musculoskeletal system and an overview of the nervous system
- 3 credits: Entry level Sociology
- 3 credits: 200-level or above advanced course in Sociology or Anthropology.
- A minimum of 3 credits: Courses to cover Life Span Human Growth and Development from infancy to the elderly. **students may have to take more than one course to meet this requirement.
- 3 credits: Medical Terminology course. In class and online courses are accepted with evidence of completion. (CEU courses/certificates are not accepted)
- No more than 9 outstanding credits of prerequisite course work permitted at time of application
As of November 2020, the following three prerequisite courses are recommended, but not required for applicants:
- Biomechanics or Kinesiology (3.0 Credits)
- Public Speaking (3.0 Credits)
- Composition or English Writing Course (3.0 Credits)
**Applicants must complete a minimum of 40 shadowing hours under a licensed occupational therapist and these must be completed at time of application. If applicants are unable to achieve this requirement due to Covid-19, this will not impact your application as each case will be considered on an individual basis. Resources will be available on the SU OT department webpage to help ensure an understanding of occupational therapy in a variety of settings. (possibly consider adding link to information here as well: https://docs.google.com/
** Applicants are required to have 2 different letters of recommendation from the following: an employer, licensed OT you shadowed, or an academic professor. If applicants are unable to achieve this requirement due to Covid-19, their case will be reviewed individually to identify an alternative individual to provide a letter of recommendation.
** No AP Credit or CLEP credits are accepted for prerequisites.
Students must also complete all required application materials as listed on OTCAS to be considered for application.
Our university and programs pride ourselves on our international opportunities for experiential learning. We regularly engage in interprofessional and intraprofessional abroad trips to Haiti and Morocco for course credit. We are always open to new opportunities for expanding our collaborations abroad.
Entry Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) – Winchester Campus
This program is for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree.
This program is for occupational therapists who have a master’s degree and are interested in obtaining an OTD.
Entry Level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) – Leesburg Campus
This program is for individuals who have bachelor’s degree and are interested in obtaining a master’s degree in Occupational therapy.
COTA Associates to Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) – Leesburg Campus
This program is for Occupational Therapy Assistants who have an Associate’s degree or higher and are interested in becoming an occupational therapist.
Early Assurance Entry Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) – Winchester Campus
This program is for high school students who are interested in becoming an occupational therapist by attending Shenandoah University Undergraduate 3 years and then transitioning to the Entry Level Doctorate Program.
This articulation agreements provides a simplified, guaranteed admissions process for a limited number of undergraduate students from Shenandoah University.
This articulation agreements provides a simplified, guaranteed admissions process for a limited number of undergraduate students from NOVA Community College.