Doctor of Education

Columbia University’s Programs in Occupational Therapy is one of the oldest yet exceptionally progressive programs to educate occupational therapists. The Movement Science/Kinesiology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University was the first program in the US to offer a graduate degree with a specialization in Motor Learning. Today, the two programs have teamed up to offer a unique program leading to the Ed.D. in Movement Science with a specialization in Occupational Therapy.

This program will allow students who already have a Masters in Occupational Therapy and clinical experience to gain from combining study in both areas. Students take core and research preparation course work in the Movement Science program, and coursework in the Occupational Therapy Program. The research would be carried out largely under the supervision of Occupational Therapy faculty, with the additional support of Movement Science faculty.

This degree is directed toward preparing the current and the next generation of leaders in Occupational Therapy with interests in movement and daily function. These leaders will assume professorial roles in Universities and Colleges within departments of Occupational Therapy. The degree may lead to:

  • Tenure-track faculty position in Occupational Therapy departments emphasizing teaching and applied research.
  • Research Coordinator (university, hospital, clinic).
  • Director/Administrator (university, teaching hospital)


Students enrolled in the Ed.D. Program will have an opportunity to integrate and contribute to basic and applied science as it relates to occupational therapy and movement science.

Broad areas of research fall under the following categories:

  • How movement and posture support participation in daily living.
  • Movement impairment and its impact on functional daily living skills.
  • Development and testing of real world / ecologically valid assessments of motor function.
  • Development and testing of occupation-based practice guidelines.

Current and potential areas of specific research foci include:

  • The role of perception, motor, and cognition in the context of daily living.
  • How mental imagery and practice affects recovery after central nervous system dysfunction.
  • Vestibular, sensory, and motor impairment as manifested in patients with psychiatric disorders, and its impact on participation in daily living.

Program Overview

Students in the Ed.D. program in Movement Science with a specialization in Occupational Therapy have a unique opportunity to study with faculty of both programs. Although students are enrolled in Teachers College, each is assigned an academic advisor from the Programs in Occupational Therapy, who, in collaboration with the faculty of TC, plan out a program of study that combines the science of motor learning within the context of occupation. Coursework is taken on both campuses. As per university policy, the Ed.D. requires 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. Since most students with entry level masters in OT have at least 45 graduate credits in related areas, we expect that 45 credits will be transferred in from another qualified institution and that the doctorate will be comprised of approximately 45 credits beyond the existing Masters. The credit allocation is to be shared among the existing programs in Movement Sciences and Occupational Therapy.

Summary of Credit Point Distribution by Area

Teachers College:
Movement Science:
15 points of movement science coursework determined in collaboration with faculty, plus 9 points of
research preparation.

Occupational Therapy
15 points of occupational therapy coursework determined in collaboration with faculty, plus 6 points of electives.

Contact Information
Glen Gillen, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Phone: 212-305-1648

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