Post-Professional OTD Program Details


The Post-Professional Clinical Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD), designed for working professionals, will provide those practitioners who wish to remain in the practice arena with advanced knowledge and clinical skills as applied in a specialized practice area. The overarching goal of our program is to deepen knowledge within a specific area of practice, pursue evidence-based practice as a clinician and as a clinical researcher, and apply clinical reasoning to practice at an advanced level.

Program Outcomes

It is expected that upon completion of the Columbia University Programs in Occupational Therapy Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, graduates will be leaders in the clinical arena with potential to expand and advance their area of specialization at local, state, and national levels. Upon completion of the OTD degree, students will be prepared to:

  • Articulate emerging roles and areas of practice related to cognition and perception.
  • Demonstrate professional and ethical standards in advanced practice of cognition and perception.
  • Apply, analyze, and synthesize theoretical frameworks related to cognition and perception.
  • Analyze, develop, and implement evidence-based advanced level of evaluation of cognition and perception.
  • Analyze, develop, and implement evidence-based advanced level of intervention in cognition and perception.
  • Analyze, synthesize, and contribute to the scientific body of knowledge related to cognition and perception.

Program Requirements

Receiving the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree will involve satisfactorily completing a minimum of 75 points beyond the baccalaureate degree (in occupational therapy), or a minimum of 36 points beyond the Master’s degree (in occupational therapy). This includes the use of a clinical residency* towards evidence-based practice and the completion of two capstone projects: a publication-ready research paper and a clinical portfolio. This program is an evening program, and can be completed in two to three years of part-time study.

*Clinical Residency: Our program is heavily dependent on clinical experiences.   All students are required to identify a clinical site that can serve as their “clinical residency”.  This is typically one’s place of work.  As long as one’s site provides approval, assignments including the research project can be carried out with one’s clients, and during one’s work day.

Individuals who already hold Master of Science degrees in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University will have met the requirement for Core I, and will need to complete an additional 36 points. Students with Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees in Occupational Therapy from another university, upon review and approval by the Program, can have their occupational therapy coursework count as Core 1 and credited toward the degree.  Individuals with a baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy will be expected to complete all 75 points. If such a student has graduate credit in addition to the baccalaureate degree, the graduate courses will be reviewed for potential application to Core I.

Program Format

The Post-Professional OTD follows a hybrid format.  Each course requires 8 hours of in-campus meetings.  Students come to campus for one Friday (whole day) at the beginning and end of each semester.  The rest of the instruction is delivered online.

OTD Curriculum

Core I: (up to 39 points)

The content of Core I is devoted to the basic study and practice of occupational therapy; and to the beginning understanding and application of research methodologies. Courses within this core include those taken by our entry level Master of Science program, which are outlined in our bulletin.

 Core II: (11 points)

The content of Core II is directed towards challenging existing knowledge, paradigms, and hypotheses in cognition and perception.  Guided by course faculty and the doctoral mentor, the learner engages in critical reflection, discourse, and experiential learning as foundational courses in the program are taken.

  • Advanced Application of Theory to Practice (3 points)
  • Neuroscience of Cognition (3 points)
  • Methods of Teaching (3 points)
  • Professional Development (2 points)

Core III: (14 points)

The focus of Core III is directed towards transforming critical thinking and creating and implementing advanced knowledge and applications in cognition and perception.  The student undergoes deeper level critical reflection, discourse, and experiential learning as courses geared towards advanced level assessments and intervention are taken.

  • Cognitive Assessment & Intervention (3 points)
  • Cognitive Basis of Function and Decision Making (4 points)
  • Advanced Evidence-Based Practice (3 points)
  • Theories of Measurement and Instrument Development (3 points)
  • Case-based Application (1 point)

Core IV: (11 points):

At Core IV, the student becomes an advanced-practioner who is an agent of change in clinical practice.  The student works with the doctoral mentor to complete coursework, residency, and two capstone projects (Clinical Portfolio and Evidence-Based Research Paper).

Courses to support the capstone (5 points)

  • Writing for Publication (1 point)
  • Grantsmanship (2 points)
  • Ethics and Occupational Justice (2 points)

Capstone (6 points)

  • Residency
  • Clinical Portfolio (3 points)
  • Evidence-based Research Paper submitted (3 points)

Clinical Portfolio

All students will be expected to submit a clinical portfolio, in which the following will be represented:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Program development
  • Grant proposal
  • Certifications
  • In-services given
  • Presentations / publications
  • Mentorship – both roles (as mentor and being mentored) reflected

Evidence-based Research Paper

Students will be responsible for carrying out a research project based on a clinically derived question (i.e., not theoretical, but evidence-based practice). A faculty sponsor plus an ongoing seminar will support students during this process. This research project will culminate in a paper submitted to faculty in publication ready format. In order to graduate, the paper must also be submitted for publication in a refereed journal.

Sample Course Plan for an OTD Student Admitted in the Fall Semester


Fall Spring Summer
Year 1  

-Advanced Applications of Theory to Practice (3 pts)

-Neuroscience of Cognition (3pts)


-Cognitive Basis of Function and Decision Making (4 pts)
-Measurement and Instrument Development (3 pts)


-Methods of Teaching (3 pts)
-Professional Dev. ( 1 pt)

Year 2 -Case-based Application (1 pt)
-Advanced Evidence-based Practice (3 pts)
-Assessment and Intervention (3pts)
-Professional Dev. (1 pt)


Writing for Publication (1 pt)
-Grantsmanship (2 pts)
-Ethics and Occupational Justice (2 pts)

Year 3 -Capstone  (3 pts) -Capstone  (3 pts)





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