Jan 20, 2021  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Occupational Therapy (OTD)

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Occupational Therapy (OTD): Admission Requirements

The applicant to the professional program in occupational therapy must have completed or show evidence of the following in order to be considered for admission:

  • Completed application through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System, or OTCAS.
  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum grade-point average of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submit to OTCAS official scores from the GRE graduate school entry exam general test taken within the past five years. A combined score (verbal and quantitative portions) of 302 and a minimum score of 4.0 on the analytical writing sample are required. Please use institution code 7122.
  • If applicant’s native language is not English, submit Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, scores.
  • Prerequisite courses including statistics, sociology or anthropology, human growth and development (must cover the entire lifespan), abnormal psychology, one additional psychology course, human anatomy (with lab, preferably cadaver) and human physiology (lab preferred). Human anatomy and human physiology must be taken within five years prior to admission to program. Two sequential courses with labs will also satisfy this prerequisite.*
  • Two letters of recommendation. One recommendation must be from an occupational therapy practitioner.
  • Experience/familiarity with occupational therapy either through observation, volunteering or work experience with an occupational therapy practitioner (at least 40 documented hours in at least two settings).

*All courses must be taken from an accredited college or university. Online classes are acceptable except for anatomy and physiology, which must occur face-to-face.

The Admissions Committee will make decisions regarding the acceptability of the applicant to the program. All application materials will be evaluated. Academic and nonacademic factors, including extracurricular activities, job and life experiences will be taken into consideration.

Selected applicants will be required to participate in an on-site visit that will include a faculty interview. Recognizing the need of occupational therapists to serve a population representative of diverse social, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds, a goal of the Admissions Committee will be to select a class likely to meet these diverse needs.

Students accepted into the occupational therapy program must complete a criminal background check. Students who have certain types of information in their criminal background checks may be ineligible to complete fieldwork rotations in specific facilities and may be ineligible for state licensure or national registry or certification.

Students accepted in the occupational therapy program must complete the Rush University required health and immunization history documentation.

Students accepted into the occupational therapy program must submit directly to Rush University prior to matriculation all official transcripts from every college or university attended.

Application Deadlines

Admission for the entry entry-level master’s doctorate in occupational Occupational therapy Therapy program is granted for the summer  fall quarter term of each year, which begins mid-June early -September. Applications through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service become available mid-July.

Completed applications will begin to be reviewed by the admis¬sionsadmissions committee beginning Oct. 15. The application deadline is Dec. 1. Interviews will be held during the months of November, December and January. Enrollment is limited to 36 students. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.


Occupational Therapy (OTD): Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - I CARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence) - translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses, such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies
  •  Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal and non-verbal communication

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers
  • Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic occupational therapy care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide occupational therapy care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures, and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors and all members of the health care team during practicum and other learning experiences
  • Accurately elicit information, including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the occupational therapy role
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment or treatment strategy


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others
  • Integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Occupational Therapy code of ethics

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs.

Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged.

Occupational Therapy (OTD): Academic Policies

Academic Progression

 Students will progress through the program following the curriculum outline provided.

The faculty reserves the right to dismiss any student whose conduct, health or performance demonstrates lack of fitness for continuance in a health profession as identified by the faculty member and the Rush University Code of Conduct. Any such student not voluntarily withdrawing will be dismissed from the University. Only grades of A, B, C or P may fulfill degree requirements in all non-elective courses listed in the curriculum outline.

Students will be considered in good standing at Rush University unless placed on academic probation. Academic probation is assigned to any student who earns a term grade-point average of 2.99 and below. Full-time students placed on probation must earn a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or above by the end of the next term. Students who fail to meet minimum cumulative GPA requirements within the time frame specified above will be automatically dismissed from the program.

Students placed on academic probation for the first time must meet with their adviser and establish an action plan prior to the beginning of the next term. Students placed on probation a second time  must petition and meet with the Student Performance and Academic Review Committee, or SPARC, and provide an action plan that is acceptable to SPARC in order to continue in the program. The student will also be responsible to meet on a regular basis with their adviser to monitor the progress of the aforementioned action plan’s implementation. A student who is placed on probation for a third time for didactic course work will automatically be dismissed from the program. 

A student receiving a grade D, F,  N, WF or WN in a required course must repeat the course at the next academic offering and earn at least a B (or Pass for pass-no-pass courses) to remain in the program. Only one D, F, N or WN is allowed for the entire program. If a student receives a second D, F, N, WF or WN at any other time in the program, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Students must pass the occupational therapy competency exam (OCC 820 Capstone Competencies) prior to beginning the Independent Doctoral Experience course. Students who do not pass the exam will need to repeat the course. Completion of the doctoral experience and doctoral capstone project will be delayed.

Occupational Therapy (OTD): Program Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Once admitted to the Occupational Therapy program, students embark on a journey that entails the accumulation of 108 term hours for graduation. In order to graduate and have the Occupational Therapy Doctorate conferred, students must meet the following:

  • Successfully complete all didactic coursework and fieldwork
  • Pass the Department of Occupational Therapy competency exam
  • Successfully complete all requirements of the individual doctoral experience and capstone project
  • Pass the Rush University Interprofessional Patient Care Teams course (IPE 503)
  • Complete a minimum of 16 contact hours of approved professional or community service

In order to be eligible to take the registration exam administered by the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists, students must have completed all graduation requirements as documented in official transcripts from Rush University. Students must complete all program requirements within 45 months from the time they begin the program. Any student who expects to go beyond this timeframe must request an exception to the policy in writing to the program director.

Scholarly Activities

Members of the department are increasingly involved in identifying research projects in occupational therapy. Students participate in one of a variety of faculty-supervised research projects, which may be carried out in one of Rush University Medical Center’s occupational therapy clinics, other health care facilities, or community organizations. Students are required to present their research projects during the annual Department of Occupational Therapy Research Symposium, as well as submit for presentation at state and national conferences, and/or publication in a professional journal identified by the faculty research adviser.

Students are also required to independently complete a capstone project that will advance the knowledge of occupational therapy. Dissemination through presentation or publication is required.

Professional Service Activities

Our faculty are outstanding practitioners/teachers/investigators involved in widely recognized professional and scholarly activities. They provide a full range of assessment and therapeutic services for a variety of populations. Within the Medical Center there are more than 30 dedicated occupational therapy practitioners working with pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

In addition, faculty and clinicians are committed to serving with professional and community organizations. Students participate with faculty and clinicians in health fairs and service activities throughout the year. Students have an opportunity to join the Student Occupational Therapy Association, a service-based organization.

Occupational Therapy (OTD): Curriculum

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Program Total: 110 Credit Hours

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