News and Events

  • Join the OTD Curriculum Design Team at Duke University!
    April 1, 2019

    The developing OTD at Duke University seeks to hire four dynamic individuals, committed to innovative occupation-centered education, as curriculum writers. …

  • Join Our Team!
    February 22, 2019

    March 25, 2019 The developing Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division (OTD) at Duke University seeks the following team members An Academic Fieldwork …

  • New Founding Program Director & Division Chief
    February 12, 2019

    Duke University School of Medicine is proud to announce Barbara Hooper, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, as the Founding Program Director and …

Welcome to the Duke University Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division

Duke University is proud to announce the development of the Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division.

Considering a Career in Occupational Therapy?

The developing OTD at Duke University may be for you if you are inspired by any of the following descriptions:

Occupational Therapy is based on the belief that people improve their health and well-being when they are able to occupy time with activities they find meaningful. In other words, the things we do each day, our occupations, are vital mechanisms in our health.

Occupational Therapists, therefore, contribute to the health of society by helping people, organizations, and communities optimally engage in their desired and necessary everyday activities. These include learning, playing, taking care of oneself and others, working, relaxing, connecting with others, participating in civic and political activities, engaging in spiritual practices, creating, and many more.

Occupational Therapists provide this service in medical and community settings, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers, primary care, residential care facilities, schools, homes, work settings, non-profits, private practice, mental health facilities, adult and child day care facilities, and more.

While the OTD at Duke University is only in the developing stage, we know the primary aim of the program will be to advance the health of individuals, organizations and communities by skillfully enabling the occupations of everyday life.

We also know that the Duke OTD will be built on these core beliefs:

  • How people occupy time is a key ingredient in optimum health for everyone,
  • Enabling engagement in occupation is the distinctive contribution occupational therapy makes to health and social care,
  • Engagement in occupation supports health by fostering basic human needs of survival, capacities, meaning, identity, social connection, competence, and autonomy.
  • Successfully engaging in occupations requires a just-right transaction of skills, capacities, experience, motivation, interest, meaning, social support, environmental press, cultural relevance, political legislation, economics, technology, and other factors.
  • Occupational therapists optimize these transactions through assessing, adapting, advocating, collaborating, consulting, designing/building, educating, engaging and applying specialty skills.

Our goal is to admit the first OTD cohort in the summer of 2022. Applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, liberal arts, biomedical sciences, or other fields.



The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program  has been granted Applicant Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is
The program must have a pre-accreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.