Students begin their coursework learning the Professional Foundation. This includes the domain and process of occupational therapy and the science of the human body that support occupational performance. Students advance to applying their knowledge during classroom and laboratory experiences.

The following semesters emphasize Occupational Engagement: A Fit between Person and Environment. These include courses that examine the client and environmental factors that impact occupational participation, including evidence that guides assessment and intervention strategies that promote occupational engagement considering typical development, as well as the impact of disease, injury, or illness.

Students engage in Fieldwork that allows application and practice of principles from the classroom followed by guided reflection activities.

The final year culminates in a transition from student to practitioner with a doctoral capstone project, comprehensive exam, and capstone experience. This supports the Bridge to Professional Practice.

The following courses have been approved as the curriculum for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.


Fall Semester
OTD 515 Occupational Justice and Foundations of OT, 3 credits
OTD 520 OT Process: Analyzing Occupations for Individuals and Groups, 3 credits
OTD 525 Assessment, 3 credits
OTD 530 Applied Neuroscience in OT, 4 credits
OTD 540 Analyzing Movement in Occupational Performance, 4 credits

Spring Semester
OTD 550 Interventions IA, 5 credits
OTD 551 Interventions IB, 5 credits
OTD 555 Critical Inquiry I, 3 credits
OTD 560 Fieldwork Level IA, 3 credits

Summer Term
OTD 575 Research Methods, 3 credits
OTD 580 Leadership and Management in OT Practice, 3 credits


Fall Semester
OTD 600 Interventions IIA, 5 credits
OTD 601 Interventions IIB, 5 credits
OTD 605 Critical Inquiry II, 3 credits
OTD 625 Scholarship I, 2 credits
OTD 626 Capstone Project I, 1 credit
OTD 630 Fieldwork Level IB, 3 credits

Spring Semester
OTD 650 Interventions IIIA, 4 credits
OTD 651 Interventions IIIB, 4 credits
OTD 655 Critical Inquiry III, 3 credits
OTD 660 Fieldwork Level IC, 3 credits
OTD 675 Scholarship II, 2 credits
OTD 676 Capstone Project II, 1 credit

Summer Semester
OTD 705 Doctoral Capstone Proposal I, 1 credit
OTD 710 Doctoral Capstone Proposal II, 2 credits
OTD 725 Scholarship III (optional), 2 credits
OTD 726 Special Topics (optional), 1-3 credits


Fall Semester
OTD 730 Fieldwork Level II, 6 credits
OTD 735 Fieldwork Level II, 6 credits

Spring Semester
OTD 750 Capstone Project III, 2 credits
OTD 800 Capstone Experience, 8 credits

Total Program Credits: 100-105

Prerequisite Coursework

Students wanting to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy come from several different undergraduate majors. The most popular are Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Human Performance and Fitness, Exercise Science, and Sport Management. Certainly, other majors also pair well with Occupational Therapy such as Music and Art.

Along with satisfying requirements for the declared major, students must also complete these OT prerequisites with a grade of C or higher and with a minimum combined GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

All prerequisite grades must be available by the Dec. 1 application deadline or September 15 if requesting consideration for an early admission decision. Courses marked with an asterisk are exceptions.

SubjectSAU EquivalentCredits
Anatomy/Physiology I with lab BIOL 230 4
Anatomy/Physiology II with lab BIOL 232 4
Medical Terminology (or competency) HS 250 1
Lifespan PSYC 212 3
Statistics STAT 213 3
*Ethics or BioMedical Ethics PHIL 207 or PHIL 310 3
300-level or above Social Science 300 level or above 3
Total Credits 21

 *If applying for the General Admission pathway, Ethics may be taken after the application deadline but must be completed prior to beginning the OTD coursework.

Online SAU Course Catalog

Technical Standards

The Technical Standards will inform you of the performance expectations of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program and will assist you in determining if you may need accommodations.

These Technical Standards apply to the entire OTD curriculum and may include activities held in the classroom, lab sessions, and/or during clinical fieldwork experiences. Students must be able to demonstrate the skills required of all curricular activities, with or without reasonable accommodations.  A reasonable accommodation is intended to reduce the effects that a disability may have on a students' performance. Accommodations do not lower course standards or alter degree requirements, but give students a better opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. 

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at St. Ambrose University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The following ACOTE Standards support explanation of Technical Standards: A.3.5 Criteria for successful completion of each segment of the educational program and for graduation must be given in advance to each student. A.3.6 Students must be informed of and have access to the student support services that are provided to other students in the institution. 

References:  American Occupational Therapy Association (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (2nd Ed). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.  Accreditation Council for OT Education (2011). Standards and interpretive guidelines. 

Technical Standards  General Abilities: The student must possess functional use of cognitive, physical, and emotional systems including the senses of vision, touch, smell and hearing in order to integrate, analyze, and synthesize information in an accurate manner to safely gather information necessary to effectively assess and treat clients. 

Observation: The student must be able to observe live, simulated, or recorded demonstrations in the classroom, lab, and clinic. This may include student-to-student, student to faculty/supervisor, or student to client interactions and films, power point and other forms of visual presentations. 

Communication: The student must be able to communicate effectively in verbal and non-verbal formats with a variety of individuals and professionals. These individuals could include clients, family members, and care providers, members of the health care or educational team, or other students. This communication could happen on an individual or group basis. (Communication can consist of verbal and non-verbal methods including speech, writing, reading, and interpreting tables and graphs, and computer literacy). 

Intellectual: The student must be able to develop and refine problem-solving and critical reasoning skills that are crucial to the practice of occupational therapy. Intellectual abilities could include the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, reflect and synthesize material from courses and other texts, journals, health records, client interviews and clinical observations to make decisions that reflect effective clinical judgment. 

Sensory and Motor Function: The student must elicit information from clients as well as provide direct occupational therapy services that could include, but are not limited to: self-care training, cognitive re-training, home management, work and community retraining, positioning techniques, functional mobility, transfers, range of motion and exercise techniques, assistive technology and cardiopulmonary resuscitations. The student must be able to maintain equilibrium, have sufficient levels of postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to hand coordination, and to possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, bending, crouching, moving and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in clinical and classroom settings. 

Behavioral and Interpersonal Attributes: The student must possess the emotional skills required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom setting as well as the clinical environment. The development of ethical, mature, sensitive effective and professional relationships with patients and members of the health care team is essential. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Flexibility, compassion, empathy, integrity, effective interpersonal skills, and concern for others are personal qualities that are desired in health professionals. Students should also exhibit timeliness and resourcefulness to meet deadlines and to be successful in a variety of settings. 

*Fieldwork sites may have additional technical standards beyond those pertaining to the OTD curriculum. The Fieldwork site determines accommodations given during Fieldwork rotations. Students requesting accommodations are required to notify disabilities services and academic fieldwork coordinator prior to fieldwork placements.

A student seeking accommodations may do so at anytime. Complete information regarding the process of obtaining accommodations, as well as additional documentation that may be required, can be obtained from the Accessibility Resource Center office. 

Accessibility Resource Center 563-333-5878, Alyse Schmidt,, Cosgrove Hall, Lower Level, 518 W. Locust Street, Davenport, IA 52803 


Jill Schmidt, OTD, Program Chair

Occupational Therapy
Center for Health Sciences Education
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52804

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