Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree
The USC OTD program is a world-class program of study in occupational science and leadership designed to prepare you to secure a position as an expert clinicians in a specialty or emerging practice area, a contributor to a clinical research team, an administrative leader within a health care organization and/or a non-tenure track faculty member in an institution of higher education. USC doctors of occupational therapy possess the professional insights and practical skills to drive changes across health and human services organizations, within professional educational programs, on clinical research teams and via public policy initiatives to ultimately benefit society. An interdisciplinary approach allows you to explore your unique needs and interests, while an in-depth mentored residency experience lets you learn alongside outstanding faculty and scholars who are on the vanguard of occupational therapy practice and occupational science research. You also complete courses in other USC schools and departments as appropriate to your academic focus.
The OTD program provides the following four leadership concentrations so that you can choose the best track to ably chart your future.
Advanced Clinical Practice
This track resembles the residency model typical in doctoral-level medical professional programs. For example, you might complete your clinical residency in a specialty area such as mental health, hand therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, sensory integration, or Lifestyle Redesign®, while composing a portfolio that includes evidence-based literature, assessments and other content related to the specialty. Your coursework will complement your residency and further develop your clinical expertise within that specialty area.
This track prepares you to participate as a member of a research team to implement evidence-based studies in clinical settings and collect clinical outcomes data. You will complete your residency in an ongoing division research program while taking coursework emphasizing occupational science and research methodologies. Unlike the Ph.D. in Occupational Science program, which is designed to prepare individuals as future NIH career scientists, this OTD track prepares you to better bridge research projects and clinical implementation.
Policy and Administration
This track is designed to prepare you as an executive decision maker, public policy advocate or administrator. For example, you might complete your residency shadowing a hospital administrator and collaborate in the development of hospital policies. Your coursework will focus on self-presentation, leadership skills and policy and planning in the healthcare arena. This track will prepare you as an agent of positive change, social responsibility and ethical care who can lead the profession forward.
This track equips you with the teaching expertise and other skills necessary to become an outstanding faculty member, particularly in settings such as liberal arts colleges or research-intensive universities with clinical faculty positions. For example, you might complete your residency in an academic role while gaining additional clinical expertise and developing course content or student programming. Your coursework will complement your residency and develop your knowledge and mastery of innovative pedagogical approaches.