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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Academics
Academics

PhD | Course Sequence

You are required to complete the following courses to be eligible to take the qualifying examination: OT 640, OT 641, OT 648, OT 649, OT 661, and 4 semesters of OT 660. In addition, you must complete a minimum of 26 units (10 units if you have Advanced Standing) of elective cognate courses. After passing the qualifying exam, you must take a minimum of 4 units of OT 794 as you complete an independent research dissertation. A total of 60 units is required to graduate (40 units if you have Advanced Standing); thus, you will need to complete 4 additional units of either OT 794 or elective cognate courses.

Sample Course Sequence

Course Descriptions for OT Courses

Note: If you have Advanced Standing, you will typically complete 3-4 elective cognate courses in years one and two instead of 7-8 elective cognate courses noted in the sample course sequence that follows. 

First Year Course Overview

Fall Semester One

Fall semester begins in late August and continues for 16 weeks.

  • OT 640 (4 units): Conceptual Foundations of Occupational Science
  • OT 660 (2 units): Research Practicum
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)

Spring Semester One

Spring semester begins in January and continues for 16 weeks.

  • OT 648 (4 units): Researching Occupation: Engagement, Meaning, and Society
  • OT 660 (2 units): Research Practicum
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)

Summer Semester One

Summer semester begins in late May or early June and continues for 10-16 weeks.

  • Elective Cognate Course (2-4 units)

Second Year Course Overview

Fall Semester Two

  • OT 641 (4 units): The Nature of Occupation
  • OT 660 (2 units): Research Practicum
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)

Spring Semester Two

  • OT 649 (4 units): Researching Occupation: Function, Participation, and Health
  • OT 660 (2 units): Research Practicum
  • Elective Cognate Course (4 units)

Summer Semester Two

  • OT 661 (2 units): Grant Writing for Occupational Science
  • Elective Cognate Course (2-4 units)

Third Year Course Overview

Fall Semester Three

  • Completion of Qualifying Exam (GRSC 800)

Spring Semester Three

  • OT 794 (2 units): Doctoral Dissertation

Summer Semester Three

  • OT 794 (2 units): Doctoral Dissertation

Fourth Year Course Overview

Fall Semester Four

  • OT 794 (2 units): Doctoral Dissertation

Spring Semester Four

  • OT 794 (2 units): Doctoral Dissertation

Note: If additional semesters are needed to complete the dissertation, you will register for OT 794 each semester until the dissertation is submitted to the university.