Occupational Therapy Doctorate


“As occupational therapists, our distinct value is that we are working to improve the health, participation and the quality of life for the clients we serve.”

- Dr. Leslie Jackson


Overview of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

Changing the world through healthcare.

The mission of the Occupational Therapy Program is to educate practitioners who will collaborate professionally to promote client-centered, occupation-based practice and provide servant leadership within their communities. We value an active learning environment that fosters the holistic personal and professional development of students, faculty, and community members.

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Unparalleled Learning Spaces

Due to our strength as the largest private University in the state of Indiana, IWU has access to classroom and lab resources that are unrivaled in our region.  At Indiana Wesleyan University, students learn in unique state-of-the-art facilities and lab spaces, including a well-equipped sensory-based pediatric lab, and an anatomy and neuroanatomy cadaver lab outfitted with media-based technologies.  Our human motion and musculoskeletal labs include XSensor® pressure mapping technology utilized for assessing and managing seating systems and a Dynavision2® machine to evaluate and treat visual motor integration.  Additionally, we have an entire three-bedroom “ADL House” offering students hands-on, realistic opportunities to develop assessment and training skills in environmental modifications, functional mobility and transfers, adaptive equipment, and improving skills to perform activities of daily living.  We have the only lab in an OT educational program in Indiana with a Bertec® computerized dynamic posturography machine for evaluating and addressing balance and mobility issues.  Finally, we have a state-of-the-art human motion capture laboratory utilizing 14 interconnected high-speed cameras which produces three-dimensional models of human movement patterns.


Experienced and Diverse Faculty and Staff

Indiana Wesleyan’s OTD program is blessed to feature a diverse faculty with doctoral degrees from some of the nation’s leading institutions of higher learning.  The educational diversity of the faculty offers our students a view of occupational therapy from varying educational perspectives.  Several of our faculty members continue to work in clinical settings, thereby allowing them to stay current with health care trends and practices.  All our faculty members teach within their areas of clinical expertise and specialization.  Our program assistant provides administrative support while possessing a valuable clinical background as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.  The faculty and staff represent more than 120 years of clinical and academic experience combined, resulting in a dynamic and knowledgeable department.


Our Personalized Fieldwork Model

Unlike most other OT programs in the United States, our program utilizes a uniquely student-focused fieldwork placement approach.  The program places students in five different fieldwork settings during their time in the program.  Our academic fieldwork coordinator meets with students near the beginning of the program to help them identify areas of clinical interest as well as geographic areas where they hope to complete Level II fieldwork rotations.  Consequently, our program sends students across the United States for fieldwork – from Alaska to Florida and California to Maine.  We have active contracts with hundreds of high-quality fieldwork sites to accommodate any student need.



Upon completion of the OTD program, graduates will demonstrate competence in the following areas:

SERVANT LEADERSHIP/ADVOCACY: Graduates of the OTD program will advocate, on behalf of consumers and the profession, as servant leaders who are actively involved in professional and community organizations.

MORAL CHARACTER: Graduates of the OTD program will promote occupational justice as people of moral character who apply Christ-like* attitudes and ethical values.

SCHOLARSHIP/RESEARCH: Graduates of the OTD program will increase the body of knowledge in occupational therapy through scholarship and research in preparation for practice and life-long learning.

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE: Graduates of the OTD program will address global & diverse occupational needs.

EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: Graduates of the OTD program will apply occupational therapy scientific knowledge to create evidence-based intervention programs and/or protocols that are culturally responsive and client-centered.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY THEORY: Graduates of the OTD program will apply theoretical models and practice frameworks when developing systems for the delivery of occupational therapy services.

RESIDENCY PROJECT: Graduates of the OTD program will demonstrate advanced-practice competency in a chosen residency area.


*To have a Christ-like character is to possess the “fruit of the Spirit” as enumerated in Galatians 5:22 and 23. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, which includes the qualities of “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” We strive to embody all of these qualities in our lives, thereby treating others as Christ would treat them. Jesus Christ was humble (John 13:1-5) and compassionate in His service to those He came into contact with (Ephesians 4:32). He also taught His followers to be forgiving to those who have wronged them (Colossians 3:13). Being Christ-like involves following Christ’s example of reaching out in love and serving others.

Tuition for the OTD program at Indiana Wesleyan includes a transcultural travel course during the second spring trimester. Students and faculty travel together in small groups to destinations such as Belize, Ecuador, Curacao, and the Dominican Republic, to learn about health care and rehabilitation services there. This cultural immersion results in phenomenal learning opportunities that often cause our students to choose a similar transcultural environment for their doctoral residency project. Alumni from our program often remark about the “life changing” experiences that resulted from their transcultural travel course.

Students in the OTD program enjoy membership in a close-knit community of learners who support each other throughout all of their educational endeavors. The development of this caring, learning community leads them out into the larger community of central Indiana where they are a strong positive influence for health and wellness. Our program enjoys tremendous relationships with a large number of local community organizations who serve the needs of central Indiana residents, thereby allowing us to improve the occupational health and wellness of many.

Our students choose to conduct their doctoral residency projects all over the world! In additional to the continental United States, we have had OTD students complete their projects in rural Alaska, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Haiti, Nepal, Kosovo, The Ukraine, Costa Rica, Armenia, Kenya, and Curacao. Students choose where they go and what type of project they complete. It is largely through our doctoral residency projects that that occupational therapy program embodies the mission of IWU to change the world in which we practice. Due to our vast network of qualified mentors around the globe, we can offer unique doctoral residency experiences that are not possible through other OTD programs in the United States.


The Global Health Initiatives Course


Life at IWU

All OTD students will have access to a variety of IWU resources such as:

  • Meal plans through the campus dining hall and access to campus coffee shop.
  • Access to the Recreation and Wellness Center and options to join intramural teams.
  • Option to live in on-campus townhomes.
  • Access to campus events such as concerts, sporting events, movies, and convocations.
  • Options to join student leadership groups such as the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA).


Cost of Attendance


OTD Program Fall Trimester

OTD Program Spring Trimester

OTD Program Summer Trimester

Total Cost of Program Academic Year

Total Cost of Program (8 trimesters, 3-year program cost, 2020-2023)







Educational Resource Fee






Books and Supplies


Parking Fee





Background Check


Graduation Fee





 *OTD program is 8 trimesters in length.


Career Data

  • 16% - Projected employment growth in US (2019-2029), Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • $85,570 – 2021 Median Pay in the US, Bureau of Labor Statistics



Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org, 312-263-0456. Other accreditations and associations of Indiana Wesleyan University are available at www.indwes.edu/about/iwu-profile/accreditation.

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and the web address is www.acoteonline.org.

Graduates of the program are 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.

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy reports the certification exam outcomes for all occupational therapy programs at the following link: https://www.nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
Phone number for AOTA is: 1-301-652-AOTA


Program Graduation Rate

Graduation Year

Students Entering/Graduation

Graduation Rate

















 NBCOT Exam Pass Rates


Cohort Size

Passing Percentage










Overall 5-Year



Tuition & Financial Aid

Program Credit Hours Tuition
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy 105 Total $11,445 / trimester

*Effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.


Financial Aid

For information about financial aid, call 866-468-6498, visit our financial aid website, or email finaid@indwes.edu.

Published tuition and fees are subject to change.

Financial Aid Office
4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953
Fax: 765-677-2809

Student Instructor

Eligible second-year OTD students may apply for paid positions as student instructors (SI). Student instructors provide tutoring services for first-year OTD students during open lab hours for Clinical Anatomy and Neuroscience. This employment opportunity offers additional hands-on experience while accommodating flexible scheduling.


Year One - Fall Trimester


Total 17 credit hours


Year One - Spring Trimester


Total 15 credit hours


Year One - Summer Trimester


Total 15 credit hours

--Total for Year One 47 credit hours


Year Two - Fall Trimester


Total 18 credit hours


Year Two - Spring Trimester


Total 16 credit hours


Year Two - Summer Trimester


Total 7 credit hours

--Total for Year Two 41 credit hours


Year Three - Fall Trimester


Total 7 credit hours


Year Three - Spring Trimester


Total 10 credit hours
--Total for Year Three 17 credit hours

Total Overall Credits: 105 Credit Hours


Below are the lists of requirements for the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy program. Click on each link to expand the requirements. If you have any questions about the admissions process, feel free to contact one of our admissions representatives at 1-866-498-4968.

The Occupational Therapy program annually admits a class of 30 students to the professional entry level Doctorate (OTD).

Admission Requirements

The Occupational Therapy program annually admits a class of 30 students to the professional entry level Doctorate (OTD), who begin studies in September each year.

  • A baccalaureate or graduate degree from a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) verified on original transcripts sent by the institution directly to Indiana Wesleyan University. Degree may be pending completion at the time of application.
  • Baccalaureate overall GPA of 3.0 or better preferred.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better in prerequisite courses (listed below).
  • Completed documentation of volunteer/paid experience showing at least 10 hours of volunteer, work, or shadowing experience under an OTR
  • OPTIONAL: GRE scores may be submitted upon application.
  • Interview (arranged by invitation when all other application materials have been received and reviewed).
  • The following prerequisite courses or the equivalent must be completed with a grade of B or better. Unless specified, the courses below should have at least 3 credits to be considered as a prerequisite course. Students may complete up to two prerequisites in the summer session after acceptance into the program but before beginning the graduate level of study:
    • Human anatomy & physiology I (with lab)
    • Human anatomy & physiology II (with lab)
    • Any abnormal psychology or psychopathology course
    • Any lifespan human development or development psychology course (covering the entire lifespan, birth through aging)
    • General psychology course (AP/testing credit allowed)
    • Any statistics course (math or psychology)
    • Any sociology or anthropology course with a multicultural theme
    • Any medical terminology course (1-3 credits accepted)

* Note: Criminal background checks are required after students are admitted, and before they may go out on community or fieldwork experiences, which occur throughout the program.

Graduation Requirements

  • All credits required in the course of studies with a minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Minimum passing grade of “B-” in each course.
  • Payment of all tuition and fees is required to receive a diploma.

Complete the OTCAS Online Application

The Occupational Therapy Program receives applications for doctoral program admission and most applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Observation Form

Application Procedures

To be considered for admission to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree program, complete each of the following steps. For more information, call 866-498-4968 to speak with a Program Representative.

  1. Application: Apply online at indwes.edu/OTD. *PLEASE NOTE: the Occupational Therapy Program receives applications for doctoral program admission and most applicant credentials exclusively through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS), provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
  2. Transcripts: College - Official transcripts are required from the baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Transcripts are required for application and are to be submitted through OTCAS. College Transcripts from Non-U.S. Schools - Secure a course-by-course report from Educational Credential Evaluator (www.ece.org). Be sure to request that the report be sent directly to OTCAS. The evaluation must list course-by-course hours and grades.
  3. Observational Hours: Applicants must provide documentation of volunteer/paid experience showing at least 10 hours of volunteer, work, or shadowing experience under an OTR.
  4. GRE Scores: Applicants must provide proof of a competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the last 5 years, including the analytical writing component. Preferred candidates will score 145 or higher on both verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE, and a 4 or higher on analytical writing. Please request a copy of your GRE scores to be sent to the address listed below. (The Indiana Wesleyan University institutional code is R1446.) Additional GRE information can be obtained by contacting Educational Testing Services at 609-771-7670 or visiting their Web site. (Waived for applicants with graduate degrees)
  5. TOEFL Scores: Submit a copy of your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores if English is not your primary language. For more information about this test, see www.toefl.org.




Nicole Schmidt - COTA/L

Program Assistant

Jared Young Headshot

Jared Young

Program Assistant & LMS Administrator


briana dykstra - OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor, OTD Fieldwork Coordinator

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brittney millspaugh storms - PT; DPT; MBA; NCS

Associate Professor; Anatomist

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douglas morris - Ph.D., OTR/L

Associate Professor

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melissa khosla - OTD, OTR/L, MS

Assistant Professor, Interim OTD Program Director

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michele chaleunphonh - OTD; OTR/L

Assistant Professor

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rachel timmons - OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

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