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A collage image of students at the College of Health Professions helping patients

Entry Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate

The program is able to admit students into our new Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) Program and started accepting applications for the OTD Program on July 1, 2018. The MUSC program will continue through the full accreditation process for programs transitioning from a master’s to doctoral degree and anticipate graduation of our first class of OTD students in May of 2022.

The Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy will graduate its last class in July of 2020.

To learn more about the OTD program at MUSC: Register for the OTD webinar 

About the Program

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree prepares students for lifelong and rewarding careers. Graduates are prepared to play their part in improving quality of life for people who experience difficulties and challenges to everyday living.

Our high quality program is provided at an academic medical center and the curriculum is rigorous and engaging. Educational technology enhances classroom learning, group work develops professional skills, and experiential learning refines practice skills.

Interprofessional education is a hallmark of the program and involves connections with other health professionals across the campus and in the community. Research shows that working in teams produces better outcomes. Teamwork supports innovation and promotes excellence.

reaching Emily occupational therapy research lab

Beginning in the first semester, fieldwork experiences are an integral part of the curriculum and allow opportunities for direct observation and participation in a variety of practice settings and contexts. These experiences help integrate learning from the classroom and lab and enhance capacity for becoming a proficient occupational therapist.

Semester six and seven are two full time 12-week rotations at facilities throughout the state and across the country working under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor. The final semester has a doctoral experiential component as the major focus.

About the Profession

Occupational therapists are motivated and creative problem solvers who like working with people and translating scientific knowledge into everyday practicalities. They are collaborators who bring about desired change and attainment of meaningful goals. Sometimes new skill development is necessary, other times adapting the environment is essential for a productive life.

When people experience trauma, stress, or chronic health conditions their daily routines are often disrupted making it difficult to get up, get dressed, and go to work, make dinner, or enjoy family and friends. That’s when occupational therapists intervene to promote performance and participation in life. Helping people engage in everyday tasks and life roles is the trademark of an occupational therapist; it’s the key to successful living.

Occupational therapists are in demand. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, community outreach programs, private practices, school-based settings and specialty practices all employ occupational therapists.

The US Department of Labor lists occupational therapy as one of the top 20 professions for projected job growth in the next 5 years. Salaries in South Carolina begin in the mid-$50’s and vary by region. Practitioners can advance their careers in traditional settings, branch out into emerging areas of contemporary practice, and become leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and researchers.

Admissions Requirements

Students entering the OT program are evaluated by their GRE scores, undergraduate academic performance, and successful completion of prerequisite courses. A minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA is required.

We also assign credit for volunteer/work experience. In order to obtain credit, applicants must complete a minimum of 30 hours in occupational therapy and have the supervising occupational therapist complete one of the OT application reference forms documenting their service and performance. This form must be completed and signed by the OT practitioner who supervised the applicant during the 30 volunteer work hours. This form can be found inside your university application. The reference forms are currently only available within the application materials.

To be a competitive applicant you need to demonstrate a strong academic background, strong GRE scores, and good life experience activities such as: additional OT volunteer work over and above the minimum 30 hours, volunteering in a community related setting other than OT, significant leadership experience, research activity, scholarship history and significant academic or community volunteer awards.


View List of required Prerequisites.

Application checklist

  1. Complete university application
  2. Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  3. Volunteer or Work Experience (30 hours compulsory)
  4. Three reference forms; one from the occupational therapy practitioner who supervised volunteer or work experience.
  5. The second and third references should be provided by major advisors or professors
  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results
  7. Completed prerequisite courses taken form
  8. Completed plans for remaining year form
  9. Minimum of a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale
  10. Supplemental profile form
  11. Log of Occupational Therapy related experience
  12. Resume

Applicants receive additional profile points on their application for service experiences in the AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or prior military service.

Please note: All above information must be received before an admission decision can be made. It is the applicant's responsibility to review the progress of his/her application.

National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

Program graduates are eligible to take the certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. | 12 South Summit Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150 | 301-990-7979 | 301-869-8492 (Fax) |

Are there any factors that would prohibit me from taking the certification exam?
If you have a felony conviction on your record, this may affect your ability to sit for the certification examination administered by NBCOT after you graduate; this can subsequently affect your ability to attain state licensure. Before applying to the OT program, you can contact NBCOT for information on their early determination program to assess examination eligibility. Go to NBCOT and read the Early Review section for further details.

Important Dates

Application available
July 1

Application deadline
November 15

Acceptances offered
February / March

Accrediting Body

The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy 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.

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) logo

The Occupational Therapy program's accrediting body is the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.:

4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 301-652-2682
Fax: 240-762-5140

Occupational Therapy Faculty

Craig Velozo

Craig Velozo, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

Director and Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy

Nancy Carson

Nancy Carson, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy

Hazel Breland

Hazel Breland, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

Associate Professor
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

Amanda Giles

Amanda K. Giles, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Emily Grattan

Emily Grattan, Ph.D., OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Tambra Marik

Tambra Marik, OTD, OTR/L, CHT 

Assistant Professor

Na Jin Seo

Na Jin Seo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Cristina Reyes Smith

Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
Director of Admissions

Michelle L. Woodbury

Michelle L. Woodbury, Ph.D., OTR/L

Associate Professor


Staff Support

Terri Bozzelli

Administrative Assistant

Susan S. Johnson

Associate Director of Student Services