Occupational Therapy Doctorate

The Occupational Therapy Department at San Jose State University is dedicated to preparing culturally diverse occupational therapy leaders who promote health and participation in life for individuals, organizations, and populations through engagement in occupation. The SJSU Entry Level OTD program prepares graduates to provide service in a wide variety of settings. Our students are educated with a focus on effectively using current evidence, creating new professional knowledge through research, and contributing to program development in both traditional and emerging areas of practice. The SJSU Occupational Therapy program prides itself on emphasizing authentic practice experience through faculty-run clinics and community partnerships. The newly added OTD program is designed to develop occupational therapy leaders, advocates, and innovators with a clear focus on community engagement and social justice for underserved populations.

The OTD Program at San Jose State University has full WSCUC approval and is awaiting ACOTE approval. We have a long history, over 60 years, of providing exemplary graduate occupational therapy education and have the distinction of being one of the first in the nation to offer a Master's of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. We are proud to offer the first Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at a public institution in California.

The Occupational Therapy faculty has a long history of commitment to the profession through research, leadership, and service. They have received national recognition and have been awarded the title of Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA). The following is a list of current and retired faculty who have achieved this recognition:

  • Dr. Luis de Leon Arabit
  • Dr. Deborah Bolding
  • Dr. Megan Chang
  • Dr. Karen Diassio Serrett
  • Dr. Lela Llorens
  • Dr. Anne MacRae
  • Dr. Heidi Pendleton
  • Dr. Pamela Richardson
  • Dr. Winifred Schultz-Krohn
  • Dr. Kathleen Schwartz
  • Dr. Gigi Smith
  • Dr. Marti Southam

Additionally, two previous faculty members were honored with the prestigious Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award:

  • Dr. Lela Llorens
  • Dr. Kathleen Schwartz

Our foundation on engaged scholarship provides the OTD student a dynamic learning opportunity with leaders in the profession.

As of Spring 2023 the Department of Occupational Therapy launched the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) as approved by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The OTD program is structured using a cohort model where students are admitted and progress through a sequenced program of study in an organized manner to support completion of the degree within three years of full time enrollment. This model fosters collaboration between students and faculty. The OTD degree is designed to prepare students as entry-level occupational therapists and seeks to support students as leaders and practitioner-scholars. The curriculum is designed using a variety of instructional methods to enhance content mastery. Although the majority of instruction will be face to face instruction, classes will include simulations, case presentations, involvement with the on campus faculty-run clinics and online instruction. 

Please check back on this page for important updates regarding the application process and advising sessions.
Email us for other inquiries.

CHHS Impact Report article on the OTD program


Check out the highlights of the OTD program on the College of Health and Human Sciences Impact Report, 2023 - 2023, p. 13. Click here to see the full report [pdf].

photo of student clinicians in the OT Clinics


"Our doctoral program in occupational therapy is on track to accept its first group of students in the 2022-23 academic year, and we now are in active discussions with our colleagues in the University of California system about several possible new joint Ph.D. programs." - Former SJSU President Mary Papazian (Watch 1-minute video below.)

Application Deadlines

We accept applications once per year beginning on July 1st. The deadline for submitting applications and application materials is on December 1st of each year. However, we recommend submitting the application as soon as possible as we admit on a rolling basis and can therefore fill the class before November 1st. In that event, we will close the application process.

Important: OTD applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree earned at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association before starting the program, or the applicant has completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by the appropriate campus authority.

For Spring 2025 program, applicants can begin sending in materials to the SJSU OT Department beginnng July 1st. 
Applicants must also complete the OTCAS application process that will open beginning July 21st, 2024
GAPE opens August 1st. Please see deadline dates on the Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE) website. 
The deadline for submitting applications and application materials is on December 1st of each year. However, we recommend submitting the application as soon as possible as we admit on a rolling basis and can therefore fill the class before November 1st. In that event, we will close the application process.
The Spring 2025 semester begins January 21st, 2025.

Students must also apply to the university via Cal State Apply (separate from the program application).

Program Resource Links

Admission Requirements
   - University and Program Requirements
Application Checklist [pdf]
Required Prerequisite Courses
Doctorate Requirements (112 units)
Frequently Asked Questions
OTD Roadmap [pdf]
Program Learning Outcomes
Candidacy Requirements
Graduation Requirements
Tuition and Other Fees
NOTE: The tuition for the OTD program is $8598 per term (semester) for nine terms over the course of three years of matriculation +  University Fees. All listed fees, other than mandatory systemwide fees, are subject to change without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun.

Fall '24 Registration Fees - Doctoral

Informational Session (July 17th, 2024; 6:00-7:00pm)

Review the OTD Program Advising Overview [pdf]