To apply to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program you must apply to the UWM Graduate School. All materials must be received prior to the review of the application.

For more detailed information on this process, check out the Admission section below.

Cost & Aid

Tuition & Fees

For detailed and up-to-date tuition and fee rates, visit the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website.

Research or Project Assistantships

Research assistantships (RA) or project assistantships (PA) may be available pending individual faculty funding cycles. Only students admitted to Health Sciences Graduate Programs will be considered for an RA or PA appointment.

Please contact the faculty member you are interested in working with to learn more information about available RA or PA positions.

Learn more about research assistantships at UWM.

UWM Fellowships & Awards

UWM & CHS Scholarships

Complete the FAFSA then go to the UWM Panther Scholarship Portal. Sign in using your PAWS credentials and complete the General Application and the CHS application. You may save your work and return to the portal at a later time.

You will then see a list of scholarships that you may apply to. Review each scholarship and click the “apply” button to any/all that you qualify for. If the scholarship requires additional information (and the application is open), you will click the “apply” button and can choose to answer the supplemental question(s) or not.

Check your UWM email for your application status. Additional information can be found at

State & National Scholarships/Awards

Other Financial Support



Kris A. Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L
OTD Implementation Chair
(414) 229-4713 •

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) is a post-professional degree. With an OTD, you are better prepared to address the challenges of today’s complex and ever-changing health care and education settings. Beyond an entry-level master’s degree, OTD students complete additional preparation in leadership, advocacy, theory and research, and an additional mentored advanced doctoral experience.

Why choose us?

  • You will study under the guidance of respected leaders in occupational therapy with expertise in assistive technology, leadership, ergonomics, maternal and child health, biomedical rehabilitation, and teaching and learning.
  • The areas of study have been purposefully developed to integrate knowledge from multiple occupational therapy sub-disciplines.
  • There is a strong focus on learning the process of research and incorporating evidence into the professional practice.
  • Experience the best of both worlds at UWM, a leading research institution blocks from Lake Michigan. Milwaukee has great restaurants, great music, and great art, everything you need to balance your life as a student.



To apply to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program you must apply to the UWM Graduate School. All materials must be received prior to the review of the application.

Priority application deadlines:

  • Fall semester:
    All application materials – January 15
  • Spring semester:
    All application materials – October 1

Note: Applications will continue to be accepted after the priority deadlines.

In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, those applying to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program must meet the following admission requirements:

  1. MSOT or MOT degree from an ACOTE-accredited program (or equivalent recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, WFOT).
  2. Occupational therapy licensure (or international equivalent approved by WFOT). Current master’s students matriculate to the OTD program when they are licensed. Students may be provisionally admitted to the OTD program and accumulate credits toward graduation for one semester while required documentation is being prepared or approved.
  3. The competitive admissions process also includes evaluation of the GPA, coursework, professional experiences and a statement of personal interests.

Practicing occupational therapists with a bachelor’s degree may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. Those who are accepted to the OTD Program will be expected to complete deficiency credits that ensure that their educational background is comparable to practitioners with a master’s degree, and will complete a minimum of 54 credits of graduate-level coursework at UWM.

Timeline to Completion

Timeline to Completion

The OTD curriculum is designed to be completed in four semesters. Some students may require two or three years of combination full- and part-time coursework, especially if they choose to work part time, take additional courses, or want to invest more time to complete their project.

Incoming OTD students with advanced applicable coursework and experience may transfer graduate credits or place out of up to 6 credits that directly relate to their proposed Program of Study. UWM MSOT students may transfer up to 3 of their master’s thesis or project credits and apply those to their OTD project credits requirement. Combined, these transfers could reduce the total credits required to 24 and would likely accelerate time to completion for some students.

Because circumstances beyond a student’s control may prevent completion of requirements according to this timeline, students will be granted a maximum of ten years to complete the degree.

Employment Outlook

Employment Outlook


The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $84,270 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,490, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,750.

In May 2018 the median annual wages for occupational therapists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)$90,570
Home healthcare services$87,570
Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists$86,060
Hospitals; state, local, and private$84,550
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private$73,980

Expected Growth

Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.

The need for occupational therapists is expected to increase as the large baby-boom generation ages and people remain active later in life. Occupational therapists can help senior citizens maintain their independence by recommending home modifications and strategies that make daily activities easier. Therapists also play a large role in the treatment of many conditions and ailments commonly associated with aging, such as arthritis and stroke.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapists.

Professional Organizations

Professional Organizations

Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff