The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) 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, ergonomics, maternal and child health, biomedical rehabilitation, motion capture analysis, assessment of upper limb function, pain physiology, influence of psychological distress on rehabilitation outcomes, and implications of mindfulness practice for rotator cuff repair.
- The areas of study have been purposefully developed to integrate knowledge from multiple occupational therapy sub-disciplines.
- Our program has 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 just 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.
For more detailed information on this process, check out the Admission section below.
For the most up-to-date information, visit the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website . Be sure you are viewing the Health Science Masters Fee Schedule for the appropriate semester.
UWM offers the following Tuition Reduction Programs for out-of-state residents:
These funds are earmarked for the support of certain student services. See the Mandatory/Segregated Fees document for the appropriate semester on the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website .
Additional Course Fees
There may also be additional course fees that could include differential tuition, distance education fees, or special course fees. To see if your courses have additional fees, go to web.uwm.edu/registrar/tools/fee .
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.
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. Additional information can be found at uwm.edu/scholarships .
State & National Scholarships/Awards
UWM Emergency Grant
The UWM Emergency Grant is funded by several private contributions and is available to students when they have unforeseen circumstances that may negatively influence their academic success. You can be awarded up to $1,000 for non-academic expenses (e.g., car repairs, medical bills, rent, utilities, child care, food, etc.). Learn more at uwm.edu/emergencygrant .
You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School . In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the following departmental requirements:
- MSOT or MOT degree from an ACOTE-accredited program (or equivalent recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, WFOT).
- 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.
- The competitive admissions process also includes evaluation of GPA, coursework, professional experiences, and statement of personal interests.
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 due by January 15
- Spring semester: All application materials due by October 1
Note: Applications will continue to be accepted after the priority deadlines.
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 CompletionTimeline to Completion
The OTD curriculum is designed to be completed in four semesters. You may need two or three years of a combination of full- and part-time coursework, especially if you choose to work, take additional courses, or want to invest more time to complete your project.
If you have advanced applicable coursework and experience, you may transfer graduate credits or place out of up to 6 credits that directly relate to your 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 your time to completion.
Because circumstances beyond your control may prevent completion of requirements according to this timeline, you will be granted a maximum of ten years to complete the degree.
Employment OutlookEmployment Outlook
The median annual wage for occupational therapists was $84,950 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,800, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $121,490.
In May 2019 the median annual wages for occupational therapists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)||$90,830|
|Home healthcare services||$89,220|
|Offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists||$87,190|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||$85,510|
|Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private||$74,670|
Employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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.
Professional OrganizationsProfessional Organizations
Visit these websites for current information and other resources regarding our profession.
- Advance Healthcare Network for Occupational Therapy Practitioners
- American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
- American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF)
- American Therapeutic Recreation Association
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice
- National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
- National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification
- National Park and Recreation Association
(National Therapeutic Recreation Society Branch)
- Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA)
- Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association
(Wisconsin Therapeutic Recreation Society Branch)
- World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT)
Faculty & StaffFaculty & Staff
- Justin Almquist, MA
University Services Program Associate
- Kris A. Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L, IMH-E®
- Joyce M. Engel, PhD, OT, FAOTA
- Carol Haertlein Sells, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
- Mark V. Johnston, PhD, FACRM
- Jay Kapellusch, PhD
Associate Professor, Chair
- Phyllis King, PhD, OT, FAOTA, FASAHP
Professor, UWM Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
- Bhagwant Sindhu, PhD, OTR
Associate Professor, MSOT Program Director
- Brooke A. Slavens, PhD
- Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT FAOTA, RESNA Fellow
- Virginia Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA
- Inga Wang, OTR/L, PhD