Frequently Asked Questions

Both the MOT and OTD prepare a graduate for entry-level practice in a variety of environments (hospitals, schools, home health, skilled nursing, community agencies, etc.). Both degree programs require students to have a baccalaureate degree for admission. Both MOT and OTD programs require Level I and Level II fieldwork. Currently, either degree option is a path to entry-level practice.

The entry-level OTD program includes advanced coursework, including a capstone project and a 14- week doctoral experiential component, during which graduates execute some aspect of their capstone work in a professional context. OTD graduates gain advanced application of entry-level knowledge and skills in the areas of advanced clinical practice, program & practice development, scholarship & research, policy & advocacy, and teaching & learning.

In April, 2014, The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recommended that entry-level occupational therapists complete doctoral degrees. In 2019, the Representative Assembly of the AOTA adopted a motion to maintain dual degree entry (MOT and OTD) to the profession of occupational therapy. Currently, Methodist University only offers an entry-level OTD option.

An entry-level clinical doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) prepares graduates to take the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and practice as a registered and licensed occupational therapist. OTD programs offer clinical research coursework and experiences, but it is not as extensive or specialized as PhD coursework.

A Ph.D. prepares students for a career in research and academic teaching in a specialized field of study. A Ph.D. program does NOT prepare graduates to become licensed occupational therapists. Some graduates may choose to pursue an academic research career with a Ph.D. program AFTER completing a clinical degree (MOT or OTD).

And entry-level doctoral program is designed for students who have a baccalaureate degree in any area and have never practiced as an occupational therapist before. This program will prepare them to sit for the NBCOT exam and become a licensed occupational therapist. A post-professional doctoral program is designed for an occupational therapist who wishes to advance their education and skills by obtaining a clinical doctorate. Currently, Methodist University only offers an entry-level OTD option.

Many health science programs have a tradition of presenting students a white coat as they transition from the classroom or didactic portion of the curriculum into the clinical fieldwork portion. Historically, the white coat is the symbol of a physician or “doctor” in the medical profession.  It was adopted by other health professions who either serve in a medical provider discipline (Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner) or practice with a doctorate (Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Occupational Therapy).

While occupational therapy has a strong foundation in a medical model of practice, the profession is rooted in mental health and our distinct value is the incorporation of holistic practices beyond the physical health practice that the white coat represents. Occupational therapists work in schools, homes, homeless shelters, factories, universities, and community agencies in addition to the full continuum of medical facilities.

In our program, we feel that the white coat is limiting to the full scope of our profession and does not fully represent our curricular model.  We have a Convocation Ceremony during orientation and a Pinning Ceremony as a ‘sending off’ when our students progress to the Clinical Fieldwork phase of the curriculum (end of spring, Year 2).

  • The FIRST entry-level OTD program in North Carolina
  • Our dedicated faculty are passionate about their extensive clinical experiences and scholarly initiatives.  They are committed to engaging students in their professional activities as they support students to develop their own professional foundations.
  • Our program has a large network of clinical and community-based sites that offer expansive clinical fieldwork and service learning opportunities.
  • Our curriculum is rooted in nine semesters of full-time, hands-on and face to face learning for the ultimate immersive educational experience.
  • Methodist University has a proven track record offering health science programming that highlight inter-professional collaboration, including the Doctor of Physical Therapy program; the Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies program; bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in Nursing; the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program; and the Bachelor of Social Work program.
  • Innovative and collaborative learning supported by a brand new 38,800 sq. ft. Health Sciences Building equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, equipment and instructional technology.

Applicants must apply through the Centralized Application Service for OTs programs (OTCAS; Applications typically open on OTCAS in July prior to the year of intended matriculation.

Successful applicants need a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

No. Applicants can major in anything as long as the required prerequisite courses are completed.


No. Applicants who have a plan in place or are in progress of completing outstanding coursework for the program will still be considered, if selection factors have been met. Applicants are encouraged to have the majority of coursework completed at the time their application is received. Applicants can have no more than two outstanding prerequisite courses to be taken during the spring semester.

There is a section on the OTCAS application where applicants can list these courses.


Methodist University is a private institution and is not mandated by our state to give preference to or accept only N.C. residents.

The program is a full-time, 36-month curriculum. There are no night-time classes, part-time tracks, or online version of the program. Classes are typically Monday through Thursday from 8 am-5 pm and the Level I and Level II clinical fieldwork rotation schedules are based on the hours of the clinic/fieldwork site in which the student is assigned. The program has one start date a year, mid-August.

The OTD program offers a doctorate degree that trains entry-level generalist occupational therapists. While the program does not offer specialties, there is an opportunity for emphasis through clinical affiliations, scholarly projects and research.

Yes. Students are required to complete a capstone research project as part of the OTD program’s curriculum. OTD faculty are involved in various research, and students are also able to offer assistance to current faculty members on research projects that interest them. See our Faculty Scholarship page for more details about faculty mentored research opportunities

The University offers Graduate housing on campus in the Village Houses located on the north end of campus near Sink Field. The Village Houses have double occupancy rooms, their own bathroom, and a shared living space, with a large kitchen on the first level.

Yes. A $500 non-refundable deposit is due within two weeks of being accepted into the program.