Dr. Natalie A. Perkins, Department Chair & Program Director
Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy
The mission of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at University of the Pacific is to prepare students to become competent, socially conscious practitioners in the use of occupation as a therapeutic measure for individuals and diverse communities. The student-centered curriculum aims to optimize student understanding of the value of occupation from various perspectives across the lifespan, including biological, psychological and social to promote a compassionate, client-centered, science-driven, and interdisciplinary team approach in the delivery of care.
Pacific's innovative Doctor of Occupational Therapy program prepares students to be generalist occupational therapy practitioners that strive to guide clients to live their best lives by engaging in meaningful occupations and practicing overall wellness in their daily routines. Instruction is delivered in an accelerated format offering interdisciplinary experiences, hands-on practical experiences, peer mentoring, seminar style learning, classroom meetings, and simulation labs.
The cohort-based, 120-unit program consists of eight trimesters (32 months). Students will start with foundational coursework then advance to learning intervention strategies for specific age groups and life challenges. Program graduates will be prepared to promote integrated health and wellness behaviors across the life-span for individuals and diverse communities. Through the eight trimester sequence, students learn to become general practitioners. However, occupational therapy doctoral students will have the opportunity to focus on specialty areas of practice such as clinical research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.
The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Preaccreditation Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org.
The program must 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.
Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3
For the most current information regarding the application process and requirements, please visit the website.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
The Occupational Therapy program is a full-time program with a cohort based plan of study. Students are required to enroll full-time, meet and maintain all required health standards, and must advance through a pre-determined curriculum in sequence with their cohort. Students are required to successfully pass each course in a given trimester in order to advance to the subsequent trimester with the assigned cohort and progress in the program. Students who do not pass a course, or who withdraw from a course, will not be able to progress with their cohort in the program. Students may be able to rejoin the program at a later date if allowed by program policy and approved by the program chair/director.
Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program. Students are required to receive a passing score during both Level II fieldwork rotations in order to progress to the capstone experience. The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3
Students must complete 120 semester units.
|Anatomical and Physiological Basis for Occupation
|Functional Movement and Biomechanics
|Foundations of Occupational Therapy
|Research Methods and Scholarship in OT
|The Art and Science of Occupational Therapy Practice
|Professional Development in OT
|Occupational Therapy for Habilitation Challenges
|Occupational Therapy for School-Based Practice
|OT Intervention for Adults with Physical Challenges
|OT Intervention for Adults with Psychosocial Challenges
|Clinical Conditions Seen in Occupational Therapy
|Capstone Preparation 1
|Occupational Therapy Topics in Areas of Specialization
|Educational Design and Scholarly Project
|Assistive Technology for Telehealth
|Capstone Preparation 2
|Fieldwork Level 1A
|Occupational Therapy Across the Lifespan
|Neurological and Cognitive Challenges
|Leadership and Advocacy in Occupational Therapy
|Management of Occupational Therapy Services
|Capstone Preparation 3
|Fieldwork Level 1B
|Standardized OT Case Assessment and Treatment
|Emergent Practice Models
|Leadership and Ethics in Healthcare
|Application of Physical Agent Modalities
|Complementary and Integrative Health
|Capstone Preparation 4
|Fieldwork Level 2A
|Fieldwork Level 2B
|National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Practice Exam
|Community Capstone Experience
Occupational Therapy Courses
OTHR 301. Anatomical and Physiological Basis for Occupation. 4 Units.
This course explores gross human anatomy emphasizing the lower/upper extremity, head/neck and trunk; cardiovascular, pulmonary, and integumentary systems; the endocrine system, and the central nervous system through online modules, learning activities, videotapes, and cadaver lab prosections. Functional correlates to the structures in health and disease will also be presented and discussed. This course will emphasize through reflection and case examples the plasticity of anatomical structures and their impact on occupational performance in response to life experiences, illness, and injury. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 302. Functional Movement and Biomechanics. 3 Units.
An overview of kinesiology and biomechanics to explore the inter-relationship between the human musculoskeletal systems producing movement and engagement in daily occupations. Review of biomechanics in association with position and movement as well as activity demands, person factors, and environmental demands. Attention to how length and relationship to joint axes can change and influence movements as well as therapeutic exercise. Includes manual muscle testing and goniometric measures in the context of occupational performance. The emphasis of this course will be on rehabilitation, and functional movement restoration. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 303. Foundations of Occupational Therapy. 3 Units.
Exploration of the study of human occupation as it relates to the profession of occupational therapy. Course will cover the history of occupational therapy and occupational science, theoretical and philosophical traditions central to the profession, the relationship between occupational engagement and wellbeing, task analysis, and standards of care as explicated in the OT practice framework. This course will also investigate future directions of the profession through the critical analysis of ethics, sociocultural factors, and healthcare trends. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 304. Research Methods and Scholarship in OT. 3 Units.
This course provides foundational knowledge that supports students’ abilities to describe and interpret the scope of the profession, appraise new knowledge, create new knowledge, and interpret and apply this knowledge to practice. It will empower students with the skills needed for critiquing research studies in order to be critical consumers of research and evidence based practitioners. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 305. The Art and Science of Occupational Therapy Practice. 3 Units.
The terms art and science are significant in the practice of occupational therapy. Exploration of these distinct, yet complementary, concepts in relation to occupational participation will help to illuminate the nature of occupation (participation) as a therapeutic intervention. This course will explore a myriad of approaches that address how the process of occupation that is performing activities that are important to the client is of therapeutic benefit. Additionally, concepts such as client-centered practice, the therapeutic use of self, customized intervention, measures of independence, outcomes evaluation, the OT process, the holistic perspective, professional identity, ethics, and OT assumptions for reflective practice will be explored. Students will learn that occupational therapists use both science-based approaches, rooted in empirical evidence, and art-based approaches centered in humanism, to advance the delivery of care. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 306. Professional Development in OT. 2 Units.
This course introduces the expectations of the professional graduate program, inter-professional communication and strategies for being successful in graduate studies. The course is designed to enhance clinical reasoning skills by applying and integrating past educational and work experiences with current coursework. Additionally, course will include educational resources to help students identify strategies for optimizing group work processes, which will be used in future courses during collaborative group projects. Prerequisites: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 307. Occupational Therapy for Habilitation Challenges. 3 Units.
Introduction to theory, evaluation and interventions for children and adolescents with severe challenges due to genetic, developmental, neurological, cognitive, orthopedic and compromised intellectual capacity. Includes methods for consulting with parents or caregivers, activity or task analysis, grading activities, behavior management, therapeutic media, and overview of occupational therapist’s role in the school system to achieve positive outcomes. Prerequisites: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 308. Occupational Therapy for School-Based Practice. 3 Units.
Evaluation and intervention to promote participation in daily life with younger children in school and home settings. The course will focus on child Biopsychosocial development, family-centered approaches, and application of sensory processing and occupational therapy treatment planning. Exploration of education theory, team work in the school system, credentialing, current applications of assistive devices, and effective interventions to develop optimal learning experiences and collaboration with other disciplines in the community educational environment will be covered. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 309. OT Intervention for Adults with Physical Challenges. 3 Units.
This course is in the second trimester of the professional curriculum. The course provides an introduction to the application and integration of foundational knowledge of common medical terminology, evidenced-based practice strategies, and theoretical models learned in the first trimester. This course is concurrent with other intervention coursework (OTHR 310/311/312). All four of these courses provide students with procedural knowledge to further develop clinical reasoning skills (knowledge, application, evaluation, and synthesis) to prepare the students for entry-level practice. Prerequisite: Admission into the OT program and successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 310. OT Intervention for Adults with Psychosocial Challenges. 3 Units.
This course is designed to provide the foundation skills for evidence based evaluation/intervention for people with mental health and psychosocial challenges across the lifespan. Students will explore policies, theories, medical and pharmacological treatments and OT intervention approaches for individuals with mental illness diagnoses. The course will focus on supporting recovery and performance to increase participation utilizing individual and population intervention approaches. Skills in reimbursement and ethical issues related to choice and self-direction, the social construct of mental health, additive behavior and resulting occupational injustices will be incorporated. Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 311. Clinical Conditions Seen in Occupational Therapy. 3 Units.
This course introduces the etiology, symptoms, occupational impact, and the progression/prognosis of many conditions seen in occupational therapy practice. A biopsychosocial approach will be used to ensure a better understanding of the concept of occupational performance upon health promotion using a strength-based model of service delivery. This course will evaluate theory-driven, evidence-based health education solutions for clients with medical conditions. Emphasis that strengthening community participation and empowering people to manage their own health conditions and connect with community resources. Case-based discussions will emphasize clinical reasoning through knowledge integration and application. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program and successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 312. Clinical Assessment. 2 Units.
The examination of standardized instruments, non-standardized assessments, criterion-referenced and norm-referenced test scores to form the basis of an understanding of reliability and validity in sampling, normative data, and criterion scores. Use of objective measures, statistics and clinical assessment tools to evaluate and form a baseline for treatment planning and documentation of Biopsychosocial approaches with various populations. Prerequisite: Admission into the OTD program and successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 313. Professional Documentation. 2 Units.
Introduction to the purpose and methods of documentation to communicate information about the client from the occupational therapy perspective. Documentation is a way to articulate the rationale for provision of occupational therapy services and is a chronological record of the client’s response to occupational therapy intervention. Documentation is performed to keep track of progress, communicate with other healthcare providers, and defend the rationale for treatment strategies. Documentation is essential, and it's a key factor in reimbursement during the continuum of care. Documentation of occupational therapy services is necessary whenever professional services are rendered. Prerequisite: Admission into the OTD program and successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 314. Occupational Therapy Topics in Areas of Specialization. 3 Units.
Overview of areas of specialty certification including Gerontology, Mental Health, Pediatrics, Physical Rehabilitation, Driving and Community Mobility, Environmental Modification, Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing, Low Vision and School-based practice systems. Analysis of specialty areas to inform decision making regarding appropriate referrals to specialists and other health related disciplines is presented. Prerequisite: Admission into the OTD program and successful completion of previous trimester coursework.
OTHR 315. Educational Design and Scholarly Project. 3 Units.
This course further develops evidence-based practice skills through student participation in occupational therapy teaching experiences in academic and professional settings. Attention is given to innovative teaching methods and learning theories, teaching tools, resources, and strategies. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD Program.
OTHR 316. Assistive Technology for Telehealth. 3 Units.
Introduction to methods of service delivery using distance learning, virtual environments and applications of telehealth technology, to improve health literacy in compliance with the OT Practice Framework. Interpretations of occupations with regard to client factors, performance patterns, and environments will deepen students understanding of the importance of context upon occupational participation and well-being. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD Program.
OTHR 317. Occupational Therapy Across the Lifespan. 3 Units.
Using developmental theories across the lifespan, students cultivate an appreciation for evidence-based practice by learning to locate, select, analyze, and evaluate scholarly literature to formulate care plans for case examples representing different age groups. Includes review of quantitative and qualitative research methods to support ability to make informed evidence based decisions in applying reflective clinical practice skills. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD Program.
OTHR 318. Neurological and Cognitive Challenges. 3 Units.
Evaluation and intervention strategies to promote independence and participation in daily living skills for adults experiencing neurological and cognitive conditions. Includes interventions that address impairments in attention, motor function, memory, executive function, judgement, self-awareness, visual-perception, psychosocial function and emotional regulation. Discussion of neuroplasticity research, principles of motor learning and guidelines for neuro-cognitive rehabilitation drawn from available evidence. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 319. Functional Neuroscience. 3 Units.
Exploration and application of concepts of the nervous system as a communication network that coordinates most body activities. A review of the functional infrastructure of the neuroanatomy system, neurons, nerve impulses, neurotransmitters, significant pathways of the peripheral and central nervous systems and the autonomic nervous system’s role to maintain homeostasis. An overview of neuroscience research, imaging in neuroscience, neuroplasticity and development of the nervous system and the relationship to therapeutic participation in the performance of occupations. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 320. Leadership and Advocacy in Occupational Therapy. 3 Units.
Students are exposed to legislative priorities and learn to apply knowledge of state and federal policy to occupational therapy through advocacy with legislators and staff members by supporting and opposing bills and initiatives which effect practice and services in settings where people are under served. Experiential learning in small groups, visits to the State Capital building to attend sessions, discuss issues affecting development of service and social justice in the community. Learning objectives will center on integrating policy and advocacy into Capstone experience component with information learned during this course. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 321. Management of Occupational Therapy Services. 3 Units.
Principles of management will be presented and applied to personnel in OT services in the context of current health care delivery systems. The focus is on organizational structure, needs assessment, program design, marketing, methods of reimbursement, and budgeting to implement new programs that promote participation and occupational performance. Students define their roles as a team leader, supervisor, manager, and client advocate. Course will include discussion of role division of OTR and COTA duties and may provide opportunity for collaboration with OTA program.
OTHR 322. Standardized OT Case Assessment and Treatment. 3 Units.
Using case-based and team learning, problem solving abilities are developed through simulated learning experiences with standardized cases involving people with physical and psychosocial challenges in healthcare settings. Issues addressed are patient safety, set-up and positioning with bed and hospital room activities, proper techniques with functional mobility with emphasis on body mechanics and adaptive equipment. Prerequisite: Admission to OTD program.
OTHR 323. Emergent Practice Models. 3 Units.
Students examine current trends and emergent models of OT practice. In an effort to meet society’s occupational needs, the American Occupational Therapy Association established the following broad categories: Children & Youth, Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Productive Aging, Rehabilitation, Disability, & Participation, Work & Industry and Education. Students will explore emerging practice environments, such as consultation, care coordination, and transition services through a comprehensive literature review that will facilitate the integration of theoretical models for the conception of a doctoral capstone project. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 324. Leadership and Ethics in Healthcare. 3 Units.
Exploration and application of leadership, ethics, values and social determinants of health, and population health in relation to current and future practice settings. Students develop and apply ethical principles to lead change, improve quality, resolve conflicts, and integrate learning into transformational and transactional leadership. Local, national, and global health issues will be examined through an occupational justice framework in the context of genetic, social, cultural, economic, gender, and health-system policy outcomes. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 325. Application of Physical Agent Modalities. 3 Units.
Review of theory and safe application of Physical Agent Modalities (PAM) as adjunctive measures in preparation for participation in purposeful occupation. Topics covered include superficial thermal agents, deep thermal agents, electrotherapeutic agents, ultrasound, heat, ice, traction and mechanical devices. Examination of the modalities to promote participation, relieve pain, improve circulation, improve function, build strength, decrease edema, reduce muscle spasm, and deliver pain medication in collaboration with other health care providers will also be included. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 326. Complementary and Integrative Health. 3 Units.
Overview of the role of occupational therapy in integrated health promotion in the individual, populations and in community practices. Health promotion is presented from a Biopsychosocial perspective. Analysis and synthesis of cultural and sociological implications on health beliefs, practices and behaviors for a reflective practice. Includes introduction, hands-on techniques to common complementary and alternative approaches. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 327. National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Practice Exam. 1 Unit.
Review session for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) national certification exam. Review will focus on application of information learned throughout the program as well as a critical thinking logic models and processes necessary for clinical practice in occupational therapy. Prerequisite: Admission to OTD program.
OTHR 387A. Fieldwork Level 1A. 2 Units.
This course centers on clinical observation of practitioners, opportunity to apply knowledge to practice, and to develop understanding of the needs of clients in a variety of clinical settings that are culturally relevant, based on theoretical constructs, models of practice, frames of reference, and within the scope of OT Practice. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program and successful completion of previous trimester.
OTHR 387B. Fieldwork Level 1B. 2 Units.
Second of two courses that provide students with observation and participation in selected community settings where occupational therapy is employed. Continued exposure to traditional and nontraditional facilities and populations served by occupational therapists to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice. Students transform theory into practice to further appreciate the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice and professional behavior. This class will also address practice in behavioral health, or psychological and social factors influencing engagement in occupation. Prerequisite: Admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.
OTHR 389A. Fieldwork Level 2A. 12 Units.
This course offers fieldwork experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Full-time clinical experiential learning is provided for the application of theory and skills to traditional and emergent practice settings in compliance with the Biopsychosocial curricular design. Application of knowledge from the classroom to practice settings with guidance from the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and community fieldwork educators. Level II Fieldwork uses clinical reasoning and reflective practice to carry out professional responsibilities and promote integrated learning through supervised clinical experience in the field. Prerequisite: Admission into the OTD program and successful completion of OTHR 387B.
OTHR 389B. Fieldwork Level 2B. 12 Units.
This course is second in series of two that offers fieldwork experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist. Full-time clinical experiential learning is provided for the application of theory and skills to traditional and emergent practice settings in compliance with the Biopsychosocial curricular design. Application of knowledge from the classroom to practice settings with guidance from the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and community fieldwork educators. Level II Fieldwork uses clinical reasoning and reflective practice to carry out professional responsibilities and promote integrated learning through supervised clinical experience in the field. Prerequisite: Admission into the OTD program and successful completion of OTHR 389A.
OTHR 395A. Capstone Preparation 1. 1 Unit.
This course is first of four courses designed to support the student in the culminating experience of the doctoral capstone project. The primary goal of this course is for the student to explore a variety of areas of occupational therapy practice and learn about the personal characteristics required to succeed in those areas and to three potential areas of focus for the capstone project. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 395B. Capstone Preparation 2. 1 Unit.
This course is second of four courses designed to support the student in the culminating experience of the doctoral capstone project. The primary goal in this course is to complete needs assessments in one of the three previously identified areas of advanced practice under faculty mentorship and to draft a proposal for the intended capstone project. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 395C. Capstone Preparation 3. 1 Unit.
This course is the third of four courses designed to support the culminating experience of the doctoral capstone project. The primary goal of this course is for the student to choose a site(s), finalize their proposed learning objectives for the site(s), and present their ideas regarding research and or plan development to the stakeholders of the site(s) and their faculty mentor. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 395D. Capstone Preparation 4. 1 Unit.
This course is the fourth of four courses designed to support the student in the culminating experience of the OTD, the capstone project. The primary goal of this course is for the student to finalize the logistics of the proposed Capstone plan, present it to stakeholders and, if applicable, submit it for IRB approval. Prerequisite: Admission to the OTD program.
OTHR 397A. Community Capstone Experience. 10 Units.
The capstone project experience is guided by an approved plan, scholarly writing, collaboration with a community site mentor, and an evaluation of the outcome measures. These plans are implemented using the biopsychosocial approach. This experience will lead students to prepare an oral presentation, and scholarly paper and seek opportunities to disseminate their findings at professional conferences or through publication. Prerequisite: Successful completion of both Level II FW placements (OTHR 389A and OTHR 389B).
OTHR 397B. Capstone Presentation. 1 Unit.
Culminating community experience and an on-site oral presentation of results of capstone project just prior to graduation. Students reflect on what they have learned and celebrate their accomplishments. The presentation is guided by the approved plan, scholarly writing and an evaluation of the outcome measures. Students will prepare their oral presentation, and scholarly paper and seek opportunities to disseminate their findings at professional conferences or through peer reviewed publication. Prerequisite: Successful completion of both Level II FW placements (OTHR 389A and OTHR 389B).
OTD Program Graduate Outcomes
To meet the occupational needs of the diverse communities our students will serve, the graduates of the OTD program must provide occupation-based compassionate, holistic, client-centered, science-driven, and interdisciplinary care. To become a skilled generalist practitioner, the socially conscious OTD graduate must commit to professional growth and apply clinical reasoning skills to ensure that best practice is achieved. To reach this ultimate goal, graduates of the program will be able to:
1. Demonstrate creative and client-centered responses to empower clients to fulfil their occupational roles in diverse settings.
2. Advance the profession through service, knowledge translation, and client-centered activities to promote occupational justice.
3. Engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning through active participation in significant experiences to fully ensure the highest quality of evidence-based care while using occupation as a therapeutic measure.
4. Promote wellness behaviors through occupations that contribute to improved mental and physical health within communities.
5. Lead with integrity in all practice settings and among the interdisciplinary team.
Occupational Therapy Faculty
Natalie A. Perkins, Department Chair, Program Director & Assistant Clinical Professor, 2020, BS, Colorado State University; MEd, Colorado State University; PP-OTD Boston University, email@example.com
Raj Bains, Assistant Clinical Professor, 2020, BS, University of California, Davis; MSOT Dominican University of California; PP-OTD, Temple University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Israel, Assistant Clinical Professor, 2022, JD, M.S, email@example.com
Carlin Reaume, Assistant Clinical Professor, 2021, BA, University of Southern California; MA, University of Southern California; MAEd, Pepperdine University; PP-OTD University of Southern California, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issa Willard, Assistant Clinical Professor, 2022, BS, California State University; DPT, Western University of Health Sciences, email@example.com
Kathryn Wise, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator, Assistant Clinical Professor, 2021, BA, University of Waterloo, BHSc(OT), McMaster University, MHSc, University of Toronto, PP-OTD, Boston University, firstname.lastname@example.org