Occupational Therapy Program

Post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (PP-OTD)

The post-professional occupational therapy doctorate (PP-OTD) online program is an advanced degree for practicing occupational therapists who have earned a master’s in occupational therapy. It is designed to serve current working professionals who wish to advance their careers by earning a higher degree in order to assume positions in teaching, advanced clinical practice, and/or leadership positions.

Admission Requirements

  • Prospective students must have a degree in occupational therapy from an entry-level educational program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
  • Prospective students must have been initially certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
  • Prospective students must have earned master’s from an accredited academic institution.
  • Prospective students must have current licensure as an occupational therapist (OTR).
  • Prospective students must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.00 (4.00 = A) for the last two years of their academic coursework (60 semester hours).

Application Deadline

April 15th

Admissions Procedures

  • Complete UNLV Graduate College Application via the Grad Rebel Gateway portal.
  • Deadline is April 15 each year for summer admission.
  • Submit a nonrefundable admission application fee* of $60 ($95 if you are an international student), payable by check, money order, or online by credit card, to the Board of Regents, UNLV.
  • Submit official transcripts* from all postsecondary institutions attended, showing all degrees and coursework, the dates awarded, and grades received.
  • Submit the following additional admission materials required by the post-professional occupational therapy doctorate program degree program:
    • Current curriculum vitae or resume.
    • Statement of purpose addressing the applicant's objectives for his/her doctoral education, including area of clinical expertise, and potential areas of research focus. Statement should be two to three pages in length.
    • Copy of initial certification from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) or, if international student, other national certification agency.
    • Copy of current occupational therapy license within a jurisdiction in the United States (if applicable).
    • Three letters of recommendation attesting to your ability to successfully engage in and complete doctoral level work (e.g., critical thinking, communication skills, ability to use therapy literature to guide practice), capacity to be a leader in the occupational therapy profession, and ability to work collaboratively to achieve professional outcomes. The letters must be signed and dated, and letterhead should be used when available. References may be from a supervisor, a colleague, or professor; one of these letters must be from an occupational therapist.
  • For International Students, submit:
    • Copy of initial certification from the national certification agency/board in the country received.
    • Proof of English Proficiency if English is not the applicant's first language.
    • Transcripts from academic institutions outside the U.S. may require a foreign credential evaluation.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

UNLV School of Integrated Health Sciences will offer an Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree program beginning summer of 2020. The program will have an initial cohort size of 36 students, and comprise 120 credit hours of graduate level classroom, fieldwork, and research learning activities. The coursework will be offered during three consecutive semesters each year for three years. Students will be eligible to take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam after successfully completing all coursework and fieldwork.

Admission Requirements

Application Prerequisites

  • Prospective students must have a minimum pre-requisite grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution.
  • Pre-requisite courses must have been completed at an accredited academic institution. University courses are preferred.
  • Applicants must earn a grade of “C” or better in each of the pre-requisite courses. If students take a particular course a second time, the higher grade will be used in calculating GPA.
  • Pre-requisite courses cannot have a pass-fail grade.
  • Pre-requisite courses must have been taken within the past 10 years.
  • Advanced placement courses cannot be used for pre-requisite courses.

Required prerequisites coursework

  • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
  • Biology (6 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology (3 credits)
  • General or Introductory Psychology (3 credits)
  • Human Anatomy/Physiology with labs (8 credits)
  • Introductory Anthropology or Sociology (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits)

Prerequisite courses are subject to change.

Applicants to the program will need to complete 50 observation hours of an occupational therapist in a minimum of two different practice settings.

Applicants will also need to submit a personal essay and three reference letters, including one from the observed occupational therapist.

Students may have up to two pre-requisite courses (except anatomy and physiology) in progress during the spring semester immediately preceding the summer of planned admission.

For additional information, email the program director at donna.costa@unlv.edu

Application Deadline

November 1, 2019

Admissions Procedures

The occupational therapy program will admit 36 students each summer. The deadline to submit all required admission materials, including completed observation hours, is November 1 each year for potential admission during the following summer. Admissions criteria are reviewed by the faculty annually and are subject to change.

Prospective students are required to:

  • Complete the OTCAS application.
  • Complete the UNLV Graduate College application through the Grad Rebel Gateway.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete all prerequisite course work by May 31 to begin the program in June.
  • Complete 50 hours of observation in a minimum of two different settings.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, two of those from licensed occupational therapists.
  • Selected applicants will be asked to participate in an on-campus interview.

To complete the curriculum, prospective students must be able to perform essential tasks.

Any prospective student who has a documented disability and may require assistance should contact the Disability Resource Center at 702-895-0866 or TDD 702-895-0652.

Students should also review the program’s estimated costs, frequently asked questions, and essential functions.

For all admissions questions, contact Dr. Donna Costa by phone at 702-895-1624 or by e-mail at donna.costa@unlv.edu.


The Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at UNLV has been granted “Candidacy Status” by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).

Occupational therapy programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Address: 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449
Phone: 301-652-AOTA (2682)