Degree type(s): Doctorate
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND; Fargo, ND; Billings, MT
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

Graduate degree; Occupational Therapy Doctorate Degree

Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to achieve independence and to enjoy life to its fullest. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at the University of Mary prepares students to be competent, caring, ethical, compassionate occupational therapy practitioners who are able to meet the diverse occupational needs of individuals, groups, and communities. Graduates of the doctorate program in occupational therapy will have the skills and training necessary to practice in a variety of professional roles and settings.

Upon successful completion of your doctorate degree in occupational therapy, you will be eligible to take the certification examination for the occupational therapist, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). The doctorate in Occupational Therapy is offered at the University of Mary’s main campus in Bismarck, ND, along with our Billings, MT and Fargo, ND campus locations.


The Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Mary has been granted Candidacy status from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s phone number, C/O AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

The program is now eligible to proceed to Step 2 of the Initial Accreditation Process (the Initial Review), with the submission of the Self-Study Report due on March 2, 2020. The program would then participate in an Onsite Accreditation Team Visit, with the goal to receive formal accreditation before the first cohort of students graduate from the program.

University of Mary NBCOT Pass Rates

Pass rates can be found at 

Occupational Therapy Program

The University of Mary Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree is offered in Bismarck, ND (main campus), Fargo, ND, and Billings, MT. The main campus is located in Bismarck, North Dakota, with satellite campuses in Fargo, ND and Billings, MT. The Bismarck and Fargo locations offer the program through live video conferencing or Polycom, with students on either campus, having lectures provided through Polycom and labs held seperately. The Billings locations does not use interactive video conferencing.

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree is designed for students who have a Bachelor's degree. This program takes 3 years to complete, which includes 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork experiences and a 16 week doctoral capstone experience.

Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program Highlights

Grounded in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values, the Occupational Therapy doctoral program at the University of Mary offers unique learning experiences and opportunities within a supportive healthcare community:

  • Gain real-world experience through service learning and problem-based learning experiences, including an optional international service-learning experience. 
  • Take part in diverse fieldwork experiences in a variety of settings throughout the United States, as well as a group research project which is mentored by an occupational therapy faculty member. 
  • Learn from experienced faculty who represent numerous areas of occupational therapy practice.
  • Develop a foundation for the practice of professional and technical skills, therapeutic use of self, ethical decision making, attitudes of service, and respect for others through a curriculum based in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values.
  • Learn to think critically, solve problems, and express yourself clearly.

"Being involved in the University of Mary's occupational therapy program, I have had the privilege to complete a fieldwork experience in which I was able to observe the profession of occupational therapy and everything that comes along with it. I was also able to do different activities on my own with the supervision of my fieldwork educator that solidified in my mind that occupational therapy is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It is so valuable to get these experiences now while still going to school. Being in the program, I have also had the experience to work hands on with different clients which helps to make sense of all of the information we have learned in class. "

Karlene Nelson, Occupational Therapy major, 2015

The Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program at the University of Mary prepares competent occupational therapists who are leaders in service through evidence-based practice, advocacy, lifelong learning and scholarship. Graduates have adept knowledge of humans as occupational beings, critical thinking, therapeutic use of self, and leadership to effect change. Rooted in Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine values, graduates uphold ethical standards, values, and attitudes of the occupational therapy profession.

A select group of students may apply for early assurance into the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program if they have attained a high school GPA of 3.5 or an ACT score of 24. Students who meet this criteria may apply for early assurance to the Doctorate degree program during their senior year of high school and arrange for an interview with a faculty member. If accepted in the early assurance program, students still must meet all criteria for admission to the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program and maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA in pre-requisite courses and a 3.0 GPA overall. If this level is not attained, they are still eligible to apply under the usual admissions process through OTCAS. The requirements to enroll in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program after being admitted as a high school senior are as follows:

  • Completion of the admissions application, including 3 letters of reference and completion of required volunteer hours
  • Compliance with the University of Mary Standard of Conduct

Early assurance students who intend on beginning the professional occupational therapy program must inform the admissions committee or the secretary of the occupational therapy department and complete an admissions application by November 1st of the year they intend to enter the program.

Year 1


OTH 608 - Fundamentals of OT 1 (5)


OTH 702 - Fundamentals of OT 2 (2)
OTH 704 - OT Models of Practice (2)
OTH 705 - Occupational Development (2)
OTH 706 - Clinical Conditions in OT (3)
OTH 707 - Evaluation in OT (3)
OTH 750 - Anatomy/Kinesiology 1 (4)


OTH 720 - Delivery & Management of OT 1 (3)
OTH 725 - Pediatric Practice 1 (2)
OTH 740 - Musculoskeletal Conditions in OT (3)
OTH 751 - Anatomy/Kinesiology 2 (4)
OTH 752 - Behavioral Neuroscience (4)
OTH 775 - Critical Injury 1 (2)


OTH 719 - Healthcare Policy & Advocacy (2)
OTH 741 - Mental Health Conditions in OT (4)
OTH 765 - Statistics (3)
OTH 776 - Critical Inquiry 2 (1)
OTH 770 - Level I Fieldwork 1 (2)

Year 2


IPE 501 - Interdisciplinary Course (1)
OTH 826 - Adult Practice 1 (3)
OTH 841 - Group & Therapeutic Relationships (2)
OTH 842 - Neurological Conditions in OT 1 (5)
OTH 845 - PAMS & Splinting (3)
OTH 870 - Level I Fieldwork 2 (1)
OTH 875 - Critical Inquiry 3 (1)
OTH 880 - Doctoral Experience Planning 1 (1)


OTH 819 - Administration & Leadership (3)
OTH 825 - Pediatric Practice 2 (4)
OTH 827 - Adult Practice 2 (3)
OTH 843 - Neurological Conditions in OT 2 (5)
OTH 871 - Level I Fieldwork 3 (1)
OTH 876 - Critical Inquiry 4 (1)
OTH 881 - Doctoral Experience Planning 2 (1)


OTH 970 - Level II Fieldwork 1 (9)
OTH 975 - Application of EBP (1)

Year 3


OTH 820 - Delivery & Management 2 (1)
OTH 871 - Level II Fieldwork 2 (9)


OTH 820 - Delivery & Management 3 (1)
OTH 980 - Doctoral Experience & Capstone (10)
HUM 999 - Graduate Student Assessment (0)
*Degree conferred in spring semester

Even as one of the most affordable private universities in the nation, the University of Mary does offer a variety of scholarships. In fact, 99% of main campus undergraduate students receive some form of scholarship! 

Some scholarships are available for specific academic programs, such as nursing, while other scholarships are available for certain student populations, such as military and veteran students

We strongly encourage you to contact your personal admissions representative to discover all of the options that might be available to you. In many cases, a program specific scholarship is just one component of a complete financial aid package. 

Our admissions professionals will work together with our Office of Financial Assistance to ensure that you get the best financial aid package possible to finance your education. 

The University of Mary Occupational Therapy program is a member of the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS), available at To apply for the program, please submit your application to OTCAS and indicate the University of Mary is one of your choices. OTCAS will send the documentation to the Department of Occupational Therapy Admission Committee for consideration.

After receipt of application through OTCAS, the Admissions Committee selects candidates eligible for the required personal interview. The final class is selected based on an objective point system based on cumulative GPA, GPA in pre-requisite courses, completion of volunteer hours, professional references, and the interview. The deadline for submission of the application to OTCAS is December 29 of the year prior to the June/August start date. Interviews are conducted in mid- January.

Doctorate in Occupational Therapy: Admission Requirements

Students are required to complete the following:

1.  A bachelor's degree in any field completed prior to beginning the University of Mary Occupational Therapy Program.

2.  Pre-requisite Course Requirements:

  • Anatomy & Physiology I with lab
  • Anatomy & Physiology II with lab
  • General Chemistry with lab OR Physics with lab
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental or Lifespan psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Statistics (from math or psychology department)
  • Medical terminology or passing grade on competency exam

3.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and a minimum of a "C" in all pre-requisite coursework. Students may retake pre-requisite coursework one time. A GPA of 3.0 in pre-requisite coursework is required. Of the pre-requisite courses, a student may only retake a total of 3 of the 7 classes.

4.  Three (3) satisfactory letters of reference addressing moral and ethical behavior, academic abilities, and work ethic. One of these references must be completed by a previous or current work supervisor OR from the occupational therapist supervising the volunteer clinical hours.

5.  Twenty (20) volunteer hours with an occupational therapist. It is highly recommended that the hours occur in more than one area of practice. The clinical hours must have taken place within the last 2 years of the application deadline. Submit evidence of clinical hours to OTCAS as part of the application. Additional volunteer hours with nonprofit organizations which provide services to people is highly recommended.

6.  Official GRE scores within the last five (5) years.

7.  International candidates must submit official OTEFL scores to OTCAS by the application deadline. Applicants much achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 89 or 90 on the Internet-based test (iBT). The Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program also requires a minimum TOEFL iBT Speaking subscale of 26, TOEFL iBT Writing subscale score of 24, TOEFL iBT Reading subscale score of 21, and iBT Listening subscale score of 18. All exams are valid for two years.

8.  Foreign Transcripts - The University of Mary Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program only accepts pre-requisite coursework taken at an accredited US institution. Coursework completed in Canada should be submitted to OTCAS for evaluation.

Program Advisors

Bismarck: C. Anderson (Coordinator OT Capstone), M. Dooley, J. Lawson, C. Olson, J. Sibla (Program Director and Chair), J. Schroeder, J. Varland (Academic Fieldwork Coordinator), J. Sandvig

Billings: P. Kitzenberg (Program Director), M. Noel

Fargo: K. Anderson (Site Coordinator)

For more information on the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy program, please contact the University of Mary Graduate Admissions Office at (800) 288-6279.

If you are considering a doctoral degree in occupational therapy, you might also be interested in the following graduate programs offered at the University of Mary: