Degree type(s): Doctor
Degree field(s): Health Care, Occupational Therapy
Location(s): Bismarck, ND; Fargo, ND; Billings, MT
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Graduate degree; Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree

Occupational therapy makes it possible for people to achieve independence and enjoy life to its fullest. The Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will have the skills and training necessary to practice in a variety of professional roles and settings.

Upon successful completion of your Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy program 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 is accredited by 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 phone number, C/O AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

University of Mary NBCOT Pass Rates

Pass rates can be found at 

Occupational Therapy Program

The University of Mary's Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is offered in Bismarck, ND (main campus), Fargo, ND, and Billings, MT. The main campus is located in Bismarck, North Dakota, with satellite locations in Fargo, ND and Billings, MT.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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, and Benedictine values, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Mary offers unique learning experiences and opportunities within a supportive Health Care 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, and Benedictine values.
  • Learn to think critically, solve problems, and express yourself clearly.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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 Doctoral 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy program after being admitted as a high school senior are as follows:

  • Completion of the admissions application, including 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.

For a list of courses for the Loading..., please visit the catalog.

To view a sample program of study, click here.

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's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program follows the University of Mary nondiscrimination statement.

This policy gives core faculty and pre-occupational therapy students direction in the admissions process for the occupational therapy education program. Included in this policy are the minimum criteria for admission, the application process and the interview process.

View the nondiscrimination policy here.

Admission Requirements

  1. A bachelor’s degree in any field completed prior to beginning the University of Mary's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.
  2. Prerequisite 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
  1. 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.
  2. A personal statement regarding experiences with occupational therapy, interests, and goals.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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
  5. International candidates must submit official TOEFL 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 Doctor of Occupational Therapy 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.
  6. Foreign Transcripts- the University of Mary's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program only accepts prerequisite coursework taken at an accredited US institution. Coursework completed in Canada should be submitted to OTCAS for evaluation.


For the regular admission cycle, students must have the following in order to be considered for an interview:

  • All applicants are scored based cumulative GPA, pre-requisite GPA, completion of volunteer hours, and 3 positive letters of reference
  • All students who are currently enrolled at the University of Mary at the time of application and who meet the admissions requirements are granted an interview regardless of their rank following the scoring process.
  • Applicants are then ranked according to scores. Depending on the number of applicants and overall scores, a minimum score is set. Typically this is 70% of possible points prior to the interview. The Admission Committee may change this score depending on the number of applicants and overall range of scores in the applicant pool.


  1. Students are emailed the time and place of interview.
  2. Interviews will be scheduled in 20-minute time slots for each student.
  3. Interview teams will consist of a variety of professionals such as faculty from the university, students, and clinicians from the area.
  4. Interview teams will be briefed as to the interview process; scoring sheets etc. prior to the interviews.
  5. Each candidate will be asked the same questions; however, interviewers are free to expound and generate conversation regarding the question.
  6. The interview sheets are given to the program secretary at the end of the interviews.
  7. The occupational therapy secretary/faculty member will compute the interview scores; the individual question scores will be added together and averaged.
  8. Total application scores are computed and ranked.


The top students will be invited to be a member of the class through an email in the OTCAS system. The students who are accepted must complete and return required documentation to the department of occupational therapy indicating if they intend to accept the invitation by the set deadline. A $500 deposit, which will be applied towards tuition, will be required.

Candidates who are not selected but qualify for the waiting list will be informed via email the OTCAS system that they are on a wait list and their ranking on that wait list. These emails will be sent at the same time as the acceptance letters.

Students who do not qualify for admission into the professional phase of the program will be informed via email through the OTCAS system.

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: