Program Highlights

  • Earn your Doctorate in as few as 32 months
  • Master your skills in our dynamic learning environment and learn integrated care
  • Practice in technologically advanced simulations and skill labs to help master techniques and build confidence
  • Study and gain fieldwork experience alongside students in other healthcare fields--practicing interprofessional collaboration
  • Get career support beyond graduation from professional development to help finding employment

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At West Coast University, we embrace a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. We deliver transformational education within a culture of integrity and personal accountability. We design market-responsive programs through collaboration between faculty and industry professionals.

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Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

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Student-Centric Educational Environment

When setting out to design our program, we posed a simple question: What type of educational structure will maximize OT doctoral program students' opportunity for success?

OUR ANSWER: An integrated approach to classroom work, advanced technology and in-depth, hands-on experiential learning.

Occupational therapy, by its very nature, is hands-on and interactive so our learning environment reflects those key realities.

West Coast University occupational therapy students take part in exciting innovations–such as our technologically-advanced patient Simulation Centers – involving students in simulated healthcare scenarios that mirror real life. And because the real world of healthcare depends on interprofessional cooperation, West Coast University gives occupational therapy students the chance to collaborate with other healthcare professionals in training.

Learning is Doing

We believe our students pursuing OT degrees learn best through active participation. Ongoing experiential education is achieved through hands-on implementation of classroom theory, and through fieldwork, obtaining real-world skills in a variety of practice settings. Active participation advances the students’ practice and communication skills, enabling them to take on increased responsibility over the course of their fieldwork with greater confidence.

The philosophy of the Department of Occupational Therapy at WCU reflects the mission statement and values of West Coast University, the values of the occupational therapy profession, and the mission and values of the faculty of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program. Some of the themes that these entities share are: student-centricity; commitment to the communities served; innovation and creativity; and the efficient use of resources. The occupational therapy curriculum incorporates beliefs about health and well-being, occupation, and teaching and learning. Education is focused on helping the student to emerge as a “scholar of practice” with advance skill above those of a generalist as a direct care provider, consultant, educator, manager, researcher, and advocate for the professions and the consumer (ACOTE Preamble, p.1)

West Coast University's Occupational Therapy Program is based on the belief that all humans are occupational beings in nature, and in the healing power of occupation whereby humans can influence their own health status. Occupational engagement and thus occupation-based interventions are therefore the central theme of the curriculum.

Our mission is to provide doctoral-level education to develop caring and competent Occupational Therapy practitioners through the integration of theory, research and practice. These scholars of practice will be lifelong learners and can develop into advocates and leaders for the Occupational Therapy profession in diverse local and global communities. Through a student-centric and interprofessional curriculum, the students should be prepared to be reflective practitioners by applying principles of evidence-based practice, research, and critical thinking to facilitate the well-being of consumers through engagement in valued occupations and as it relates to health promotion, prevention, and wellness.

The curricular threads are:

  • Occupations as a means and end
  • The healing power of occupation
  • Client-centeredness
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Therapeutic use of self
  • Diverse and globally connected
  • Wellness and prevention
  • Critical thinking and clinical reasoning
  • Adaptation as a means towards performance and engagement
  • Leadership and advocacy

Institutional Accreditation

West Coast University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

985 Atlantic Avenue, #100
Alameda, California 94501

Programmatic Accreditation

West Coast University's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program received accreditation on July 26, 2019 from 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 301-652-2682, and their web address is Program 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, most states require licensure to practice; however, state licensure is usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Message from the Program Director

Welcome to West Coast University's Occupational Therapy Department. Our department has a tradition of excellence. We pride ourselves in being ahead of the curve.

West Coast University prepares MSOT and OTD students to be successful professionals, by emphasizing holistic client-centered care, evidence-based practice, and critical thinking skills. A part of our mission at West Coast University is to embrace a student-centric learning partnership. We continuously pursue more effective and innovative ways through which our students develop the competencies and confidence required in a complex and changing world.

Our facility is state of the art and provides students with an environment that promotes innovative learning methods designed to develop skilled, confident, competent therapists. Our faculty members are among the best in the nation. They represent a wide array of expertise in the field of occupational therapy.

We are a family here at West Coast University. As you step through our doors you will feel a comfortable and supportive environment. We provide a quality education for our students. Students enjoy coming to class, which speaks volumes to the type of atmosphere you will experience. We are a tight knit group, and believe that it's ok to have fun while you learn.

Our legacy is our graduates. They make us proud daily, as they continue to propel the profession forward as leaders, advocates, and trailblazers, exhibiting cutting edge solutions to promote quality of life.

Thank you for your interest in our program. I look forward to meeting you during our interview season.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Stacey Willis, OTR/L
Dean & Program Director


The 120 credit, 32-month Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program derives from a practice-scholar model emphasizing the integration of scholarly knowledge in professional practice. The culminating project and attendant doctoral courses aim to facilitate the student's personal growth of reflective practice skills and lifelong learning for an extensively prepared entry into the profession of occupational therapy. Going beyond the generalist requirements of a master’s level program, the doctoral coursework for WCU's OTD program provides the student with a deepened engagement with practice skills, innovation, occupational therapy and occupational science theory, and research, thereby building a solid foundation for future leadership and advocacy within occupational therapy and the workplace.

Within WCU's Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, students develop competency in integrative thinking about humans as occupational beings to provide occupation-based occupational therapy services to meet a diverse range of needs. Intervention courses give students experience utilizing technologically advanced equipment, a medical simulation lab, and advanced practice modalities. The integrative pedagogy builds a sophisticated understanding of occupational performance with an emphasis on viewing humans as bio-psychosocial beings. Coursework extensively prepares them for Fieldwork Level I and II experiences which take place from trimesters II-VI.

Admission Requirements

To view the Admissions Requirements, please click here.


Q: Is the GRE Exam Required?
A: No, please do not send your scores, the scores will not be factored in.

Q: Can I take a combined Anatomy & Physiology Course?
A: Yes, as long as you meet the minimum 6 semester unit requirement, including labs. To meet both our Anatomy & Physiology prerequisite requirements, you can submit two single courses (i.e. Human Anatomy + lab & Human Physiology + lab) or two combination courses (i.e. A&P1 and A&P2).

Q: What if my prerequisite GPA is below a 3.0?
A: The minimum GPA for prerequisite courses is 3.0, therefore applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 will be ineligible
for admission. Courses that are retaken will be calculated using the higher grade. All coursework must be completed/
verified before the deadline.

Q: Can I have pending coursework when I apply?
A: Yes, but only if you are going to have the coursework and all admissions requirements completed and submitted
by the deadline. Coursework must be verified by OTCAS by the deadline, in order to be reviewed/accepted.

Q: Do I need to submit the transcripts/references to the school as well?
A: No, only to the OTCAS. All you will submit to the school directly is your supplemental application and fee.

Q: Do I need to pay OTCAS & WCU?
A: Yes, the OTCAS fee and our application fee are separate fees.

Q: Do you accept coursework/transcripts/references/hours/undergraduate degree to be submitted after
 the deadline?
A: No, deadlines are firm.

Q: When does the program start?
A: Fall of each year.

Q: How do I know my application status?
A: Pleaseclick here to email the admissions department and include your OTCAS ID.

Q: Do I need to submit a personal statement or resume?
A: No, please do not send in a resume or personal statement, this is not part of the application process.

Q: Are the program admissions requirements based on semester units or quarter units?
A: Our program admissions requirements are based on semester units.

Q: Can I apply to your program if I have a conviction?
A: Please refer to our Background Check Policy: Click Here!

Q: What is the allowed timeframe for prerequisites courses?
A: All required prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of a C or better, meet our semester unit requirements, be completed within the last ten years, and through a regionally accredited college or university.

For questions about admissions, please contact:
Admissions Department
Send an email

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for a candidate’s application to be considered, all requirements must be submitted and met. The candidate’s CAS application must be complete and in verified status through the centralized application service system by the application cycle closing date/deadline in order to be reviewed. Documents/transcripts may not be submitted after the deadline/application closing date. For questions, please contact

Capstone Project

Going beyond the generalist requirements of a master’s level program, the doctoral coursework at West Coast University prepares the student as a scholar of practice by preparing students for future leadership and advocacy within occupational therapy and the workplace.

The Doctoral Capstone Consists of two parts:

Capstone Project

The purpose of the capstone project is to serve as the culminating project for the doctoral student and will enable the student to see a large project through the phases of initial research and development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination.

Capstone projects will focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Clinical Practice Skills
  • Program or Policy Development
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Theory Development
  • Research

Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE)

The Doctoral Capstone Experience serves as the context for implementing the capstone project. The DCE site provides the student with the opportunity to develop advanced skills beyond the level of a generalist practitioner, deepen competency as a scholar of practice, and complete their capstone project.

The Doctoral Capstone Experience is 14 weeks (560 hours) in length, 80% of hours must be completed directly on-site.

Capstone Projects

A Group Feeding Program Manual For Children With Sensory Processing Difficulties 
Ellen S. Park, OTS 

A Self-Regulation Skill Building Group for Adults with Serious Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Issues
Amber Elmore, OTDS

Advocacy Initiative for Dwelle Collaborative: An Occupational Therapy Program for Survivors of Human Trafficking
Carolyn Leong, OTD/S

Advocating for Occupational Therapy’s Role in Underserved Communities: A Mixed Methods Study
Jabari Hoyte, OTS

Caring for the Caregiver: An OT-Based Approach in Caring for Persons with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias
Christina Ramirez, OTD/S

Community Reintegration for Adults with Serious Mental Illness
James Bierman, OTS

Curriculum Development and Interprofessional Education Opportunities Targeting Trauma Informed Care in an Occupational Therapy Program
Valerie Cromwell, OTS

Discovering Mealtime Success: A Program for Parents of Picky Eaters
Jason Bonilla, OTD/S

Educational Sessions for Caregivers with Children with Functional Feeding Difficulties
Breanna Espero, OTD/S

Effectiveness of Equine-Assisted Activities for Individuals With Mild to Moderate Dementia
Charmaine Lim, OTD/S

Health and Wellness and Occupational Therapy Advocacy for Cal State LA Students
Monica Quintanilla, OTS

Improvement of Quality-of-Life and Occupational Participation for Women with Substance Use Disorder
Joy Santiago, OTD/S

Improving Quality of Oncology Rehabilitation as Multidisciplinary Approach
Sona Tovmasian, OTD/S

Life Unpaused: An Ot Cancer Survivorship Life Unpaused: An Ot Cancer Survivorship Program With Telehealth Accessibility
Adrienne Marilla Msw, Otd/s

Occupational Performance Coaching for Caregivers of Children with Down Syndrome and Functional Feeding Difficulties
Kathleen Yee, OTD/S

Occupational Therapy in a Job-Skills Training and Employment Program for Adults with Mental Health Challenges
Orville Gallego, OTD/S

Preliminary Clinical Pathway for Cancer Related Cognitive Impairments (CRCI)
Karmjit Vicki Sagoo, OTD/S

Producing Outcomes for Group-Based Early Intervention
Alejandro Ortiz, OTD/S

Psychosocial Concerns in Acute Care: Meeting Patient Needs Through Educational Programming for Occupational Therapists
Morgan Ashley Absher, OTD/S

Quality Improvement and Program Development for inClusion ClubHouse
Tristen Taylan, OTD/S

Safety, Health, & Wellness for Seniors Living with Mild Dementias
Kevin Tan, OTD/S

Sensory Processing and Emotional Regulation Training Workshops for Teachers of Head Start
Elizabeth Arroyo, OTD/S

Technological Solutions to Improve Occupational Participation for Older Adults with Hearing Impairments
Jian Ku, OTD/S

The Benefits of a Trauma-Informed Aquatic Wellness Program: A Pilot Study 
Bianca Callier, OTS

Upon successful completion of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, students will be able to:

  1. Develop and implement client-centered care that is inclusive of cultural values, beliefs, and needs.
  2. Demonstrate effective communication skills and function effectively as a member of an inter-professional health care team.
  3. Apply critical analysis of evidence during the occupational therapy process and participate to increase the body of knowledge of the profession through the preparation and dissemination of scholarship.
  4. Design and implement interventions with a central focus on occupation as the means and end of therapeutic process, in line with the profession’s philosophy.
  5. Integrate health promotion and wellness in interventions with individuals, communities, and populations.
  6. Model leadership and advocacy for occupational therapy in the full range of service areas.

To view the Certification Outcomes, please click here.

Graduates from the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Graduation and NBCOT Pass Rates are as follow:

Graduation Data


Students Entering/Graduating

Graduation Rate


Program commenced



No graduates



No graduates






Not yet available

NBCOT Certification Data


Number of Students Taking Exam

Number of Students who Passed Exam

Passage Rate


Program commenced




No graduates




No graduates








Not yet available

Graduate Employment

NBCOT National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
NBCOT Certification data for the program is available at HTTPS://SECURE.NBCOT.ORG/DATA/SCHOOLSTATS.ASPX
Graduates from the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program are eligible to take the national certification examination for the occupational therapist. This examination is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) After successful completion of this examination, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most state require licensure to practice, and state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.

Please note that in order to take the national certification examination the following questions will be asked:

  • Have you ever been charged with or convicted of a felony? (Note: Applicants must answer affirmatively if records, charges or convictions have been pardoned, expunged, released or sealed).
  • Have you ever had any professional license, registration or certification revoked or subject to probationary conditions by a registry authority or certification board?
  • Have you ever been found by any court, administrative or disciplinary proceedings to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness, or willful or intentional misconduct which resulted in harm to another?
  • Have you ever been suspended and/or expelled from a college or university?

Learn more about Tuition and Fees for this program by clicking here.


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