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Beginning with the incoming class of 2021, the University of Missouri Occupational Therapy program is converting its entry-level degree from the Master’s of Occupational Therapy (MOT) to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD). Department Chair Tim Wolf said, “As we balance the critical factors of OT education, accreditation and professional practice, we believe this conversion is in the best interests of our students, our profession and the populations we serve.”

Over the past two decades, changes and advances in the occupational therapy knowledge base, training requirements and accreditation standards have raised the baseline for proficient practice. “With the most recent ACOTE accreditation standards update, we have reached the capacity of a master’s level curriculum and made the decision to revise our program to give students the opportunity to attain a doctoral degree.”

School of Health Professions Dean Kristofer Hagglund notes that the doctoral program has advantages in other areas. “Converting to the OTD helps us recruit the vast majority of OT students who want to pursue the terminal degree in their field, and it puts our graduates in a position to pursue academic teaching and research leadership positions right from the start,” Hagglund said.

Though the degree program now will require more time to complete, the MU OTD program is still an affordable high-quality option: the new program will cost nearly 60% less than comparable doctoral programs in the region, and 30% less than master’s programs.

The department will begin accepting applications for the OTD program with the application cycle that begins July 1, 2020. For more information see the full details online.