Occupational Therapy (OTD)

School Overview
The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy is named in honor of Dr. S. P. Auerbach and his family in recognition of their outstanding support of the School's entry-level curriculum, which was established in 1995.

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) aspires to prepare future practitioners who strive to maximize health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through preeminent professional thinking skills. Professional thinking includes reflective, evidence-informed, client-centered practice that includes collaboration and leadership within complex evolving health and human service delivery systems.

The Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program (OTD), as part of The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, embraces time’s essential flow through the River of Occupation by creating collaborative, effective, and ethical practice leaders, administrators, and researchers who value the use of occupation to meet the needs of the time. Participants in the occupational therapy doctoral program emphasize the use of:

  • education and collaboration among individuals, groups, teams and populations to meet the occupational needs of society;
  • leadership in practice and advocacy to maximize the accessibility of occupational therapy services through program and policy development in the ever-changing healthcare climate;
  • critical thinking/occupation-based reasoning by incorporating theoretical knowledge and evidence-based practice into complex service delivery systems;
  • compassionate client-centered care to foster the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual well-being of diverse communities.

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) entry-level OTD program facilitates the development of dynamic occupational therapy leaders who exemplify professional accountability across diverse service delivery contexts.

Occupational therapists are essential leaders in service delivery and management roles in a wide range of settings such as community agencies, healthcare centers, home healthcare, hospitals, industry, independent living centers, private practices, psychiatric programs, public and private schools, rehabilitation centers, and skilled nursing facilities. The occupational performance challenges (i.e. activities of daily living, work, play/leisure) of individuals, groups, and populations across the lifespan are addressed by the occupational therapist.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Programs
Beginning in Spring, 2019, The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) offers an entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree for individuals seeking a career in occupational therapy. 

Entry-Level Program

  1. Students with a completed bachelor's degree in a field of study other than occupational therapy may directly enter the thirty-six month program (110 credit hours) at the graduate level and earn an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree.

ASOT prepares students to become outstanding occupational therapy practitioners in varied health, educational, and community settings. The academic curriculum includes a significant focus on practice, research and education emphasizing reflective learning by actively doing. School faculty work collaboratively with each student to develop strategies which enhance the student's learning and success in the profession. The OTD provides the practitioner with the entry-level and advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for practice, supervision, research, and/or teaching.

In response to the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education ACOTE mandate that the entry-level degree requirement for the occupational therapist will move to the doctoral level by July 1, 2027, the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program will transition to the OTD. The last MSOT cohort begins the occupational therapy program in Fall 2018.  No future students will be admitted to the MSOT program. All admission requirements are now at the OTD level. 

OTD Program Accreditation and Examination Eligibility

As of January 2018, Spalding University’s OTD is considered a Developing Program by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (telephone:  301-652-2682; www.actoeonlie.org) of the American Occupational Therapy Association located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3449.  Once accredited, entry-level OTD graduates are eligible to sit for the Occupational Therapist Registered OTR® Certification Exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After passing this exam, the graduate is credentialed as an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR) and may apply for state licensure.

Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Admission Policy

Spalding University’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) offers an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree program. Students with a completed bachelor degree in a field of study other than occupational therapy may enter the 110 credit hour entry-level OTD program according to the application and selection process outlined below. Applicants are eligible to apply to the program when at least nine (9) prerequisite courses are complete and documented by grades posted on the official university/college transcript.  The applicant must have registered for/enrolled in all remaining program pre-requisite course(s) and undergraduate degree requirements prior to application. Program admission procedures are consistent with the university's graduate school admission policies. Please refer to Spalding’s University Catalog https://catalog.spalding.edu/?id=1217 for Graduate Program Application and Admission policies. 

The ASOT OTD Admission Committee recommends students for admission to the entry-level OTD program two times each academic year. The following policy statements apply:

  1. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
  2. Admission to the university is necessary prior to enrollment in the ASOT entry-level OTD program.
  3. Successful applicants will enter the program the following academic year either Fall or Spring, based upon the admission cycle the applicant applied.
  4. After completing all components of the OTD admission process, successful candidates’ application materials are submitted to Spalding University’s Graduate Committee by the ASOT OTD Admissions Committee.  Once approved by the University Graduate Committee for admission into the university, acceptance into the ASOT entry-level OTD program will occur.
  5. If an applicant is selected and admitted into the OTD program, yet is unable to begin in the cohort cycle assigned for reasons other than academic standing, the initial acceptance into the ASOT OTD program remains good for one additional admission cycle (cohort). Following the next admission cycle, if the applicant does not enter the OTD program, program re-admission is required. 


A. ASOT Admissions Committee composition includes all full-time OTD faculty. 

B. ASOT Admission Committee is responsible for the review and consideration of all OTD program candidates and recommending applicants to the University Graduate Committee for admission into the Spalding University’s Graduate School.

C. An applicant must submit a completed and timely online ASOT application or submit through OTCAS http://otcas.liaisoncas.org/ prior to being considered for official admission to the entry-level OTD program.  

D. Applications received after the stated deadline are incomplete and will NOT be considered.

E. Application deadlines for each admission cycle are posted on the Spalding University’s website. 

F. Program admission is on a competitive basis based on an applicant’s cumulative GPA, CORE GPA,* GRE scores, interview scores.

G. ASOT Admission Assurance policies apply for individuals who have completed 60 or more credit hours or have an earned undergraduate degree from Spalding.

H. The completed application will include essential information regarding the student applicant:

  • Unofficial transcripts from all previous schools attended,
  • A summary of all the pertinent coursework in preparation for the program,
  • GRE Analytical Writing score taken within five years or less from the time of application
  • Evidence of completion of 20 observation hours, and
  • All other items requested within the application packet and/or posted on the Spalding University’s web site.  

I. All materials must be submitted by the applicant through the Spalding University online application process or through OTCAS with the exception of official academic transcripts if accepted into the program which must be sent directly from previously attended college/university to the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (Attn: Joe McCombs) 901 South Third Street Louisville, KY 40203.  

J. The student must meet the basic entry-level OTD standards published in the Spalding University Catalog.

K. Successfully meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the OTD program. Admission decisions are based on a competitive ranking process.

L. Once the application deadline closes applicants with the highest ranking(s) are invited to complete the next steps within the application cycle process, which includes an electronic interview process.

M.Completing this second step of the admissions process does not guarantee OTD program admission.

N. Selected applicants who withdraw, drop or make a C or below in any pre-requisite courses registered for at time of application will lose his/her program seat.   

O. Selected applicants who, after completing all pre-requisites, have a CORE GPA that falls below the 3.4 minimum standard, will lose his/her program seat.

P. Any successful applicant who has not completed a Bachelor degree prior to application, must provide official transcripts that indicates degree completion prior to the program start date, or he/she will lose the program seat. 


A. Initial Review of Application

This review will consist of the following items: 

1. Assurance that all the required components of application are included. If any component(s) are missing at the time of the application deadline, the application will NOT be considered for the OTD program admission cycle. 

2. Verification of successful completion (meeting GPA minimum standards) of at least nine (9) pre-requisite courses and that registration/enrollment for all the remaining pre-requisite courses has occurred.

3. Verification that the applicant’s Cumulative GPA is at 3.2 or above.

4. Calculation of CORE GPA. If an applicant’s CORE GPA does not meet the 3.4 minimum standard, the application will NOT be considered for admission. [CORE GPA is the applicants’ calculated GPA in all completed program pre-requisite courses at time of application].

5. GRE Analytical Writing Score within five (5) years or less at the time of application are provided.

B. Student Interview

Selected applicants invited to proceed to the next step in the application process are required to complete an electronic interview. Applicants must have access to a computer with Internet access, a web camera and speakers in order to complete the ASOT entry-level OTD Admissions Interview.  Interviews take approximately 15-20 minutes, and responses are scored by at least two (2) independent members of the ASOT Admissions Committee using scaled scoring process that complies with interviewing best practices. The applicants’ final interview score is based upon an average of the independent reviews

C. Application Evaluation

Applicant ranking is based upon the Cumulative GPA, CORE GPA in the required pre-requisite courses completed at the time of application, GRE Analytical Writing scores, and application interview. All applicant rankings are based upon a total possible score of 1000.


Based upon enrollment capacity, the highest-ranked applicants are invited into the program for the specific admission cycle start date. An admission cycle waiting list of no more than ten (10) applicants, based on rankings will be developed for each admission cycle. If an applicant is placed on the waiting list for one cycle and is not offered a spot within the admission cycle, his/her application will carry over to the next admission cycle without having to re-apply. An applicant on the waiting list who desires his/her application to be considered for the next admission cycle, must communicate this desire to the ASOT Chair prior to the beginning of the next admission cycle. If an applicant on the waiting list requests consideration for the next admission cycle, the competitive scoring of the next cohort of applicants will follow the outlined procedures and there are no guarantees of program admission during the next admission cycle.    


An applicant is notified in writing as to his/her admission status to Spalding University’s graduate program by the University Provost and acceptance into the OTD program by the OTD Program Director. Within timeframes communicated on the acceptance letter, successful applicants must acknowledge accept the cohort slot, and pay a $200.00 tuition deposit.  A timely written response and tuition deposit is required from an applicant to confirm his/her acceptance of an OTD program seat. If the applicant does not actively accept conditions of admission within the stated timeframe, the acceptance offer is withdrawn and the next qualified applicant on the waiting list will be considered. 


Any applicant who answers yes to the following character review questions must communicate with the ASOT program chair before submitting an application to the OTD Program and will be required to complete the NBCOT Early Determination process. http://www.nbcot.org/early-determination-character-review

The character review consists of four key questions:

1. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? (NOTE: Applicants must answer affirmatively even if convictions have been pardoned, expunged, released, or sealed.)
2. Have you ever had any professional license, registration, or certification denied, revoked, suspended, or subject to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board?
3. Have you ever been found by any court, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding to have committed negligence, malpractice, recklessness, or willful or intentional misconduct, which resulted in harm to another?
4. Have you ever been suspended and or expelled from a college or university for non-academic reasons?

All applicants offered admission into the program must complete a criminal background check before program entry. Any accepted applicant who should have, yet did not communicate the answer yes to the four stated questions or misrepresents criminal background information in any way will forfeit his/her program acceptance.


ASOT offers admission assurance to OTD program applicants who have completed 60 or more hours, or earned a bachelor degree at Spalding University.  Admission assurance is a process that assists Spalding University students and/or graduates who have the desired goal of entering the graduate occupational therapy doctorate program. This process assures an entry-level OTD applicant who meets the criteria below a guaranteed spot within the OTD graduate program. All admission application materials are required to be submitted during the admission cycle the candidate plans to enter. Spalding University undergraduate students who have completed (or will complete prior to professional program start) any undergraduate degree in which 60 credit hours were completed at the university are eligible for admission assurance consideration. Applicants who meet the following criteria will automatically receive a program seat for the admission cycle. Applicants are eligible for the OTD Admission Assurance process if he/she has:

  • Earned, or will have, an earned undergraduate degree from Spalding University, conferred prior to OTD program start,
  • Completed at least 60 credit hours of the earned undergraduate degree coursework at Spalding University,
  • An overall GPA of 3.2 or higher,
  • A CORE GPA (pre-requisite courses) of 3.4 or higher,
  • Participated in at least 20 hours of approved (by ASOT Chair) volunteer experiences while enrolled at Spalding University. These hours are in addition to the 20 hours of observation required for program admission (40 hours total),
  • Applicants who completed an accredited occupational therapy assistant program, are currently licensed as an occupational therapy assistant, and have completed the Bachelor of Science in Health Science  or other degree at Spalding with at least 60 credit hours earned at Spalding University,
  • Applicants who have another health career, are currently licensed as a health provider, and completed the BSHS or other undergraduate degree at Spalding University with at least 60 hours earned at Spalding University,
  • Admission assurance candidates, even with the guaranteed seat within the program, are required to participate in the interview process. 

* CORE GPA is calculated based on grades earned in pre-requisite courses.

Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy OTD Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Program Admission Criteria

Admission Criteria

Total Possible Points

Cumulative GPA (3.2 or higher)


Core GPA (3.4 or higher)




GRE Analytical Writing


Total Possible Points


All candidates making application in the cohort admission window will be ranked according to the above criteria. The top 35 applicants will be invited to accept a seat within the program. 

Admission to ASOT's OTD Program is awarded on a space available bases. Spaces are assigned according to the current year Occupational Therapy Admission Policy. If admitted, students must submit a tuition deposit, an admission acceptance statement, a signed statement of professionalism, and commit to completing healthcare related compliance activities prior to program start in order to reserve their position in the program.

Prerequisite Courses for the Entry-Level Programs
The following CORE courses (or equivalent) must be completed with a Core GPA of 3.4 or higher prior to officially entering the professional phase of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral program:

  • BIO 261 Human Anatomy (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 262 Human Anatomy Lab (1 credit hour)
  • BIO 263 Human Physiology (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 264 Human Physiology Lab (1 credit hour)
  • CHEM 106 Chemistry for the Allied Health Sciences, or any general 100-level or above chemistry course (3 credit hours)
  • MATH 113 College Algebra, or a higher math (3 credit hours)
  • MATH 231 Statistical Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • ANTH 211 Cultural Anthropology OR SOC 201 Introduction to Sociology (3 credit hours)
  • PSY 103 Psychological Systems (3 credit hours)
  • PSY 202 Life Span Development (3 credit hours)
  • PSY 458 Abnormal Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PHIL 154 Ethics (3 credit hours)
  • ENG 109 College Writing I (3 credit hours)
  • COM 201 Effective Speaking (3 credit hours)
  • PHY 204 Physics for Rehabilitation Sciences, or general physics that covers the properties of light, water, temperature, sound, electricity, and force mechanics. (3 credit hours)

Any course substitutions are at the discretion of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Chair or OTD Program Director.

Academic Requirements
While an OTD student enrolled in the professional program, an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale must be maintained. If a student earns less than a “B” in two or more courses, continuation in the Occupational Therapy Program is not permitted. Continuation within the entire professional program follows the policies of the Graduate School. All Level II fieldwork courses must be completed within 24 months following the completion of all other academic coursework. Students within the professional program who are unable to complete the course curriculum progression as outlined, must join the next available cohort course offerings. Independent study courses to accommodate students who must stop out of the program are not permitted.

Entry-level Program Assessment
All entry-level courses and fieldwork courses are competency-based and must be successfully completed in a sequential pattern. After successful completion of all ASOT entry-level program requirements and degree conferral, the student is eligible to sit for the national certification exam in occupational therapy administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). This exam establishes the entry-level competency of the occupational therapy practitioner. The OTD graduate must also make application to state regulatory boards in jurisdictions where they plan to work as an occupational therapist.

Students have the right to appeal decisions related to admissions, progression or continuation to the ASOT Admission and Continuation Committee. A written letter of appeal (per University policy) is submitted by the student to the committee.

Program Sheet
Occupational Therapy Doctorate (Entry-Level)