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Occupational Therapy
Entry-Level Professional Degree

NYU Steinhardt’s 94-credit, three-year Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (EL-OTD) degree provides students looking to begin their careers in OT with a strong curriculum taught by leading occupational therapy educators. It offers a diverse range of fieldwork and research opportunities strengthened by its dynamic New York City location. NYU is ranked #8 among occupational therapy programs according to U.S. News & World Report.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

Licensure or Certification
Start Date
Application Deadline

NYU Steinhardt’s 94-credit EL-OTD prepares students to become licensed occupational therapists, with additional knowledge and skills in leadership, scholarship, advocacy, and advanced clinical competence. Doctorally prepared occupational therapists are ready to assume a variety of professional roles, including practitioner, administrator, advocate, educator, leader, researcher, and scholar. 

The program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field, to prepare them to be licensed occupational therapists with additional skills in leadership, advocacy, and advanced clinical competence.

Through classwork, fieldwork, and the doctoral capstone, this program will ensure that students develop the theory-, practice-, and research-based skills to become entry-level therapists, with advanced knowledge in a topic of interest as it relates to one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. Explore the full EL-OTD in OT curriculum.

The NYU Steinhardt community consists of students from a wide variety of professional, academic, and personal backgrounds. That diversity and the ensuing diversity of perspectives enriches our academic environment and the wider occupational therapy community.

The entry-level OTD curriculum consists exclusively of courses offered in occupational therapy and will include 6 months of full-time clinical fieldwork followed by a 14-week doctoral capstone experiential component. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and applied research and require a doctoral capstone as an integral part of the program’s design.


The degree includes a series of part-time Level I Fieldwork experiences and two full-time Level II Fieldwork experiences which provide an opportunity to connect academic learning with clinical practice through directed observation and participation in aspects of the occupational therapy process. Our department has relationships with more than 200 hospitals, outpatient centers, rehabilitation facilities, community organizations, schools, and private practices in New York City and throughout the country, where you can grow and develop as an occupational therapist in real-world contexts.

Doctoral Capstone

The degree places a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and applied research and requires a doctoral capstone as an integral part of the program’s curriculum design. The goal of the doctoral capstone is to provide in-depth exposure to a specific area of interest and prepare students with more advanced knowledge and skills in an area of  leadership, scholarship, advocacy, and clinical competence. The doctoral capstone consists of a capstone project and experience. During the doctoral capstone, students work with a faculty and site mentor to apply the knowledge and skills developed in courses and during fieldwork to design, implement, and disseminate an innovative response to an identified practice or professional need.

Upon completion of this degree, you will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT certification examination to become a registered occupational therapist and pursue a range of careers, including:

  • A health facility practitioner or administrator 

  • A health planner or policymaker in government and public service agencies

  • A college or university educator

  • A private practitioner or independent contractor in schools, home health agencies, or health service corporations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow 12% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Accreditation Information

New York University’s entry-level OTD program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) located at: 

c/o Accreditation Department
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
Tel: 301-652-AOTA
Fax: 301-652-7711 | ACOTE website

The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its 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, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

See results from the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Licensure Requirements

The NYU Steinhardt EL-OTD program places students in clinical settings in several states outside New York. View more information about licensure requirements in those states.

Estimated Cost of Attendance

To better meet the needs of our occupational therapy students, a Secured Tuition Plan is in place. A student enrolling in Fall 2024 will pay a total flat-rate tuition of $188,976. This means that you will not incur annual tuition increases during your course of study.

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Student Research

Entry-Level students have the opportunity to conduct original research with faculty mentors. Explore recent studies conducted by our students investigating topics like school bullying and healthcare utilization.

Read More About Student Research

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Occupational Therapy

Pless Hall, 82 Washington Square East, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-998-5825

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