Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program


The mission of Loma Linda University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is to graduate leaders in occupational therapy who are entrepreneurs in advancing practice and promoting participation at the individual, community, and societal levels. Our graduates will embrace the integration of the spiritual, physical, and social person to promote health and occupational justice. Our graduates will be scholars who strive to meet the needs of our changing society as visionaries who apply and use research to advance practice and enact public policy.


The Philosophy of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program is grounded in a holistic view of humans as complex beings who have a right to health and participation. We believe that it is through God’s creation that we are provided the opportunity to lead and to serve.

In regards to humans and occupation, we believe:

  • Humans are complex beings who seek meaning in life by continually exploring occupations through the life span.
  • Humans have a right to experience occupation as meaningful and enriching (Townsend & Wilcock, 2004).
  • Humans have a right to develop through participation in occupations for health and social inclusion (Townsend & Wilcock, 2004).
  • Humans have a right to engage in a variety of meaningful occupations and to choose those occupations (Townsend & Wilcock, 2004). 

“Professional education is a journey of mind, body, and spirit that involves growth and development in self-discovery, critical thinking, and use of self.”

-Department of Occupational Therapy

Program Stats & Facts

  • The OTD program began in 2007
  • Enrollment Period:  January - July
  • Minimum GPA- 3.0
  • Accredited through WASC Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • OTD Alumni- 37
  • Number of students enrolled- 7

Why Get Your Doctorate

  • Academia - By 2025 all occupational therapy faculty must have a doctorate degree in order to teach.
  • Knowledge- Develop and generate new knowledge and gain skills necessary for publishing and presenting.
  • Advocacy - Get involved at all levels of government to influence public policy and promote health, participation, and occupational justice.
  • Management - A doctorate degree will help you to be competitive in management positions and advance your professional knowledge and skills.
  • Innovative Practice - This is an exciting and challenging area for occupational therapy. This doctorate degree will equip you with the skills you will need to obtain grants and develop, implement, and assess programs. Loma Linda University also provides students with international opportunities.
  • AOTA's Centennial Vision - The doctorate program at Loma Linda University will challenge you to grow professionally with its emphasis on advocacy, leadership, and research. It also emphasizes spirituality, occupational justice, advocacy, and leadership.
  • Professional Growth - In the spirit of Loma Linda University, students will take a personal journey as they explore and reflect upon spirituality, disability, occupational justice, and their personal and professional goals.
  • Justice- Promote occupational and social justice in your community.

Program Objectives

  1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of occupational therapy advanced practice skills.
  2. Integrate occupational science perspectives in professional practice.
  3. Exercise reflective reasoning in personal and professional experiences.
  4. Embrace the role of spirituality in promoting health and well-being through occupation.
  5. Serve the community promoting health and integration of the mind, body, and spirit.
  6. Promote occupational justice at individual, community, and international levels.
  7. Engage in program development to serve the needs of the community.
  8. Apply principles of ethical behavior in all areas of practice and decision making.
  9. Assume leadership roles at local, state, and/or national levels.
  10. Contribute to the profession’s body of knowledge through written dissemination of research and oral presentations.
  11. Engage in public policy making to impact legislation and promote client rights.
  12. Advocate for the profession, client, and those in need in the community and greater society.
  13. Commit to lifelong learning through disciplined advancement of knowledge and participation in professional activities.   

Approach to Learning and Instruction

  • The distance learning environment transcends the traditional classroom to the creation of a virtual learning environment.
  • Such an atmosphere demands and fosters independent learning and self-direction.
  • A multimedia approach allows for more active learning.
  • Learning is viewed as a dynamic process that builds upon life experience and foundational, practice, and professional knowledge gained through coursework.
  • Distance learning utilizes a virtual environment that promotes peer and instructor interaction and growth through learner-centered teaching.
  • Strong peer relationships and learning partnerships can be formed with the appropriate use of technology combined with personal contact.
  • Adult learners are autonomous and self-directed assuming responsibility for learning and leadership throughout the process.
  • Adult learners are goal-oriented and seek to apply knowledge.
  • Adult learners have a foundation of life experiences and clinical experiences that they may draw upon and use to apply theory and concepts.
  • It is understood that there are many learning styles; thus, instructors will strive to incorporate a variety of learning styles into their assignments and coursework (visual learning, auditory, kinesthetic, and environmental)

(Rochester Institute of Technology, 2000)

1. Student Learning Outcomes and Indicators

Program Outcomes- Performance Indicators

  • Community Service- Serve the community promoting health and the integration of mind, body and spirit
  • Dissemination of Knowledge- Contribute to the profession's body of knowledge through submission of two manuscripts and one oral presentation.
  • Advocacy- Advocate for the profession and clients to promote health, well-being and best -practice.

2.  What are students doing

The professional rotation and research project is an exciting experience for students and faculty as they journey through program development, gathering data, assessing effectiveness, and disseminating knowledge to our greater communities.

  • Artful Ambassadors: Shared Occupational meaning for children through art exchange and personal narrative.
  • Building healthy life skills occupation between foster caregivers and substance endangered children
  • Exploring occupational experiences for foster care givers within the foster care system
  • Fit for life- An integrated lifestyle redesign program to promote healthy behaviors in children
  • Parents perception of disability and the therapeutic listening program in Chinese culture
  • Exploring occupational participation and meaning for homeless youth

Required Levels of Achievement

  • Membership in a professional organization outside of one’s state and national occupational therapy association
  • Professional presentation(s)
  • Manuscript submissions (two)
  • Develop an innovative program using occupation-based practice
  • Develop, plan, and implement a research project
  • Participate in the legislative process at local, state, national, or international levels.
  • Doctoral portfolio
  • Successful completion of professional rotation