Kari Williams, OTR, EdD
Program Director and Chair
ACU Box 28131
Abilene, TX 79699-8131
Hardin Administration Building Suite 314
Phone: (325) 674-2474
Fax: (325) 674-6568
Catherine Candler, OTR, PhD, BCP, Professor
Amy Gibbs, OTR, MOT, Assistant Professor
Lillie Thomas, MOT, Assistant Professor
Tamara Traber, OTR, OTD, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Melinda Underwood, OTR, Assistant Professor
Donna Walls, OTR, OTD, Assistant Professor
Kari Williams, OTR, EdD, Assistant Professor
Austin Alexander, PT, DPT, Adjunct Professor
Samuel Brinkman, PhD, Adjunct Professor
Rebecca Crossland, OTR, MOT, Adjunct Professor
Dina Warren, OTR, MA, Adjunct Professor
The Mission of the Department of Occupational Therapy is to prepare occupational therapy students to think and act critically, missionally, and globally in Christian service and leadership throughout their respective communities. The Department of Occupational Therapy offers two interconnected entries into the profession of occupational therapy: the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD). In line with the standards set by the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Examiners (ACOTE), the purpose of the MSOT is to prepare graduates to practice as a generalist with a broad exposure to practice settings and practice areas. The OTD degree confers upon students additional in-depth knowledge in leadership, scholarship, and specialization in practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, or theory.
* The Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is in candidacy status and is not currently accredited by the American Council of Occupational Therapy Examiners (ACOTE).
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
The goal of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy is to prepare students to sit for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. and to become licensed Occupational Therapists. The 69-hour program consists of two years of graduate education, including two 12-week fieldwork education rotations.
Graduates of the MSOT 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.
The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program is accredited by 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. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-6611 and its Web address is www.aota.org/Education-Careers/Accreditation.aspx.
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
The goal of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is to prepare students for leadership and specialized focus in the field of occupational therapy. The 85-hour program consists of 29 months of graduate education, including two 12-week fieldwork education rotations and a 14-week doctoral capstone experience.
The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by 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-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. 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.
For the MSOT program, a cohort of 45 students is accepted annually from a pool of applications submitted by recent graduates of accredited undergraduate programs for fall admission. For the OTD program, a cohort of 10 students is accepted. All application materials must be filed through the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service (OTCAS). These positions will be determined based on the level of qualification of each student. The admission requirements are:
- A completed application for admission with a nonrefundable ACU graduate application fee.
- An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent. Admission decisions are made based on the assumption that applicants will have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time of matriculation. If not, the graduate school admission is void.
- A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for the MSOT program. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 is required for the OTD program.
- Two letters of recommendation. Recommendation forms are available through the OTCAS system. One letter should be provided from an occupational therapist and the other by a professional who has observed the applicant’s work. This includes individuals who have (a) observed the applicant during any healthcare-related volunteer or paid work, (b) previous or present instructors and/or advisors, (c) previous or present employers, or (d) health care professionals.
- Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the occupational therapy profession by documenting a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer/observation activity in a professional occupational therapy setting, 80-100 hours is preferable. Applicants are encouraged to complete observation hours in more than one clinical setting. Procedures for documentation are outlined in the OTCAS system.
- Applicants must complete a Personal Statement as prompted by the OTCAS system and a supplemental question as part of the application process. The supplemental question includes spiritual and/or life experiences that influenced the applicant’s decision to apply to occupational therapy school, and clinical experience or observation that evoked passion about occupational therapy.
At the time of application, applicants must demonstrate the ability to complete all required prerequisite coursework prior to enrollment in the first semester of the program. Advance Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit will not be accepted for any prerequisite course. All Occupational Therapy course prerequisites other than Medical Terminology must be taken at an accredited school and successfully completed with a grade no lower than a C. Medical Terminology may be taken as a certificate or continuing education course. All prerequisite coursework must be completed within 7 years prior to enrollment. A maximum of 6 credit hours of prerequisites can be pending at the time of application with the exception of Anatomy & Physiology I and II which must be completed at the time of application. Required prerequisite coursework includes:
Anatomy & Physiology I
Anatomy & Physiology II
Life Span Development (or Developmental Psychology)
In addition to the graduate academic standards outlined by the University, the Department of Occupational Therapy has specific academic policies and procedures. To progress in the professional curriculums MSOT and OTD, students must:
- Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all Occupational Therapy program courses. If a student falls below a 3.0, the student is placed on probation for one semester. If on the next enrollment they fail to obtain a cumulative 3.0 they will be suspended or dismissed as determined by the program director and dean.
- All courses required in the previous semester must be successfully completed with a grade of C or above before enrollment in the subsequent semester. Student progression will be suspended or dismissed as determined by the program director and dean.
- Complete all courses and fieldwork, including capstone experiences (for the OTD) in a total of 36 months.
- If a student fails or withdraws failing one of the two required Fieldwork Level II courses, they may retake that course one time and must pass on first attempt the other required fieldwork course.
- The OTD capstone project and experience, OCCT 794 and OCCT 792 , may not be retaken.
- Maintain academic integrity and professional behavior in classroom, laboratory, fieldwork sites, and in the community.
- Maintain the standards of affiliating fieldwork facilities.
- Exhibit affective behaviors consistent with the Professional Behaviors for the 21st Century and AOTA Code of Ethics.
Verification of required immunizations must be submitted prior to matriculation into the professional curriculum. Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training is required prior to fieldwork placement and will be provided during the program for a separate fee.
Note: The MSOT and OTD programs utilize the online learning management system Canvas and online applications are used during class times for testing and learning activities. Students admitted into the program must have access to a laptop computer with internet and Word, Excel & PowerPoint capabilities throughout the entirety of the program.
ProgramsDoctor of Occupational TherapyMaster of Science