Start your OT career doctorally prepared
Enjoy learning in an environment where hands-on practice is fully integrated with classroom learning. Learn in interprofessional teams of students at a graduate school focused on the health professions.
The MGH Institute provides early and consistent exposure to clients using the large and diverse practice community of metropolitan Boston and on-site clinics. We believe that interprofessional education and collaborative practice are essential to high-quality, client-centered care.
As the first occupational therapy program in Boston to educate students at the doctoral level for entry into practice, we are committed to the growth and development of scholarly clinicians who contribute to the practice and profession of occupational therapy.
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ranked healthcare job by U.S. News & World Report.
Among the top 12% of OT programs in the nation.
Entry-level OTD program in the Northeast.
Connect theory with practice
The Entry-Level OTD program offers a mix of evidence-based academics, practice scholarship, and fieldwork experiences.
Emphasis is placed on professional reasoning, application of research evidence, occupation based practice, and interprofessional collaboration – critical skills for an occupational therapist in today’s complex practice settings.
The curriculum is structured to prepare you for contemporary occupational therapy practice through a series of interprofessional, team-based learning activities in the classroom, and a variety of health, school, and community settings.
We believe that through active learning, students in our program attend to the intellectual, technical, and moral dimensions of practice. Hands-on learning activities that encourage participation, collaboration, and critical thinking are utilized throughout the curriculum.
The Institute OTD program provides students with opportunities to learn, leverage, and apply research evidence throughout their program. We believe that occupational therapists should function in multidimensional and interprofessional roles that anticipate and respond to the changing needs of the individual and society.
In order to actualize these roles, students must understand the core construct of occupation, apply the best evidence, demonstrate sound professional reasoning, and collaborate with those who provide and receive care. These elements of active learning serve as the threads for our OTD curriculum.
You will continually connect theory with practice through clinical placements at leading health care sites in Boston and beyond. Numerous part-time fieldwork placements throughout your first two years are integrated with coursework so that you immediately apply concepts to real-world client care.
Fieldwork takes place in a variety of clinical and practice settings (e.g. acute care, rehabilitation, pediatrics, community) where you will work with clients of all ages. In addition, you will practice in settings where OTs work as part of interprofessional teams, developing skills essential for effective patient care.
In addition, throughout the program you will be able to immediately put into practice what you are learning in the Tabor/Connor Occupational Therapy Center for Learning, Participation, and Rehabilitation (Tabor/Connor OT CLiPR), which includes a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. You will have simulated learning experiences with standardized patients and community dwelling adults to complement your coursework, honing your skills to prepare you for professional practice.
Standardized Patients and simulated learning experiences have been used quite extensively in the MGH Institute Occupational Therapy Program. Simulation is threaded throughout the entry-level doctor of occupational therapy curriculum in a variety of coursework. Students work with standardized patients to complement learning in all tenants of occupational therapy practice across a variety of contexts. The following areas are included in simulated learning experiences in OT:
- Therapeutic Use of Self
- History-taking / Occupational Profile Assessment
- Evaluation / Clinical Skills Assessment
- Intervention Planning and Care Implementation
- Shared-Decision Making, Caregiver Education, and Advocacy
For additional information regarding use of simulated learning in occupational therapy education, please contact Dr. Regina Doherty at rdoherty [at] mghihp.edu (subject: Simulated%20Learning) title="Link to Dr. Doherty's email".
Through the Institute’s affiliation with Mass General Brigham, you will have access to leading practitioners in the Metropolitan Boston area who serve as faculty and mentors.
Fieldwork experiences are integrated at every stage of the curriculum, allowing you to continually connect theory with practice.
Fieldwork is completed in a variety of clinical and practice settings (e.g., acute care, rehab, school-based practice, community). You'll be exposed to clients across the lifespan and in a variety of settings. Institute Entry-Level OTD students must complete the following fieldwork experiences:
- Five part-time fieldwork experiences (Level I Fieldwork)
- Two full-time 12-week fieldwork experiences (Level II Fieldwork)
- An Advanced Doctoral Experience (ADE) (Doctoral Experiential Component)
Our focus on experiential learning, in addition to our Institute-wide IMPACT (Interprofessional Model for Patient and Client-Centered Teams) curriculum, facilitates critical thinking, communication skills, ethical reasoning, and team-based problem-solving. Participating in these and other learning opportunities extends to students being better prepared for fieldwork training with increased confidence in communicating and delivering care.
Occupational therapists are a vital part of the health care team. As a graduate of the Institute’s OTD program, your skills will be in high demand.
Occupational therapist is often noted as a top 20 healthcare job in U.S. News & World Report and one of the most rewarding careers. OTs practice in a wide range of settings including in schools, inpatient hospitals and outpatient clinics, nursing homes, people’s homes, and community organizations that support people with disabilities to work and go to school.
Our program was ranked 3rd in MA, 4th in New England and among the top 12% of OT programs in the nation in U.S. News & World Report.
The total number of graduates from the MGH Institute of Health Professions Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program during the 5-year period of 2018-2022 was 199, with an overall graduation rate of 98%.
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For Program Starting: Summer (June) 2024
The application opens July 21, 2023
Priority Deadline: October 15, 2023
Final Deadline: January 15, 2024
The Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program participates in the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). All students are required to apply online through OTCAS.
Updates to the application requirements and related policies due to COVID-19, can be found here.
Items to submit directly to OTCAS:
- OTCAS application with application fee
- Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
- Three (3) recommendation letters
- Statement of Intent
- MGH Institute Custom Questions
- (Optional) Occupational Therapy Observation Hours
MGH Institute of Health Professions does not require a supplemental application.
*In order to be eligible for review, OTCAS applications must be completed on or prior to the deadline. Please note: you should allow several weeks for all required documents to be received and processed by OTCAS.
Bachelor's degree (BS or BA) from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or recognized international equivalent.
Completion of the following prerequisite courses at a fully accredited institution with a grade of B- or better is required for admission.
Most of these courses are offered online by the MGH Institute. Learn more about our online prereqs or select a course below to view its description.
- Human Anatomy or Anatomy & Physiology 1 (with lab)
- Human Physiology or Anatomy & Physiology 2
- Two Psychology courses
- A Human Development course
- A Social Science course (Sociology, Anthropology, Ethics, Political Science, etc. are acceptable)
Applicants with questions about prerequisite course equivalency and/or acceptability should complete and submit the OTD Prerequisite Inquiry Form. Upon submission of the form, replies can be expected by email in 7-10 business days.
Applicants may be asked to submit mid-term reports for certain prerequisite courses. All prerequisite courses must be satisfactorily completed prior to matriculation. Prerequisite credit cannot be given for courses with a grade of Pass/Fail.
All prerequisite courses must be taken at an institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies. Please refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website for additional information.
The GRE is not required for this program.
The language of instruction and clinical education at the MGH Institute is English and a high level of proficiency in both written and spoken English is required. Applicants who have not completed either an undergraduate or graduate program where English is the language of instruction must demonstrate English Language proficiency as part of your application to the MGH Institute of Health Professions. If you have questions about the language requirements, please contact the Office of Admissions.
- Applicants who are citizens of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.
- Applicants who are candidates for graduation from an accredited degree-granting program in the United States or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above are also not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Acceptance to the IHP will be contingent upon successful completion of this degree prior to matriculation.
Please note that in some circumstances, demonstrating English language proficiency may be required by the academic program even if you are a citizen of a country in which the (or one of the) national language(s) is English. Decisions about the need for TOEFL or IELTS scores are at the discretion of the academic program to which you are applying in coordination with the department of OES.
The IHP accepts either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the application deadline and official score reports are required. The minimum TOEFL (internet-based) score accepted is 89 and the minimum IELTS score accepted is 6.5.
- To forward your TOEFL score please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The MGH Institute of Health Professions code is 3513.
- For IELTS, a Test Report Form may be mailed to MGH Institute of Health Professions and score information will be verified by the IHP directly. You may designate up to 5 schools to receive Test Report Forms at the time you register for the test. To request additional Test Report Forms, contact your test center.
Please contact the Office of Admissions if you have any questions about the MGH Institute’s English Language requirements.
Please refer to our program page in OTCAS for information. All official transcripts should be sent directly to OTCAS.
Applicants that have earned a degree from a non-US institution are required to submit a course-by-course credential evaluation from one of the following NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) members: Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., SpanTran: The Evaluation Company, World Education Services (WES), or the Center for Educational Documentation. If you earned your bachelor's degree outside of the U.S. this credential evaluation must document minimum equivalency of a US baccalaureate degree or higher.
The personal statement should be submitted directly to OTCAS.
All applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. One letter must be from an individual in the health or education sector. Letters should address the applicant’s potential for graduate education/ scholarly study and the applicant’s qualifications for work as a health professional. Recommendation letters must be submitted directly to OTCAS.
Occupational Therapy Observation Verification
The OT Admissions Committee feels strongly that applicants should have an in-depth understanding of the OT profession they are choosing to enter.
However, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Admissions Committee recognizes that many applicants are unable to volunteer or participate in observation hours in healthcare settings. Based on this, applicants may submit their plans for completing the observation hour requirement to be reviewed along with their OTCAS application.
As observation hours will be required of all accepted students prior to enrollment, the OT Department will assist incoming students in completing virtual observation hours prior to enrolling in the program, if needed. Please contact the otdel [at] mghihp.edu (subject: OT%20Observation%20Hours%20Requirement%20-%20Apply%20Page) (OT Department) with questions related to the completion of observation hours prior to enrollment.
Personal interviews are required. Qualified applicants will be notified via email if selected for an interview with a member of the admissions committee. Interviews are by invitation only.
Important Immunization Information
The MGH Institute, as mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, requires completion of the hepatitis B vaccination series prior to matriculation. For applicants who have not been vaccinated, the three-dose hepatitis B series must be initiated prior to December 1st preceding intended June matriculation.
Licensing & Accreditation
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)
The OTD degree prepares you to take the National Certification Examination for the Occupational Therapist administered by National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).
Per Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education requirements, please visit nbcot.org/Educators-Folder/SchoolPerformance to review pass rates.
Please note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT exam or attain a state license. Students are urged to contact NBCOT or the state licensing agency for further information.
The Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), which is located at the Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. Phone (301) 652-6611; website: https://acoteonline.org
Meet Our Program Director
Our faculty are recognized nationally and internationally, including election to the Roster of Fellows by the AOTA.
Tabor/Connor Family Occupational Therapy Center
The center is an active-learning area allowing students to seamlessly move from the classroom and immediately put into practice what they learned without leaving the lab. In addition, students learn to assess, intervene, and provide specialty services at no cost to clients of all ages in the Boston community and beyond.
The Partnership Lab
The Partnership Lab (Participatory Research Supporting Health, Inclusion, and Participation) is a group of researchers with and without disabilities focused on health, inclusion, and participation for young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
The Cancer Rehabilitation (CaRe) Lab
Our lab, situated in the Charlestown Navy Yard, with strong clinical connections to the renowned medical and research institutions of Boston, has a unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with premier cancer and rehabilitation clinicians. Our goal is to advance evidence-based clinical practice while partnering with the world-class clinicians in our network to inform our lab’s research.