Apply to Post-Professional Doctoral Program

Application Process

  • Applicants must complete an online UW–Madison Graduate School application.
  • OTD applicants must pay the standard UW–Madison Graduate admission application fee as part of the online application process.
  • While completing the UW–Madison Grad School application, OTD Applicants will need to upload a personal statement describing their purpose(s) for pursuing a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. We urge you to prepare your statement in advance so the online application will flow more smoothly. Your statement may not exceed three pages typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins, with 12-point font. It should discuss the following topics: (1) Professional experiences that led you to pursue an OTD;  (2) How your long-term career goals align with the focus of UW–Madison’s OTD Program, specifically the focus on inter-professional collaboration, visionary leadership, and the translation of evidence in practice;  (3) Potential topic(s) for your Capstone Project, what mentoring you believe you will need to complete the project, and potential mentoring team members from the OT Program and beyond.
  • Applicants will upload an up-to-date resume or CV which includes: (1) Educational history (institutions, degrees, GPA, awards/honors); (2) Professional work history (e.g. occupational therapy experience, employment settings, populations, job titles and responsibilities, project management); (3) Listing of professional involvements (e.g. professional associations, advanced training/certification, teaching experiences)
  • Your admission by the UW–Madison Graduate School, whose policies apply to the OTD Program, will require transcripts from each postsecondary institution you attended, both undergraduate, e.g. BA or BS, and graduate/professional, e.g. MS-OT. All university-level educational transcripts should be provided. You may upload electronic transcripts. Your unofficial transcripts, if legible and complete, will suffice for departmental review. If admitted, official transcripts will need to be submitted to the Graduate School.
  • Applicants will submit up to three letters of recommendation (two required, one optional). The online admission application allows you to identify, with e-mail address, those persons from whom you request recommendations. The online application system then notifies those persons and provides them with a link so they may submit recommendations directly to UW-Madison. If you are unable to use the online recommendation process, please consult an OTD Program representative before you complete your application online. The Program prefers recommendations from professors, co-workers, supervisors, or others who can professionally address your capacity to be an adult learner, your potential for leadership, and your capabilities to succeed as a graduate student and possible future OTD holder.
  • Upload evidence of OT license in a state in the U.S. The upload can be a scan or another electronic format of your license that is available to you, that is accepted by the online application software, and that our program can reasonably verify.

Admission Timeline

We will review and accept applications until slots are filled with a deadline of July 15, 2020, for priority consideration. Applicants who are completing their Level II Fieldwork for their MS-OT degree may apply and be accepted to the OTD but would not start coursework until the completion of their final Level II Fieldwork and acquisition of state licensure.

For further information on application and admission to the post-professional OTD Program, please e-mail the Program Director, Sharon Gartland.

OT Licensure

  • An official copy of a current state OT license in the U.S. will be required for admission.
  • Students who are in the final year of a didactic master’s in occupational therapy education program may also apply but their matriculation into the OTD program will be contingent upon successful completion of fieldwork, NBCOT certification, and receipt of a state OT license.

Graduate Degree

  • A minimum equivalency of 30 UW–Madison Graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree are required for admission. It is expected that most applicants will meet this requirement through having obtained a master’s degree in occupational therapy or related field.
  • Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in OT may apply but will be required to take graduate credits as outlined in the “Credit Deficiencies” tab to meet any deficiencies.
  • The total number of additional graduate credits required to obtain the OTD degree is 34. This includes the prerequisite 30 graduate credit hours (obtained from previous master’s degree) plus 34 graduate credit hours in the post-professional OTD program at UW–Madison.


Tuition for the OTD Program is set at $1,150 per credit, regardless of residency status. Students will generally enroll for 4 credits per semester.

As distance learners, OTD students will not pay Segregated University Fees which are generally required for access to campus services (e.g. health services), programs (e.g. Union, Rec Sports), and facilities (e.g. SERF, Gym-Nat, Craft Center). There is no additional “technology fee”.


Scholarship applications are available in January and due March 1st.

Scholarship application

  • Linda Anderson Memorial Scholarship
    Awarded to student(s) who demonstrate a strong interest in and/or involvement in OT Professional Organizations
  • Mildred Averill Scholarship
    Awarded to graduate women in occupational therapy.

​Occupational Therapy Travel Awards

  • Beth Roughton Memorial Travel Fund-Due: March 1st of each year.
    The purpose of this fund is to recognize students who have demonstrated sustained commitment to occupational therapy by providing funds enabling them to participate in professional meetings related to their research or professional development. The grant was established in 1999 in honor of Beth Roughton, by her parents. Elizabeth Charlotte Roughton died of cancer on November 18, 1997, at the age of 39. Beth attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, graduating from the Occupational Therapy Program in 1981 and receiving her master’s degree in therapeutic science in 1995. She was involved in research and clinical leadership activities at the University of Wisconsin Waisman Center, Meriter Hospital NICU and Follow-up Clinic, and the Harlow Primate Laboratory. Her inquisitive nature and intelligent mind along with her generous spirit brought an energy and enthusiasm to her classes that led and inspired others. Beth was a passionate lifelong learner and an extraordinary teacher. Through her actions, she taught about compassion, hope, optimism, courage, determination, and gratitude. Eligibility: The recipients must be full-time graduate students in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Masters of Science or PhD in Kinesiology, the Occupational Science track. Applications:  There is no application form. Applicants must submit a statement of not more than one page, double-spaced, describing what the applicant would hope to accomplish with the award. For conference presentations submit abstract. Please submit statement to Terri Pope, OT office, Medical Science Center with your name, address, phone number and email address so that we may contact you. 

Additional scholarships may be available from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) and the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association. See FAQs below for a variety of funding opportunities.

Policy on Assistantships

Graduate Assistantship Policy:  Students enrolled in this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver.

FAQs About Fees, Funding, Scholarships, Jobs and Residency for In-State Tuition Purposes

  1. Is it possible for continue working while an OTD student?  Yes, the advantage of a part-time, distance-learning degree program is that you may continue and advance your career simultaneously. If not already a skilled organizer and time manager, you will become so as you progress through the program.
  2. Does UW–Madison offer any scholarships for incoming OTD students?  Incoming students are considered for applicable Kinesiology Department Scholarships and should notify the OTD Program Director if interested in applying.
  3. Are there any other opportunities connected with UW–Madison to help with funding my education?  Yes. Contact the UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Aid to explore loans and other support opportunities.
  4. Are you aware of any diversity funding available for OTD students? Visit the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) website.

Minimum Graduate Credits for Admission


Master’s degree in OT or Bachelor’s degree in OT plus Master’s degree in related field (e.g. Special Education, Public Health, Educational Policy)


Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy plus completion of graduate work equivalent to the following:

Deficiency Requirements

1. Graduate Statistics Course


2. OT 671, Scientific Inquiry in OT I: Evidence-Based Practice or comparable graduate course in Evidence-Based Practice


3. OT 672, Scientific Inquiry in OT II: Methods of Inquiry or comparable graduate course in Research Design & Methods


4. OT 673, Scientific Inquiry in OT III: Data Collection and Analysis or comparable graduate course in Statistical Analysis


5. OT 674, Scientific Inquiry in OT IV: Scientific Writing for Publication or comparable graduate course in Scientific Writing


6. OT 612, Professional Skills III: Organization and Management in OT Practice or comparable graduate course in Health Systems Organization and Management


8. Additional Graduate Course Work (Advanced Practice Board Certification may be substituted for 4 of the 13 Graduate Credits)


Minimum Graduate Credits Required for Admission to OTD


Prospective Students With Bachelor’s Degrees

These students will be advised by the Admissions Coordinator and graduate faculty regarding on-campus and distance options for meeting deficiencies in the minimum graduate credit requirements. For example, the OTD admissions committee may decide to accept coursework completed outside of the student’s graduate career at UW-Madison when those courses are rigorous and meet the expectations of graduate work for the degree and also meet the prior course work parameters dictated by Graduate School policy.

  • Graduate school policies governing special student versus graduate student status and the length of time since graduate credits were earned will apply to all prospective students.Graduate school policies may be found here.