Frequently Asked Questions

Besides the prerequisites, what are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
An ideal candidate will be academically prepared for the program’s challenging curriculum, possess the relevant health care experience, and demonstrate compassion for others.  The candidate will be a well-rounded individual, who can communicate effectively with others.  Demonstrating an interest in practicing in Arizona following graduation is also highly attractive for an ideal candidate.
Is the new OTD Program at NAU Accredited?

NAU has acquired ACOTE Candidacy Status for a developing program:

On April 15, 2014, the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program was granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  The program is now eligible to proceed to the Initial Review step of the accreditation process.  The Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program at Northern Arizona University, which is located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, will be included on AOTA's list of programs that hold Candidacy Status and are eligible to admit students. 

As a result of this action, NAU admitted 25 students from its pool of qualified applicants into the first class of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program according to the approved timeline beginning in August 2014.

Information regarding the program accreditation process and NAU’s current Candidacy Status can be obtained by contacting ACOTE  c/o AOTA at (301) 652-AOTA or online at  ACOTE is located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449.

Step 2 of the Initial Accreditation Process (the Initial Review) has been completed with the submission of the Self Study Report on April 1, 2015.  At its August 6-9, 2015 meeting, ACOTE considered the initial Report of Self-Study and voted to Grant Pre-accreditation Status.

The program now moves to Step 3 of the Initial Accreditation Process (the Initial Review) with the ACOTE Onsite Team Visit scheduled for February of 2016.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with accreditation procedures for developing academic programs throughout the application, admissions and matriculation processes. NAU agrees to be transparent in all communication with prospective students regarding our accreditation status and welcomes questions regarding our developing program.

Once accreditation of the program has been obtained, 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, most 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. 

Students must complete all graduation, fieldwork, and experiential component requirements in a timely manner. Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program and prior to engaging in the residency component of the curriculum.

Where is the program offered?
The program is housed at the new Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix, Arizona at 7th Street and Van Buren Street.  This is also the location of the University of Arizona, College of Medicine – Phoenix.
Will it ever be offered in Flagstaff?
At this time, it is not anticipated that the program will be offered in Flagstaff.
What degree will I earn?
Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students will earn a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree.
What are the admissions and prerequisite course requirements for the program?

The admissions requirements can be viewed at:

The prerequisite course requirements can be viewed at:

Is the minimum 3.0 GPA required for ALL applicants?
The most qualified candidates will have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.  However, applicants whose overall undergraduate GPA is lower than 3.0 will be considered, provided that they earned a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years of undergraduate study and in the prerequisite course work for this curriculum.
Will courses from other colleges and universities be accepted to meet the prerequisites?
Yes, prerequisite courses may be taken at any US regionally accredited school, including online programs.  All courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better to be accepted.  Grades of “C-“or lower will not be accepted.
Does the program accept online courses?
Yes, the program will accept any courses taken online at a regionally accredited institution with a grade of “C” or better.  Grades of “C-“or lower will not be accepted.  This includes both online lectures and lab courses.
Will you accept Advanced Placement credits?
Yes, the program accepts Advanced Placement credits as long as the student received a grade of “C” or better and the credit is listed on an official college transcript from a regionally accredited institution.  The transcript must also be specific in what the student is being offered Advanced Placement credits for.  As an example, to receive credit in our program for the Statistics prerequisite the official transcript with Advance Placement credits must say the student earned credit for Statistics and not just a general term like Mathematics.
How do I know if the statistics course I take will be acceptable?
Any introductory course in statistics will fulfill the requirement, and should include topics such as statistics terms, analytical statistics, measurement of the mean and variance, null hypothesis, p-values, confidence intervals, and probability.
I have graduate level coursework in Anatomy completed at another institution. Do I still need to take the Anatomy course required in this program?
Yes, all required coursework must be taken in the program.  No advanced placement/transfer credit is accepted.
What OT shadowing experience is required for the application?
Forty hours observing two different occupational therapists each practicing in a different type of settings with different age-groups (minimum of 20 hours in each setting). You are encouraged to do this no later than two months before the application deadline.
Are any service hours required for the application?
Forty hours in at least two different community settings (agencies, programs, camps, etc.) serving vulnerable, disabled or disadvantaged individuals or populations that address health, rehabilitation, disability, quality of life or community issues or sustainability initiatives.
Must the prerequisites courses be completed at the time of application?
No, applicants may apply with coursework still in progress.  However, it is recommended that applicants complete as much of the prerequisite coursework as possible before applying.  If you are admitted to the program prior to completion of all requirements, it will be a conditional admission, and subsequently denied if you do not successfully complete all admissions requirements prior to June 1st each year. 
Is the application process through OTCAS?
The application process is completed through OTCAS and the NAU Graduate College.  Students must complete an OTCAS application and an NAU Graduate College application to be eligible for the program.  You can find more information on the programs application process at
When and how can I apply, and when is the application due?

OTCAS opens July 18, 2016 and will close January 6, 2017 for this program year.  Once the OTCAS application has been submitted, each applicant will be sent the URL for the NAU Graduate College supplemental application, also due January 6, 2017.

The application process requires information about your prior education, health care experience, two letters of recommendation, your resume or CV, and official transcripts.  In addition, you will need to submit GRE test scores to complete your application.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Will an interview be required? If so, when will it occur?
The most qualified candidates will be invited for an interview.  Interviews will be held each spring semester, typically from late January to early March.
When will you make decisions about who is accepted into the program?
We anticipate notifying applicants of their acceptance approximately 2-4 weeks after their interview.
How many students will be applying and how many will be accepted into the program?
Because this is the third year for NAU’s Occupational Therapy program, we do not know how many applications will be submitted.  However, interest in the program is strong and we anticipate that the selection process will be very competitive.  We plan to enroll 45 students in 2017. 
Will there be a wait list for the program?
Yes, in addition to the individuals who will be selected for admission, other qualified applicants will be wait-listed in the event that positions in the class become available. If a student isn't selected off the wait-list for an application year they must reapply for the following years application cycle.
What are fieldwork rotations and how many hours a week are required?
Fieldwork rotations are supervised clinical practice under the supervision of a preceptor who is responsible for training students.  Students will be required to complete multiple fieldwork rotations. These include three separate one week academic and service learning rotations; as well as multiple six week rotations and a residency in the final semester.  The hours required each week could be as little as four, during once week rotations, and over 40 hours in more advance fieldwork rotations or during residency.  The student is also expected to do additional studying after hours to meet the expectations of the rotation and the program.
What disciplines are covered in fieldwork rotations?
Students will work with patients from a variety of different settings learning multiple intervention techniques.  Patients will vary in age, gender and diagnoses.  Students having interest in particular areas (i.e. pediatrics, hand therapy, etc.) will be encouraged to work with the clinical fieldwork coordinator to gain more experience in their particular area of interest.  All the rotations assignments will ultimately be determined based on availability and quality of the site, and will be located in Arizona.
Can I work while I am in the program?
The program is an intensive and demanding course of study.  Students are strongly discouraged from working while attending the program.
Where will the fieldwork rotations be?

The program will be responsible for the assignment of all fieldwork rotations.  Fieldwork rotations will be available throughout Arizona, and in a variety of settings.  Students are expected to be flexible and although the program will make all reasonable attempts to accommodate student preferences, students may not always be assigned their choice of sites.  When feasible and at the students’ request, placements will be made in locations close to or within the communities where students have ties.  This is in support of the programs mission to develop healthcare providers for the underserved areas of Arizona.

Students are responsible for the cost of housing and transportation during this phase of the program.

Does the program accept transfer students?
The program will accept transfer students who have been attending an accredited program at the masters or doctoral degree level.  There are a number of standards for admission and a limited amount of credits the program can accept in transfer based on NAU Graduate College policy.  The program asks that any student interested in transfer contact the department directly at 602-827-2450 or to discuss the admissions standards and policies surrounding the acceptance of transfer students.
Does the program accept transfer credit?
The program only accepts transfer credits from those students who have been enrolled in an accredited program at the masters or doctoral degree level, have completed the application process to become a transfer student, and have subsequently been accepted into the program.  Further, students can only transfer credit for required courses in the first two semesters of the curriculum, up to a maximum of 12 semester hours total, with grades of “C” or better.
Does the program give credit for experiential learning or work experience?
The program does not give credit for experiential learning or work experience.  Students accepted to the program must complete the entire required curriculum.