Answering the Call to Serve Others

Our mission is to prepare future occupational therapy practitioners in a nurturing Christian environment to offer compassionate, ethical, evidence-based, occupation-centered services.

Anchored in Christian values, our vision is a world where occupational therapists serve people holistically by engaging their mind, body and spirit to create a meaningful life. 

*The program will begin enrolling students May 2023

Core Values

Faith, Respect

Belief that faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, compels each one to treat all people with respect.

Intentional Relationships

Commitment to develop intentional relationships to demonstrate the love of Christ through relevant occupational therapy services.


Commitment to utilize and create evidence-informed therapy to provide best practice for clients and community.

Servant Leadership

Leadership that serves clients, the profession and the community, and extends globally.

Advocacy, Compassion

Advocacy for clients, caregivers and the community that is born out of compassion.

Students enrolling in Samford’s entry-level occupational therapy doctorate will advance their intellect, creativity and faith to help people of all ages participate in everyday activities they want and need to do. Through classroom and practice experiences, community and global engagement, and an individual capstone project, students will develop therapeutic practice, research and leadership skills; acquire knowledge about administration, program and policy development, and develop advocacy abilities to answer their calling to serve others.


Samford University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree is an eight-semester program which is designed for those who wish to enter the field of occupational therapy at the highest level of preparation.  With a focus on occupation-centered practice, graduates of this program are prepared to view people holistically, appreciate diversity and serve populations and people across the lifespan to help them fully engage in daily life.

Aspects of the program that will define the student’s experience are:

  • Faith-based academic preparation in an occupation-centered curriculum
  • Interprofessional academic  and fieldwork education
  • Intersection of service and scholarship

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Minimum admission requirements to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program include:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university (degree in any field) or be in the senior year of undergraduate study. A completed bachelor’s degree is required prior to enrollment, as evidenced by a final official college/university transcript.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Cumulative prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Prerequisite courses must have been completed within 10 years prior to application and earned at a regionally accredited college or university. 
  • Prerequisite courses (all courses are minimum 3 semester credits with the exception of medical terminology):
    • Human anatomy with lab
    • Human physiology with lab
      • NOTE: If human anatomy and physiology are taken in a combined format (A&P), two semesters of A & P with labs are required for a minimum of 6 semester credits
    • Statistics or Research Methods
    • General psychology
    • Abnormal psychology
    • Lifespan Development (psychology or human development and must cover from infancy to aging adulthood)
    • Sociology or cultural anthropology or other diversity course with permission of OTD Chair
    • Medical terminology (1 credit minimum)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past 5 years is required. No minimum score is required; the score will be viewed holistically within the entire application packet.  Submit scores to OTCAS.
  • Documented shadowing/volunteer experiences in at least three different occupational therapy practice settings (minimum 30 hours total). Submit documentation of shadowing through OTCAS.
    • Occupational therapy practitioners work in a variety of settings with people of all ages. The successful applicant will demonstrate an understanding of the profession of occupational therapy by observing and interacting with OTs and clients in diverse settings.  For example, the applicant could observe an OT in a skilled nursing facility for two partial days, volunteer at a camp for special needs children/adults for two to five days, and observe an OT providing hand therapy for a day. 
  • Personal Statement
    • The personal statement is a narrative that will communicate to the Admissions Committee who you are and why you would be a good candidate for the Occupational Therapy Program at Samford University. The personal statement showcases who you are beyond grades and scores.  You will want to review the mission statement of the University, the College of Health Sciences and the School of Health Professions as you write your statement.  The personal statement should include reflections from the shadowing/volunteer experiences that demonstrate your understanding of the role of the occupational therapy practitioner with a diverse client population.
  • Three letters of reference submitted through OTCAS. The letters should be from:
    • Two current or previous professors who can speak to your abilities and characteristics as a student as well as your ability to be successful in the graduate school environment where group work and interprofessional experiences will be required;
    • A work supervisor and/or professional colleague who knows you well enough to speak to your character and professional attributes that make you well suited to be an occupational therapy practitioner.
  • Participation in an in-person interview.
  • International applicants or American citizens who learned English as a second language must score at least 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (Internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We cannot issue an I-20 for this program at this time.
  • Upon acceptance, a non-refundable fee of $500 is required to secure admission into the program. This fee is applied to the first semester's tuition.


The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program at Samford University has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD  20814-3449.  ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is The Letter of Intent to develop an entry-level doctorate program was accepted by ACOTE on 3/6/2018.

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a pre-accreditation 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.