Dual-Degree OTD/PhD Program

The dual-degree OTD-to-PhD program allows students to earn an entry-level OTD while simultaneously completing course credits in the interdisciplinary Health Related Sciences PhD program in the College of Health Professions. While the OTD prepares students clinically, the PhD degree provides additional training and mentorship in research. This program was designed to fill a growing need in the occupational therapy profession for scientists who are prepared to conduct high level research and mentor the next generation of researchers. Students who graduate from the dual degree program have the credentials and skills to practice as occupational therapists and to pursue careers in academia or clinical research settings.

How we do it

  • Students are first accepted into the OTD program, and can apply to the dual-degree program in the spring of their first year in the program.
  • Students accepted into the dual OTD/PhD program would complete all of the OTD courses in the order and sequence of their cohort.
  • The student would also complete additional courses each semester (after their first year) which would count towards their PhD program credits. Since the Health Related Sciences PhD program is a distance-based program, the majority of the “extra” coursework would be completed online during times that are convenient for the student.

Click here to view our curriculum.

Advantages of the dual-degree

  • By overlapping the programs, the length of the PhD program is 12-18 months shorter and, therefore, reduces both the time and cost associated with a PhD degree.
  • Students who apply to the dual degree program are also eligible for certain scholarships or research assistantships that can offset the cost of tuition.


  • Students must be currently enrolled full-time in the VCU OTD program
  • After first fall semester must have a 3. 5 GPA or higher in the VCU OTD program
  • Must have at least a B grade (above 80%) in OCCT 616 after spring midterm exam


For more information about the dual-degree program, contact Stacey Reynolds at reynoldsse3@vcu.edu.