Doctor of Occupational Therapy - Capstone

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Program Design

Occupational Therapy Student and childFacilitated by the Capstone Coordinator, the Doctoral Capstone occurs in two parts, the capstone project, and capstone experience. The project provides an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from coursework and fieldwork to a project that relates to the capstone experience. The capstone experience is a 14-week, full-time in-depth experience that occurs following all coursework and fieldwork completion. The Doctoral Capstone is designed to provide in-depth exposure to one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. During the experience, each student will be mentored by a faculty mentor with shared interests, and a site mentor (mentor in the site with expertise in the area of focus).

The following table depicts the capstone sequence:

Year 1Occupational therapy coursework to develop foundational knowledgeOccupational therapy coursework to develop foundational knowledge
Year 2Capstone I: DesignCapstone II: Program Proposal
Year 3Capstone III: Experience Full-time 14 weeks, 560 hours

Faculty Interests

Students will work closely with a faculty mentor with shared interests during the Doctoral Capstone. A brief list of faculty interests can be found below, however faculty and students can work together to determine a mutual interest off the list.

  • Advocacy
    • Interprofessional advocacy
    • Advocacy for OT perspective in policy writing
  • Children and Youth
    • Feeding
    • Transition services
    •  Sensory Integration
  • Community Practice
    • Addressing needs of families experiencing homelessness
    • Role of OT in addressing social justice
  • Mental Health
    • Occupational therapy’s role in sleep
    • Mental health in children and youth
  • Productive Aging
    • Aging in place
  • Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
    • Occupational therapy in hand rehabilitation
    • Home modifications
    • Adaptive equipment

Capstone Examples

Doctoral Capstone projects can vary greatly. Some examples include:

  • Designing an evidence-based curriculum for educating caregivers of a particular population
  • Identification and investigation of a problem/concern related to practice, culminating in a plan of action or remedial strategy
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive occupational therapy program for a particular population
  • Investigating the changing role of occupational therapy in the care and treatment of hearing loss, brain injury, and pain.  
  • Studying outcomes of a particular occupational therapy intervention with a person, group, or population
  • Investigating/exploring the role of occupational therapy in a new area of emerging practice: Concussion Management and Education with Athletes in the School System, Social Skills Training for Youth on the Autism Spectrum, Occupation based Eating Disorder Recovery