The Occupational Therapy program at UMMC's School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) offers the state's only doctoral level degree program for occupational therapists (OT). Its rigorous education program for full-time students keeps pace with the rapidly growing trend calling for entry-level doctoral preparation for occupational therapists.
The increased need for occupational therapists with a doctoral education prompted UMMC to phase out the OT master's degree program. That program will end with the May 2020 graduation of currently enrolled students.
Graduates of the three-year doctoral program are uniquely trained to design activities for individuals or groups to maximize occupational performance in self-care, work, leisure and other daily occupations. The enhanced ability to help clients engage in productive and healthy occupations is of particular value in Mississippi, where health disparities are rampant and access to resources and services is challenging.Employment opportunities are available in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient facilities, mental health programs, private practice, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, industry and school settings.
The Occupational Therapy doctoral program accepts 40 students during its annual admission. A bachelor's degree from regionally accredited school in the United States is required for admission into the doctoral degree program.
The curriculum requires full-time study, plus six months of full-time fieldwork and 16 weeks in a clinical doctoral experience. Classes generally take place during the week between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
In addition to the core skills required of an entry-level occupational therapist, the doctoral curriculum includes an increased emphasis on leadership and advocacy skills; broadened research efforts and dissemination; advancement into diverse, non-clinical areas of practice to promote wellness and population health; and skills in management and public policy.