Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Helping clients live their best lives

Occupations are the activities that people do every day, at home, work, at school, and in the community, alone, with family members and/or with friends, that shape identity, influence overall health, wellbeing and give life purpose and meaning.

Occupational therapy practitioners are experts at helping clients with various conditions live their best lives by addressing occupational performance and participation when it has been negatively impacted by loss or impairment due to illness, injury or disability. Occupational therapists use occupation-based interventions to restore, improve and maintain performance in occupations so that individuals, communities, and populations can perform the occupations they need and want to do every day!

Accepting Applications


An applicant has two options to submit their application:

Applicants need only apply through ONE site.

Applications open annually on:

  • June 1st through the FMU Admissions portal
  • July 19th through OTCAS

For more information on the application process, see the Admissions page.

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Grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the Department of Occupational Therapy strives to provide the highest quality occupational therapy education, which offers students and faculty opportunities to actively engage in culturally diverse, innovative, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and occupation-based learning activities that serve the needs of the Pee Dee region, the state, other states and foreign countries, to maximize health, well-being and quality of life for all individuals, communities and populations.


To inherently prepare, competent, compassionate and caring occupational therapists that have a sound understanding of culturally effective, medically relevant, ethical, evidence-based care.

We meet this mission by:

  • Offering a breadth and depth of knowledge within the professional curriculum to appreciate the creativeness of the human mind, and develop an awareness of the human and natural environment of the world
  • Creating diverse, student-centered, internal/external service activities that promote the capacity to pursue a life of learning, understanding and professional reasoning
  • Promoting a holistic, client centered perspective within evidence-based practice and through occupational participation
  • Exploring traditional and emerging areas of practice to develop a deep respect for human values and a strong sense of social/cultural responsibility and occupational justice
  • Fostering engagement in collaborative scholarship within the classroom experience and beyond, to serve local and global communities and populations.
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students smiling

Plan of Study

First year

  • Students are immersed in foundational Occupational Therapy coursework which blends constructs of occupational science and preprofessional course work in the arts, humanities and sciences.
  • Completion of TWO out of THREE Fieldwork Level I Experiences immediately starting in the Spring Semester

Second year

  • Students complete advanced coursework and interprofessional clinical experiences in occupational therapy practice
  • Completion of the FINAL Fieldwork Level I Experience
  • Completion of FIRST out of TWO Fieldwork Level II Experiences
  • Completion of a Clinical Correlate which immerses students in community based, nontraditional & emerging areas of clinical practice
  • Beginning of Doctoral Capstone Experience & Project preparation

Third year

  • Students complete advanced courses focused on scholarship and transitioning from student to clinician
  • Completion of SECOND and FINAL Fieldwork Level II Experience
  • Completion of Doctoral Capstone Experience and all requirements including the Capstone Project Implementation, Defense and Presentation

Course Descriptions & Curriculum

View Our Courses

Message from Director

Greetings and thank you for your interest in becoming an occupational therapist through the OTD program at FMU! We are very excited to be in the initial process of accreditation so that we may fulfill and continue in our mission to serve the community.  As we are one out of three Occupational Therapy Programs in the State of South Carolina, the OTD program at FMU strives to help people in the Pee Dee Area and beyond, to survive, grow, develop, experience health, well-being and live their best lives.

By offering a curriculum with depth and breadth, rich with learning opportunities that promote personal growth and professional development, your participation in application based, self-directed, and innovative inside and out-of-the-classroom experiences, will prepare you, a future clinician, for practice in diverse settings. During your time in the program, you will acquire a strong knowledge of foundational theory in occupational science and occupation-based practice, so that you can apply critical, outside of the box thinking, and be confident in your hands-on clinical skills when implementing evidence based therapeutic interventions with clients of all ages and diverse diagnoses.

As an FMU OTD graduate, you will have acquired the skills and knowledge to treat clients with expert care and compassion, assume more challenging roles in leadership and management within the profession or in the healthcare industry, and engage in scholarly activity that will impact communities.

As FMU’s Program Director, I am extremely grateful to lead a team of expert, dedicated faculty in a collaborative effort to empower you to achieve your career aspirations and help you navigate towards your vision of a meaningful future as an occupational therapy practitioner.  It is my sincere hope that I can assist to promote and develop within you, a unique skill set that transforms the lives of individuals and alters communities.

I look forward to having you in our program! See you soon!


With Warmest Regards,


Dr. Rachelle Lydell, OTD, MSOT, OTR/L

Contact Us

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Rachelle G. Lydell OTD, MSOT, OTR/L

Program Director and Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

Office: CCHS 348
Phone: 843-661-1667


The entry level occupational therapy doctorate degree program is applying for accreditation through the three-step accreditation process for new programs by The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510E, Bethesda, MD 20814. For questions about accreditation you may contact ACOTE via phone at (301) 652-AOTA.

The Program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation 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), and can obtain state licensure and practice.

Please note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

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