Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Doctor of PhilosophyThe Ph.D. in Occupational Science educates individuals to engage in the scientific study of human occupation, the purposeful activities that constitute our life experiences. This important new science is chiefly concerned with the unique capacity of humans to develop adaptive skills, such as tool use and related occupational behaviors, and to choose and orchestrate daily occupations. It also seeks to understand the function, structure and interrelationship of these occupations and their impact on individuals and institutions.
The focus on occupation distinguishes this program from closely-related disciplines such as psychology, sociology and anthropology. The program emphasizes the development of research skills and encourages students to organize and synthesize knowledge to contribute to occupational science theory, as opposed to therapeutic application.
Admission RequirementsApplicants for admission to the Ph.D. program are expected to have a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate field, such as one of the biological or social sciences or occupational therapy, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) and a minimum score of 1100 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examinations. At least three academic letters of reference must also be submitted. Other considerations include evidence of academic potential based on master’s level study (if relevant), research skills and interest, and a statement of purpose. International students must demonstrate competency in English, as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination.
Degree RequirementsThis degree is awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School section of this catalogue, for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degree must be courses accepted by the USC Graduate School.
Course RequirementsSatisfactory completion of 60 units beyond the baccalaureate degree is required, including the following courses:
|REQUIRED CORE COURSES||UNITS|
|OT 640||Conceptual Foundations of Occupational Science||4|
|OT 641||The Nature of Occupation||4|
|OT 660||Research Practicum (2 units - six semesters)||12|
|REQUIRED CORE ELECTIVES (SELECT 5)|
|OT 604||Temporal Adaptation: Organization and Use of Time||4|
|OT 612||Information Processing and Occupation||4|
|OT 642||Therapeutic Uses of Self: Psychodynamic Perspectives||4|
|OT 643||Meaningful Engagement in Everyday Life||4|
|OT 644||Foundations of Research on Activity and Health||4|
|OT 645||Narrative, Healing and the Culture of Biomedicine||4|
|OT 646||Intersections of Occupational Science and Human Development||4|
|OT 650||Development of Adaptive Skills||4|
|OT 651||Adaptation and Disability||4|
|OT 653||Play and Occupation||4|
|OT 655||Work and Leisure||4|
40 units of OT core courses must be completed. 20 of those units include the required courses OT 640 (4 units), OT 641 (4 units) and OT 660 (12 units). The remaining 20 units are to be selected from the other OT 600-level classes.
Those students who also wish to participate in clinical practice in occupational therapy may opt to complete a master’s degree in occupational therapy. Such students are required to complete the requirements for that degree as well as the occupational therapy undergraduate major courses if they are not registered occupational therapists or eligible for registration prior to study.
Cognate RequirementCompletion of a minimum of 12 units in a topic area such as one of the following is required: quantitative research approaches, qualitative research approaches, neuroscience, social development, life span development or gerontology.
Research PracticumEach student will enroll in 2 units of OT 660 Research Practicum in Occupation per semester for six consecutive semesters, for a total of 12 units. Students are required to begin enrolling in OT 660 in their first semester of doctoral study. In this practicum the student will develop research skills by working as part of a research team under the direction of a faculty member.
Screening ProceduresDepartmental screening will be required. Passing this procedure is prerequisite to continuation in the doctoral program. Directions for obtaining and filing the Report on Ph.D. Screening Procedures are found in the Graduate School section of this catalogue.
Dissertation EnrollmentDoctoral students must submit a dissertation according to the policies and procedures described in the Graduate School section of this catalogue. Registration in OT 794 Doctoral Dissertation for a minimum of 4 units (2 units in each of two consecutive semesters) is required.
Summary of All Course RequirementsRequired core courses are OT 640 (4), OT 641 (4), OT 660 (12) for a total of 20 units.
Required electives are five 600-level OT courses for a total of 20 units.
Cognate courses are a minimum total of 12 units.
Dissertation requires 2 units per semester for at least two semesters for a minimum total of 4 units.
Additional 4 units can include 4 further units of dissertation or cognate.
Total: 60 units