KGI OTD program

KGI Announces Plans for Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

During its October 2018 meeting, the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Board of Trustees unanimously approved to move forward with the creation of an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program housed within the KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS).

“Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan from children with disabilities to older adults recovering from illness, injury, or disability,” said Samit Shah, KGI associate dean of academic affairs and Sidney J. Weinberg Professor. “The job market for occupational therapists is expected to grow as baby boomers age and strive to maintain independence and physical health.”

“With a forecasted growth rate of 24 percent from 2016 through 2026—expected to result in 31,000 new jobs in that time period—and a median salary of nearly $85,000, adding this program was a no-brainer.”

The proposed OTD program would join the latest crop of educational offerings at KGI in the healthcare and life sciences industries. Earlier this fall, KGI launched its Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling, and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics programs. In Fall 2019, a Master of Science in Medical Device Engineering (MSMDE) program is set to enroll its first cohort, while the KGI School of Medicine recently finished its Phase 1 Funding.

“KGI is able to respond to the demands of industry and create programs that will prepare students for jobs in the workforce,” said KGI President Sheldon Schuster. “We believe the OTD program will have strong synergy with all of our existing and planned programs.”

There are currently nine master’s level occupational therapy programs and two post professional doctoral level occupational therapy programs in California—although none with a 25-mile radius of KGI.

The proposed program will see significant overlap with courses in the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences—specifically the MSMDE program—and would be able to capitalize on KGI’s partnerships with healthcare institutions for clinical placements for field work experiences.

KGI is seeking applications for a Founding OTD Program Director to lead the efforts in developing and supervising the new doctoral degree program. Reporting directly to the SPHS Dean, the director will play a lead role in the accreditation process with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education and assist in accreditation efforts with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The director will have primary responsibility for the program’s development, administration, budget, faculty recruitment, and assessment.

For more information about the OTD Program Director search, please visit