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72 credits* (30 master’s-level transfer credits accepted)

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One-of-a-kind certificate

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Minimum of 28 months to complete

*Applicants may have the opportunity to transfer up to 30 credits of masters-level coursework to the CScD in Occupational Therapy program, lowering the required number of credits to earn the CScD in Occupational Therapy degree to 42 credits. This is subject to the university’s approval.

Program Overview

Our post-professional Doctor of Clinical Science (CScD) in Occupational Therapy program, delivered 100% online through Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), empowers occupational therapists all over the world to develop advanced leadership skills, implement evidence into practice and transform both clients’ lives and the profession of occupational therapy. Our highly personalized curriculum ensures that coursework is tailored to each student’s professional interests and goals.

Through this online format, our CScD in Occupational Therapy program brings the strong pedigree of Pitt and the Department of Occupational Therapy to occupational therapists all over the world. Online CScD in Occupational Therapy students will be able to complete the 72-credit degree* program on a part-time basis, earning their degree in a minimum of 28 months.

The online CScD in Occupational Therapy program is designed to prepare eligible or already credentialed or licensed individuals to practice clinically with competencies above and beyond those expected of entry-level professionals. These students develop advanced skills to identify and implement evidence in clinical practice, as well as professional communication, leadership and clinical teaching skills. This program provides a foundation for moving into leadership positions in clinical, community and educational settings.

*Applicants may have the opportunity to transfer up to 30 credits of masters-level coursework to the CScD in Occupational Therapy program, lowering the required number of credits to earn the CScD in Occupational Therapy degree to 42 credits. This is subject to the university’s approval.


Students enrolled in the CScD in Occupational Therapy degree program will also receive an Advanced Practice Certificate in Implementation of Evidence in Clinical Practice (12 credits), which includes the following four 3-credit courses:

  • Evidence Interpretation for Implementation
  • Foundations in Implementation
  • The Business of Implementation
  • Advocacy for Implementation

This is the only advanced certificate of its kind being offered in occupational therapy, and allows occupational therapists to develop advanced skills for implementing evidence into real-world practice at the individual and system levels.

Applicants also have the option to enroll in just the 12-credit certificate and not the full CScD in Occupational Therapy degree program. Those who enroll in the Advanced Practice Certificate may choose to transition into the CScD in Occupational Therapy degree program after completion of the certificate and can apply the certificate credits toward the degree.

Next cohort starts on August 27

Early Decision Deadline is May 31

Apply Now


This course provides a basic understanding of methods to interpret research in the context of evidence-based practice. Content includes critical appraisal and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics (including univariate and multivariate parametric and nonparametric tests) that are commonly used in published clinical research studies.

This course introduces opportunities and barriers for implementing changes designed to improve clinical practice processes and outcomes. Content will include definitions, distinctions and applications of key concepts including evidence-based practice, knowledge translation, implementation and dissemination.

This course shares effective techniques for negotiating, facilitating and leading change in clinical contexts. Topics will include establishing new or renewing old relationships, changing behaviors and expectations, resolving disputes and interpersonal effectiveness.

This course will provide a framework for understanding and analyzing legislative and regulatory processes that have an impact on clinical services delivery and implementation of processes across contexts to improve clinical practice.

This course focuses on building foundational knowledge in classical test and item response theories to identify assessments for improving outcomes at the patient, program, system and population levels. Students will learn to differentiate between levels of assessments; examine the uses of various assessment methods (e.g., self-report, proxy report, clinical judgment, performance assessment and survey) and analyze the impact of measurement issues on outcomes. Additionally, students will utilize knowledge gained in this course to create a program proposal showcasing the utility of assessments in improving outcomes at a facility.

This course uses systematic methods (e.g., PRISMA, Pedro, Consort, Strobe, Trend, CASP) to critically appraise and synthesize research to inform design and implementation of clinical protocols and best practice guidelines to improve clinical practices and outcomes.

This course focuses on the use of evidence checklists for evaluating and developing practice guidelines (e.g., AGREEII). Current professional practice guidelines will be evaluated, generated, implemented and assessed for adoption and sustainability.

This course focuses on the application of data analytic strategies (e.g., descriptive, correlational, comparative, predictive and qualitative strategies) that practitioners can use to analyze clinical data related to patient, program, population or health system level outcomes.

This seminar focuses on analysis and synthesis of health, behavior and organizational change theories and application to clinical practice, program development and adult learning.

This seminar focuses on evidence-based practices to support implementation, with particular attention on approaches to support stakeholder engagement, knowledge translation and dissemination.

Following completion of the 34 credits of online courses, CScD in Occupational Therapy students will culminate their matriculation through the program with an eight-credit capstone project. With the support of a faculty mentor, students will individually design and complete a capstone project that demonstrates their advanced knowledge for implementing evidence into practice.

Students will design and initiate a project to implement evidence-based knowledge in partnership with stakeholders and an academic mentor to improve occupational therapy outcomes. This phase of the capstone project includes project development and approval, stakeholder engagement, faculty guidance and feedback, project implementation and data collection.

Students will complete and analyze the results of their project implementation to demonstrate the synthesis of integrated learnings. This phase of the capstone project includes the delivery of findings through both an oral presentation to and collegial discussion with an audience of academic peers, faculty and professional colleagues, as well as a written defense.

*Required courses for Advanced Practice Certificate in Implementation of Evidence in Clinical Practice.

Learning Outcomes

Pitt’s online post-professional CScD in Occupational Therapy degree program is designed to prepare advanced practitioners to lead the field in evidence-based occupational therapy practice, education, advocacy and system change.

  1. Engage stakeholders at the level of the client, program, population and system
  2. Identify a need for change and opportunities for improvement in areas of specialization
  3. Appraise, interpret, synthesize and apply evidence and data-driven strategies
  4. Understand trends, identify barriers to and facilitators of change and influence change
  5. Apply effective negotiation, communication, advocacy and conflict management strategies
  6. Implement, evaluate and disseminate evidence-based practices

Demand for Post-Professional Training in Occupational Therapy

Today’s occupational therapists need advanced training to support clinical specialization, clinical education and professional leadership.

  • The rapidly increasing and changing knowledge base, as well as greater independence in clinical practice, requires more advanced and in-depth knowledge.
  • The emergence of new models of care, with concomitant rising consumer concerns, has forced a change in the practice of occupational therapy, necessitating more rigorous plans of study with increased clinical focus and exposure.
  • The profession has a high demand for highly qualified occupational therapy practitioners in a variety of specialty areas, as well as the critical need for doctorally prepared faculty nationwide.
  • The evolving changes in health care systems need occupational therapy professionals who understand the increasing complexity of health care delivery which, in turn, requires additional leadership and management skills.
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If you have questions or would like to learn more about the curriculum, reach out to an enrollment advisor at any time at or (412) 930-4036.

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