EKU Online Doctorate in Occupational Therapy First of its Kind in Commonwealth

April is National Occupational Therapy Month – a time to celebrate a profession that helps people live life to the fullest. This month, students, faculty and staff at Eastern Kentucky Universityare also celebrating a new doctoral degree program in occupational therapy that is one of just 20 nationwide and the only such program in Kentucky. The EKU program is taught solely online for the convenience of working professionals.

Dr. Deborah Whitehouse, dean of EKU’s College of Health Sciences, says the new offering is a practice doctorate focused on clinical leadership and the use of evidence-based practice to enhance the delivery of care.

“The importance of this kind of research is phenomenal in terms of patient outcomes,” Whitehouse explained.

Offered by the EKU Department of Occupational Therapy, which is currently ranked 31st nationally by U.S. News & World Report, the degree can be tailored to individual interests and completed in as little as two years. Because the program is online,the courses are available to not only practicing occupational therapists in rural Kentucky, but potentially those worldwide.

Those in Kentucky will be able to complete a practicum experience where they work. Doctoral students in other states may have the same opportunities as well.

Eastern has given students the opportunity to earn fully accredited online degrees since 2006. EKU Online students have many benefits designed to help them succeed, including a personal advisor who creates a graduation plan that allows them to meet both their individual academic goals and their professional obligations. Moreover, they have the ability to study anytime, from anywhere and to progress at an accelerated pace. Most online courses are completed in just 8 weeks as opposed to 16 weeks for traditional on-campus courses.

Dr. Colleen Schneck, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, said Eastern is ideally suited to offer a doctoral degree in occupational therapy because of an “incredible and highly motivated faculty who offer diverse specialties. We are very aware of the level of academic challenge we need to provide to our students,” Schneck said, noting that EKU is in the 12th year of a joint doctoral program in rehabilitation sciences with the University of Kentucky.

Graduates of the doctoral degree program will have an increased understanding of legislative, policy and administrative issues affecting the profession, and health care delivery, with a particular emphasis on the needs of unique and underserved populations. Classes begin every eight weeks. For more information, call 859-622-7927 or visit go.eku.edu/EKUOTD.

Named one of the Top 10 Online Colleges in the Nation by "Best Colleges" in 2010, EKU strives to make quality education accessible to everyone. EKU is a fully accredited, brick-and-mortar institution celebrating more than 100 years of student success. EKU Online offers more than 20 degree options in a variety of fields, including Nursing, Education, Psychology, Paralegal Studies, Police Studies, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Occupational Safety, Fire Protection and Homeland Security.

Published on April 26, 2013

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