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Since fall 2006, the UNC School of Medicine has offered a PhD in Occupational Science. We accept qualified applications from individuals who have completed master’s degrees in occupational therapy, relevant social and behavioral sciences, or related fields. This degree is designed for individuals who wish to pursue academic careers that include research, scholarship and teaching. View our current PhD Handbook.

The doctoral course of study includes content in five domains:

  1. Core foundation courses in occupational science
  2. Doctoral seminars on topics of interest in occupational science
  3. Courses in a cognate area that focuses on occupation & human activity
  4. Research design & methodology courses
  5. Academic Career courses in grant writing

We anticipate a four-to-five year course of study that allows doctoral students to build a deeper understanding in an area of interest in occupational science, learn how to study occupation & complete a doctoral dissertation.

Graduates will be prepared to generate new knowledge in occupational science, translate their understanding of the complexity of occupational engagement to build innovative interventions that support occupations and participation in life situations, synthesize interdisciplinary perspectives related to everyday activities and apply these perspectives as well as knowledge generated in occupational science to promote the evidence-based services.


Nancy Bagatell, PhD, OTR/L