Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Entry-level clinical doctorate degrees are becoming more prevalent in the United States for occupational therapy. As indicated by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® standards, the doctoral capstone is an essential component to the entry-level doctorate degree. Despite the importance of the doctoral capstone, there have been limited publications about doctoral capstone development, implementation, and evaluation. A retrospective review was completed on qualitative descriptive data from a national electronic survey of entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (EL-OTD) programs regarding implementation of the doctoral capstone experience and project. Fifteen EL-OTD programs responded to the survey. Based on results, there was not one universal framework used for development, implementation, or evaluation. Aggregate data is presented for the timeframe of the doctoral capstone, role of faculty advisors, professions of capstone site mentors, number of students completing the experience at more than one site, and methods used for evaluation of student performance. Of the eight possible focus areas for the doctoral capstone, advanced clinical skills was the focus most frequently selected followed by program and policy development. Understanding current methods used for development, implementation, and evaluation of the doctoral capstone allows mentors, community leaders, and occupational therapy educators to gain a greater understanding of the implications the doctoral capstone may have on student outcomes. Survey results indicate great variety in approaches to design, implementation, and evaluation of the doctoral capstone.


Erika Kemp, OTD, MS, OTR/L, BCP is the Director of Clinical Education for The Ohio State University. She has served as the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Ohio State as well as at an OTA program for a total of 9 years in clinical education, with prior clinical experience in schools, pediatric outpatient and acute care.

Anna Domina OTD, OTR/L is the Vice Chair and Capstone Coordinator of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Creighton University. She has served as a faculty member and academic clinical education coordinator for 10 years.

Theresa Delbert MS, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor and Capstone Coordinator for the entry-level OTD program at Chatham University. Her clinical experience spans the healthcare continuum with adults and children, including environments of rehabilitation, long-term care, home care, early intervention, and pediatric outpatient and school based.

Andrew D. Rivera OTD, AEP, CLIPP is an Assistant Professor and Capstone Coordinator for Huntington University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. He has practiced in ergonomics, inpatient rehabilitation, home health and skilled nursing capacities while continuously engaging in work, health & well-being initiatives.

Lydia Navarro-Walker OTD, OTR/L, CLA is the Doctoral Capstone Coordinator (4 ½ years) at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) in Philadelphia, PA. She is a former Academic Fieldwork Coordinator (5 years) at TJU and has 30 years of clinical experience within the field of occupational therapy, specifically in neuro rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.