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Advanced study in occupational therapy and aging studies is available through a dual degree program co-sponsored by the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions.

The program allows students to earn an Occupational Therapy Doctorate and Certificate in Aging Studies with a minimum of 116 credits rather than the 119 credits necessary if the two degrees were pursued separately. This efficiency lowers the overall cost of tuition while also reducing time to earning both degrees.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree and certificate program are to:

  • Prepare graduates to address the complex needs of a diverse aging population using holistic knowledge of biopsychosocial aging process
  • Provide graduates with an understanding of empirically and theoretically based components contributing to optimal aging using evidence-based, best-practice approaches
  • Prepare graduates to apply current knowledge, theory and professional judgment, while considering the perspectives of older adult clients/patients  
  • Prepare graduates to develop skills in comprehensive geriatric care to promote well-being among older adults

Among the many benefits offered by participation in the dual degree program is the following:

  • Enhance O.T.D.  graduates’ knowledge and skills in caring for older adults, who represent an increasing segment of occupational therapy practice
  • Increase O.T.D.graduates’ competitiveness in the job market
  • Offer O.T.D. students an opportunity for career advancement by specializing in geriatrics

The diplomas for this dual degree program may be awarded simultaneously. Students must complete separate graduation check out for each program.

Student learning outcomes

See the individual program pages for student learning outcomes.

Other information


The student is assigned an adviser from each program to develop a coordinated plan of study. Advisers coordinate program curriculum as appropriate. Primarily, the coordination occurs to ensure that O.T.D. students complete all required credits and their doctoral capstone project aligns with requirements of the Certificate of Aging Studies. Advisers share curriculum sequencing documents for advising students in registration for course work to ensure consistency and uniformity in their guidance.

Once accepted into the dual degree program, the student meets with the advisers in both programs to develop a plan of study. The student would begin taking classes in the aging studies program during the fall semester of their first year while enrolled in the O.T.D. program.