Doctoral Capstone

The Doctoral Capstone consists of a doctoral capstone experience and a subsequent capstone project. Every doctoral capstone is developed in alignment with the OTD program's curriculum design, sequence and scope of content. The doctoral capstone provides you with in-depth exposure to a concentrated area of study.

You will select a primary concentrated area of study from the following options:

  • Clinical practice skills
  • Research skills
  • Administration
  • Leadership
  • Program and policy development
  • Advocacy
  • Education

Some students may choose a secondary concentration area depending upon the design of the doctoral capstone.

about the capstone

Capstone experience 

The doctoral capstone experience occurs over 14 weeks (560 hours) and 80% of the hours must be completed on-site. You will complete the capstone experience in the course OT 7202 – Capstone during the spring semester of your third year, after the completion of all coursework and fieldwork. It is the culminating experiential component of the OTD program.

The capstone coordinator, faculty advisor and site mentor will complete a formal evaluation for objective assessment of your performance during and after your capstone experience.

Capstone project

The doctoral capstone project must relate to the doctoral capstone experience and should demonstrate in-depth knowledge in the concentrated area of study. 

You will present your doctoral capstone project to all committee members and site representatives by leading a poster presentation at a university-based or OT department-level educational event, by submitting a manuscript to a relevant OT publication and by submitting a proposal for a short course, workshop or poster presentation to an educational event.

Doctoral Capstone Preparation

Doctoral capstone preparation occurs throughout your OTD curriculum. You will complete a literature review, needs assessment, goals/objectives, a supervision plan and an evaluation plan in preparation for the doctoral capstone. You will collaborate with all members of the capstone team the while preparing for the doctoral capstone experience and project.

Capstone Team

  • The capstone coordinator is a full-time core faculty member who is responsible for an OTD program's compliance with the doctoral capstone ACOTE standards.
  • The faculty advisor is responsible for collaborating with the student to develop objectives, to assist with planning and timetabling, to serve as a resource to provide guidance, perspective, feedback and resources to the student.
  • The site mentor must possess expertise in the concentrated area of study selected by the student and will provide mentorship to the student throughout the doctoral capstone. The site mentor may or may not be an occupational therapist.

Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding will be developed to outline pertinent information about the plan for the doctoral capstone. It must be signed by all parties prior to the start of the doctoral capstone experience. All doctoral capstone preparatory assignments will be finalized during the OT 7201- Capstone Preparation course taken during the summer I semester of the second year.

CastleBranch Requirements

WMU uses CastleBranch to track all student records including background checks, immunizations history and titers (MMR, varicella, Hepatitis B), drug screens, training, and certifications. 

Student resources

Capstone coordinator

Holly Grieves, OTD, OTRL, Capstone Coordinator
Department of Occupational Therapy
200 Ionia Ave SW
Grand Rapids MI 49503 USA
Phone: (616) 742- 4842
Fax: (616) 771-4200