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 students with in-depth exposure to a concentrated area of study.

Each student 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. Students 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, site mentor and faculty advisor (if applicable) will complete a formal evaluation to objectively assess student performance during the capstone experience.

Capstone project

The doctoral capstone project directly relates to the doctoral capstone experience and demonstrates in-depth knowledge in the concentrated area of study. 

Students will disseminate their work to the capstone team and site representatives by presenting at on-site and at WMU's Capstone Dissemination Day. Students will publish a scholarly paper on WMU Scholarworks and through recorded presentation on the WMU OTD Capstones YouTube channel.

Capstone Project and Experience Highlights

Im'Peck'able Innovations:

Recent WMU OTD graduate, Dr. Alex Field, centered his capstone project and experience around improving accessibility to the occupation of birding. Read more about Dr. Field and his capstone below. 


Dr. Mallory Fox, a 2023 OTD graduate, conducted her capstone project at a pediatric dentist office. She utilized sensory and behavioral strategies to improve dental care visits for kids with sensory processing challenges and autism. Read more about Dr. Fox and her capstone project below. 

Doctoral Capstone Preparation

Doctoral capstone preparation occurs throughout your OTD curriculum. Students complete the following courses in preparation for their doctoral capstone experience: 

  • OT 7200 - Capstone Preparation I (1 credit)
  • OT 7201 - Capstone Preparation II (2 credits)

Students are required to complete a literature review, needs assessment, goals/objectives, a supervision plan and an evaluation plan in preparation for the doctoral capstone. Students 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 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.
  • 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.

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

Phone: (517) 388-1652

Fax: (616) 771-4200