The doctoral capstone is designed, implemented, and evaluated based on the accreditation standards as outlined by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) and includes both a capstone project and an experience (AOTA, 2018). The purpose of this position statement is to describe the doctoral capstone component of the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) degree for occupational therapists. As the culminating piece of the entry-level occupational therapy doctorate, the doctoral capstone provides students the opportunity for in-depth exposure in one or more of the eight areas of focus delineated by ACOTE, ultimately resulting in dissemination of project outcomes, and demonstrating synthesis of the skills and knowledge gained. The doctoral capstone is collaboratively designed as an individualized, student-centered, mentored experiential learning opportunity. Programs may choose from a variety of approaches to design and implement the doctoral capstone to meet ACOTE standards. Two such approaches include (1) self-directed learning and (2) backward design, which will be described in this document. The purpose of this position statement is not to be prescriptive, but to describe the purpose and value of the doctoral capstone component of the entry-level OTD degree.
This position statement has the following objectives:
Describe the purpose of the doctoral capstone.
Describe the value of the doctoral capstone to the student, mentor, profession, and external stakeholders.
Describe the constructs that may be used in design of the doctoral capstone.