OTD Capstone Experience

What is the Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE)?

The Doctoral Capstone Experience is similar to an internship, in that the OTD student will be “on the ground” at your facility for a minimum of 14 weeks/560 hours. Each student will develop unique learning objectives and outcomes for their capstone, so while they will have a regular presence at your facility, it may not be Monday-Friday, 8-5 each week.

Students work with Brenau faculty for 3 semesters to prepare for the DCE, along the way developing a capstone project that relates to the DCE. Preparation includes a literature review, needs assessment, and evaluation plan, including development of goals & objectives. By the time they embark on the DCE, they will have completed all of their coursework (104 credit hours), including 2 full-time, 16-week fieldwork experiences. The DCE provides the students with an opportunity to specialize their knowledge in areas such as program development, clinical practice, administration, leadership, theory development, education, research, or policy development. Upon completion of the capstone experience and project, the student will disseminate their results publicly.

What is the timeline for this process?

The current cohort of students will complete their DCE in summer 2023, approximately May – August. They will complete initial paperwork for the DCE in late spring – summer 2022 and needs assessments in fall 2022.

What is expected of me and/or my facility?

The Site Mentor does not have to be an occupational therapist (OT). If there is not currently an OT on staff in your facility, Brenau faculty will meet regularly with the OT student to help them understand how OT could meet a need in your facility. You will be asked for a copy of your resume or CV to confirm appropriate expertise in the OTD student’s DCE area. The Doctoral Capstone Coordinator will work with you (or the appropriate person at your facility) to ensure that the appropriate contracts and/or MOUs are established.

Expectations of a Site Mentor primarily include:

  • Facilitate access to the facility for completion of the needs assessment prior to beginning the DCE
  • Ensures that the OTD is adequately oriented to the facility at the start of the DCE
  • Meet weekly with the OTD student during the DCE to provide support and formative feedback
  • Complete midterm and final performance evaluations of the OTD student
  • Work with the OTD student and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator to ensure the OTD student adequately achieves individual learning outcomes outlined in the Capstone Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

What are possible benefits for me and/or my facility if we decide to host an OTD student?

Tell us what you need! Do you have projects that you never seem to have time to complete? Maybe a grant application that you could use help drafting? Perhaps you are a facility that sees OT clients, and you would benefit from having an OTD student who could work with some of your clients? These are examples of learning activities that could be incorporated into an OTD student’s learning objectives for their DCE. The possibilities are quite wide-ranging!


Thank you for considering the possibilities of supervising a Brenau OTD student for their Doctoral Capstone Experience (DCE)! Please contact Dr. Laura Carpenter, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator, at LCarpenter@Brenau.edu or (678)707-5005 with any additional questions or concerns.