Frequently Asked Questions

Capstone – ACOTE Section D Standards

Standard D.1.0: Requires that the student complete an individual 14-week capstone experience that must be started after the completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork and completion of preparatory actives defined in Standard D.1.3. ACOTE, during the pandemic, is allowing programs to determine if it is appropriate for a student to begin their doctoral capstone experience before completion of Level II fieldwork. Hours completed before the capstone cycle could potentially count toward the capstone experience if the hours are consistent with the individualized specific objectives and capstone project (Standard D.1.5).

Standard D.1.5 requires that the length of the doctoral capstone experience be a minimum of 14 weeks (560 hours). This may be completed on a part-time basis and must be consistent with the individualized specific objectives and capstone project. No more than 20% of the 560 hours can be completed off site from the mentored practice setting(s), to ensure a concentrated experience in the designated area of interest. Time spent off site may include independent study activities such as research and writing. Prior fieldwork or work experience may not be substituted for this doctoral capstone experience.

Overall, the goal of the doctoral capstone to provide an in-depth exposure to one or more of the following: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development.  The “mentored practice setting” is less about the physical space and more about the learning experience and the need to demonstrate that the capstone experience is truly a mentored learning experience with in-depth exposure.

This at the discretion of the program director and capstone coordinator to determine if the student’s virtual hours, due to COVID, are considered on-site and meet the requirements of the Standards.

This is at the discretion of the program director and capstone coordinator to determine if the work meets the requirements of the Standards.

Standard D.1.6: Requires that the student be mentored by an individual with expertise consistent with the student’s area of focus prior to the onset of the doctoral capstone experience. The mentor does not have to be an OT. The Standard does not require that the mentor be employed by the capstone site.