CHHS to Host Three Doctoral Programs

Three new and developing clinical doctoral programs have become part of the College of Health and Human Sciences this fall. A clinical doctorate differs from other types of doctoral programs in that the emphasis is on clinical training rather than research. Doctoral programs in the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, the Department of Occupational Therapy, and the new Department of Audiology will comprise three of the four doctoral programs offered at San Jose State University.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Admits Its First Cohort!
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) cohort presented their oral defenses in 2014. A total of five cohorts completed the program as part of the California State University Northern California Consortium of Nursing Practice program offered jointly with CSU Fresno. This Fall, the Valley Foundation School of Nursing launched its very own DNP program.

“Now that the program is localized to SJSU, there is greater potential for partnership with the state-of-the-art medical centers and healthcare systems in Silicon Valley to work collaboratively toward promoting a culture of excellence in evidence-based practice,” said Michelle DeCoux Hampton, program co-coordinator.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares experts in nursing practice–cultivating advanced practitioners, future educators, clinical leaders, and change agents. DNP graduates from the Northern California Consortium program are engaged in influential work across the region and state. For example, Mercy Egjubor (‘14), created a backpack medical unit to take out in the field working with the homeless population. Sharon Castellanos (‘14), created a nonprofit to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation in Hispanic neighborhoods, and Christopher Patty (‘15), led a medication safety program for the clinics in which he worked.

The SJSU DNP program is a focused, five-semester program. As an almost exclusively online program, the curriculum is designed to mesh with the busy lives of professionally active, working nurses. Each semester there is an on-campus meeting of all program students to encourage networking and provide vital program information. Students also complete 1,000 clinical hours. More information about the program and the application process can be found at

Doctor of Audiology (AuD) to begin Fall 2020
Audiologists are allied healthcare professionals who identify, diagnose, treat, and prevent hearing and balance disorders. Approximately 16 years ago, the profession of audiology moved from a master’s degree to a clinical doctoral degree as the entry for clinical practice. As a consequence of this decision, all of the state’s master’s programs in audiology that were housed in the California State University system-which constituted a majority of California’s programs-had to close since the CSU was not authorized to offer the doctoral degree at that time. These closures resulted in a critical shortage of audiologists in the state.

Almost three years ago, California Governor Jerry Brown recognized the impact of the shortage of audiologists on the hearing health of our state residents, and signed a bill to allow the CSU system to offer the AuD. “We are fortunate that SJSU’s President Mary Papazian had the vision to allow the program to move forward in developing a high-quality AuD program here at SJSU,” says Audiology faculty member June McCullough.

Doctoral students take a mixture of academic courses and clinical rotations. The courses include topics such as anatomy and physiology of the hearing and balance mechanisms, techniques for diagnosing hearing and balance disorders in children and adults, hearing aids and cochlear implants, prevention of hearing loss, testing and treating individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, and many others. Clinical rotations take place on campus as well as at hospitals and clinics in the community. The four-year program includes a research project that allows students to gain valuable experience in using evidence based practices.

The final year is a full-time externship where students are placed in a variety of clinical settings to become fully independent practitioners. Applications for the inaugural 2020 cohort will be accepted through January 2020. The AuD program is seeking students who have a background in communication disorders, health sciences, psychology, or other undergraduate degrees (there is no “prerequisite” undergraduate degree). More information on the program and the application process can be found at

Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) in Development
For over 75 years, the Department of Occupational Therapy has been educating aspiring occupational therapists. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, “occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities through effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living.”

In 2007 the profession transitioned from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree as the entry level degree for professional practice. The profession has continued to advance with a greater focus on research and evidence-based practice. The clinical doctorate in occupational therapy, or OTD, was developed to prepare occupational therapists with the clinical, leadership, and research skills needed to support the development of the profession and provide leadership in healthcare and human services. In September 2019, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 829, which authorizes the California State University to offer the OTD. With the strong support of President Mary Papazian, SJSU occupational therapy faculty members helped to shepherd the bill through the legislative process.

“The Occupational Therapy faculty are very excited about the opportunity to offer an OTD degree,” says Winifred Schultz-Krohn, Chair, Occupational Therapy. Development of the OTD curriculum is underway, and the department looks forward to admitting their first cohort of doctoral students in 2023. For more information on the occupational therapy program go to

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