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This interdisciplinary program educates students to understand the causes, course, and consequences of disability, and to perform integrated research on how to optimize human function and performance in daily life. This program prepares students in basic and translational science that address mechanisms, prevention and amelioration of disability. The objective of the program is to develop researchers and academics who, through their scholarship and original research, create new knowledge in rehabilitation science. Graduates of this program are prepared for professional careers in academic, governmental, and industrial research environments.


Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to be considered. Admission to the program is competitive, and a variety of criteria are evaluated in the admissions process, including the strength of the undergraduate record and any post-baccalaureate coursework, GRE scores, career goals statement, letters of recommendation, professional and/or volunteer experience, evidence of the ability to write and conduct research at the graduate level, and any additional evidence of potential success in the program. Applicants are encouraged to contact the department faculty prior to applying to discuss their interest. Preference will be given to full-time applicants, and interviews may be required by the faculty admissions committee. Information regarding CHHS application guidelines and requirements can be found online. Meeting the minimum application criteria does not guarantee admission.

Applications are considered for the fall semester only. For application deadlines and detailed application requirements, please refer to the CHHS Admissions website. Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis. The online Application for Graduate Admissions can be found through the Office of Admissions.


Transfer of Credit

Transfer credit is governed by AP.6.5.3 Transfer of Credit PolicyAP.6.10 Requirements for Doctoral Degrees, and must be approved by the program director and the dean. Students who enroll initially through non-degree studies should seek course advising through the department prior to taking a course and must submit their application to the PhD program in their first semester of study.

Reduction of Credit

Students must complete a minimum of 72 graduate credits. A maximum of 30 credits may be waived in the PhD program based on a previously earned graduate degree. Credit for prior graduate course work will be reviewed and awarded on a course-by-course basis.

Time Requirements

Students must complete all requirements for the PhD in Rehabilitation Science within 9 calendar years from the time of first enrollment as a doctoral student in the program or with provisional status. PhD students are expected to progress steadily toward their degree and to complete all course work and the written exam in order to advance to candidacy within no more than 6 years.

Program Requirements

To complete the PhD in Rehabilitation Science, students must:

  • Complete the program of study outlined in the PhD curriculum.
  • Pass the written comprehensive exam and the oral examination in the area of specialization. After successful completion of the written comprehensive examination and the oral examination in the area of specialization, the student will be advanced to candidacy and may seek approval of a dissertation proposal.
  • Pass the final oral dissertation defense and submit a doctoral dissertation approved by the doctoral dissertation committee and the Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science (the dissertation must be submitted in the approved format of the doctoral program).
  • Complete application material for graduation in accordance with prevailing university policies.

Banner Code: HH-PHD-RHBS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 72

The PhD in Rehabilitation Science program consists of the following categories of courses:

Foundation Courses30
Specialization Courses15
Dissertation Preparation and Completion Courses12
Total Credits72

Foundational Courses

RHBS 606Clinical Exercise Physiology3
RHBS 620Psychosocial Aspects of Rehabilitation3
RHBS 650Foundations of Rehabilitation Science3
RHBS 651Research Design and Methods I3
RHBS 652Research Design and Methods II3
RHBS 710Applied Physiology I3
RHBS 711Applied Physiology II3
RHBS 720Principles of Clinical Trials3
RHBS 746Movement Control and Learning3
RHBS 816Rehabilitation Efficacy and Effectiveness Research3
Total Credits30

Specialization Courses

Specializations include:

  • Human Movement and Function
  • Clinical Exercise and Applied Physiology

Students select courses with the approval of their advisors. At least 9 credits must be taken in RHBS courses.

Complete 15 credits of specialization courses15
Specialization courses offered through the department are:
Clinical Assessment of Fatigability
Applied Physiology: Cardiorespiratory
Metabolic Basis of Disability
Physiology of Clinical Exercise Interventions
Movement Disorders: Etiology, Assessment, and Analyses
Applied Biomechanics in Rehabilitation
Movement Analysis of Function
Teaching Practicum


Students will complete 15 hours of elective course work, in consultation with their advisors. Electives can be a combination of additional RHBS credits and approved courses from other programs.15

Dissertation Preparation and Completion Courses

Candidates must complete a minimum of 12 credits combined of doctoral proposal (RHBS 998) and doctoral dissertation research (RHBS 999). Initial enrollment in RHBS 998 requires three hours (afterwards only one hour is required until enrollment in RHBS 999) while three hours of RHBS 999 is required each semester until the minimum 12 hours of dissertation credit is completed.

Complete at least 12 credits of the following:12
Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation Research