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The mission of the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science is to advance the frontiers of knowledge underlying the practice of rehabilitation disciplines and professions through research, teaching, and professional development.
The PhD is an interdisciplinary degree. Students enter the program through the following SHRS Departments or Programs – Health Information Management, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and Sports Medicine.
Graduates of this program will have a specific area of expertise in rehabilitation science as well as a core of interdisciplinary knowledge related to this specific area. They will become the researchers, scholars, teachers, thinkers, and planners in the demanding and changing field of rehabilitation science.
The primary goals of PhD program in Rehabilitation Science are to:
- Provide core content in theories and models of rehabilitation, disability and/or assistive technology that underpin rehabilitation science
- Provide in-depth, state of the science, content in basic, clinical, social, medical and/or engineering sciences that support the dissertation research
- Provide mentorship opportunities for immersion in rehabilitation science research laboratories, projects, and/or ongoing studies
- Prepare students to conduct and disseminate original research that will advance rehabilitation science
- Promote interdisciplinary research in preparation for becoming a research team member
- Promote knowledge, behaviors and skills consistent with the responsible conduct of research
- Provide opportunities to teach content in an area of expertise
A minimum of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree level is required. Up to 30 credits taken at the graduate level towards a master’s degree may be accepted for transfer. Some areas of focus within the PhD curriculum may require more than 72 credits.
The following courses and credit hours are required as part of the 72 credits:
- HRS 3000 Doctoral Seminars (4) 4 credits
- HRS 3001 Dissertation Research 18 credits
- HRS 3002 Methods of Inquiry for Rehabilitation Scientists I* 1 credit
- HRS 3003 Core Concepts in Disability and Rehabilitation I* 2 credits
- HRS 3004 Methods of Inquiry for Rehabilitation Scientists II* 1 credit
- HRS 3005 Core Concepts in Disability and Rehabilitation II* 2 credits
- Content in the areas of research design and statistics* 9 credits
- *Courses in chosen content expertise (credits to be arranged with advisor)
All PhD students are expected to show competency in two Core Areas plus competency in statistics and research methodology through the successful completion of a Preliminary Examination, offered in May of each year. The two Core Areas are Methods of Inquiry for Rehabilitation Scientists and Core Concepts of Disability and Rehabilitation. The sequence of Core Courses (Methods of Inquiry for Rehabilitation Scientists I, II; Core Concepts in Disability and Rehabilitation I, II) begins in the Fall term (I) and continues through the Spring term (II), and is usually taken in the first year of the PhD program.
Upon successful completion of the Methods of Inquiry Courses, and the Core Concepts Courses the next milestone is the Preliminary Examination, covering content from the * courses.
Upon successful completion of the Preliminary Examination, students will finish taking courses in their chosen area of expertise in preparation for the next milestone, the Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination (written and oral) consists of questions in the following areas:
- Basic sciences, clinical sciences, social sciences, etc.
- Experimental methods, research design.
Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination, the next milestone is the Dissertation Proposal Defense, in which students propose the mentored research study they will pursue. The final milestone is the Dissertation Defense.
- Applicants should have a strong interest in rehabilitation research as well as a master’s degree in an area related to rehabilitation science. The exceptional student with a bachelor’s degree, six or more credits of graduate course work, and compelling clinical/research experience in rehabilitation science will be considered.
- Resources, including research mentors, must be available to enable the student to engage in a plan of study and research in the student’s major area of interest in rehabilitation research. Therefore, it is important that there is a match between the research interests of an applicant and an SHRS Rehabilitation Science graduate faculty member.
- Successful applicants will have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale) in all college work; minimum scores at the 50th percentile on the revised verbal and quantitative GRE® revised General Test, and a minimum score of 3.5 on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE® revised. Students for whom English is a foreign language must have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet), 600 (paper); or Band 7.0 on the IELTS (reading and writing modules).
- Completed SHRS online application form
- An essay stating career goals, specific research interests and experience, and clinical interests and experience
- Three to five academic or work related letters of recommendation (at least one academic reference must be included as well as a letter of support from the identified Research Mentor)
- A résumé, including work history, formal education, continuing education, licensing and certification, professional organizations, honors and awards, publications, presentations, and grants
- Transcripts from all colleges attended
- At least one example of written work (class project, course assignment, publication for which candidate is first author, etc.)