Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program

Become an RSD student

Housed within the Department of Physical Therapy, the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program provides graduate students with access to world-class rehabilitation science researchers, a wide variety of seminars, and coursework that can be tailored to specific interests.

Russel Hepple, Professor of Physical Therapy and Muscle Biology, Department of Physical Therapy

Rehabilitation science is a diverse and expanding discipline that encompasses both basic and applied aspects of health science and services, the social sciences, and engineering as they relate to restoring human functional capacity and improving a person’s interaction with the surrounding environment.

Most physical therapists interested in the Rehabilitation Science PhD Program (RSD) participate in the neuromuscular plasticity track offered as one of the disciplines within the degree. Movement science, the study of human movement and postural control, serves as the foundation for the development of evidence-based rehabilitation practices, and reflects the converging knowledge from multiple disciplines.

These disciplines include motor control and learning, anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, muscle physiology, neurophysiology, and neuroscience. The aim of the research in the neuromuscular plasticity track is to develop scientifically-based assessment and treatment strategies to promote:

  • Maintenance of movement
  • Restoration of movement
  • Compensation for movement loss or dysfunction, secondary to the consequences of aging, injury, disease, or developmental disorders

To learn more about the two tracks and emphasis area offered in the Rehabilitation Science PhD program, please review the following areas of vital importance to the field of rehabilitation: