Skip to main content
Sign In

 CU Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program

What is Rehabilitation Science?

Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge from the basic and clinical sciences to improve our understanding of human movement, physical function, and disability across the lifespan and to improve outcomes of people living with disabilities. LEARN MORE​.


More Information

Why Get a PhD?
  • Contribute to body of knowledge for rehabilitation science
  • Position self for a research career
  • At least 50% of academic faculty in physical therapy programs now must have a non-clinical doctoral degree such as a PhD
  • Watch our video on choosing a post-professional career.
Why CU?
Degree Programs
PhD Programs

Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program (RHSC) - A full-time program with complete funding

Clinical Science Doctoral Program (CLS) - A part-time non-funded program for clinicians

Joint DPT/PhD Program

For students interested in combining clinical Physical Therapy education (DPT) with research in Rehabilitation Science, we offer a joint degree program. Qualified participants spend the first two years of the program working with the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program with an offer to move directly into the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science. The program takes between 6 and 8 years and graduates receive both DPT and PhD degrees. For more information on the joint program, please contact: Kenton Owsley

DPT Program

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program (DPT) is a separate post-baccalaureate degree offered by the CU Physical Therapy designed to train physical therapists and prepare them to take the national licensure examination. This is a separate program from the PhD program. For more information about the DPT program, please visit their website here:

Colorado Lifestyle

Colorado is home to one of the fittest populations in the US. What are all these people doing to stay active and healthy? Just about any outdoor activity you can think of, including skiing, boarding, hiking, biking, kayaking, camping and climbing.

The Rocky Mountains are just minutes away and offer an amazing diversity of mountain peaks and valleys, forests and rivers, as well as old mining and ghost towns. Denver also offers outstanding diversity in culture, music, nightlife, food, art and architecture along with major professional sports teams including football, baseball, hockey, soccer and basketball.

The Denver metropolitan area boasts more days of sunshine than San Diego while staying cool and comfortable on summer evenings. In the spring and fall, Denver is particularly delightful as beautiful wildflowers and foliage abound. Winters in the city are snowy yet mild; however, if you like to participate in winter sports, a short drive into the mountains provides a wonderland of opportunities.

Helpful links:

CTRC Training Link

Who we are

CU Rehabilitation Science is comprised of core and associated faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students and research assistants with a broad background, including physical therapy, medicine, psychology, engineering, and public health, all working together to improve the lives of people who live with disabilities.

The environment is highly collaborative, with strong mentors and state of the art facilities. While in the PhD Program, students develop a wide range of skills, including research and teaching; they present nationally, learn to write grants, and publish manuscripts.


The work we do

Much of our work falls into the following related areas:
  • Clinical trials research
  • Health services research
  • Translational research
  • Mechanistic research
  • Implementation science

Rehab Sciences Video Resources


How can you join our team?

  • Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program (RHSC)
  • Clinical Science Doctoral Program (CLS)
  • Postdoctoral fellowships
  • Professional Research Assistants (PRAs)
  • DPT student research opportunities

News & Events


Dr. Stevens-Lapsley was funded to study intensive rehab in home health settings ($2.9 million)

Students receive a number of grants and published papers​

See one of our recent publications:


Dr. Cory Christiansen PT, PhD receives VA funding for home based behavior change study​.

Dr. Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley receives VA Funding for Home Health Trial

LEARN MORE​ about News & Events


© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.