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Overview// Coursework // Research Practicums// Preliminary Examination // Comprehensive Examination// Dissertation Examination



Students typically require 4-5 years of full time study to complete the required curriculum. The program requires a total of 60 semester credit hours (sch), consisting of 30sch of core coursework and 30sch of doctoral thesis credit. All coursework and a written preliminary examination are completed during the first two years of the program. Following an oral comprehensive examination, students complete their dissertation research and thesis examination in years 3-5.


Required core coursework includes lecture- and laboratory-based instruction in foundations of Rehabilitation Science, statistical methods and data management, scientific writing, research ethics, professional skills, and electives in the student’s primary area of specialization.


Required Coursework (30sch)​ ​
RHSC 7000 Foundations in Rehabilitation Science (2sch)
RHSC 7001 Rehabilitation Science Seminar I (1sch)
RHSC 7001 Rehabilitation Science Seminar II (1sch)
RHSC 7910 Research Practicum in Rehabilitation Science I (3sch)
RHSC 7911 Research Practicum in Rehabilitation Science II (3sch)
RHSC 7002 Professional Skills in Academia (2sch)​​
see options Biostatistics I (3-4sch)
see options Biostatistics II (3-4sch)
see options Statistics/Data Management Elective (1-3sch)
see options Scientific Writing (1-2sch)
see options Research Ethics (1sch)
see options Specialization Electives (5-8sch)
Required Doctoral Thesis Credit (30 sch)

Required Core Coursework.docRequired and Elective Course Options.doc

Research Practicums

In addition to interdisciplinary coursework, first-year graduate students will gain exposure to research opportunities in Rehabilitation Science through enrollment in two research practicums with individualized mentorship from selected program faculty. Students typically select a dissertation advisor based on their practicum experiences.   

Preliminary Examination

At the end of the first year of graduate study, students must complete a written preliminary examination to demonstrate successful progress in the program. The preliminary examination assesses core content knowledge from coursework completed in the first year (Foundations in Rehabilitation Science, Research Ethics, and Biostatistics).  

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination is administered after students complete 30sch of coursework to assess mastery of general knowledge in the field of Rehabilitation Science. The comprehensive examination is administered by a committee nominated by the student in consultation with his or her dissertation advisor, with approval from the Program Director and Graduate School Dean.

Students are required to submit a written research proposal on a topic of their choice to the Examination Committee no less than two weeks prior to their scheduled oral examination. During a subsequent oral examination, students present a 30-minute summary of their research proposal and answer questions posed by the Examination Committee. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. and then complete 30sch of doctoral thesis credit under the mentorship of an affiliated faculty member selected by the student.  

Dissertation Examination

At the completion of their graduate studies, students must prepare and submit a written dissertation describing the results of an original investigation that contributes new knowledge to the field of Rehabilitation Science.  A Dissertation Examination Committee then administers an oral examination to critically evaluate the scientific merits of the purpose, methods, and conclusions of the student’s dissertation project. The oral presentation of the student’s dissertation research is open to the public, followed by a closed examination conducted by the examining committee. Upon successful completion of the Dissertation Examination, the student is awarded a PhD degree in Rehabilitation Science.