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The PhD program is designed to advance the student's abilities to independently develop and carry out research projects that strive to establish the scientific basis for the prevention, evaluation and treatment of impairments, functional limitations, and disability. The curriculum is sufficiently flexible to accommodate research needs that focus on basic, applied, or clinical studies in the rehabilitation sciences. At the completion of the program graduates will be positioned to assume academic appointments that emphasize research, scholarship, and teaching. The specific objectives are listed below.

On completion of the Doctoral Program the student will:

  • Possess the theoretical and scientific knowledge to perform original research at the basic, applied or clinical level leading to scientific presentations, peer-reviewed publications, and the potential to compete for extramural funding through scientific grant writing.
  • Possess a breadth of knowledge in the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, or neuromuscular specialty areas as they relate to impairment, functional limitation, and disability.
  • Possess the theoretical and practical skills required to teach at the professional entry and advanced graduate levels within the academic community.

In order to achieve the above objectives, a PhD plan of study is developed on an individual basis between the student and the faculty adviser. A preliminary plan of study is developed within the first nine semester hours of graduate study and is submitted to the PhD Program Committee for review with recommendations to the Program director for approval. A final (official) plan of study is submitted to the Graduate College at the time of scheduling the PhD Comprehensive Examination.

To ensure desired breadth of knowledge, specific scientific area core courses are required of all students. Elective courses are selected to provide in depth study of a defined specialty focus complemented by an advanced specialty specific seminar course taken in preparation of the comprehensive examination. A minimum of 20 semester hours, excluding research, is required in the defined specialty area. Specific core tools and practicum courses are required to provide background knowledge and skill acquisition for teaching and research. Twelve semester hours of thesis research with an oral examination serves as the culminating doctoral graduate study experience.