PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science

The Ph. D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary research-focused doctoral program that will prepare students for high-impact careers in research, post-secondary education, and organizational leadership in the health disciplines (including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and public health). Students will be prepared to serve as faculty in health professions schools and colleges, and will have a range of other opportunities including working in non-governmental organizations and government agencies addressing community health problems and contributing to product development in rehabilitation/health care industries. 

The program curriculum is based on a mentorship-model of graduate education. Students who are accepted to the program will work with a specific faculty mentor or mentors. Coursework will be tailored to ensure breadth and depth of didactic learning that will provide the foundation for development of an independent research program. 

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 72 credit hours of post-baccalaureate study.  Curriculum will include foundational course work in Health and Rehabilitation Science, and core courses focused on statistics and research methodology.  Students will complete additional graduate coursework that advances their line of research and is approved by their faculty mentor(s).  Students will complete at least 15 credit hours of 8000-9000 level coursework in their research area, along with an additional 11+ mentor-directed learning, independent study credit hours in readings, problems or research.  Up to 28 credit hours of research credits may be counted towards the 72 hours minimum required, though students may take more than 28 credit hours of research to complete their research and defend their dissertation.    

Students will collaborate with their faculty mentor(s) to create a plan of study for their doctoral degree by the end of their first year in the program. The program will consist of core courses and additional coursework decided upon with their mentor.  Students will be expected to take courses from academic programs outside of their faculty mentor's home department to allow for interdisciplinary research.  Some course offered out side of Health Sciences may be offered online.

Required Core Courses
Health and Rehabilitation Science (4-6 credit hours)
HR_SCI 8440Health and Rehabilitation Science I2-3
HR_SCI 8442Health and Rehabilitation Science II2-3
Research Methodology and Statistics (12 credit hours)
SOC_WK 9150Statistical Concepts in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (or other approved course)3
SOC_WK 9300Research Methodology and Design Seminar (or other approved course)3
ESC_PS 8850Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research (or other approved course)3
Research methodology and statistics electives6
Other Course Requirements
Research Area Courses (electives)15
To include courses from within CHS and across campus, approved by faculty mentor.
HR_SCI 9100Integrated Seminar in Health, Health Care, and Economics (pending approval)3
Research Area Directed Study
HR_SCI 8001Topics in Health and Rehabilitation Science1-3
HR_SCI 8085Problems in Health and Rehabilitation Science1-3
HR_SCI 8050Research in Health and Rehabilitation Science - Non-Thesis1-99
HR_SCI 9050Research in Health and Rehabilitation Science - Non-Dissertation1-99
Thesis/Dissertation Courses (up to 28 credit hours)
HR_SCI 8090Research in Health and Rehabilitation Science (pending approval)1-99
HR_SCI 9090Doctoral Dissertation in Health and Rehabilitation Science1-99

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Qualifying Process

Comprehensive Examination Process

All students will complete a comprehensive examination at the end of required coursework and prior to conducting their dissertation research that will include written and oral sections. 

Dissertation Requirements

All students will complete a minimum of two independent research projects, including their dissertation research. Students will write a dissertation proposal that must be reviewed and approved by the student's doctoral committee and must successfully complete a doctoral dissertation focused on original research.


Admissions procedures will follow those specified by the MU Graduate School ( Candidates will be asked to specify faculty member(s) they would prefer to work with. Students will be selected for admission based on recommendations by the program faculty and with final approval by the Program Director. 

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