Rehabilitation Sciences

Major: Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Health Science (DHSc)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 48.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.2308
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) in Rehabilitation Sciences program is designed to be an advanced doctoral degree program open to physical and occupational therapists seeking leadership roles in education and/or clinical practice. The mission of the program is to prepare these individuals to take leadership roles as educators and master clinicians in rehabilitation sciences and to promote transfer of knowledge, evidence-based practice, professional responsibility, and lifelong learning across a variety of academic and clinical settings. The curriculum includes foundation courses in the health professions, teaching, research, and the opportunity for focused study in a specialized area of clinical practice such as pediatrics, orthopedics and hand rehabilitation.

Program Delivery

Coursework is predominantly online, with onsite components arranged on preset week days or weekends during the curriculum. Most of the coursework will be offered without pre- or co-requisites to maximize students’ ability to balance their work and personal lives while completing the degree. Each student chooses an area of scholarship that matches the expertise of one of our faculty members; an arrangement that ensures optimal mentorship for the students. 

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of the DHSc program include four areas: leadership, education, scholarship, and clinical health care practice. Graduates of the Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences program will be prepared to:

  • Practice as a master clinician in an area of advanced practice through clinical decision-making that is consistent with concepts of client-centered care and current best evidence.
  • Synthesize theory, research, and health care policy relevant to individuals with movement dysfunction to promote transfer of knowledge into clinical practice.
  • Serve effectively as consultants to patients, clients, community organizations, and professional colleagues.
  • Serve effectively as educators in rehabilitation sciences in the academic, clinical, and community settings.
  • Develop and evaluate structure, tests and measures, process, and outcomes of service delivery and/or intervention through scholarship in an area of advanced practice or education.
  • Communicate information effectively through peer-reviewed professional presentations publications.

 Additional Information

For more information, visit the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences web page.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a master's or clinical doctoral professional degree in physical therapy or a related field such as MPT, MSPT, MOT, DPT, or OTD or some other master's degree for admission consideration. In addition applicants must have a current, active US or Canadian license to practice their discipline. Applicants would complete a standard graduate application including submission of the following:

  • Copy of professional license
  • College/university transcripts with minimal overall GPA of 3.0
  • GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation from advisors, supervisors, professors, or mentors
  • CV
  • Personal statement outlining career plan and topic of research interest

Degree Requirements

Foundation Courses
NHP 680Informatics in the Health Professions2.0
NHP 766Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness2.0
NHP 767Leadership & Professional Issues2.0
RSCH 758Application of Evidence to Practice2.0
Teaching Courses
NHP 760Academia for Health Professionals1.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
NHP 824Teaching Practicum I1.0
NHP 825Teaching Practicum II2.0
Research Courses
NHP 810Biostatistical Applications2.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
or RSCH 519 Introduction to Biostatistics
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
Clinical Specialization Courses12.0
Clinical Applications of Geriatric Physiology
Geriatrics I
Geriatrics II
Issues in Pediatric Health & Rehabilitation
Pediatric Decision Making
Pediatric Clinical Application
Spinal Rehabilitation
Extremity Rehabilitation
Upper Quarter Joint Pathology
Nerve Injuries of the Upper Quarter
Diseases That Affect the Hand
Selected Topics in Pediatrics
Foundations of School-based Practice
Advanced Competencies in School-based Practice
Practicum Experience3.0
Advanced Clinical Practicum
Teaching Practicum III
Leadership Practicum
Geriatrics Clinical Practicum
Research Practicum
Elective **3.0
Clinical Dissertation Courses *
NHP 818Clinical Question Development1.0
NHP 827Clinical Dissertation Research I1.0
NHP 828Clinical Dissertation Research II1.0
NHP 829Clinical Dissertation Research III1.0
Total Credits48.0

 Students must successfully complete comprehensive examination prior to enrolling in the Clinical Dissertation series


Electives may be selected from courses and practica (including independent study) within and outside the program to support the student’s plan of study.

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
NHP 767Leadership & Professional Issues2.0
RSCH 519Introduction to Biostatistics3.0
 Term Credits5.0
Term 2
NHP 766Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness2.0
RSCH 758Application of Evidence to Practice2.0
 Term Credits4.0
Term 3
NHP 680Informatics in the Health Professions2.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
 Term Credits5.0
Term 4
NHP 818Clinical Question Development1.0
NHP 824Teaching Practicum I1.0
 Term Credits2.0
Term 5
NHP 825Teaching Practicum II2.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
 Term Credits5.0
Term 6
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
Clinical concentration course4.0-5.0
 Term Credits7.0-8.0
Term 7
NHP 810Biostatistical Applications2.0
Clinical concentration course4.0-5.0
 Term Credits6.0-7.0
Term 8
NHP 760Academia for Health Professionals1.0
Clinical concentration course4.0-5.0
 Term Credits5.0-6.0
Term 9
NHP 827Clinical Dissertation Research I1.0
 Term Credits4.0
Term 10
NHP 828Clinical Dissertation Research II1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Term 11
 Term Credits3.0
Term 12
NHP 829Clinical Dissertation Research III1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Total Credit: 48.0-51.0


Teaching Facilities

The primary teaching resource for this program is supported distance learning technology. Instructional materials are provided through text, graphics, audio and video formats and are available online through a course management system 24 hours a day. The online courses are highly interactive through the use of web discussion boards, audio chat tools, and video conferencing. Program faculty share a belief that it is important to fully support distance learning students, and support will be offered via email, telephone, fax, and video-conferencing. The College of Nursing and Health Professions invests in state-of-the-art technology to foster an effective teaching and learning environment. The onsite portions of the program are held on the Center City (Health Sciences) Campus of Drexel University. The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences has two state-of-the-art dedicated teaching laboratories. 

Research Facilities

The department's research facilities include over 9,000 square feet of well-equipped research laboratory space (Biomechanics, Gait, Pediatrics, and Neuromuscular Performance Labs), with equipment including force plates, EMG, motion analysis and human performance measurement equipment. This space includes conference rooms, PhD and post doc offices and is located next door to the College's 14,000 square feet, multi-disciplinary clinical practice.

The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation also values community partners as a central part of the research resources. Many faculty and students are involved in community-based research through collaborations with CanChild Centre, 11th Street Family Health Center, and numerous pediatric hospitals, out-patient facilities, and early intervention providers. Faculty are collaborating on research projects with nationally and internationally known researchers on several multi-site funded projects.




Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty

Maria Benedetto, DPT (University of Puerto Rico; Columbia University). Associate Clinical Professor. Pediatrics, Motor learning and motor control; yoga for children; dance prevention and injury rehabilitation
Lisa Ann Chiarello, PT, PhD, PCS, FAPTA (Hahnemann University) Director, PhD and Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences and Certificate in Advanced Practice in Pediatric Rehabilitation Programs. Professor. Pediatric community-based practice; family-centered care; determinants of outcomes; and participation of children with physical disabilities.
David Ebaugh, PT, PhD (Drexel University). Clinical Professor. Identification and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal impairments associated with shoulder pain and dysfunction; differential diagnosis of shoulder problems; orthopedic examinations and interventions
Margaret Finley, PT, PhD (University of Maryland). Associate Professor. Upper extremity movement patters in persons with chronic neuromuscular disorders.
Kevin E. Gard, DPT, OCS (Temple University) Vice-Chair, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and Director, Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Associate Clinical Professor. Orthopedics; sports medicine.
Margery A. Lockard, PT, PhD (Hahnemann University). Clinical Professor. Orthopedic/musculoskeletal physical therapy; management of patients using prosthetic and orthotic devices; and anatomy and physiology.
Robert Maschi, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS (Temple University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Orthopedics, musculoskeletal disorders, lower extremity biomechanics and movement analysis
Clare Milner, PhD, FACSM (University of Leeds) Research Lab Coordinator. Associate Professor. Biomechanics of lower extremity injury, injury prevention, and rehabilitation; overuse injuries in runners; gait in people with knee pathology
Kathryn D. Mitchell, PT, DPT, NCS (Temple University) Assistant Director of Clinical Education. Assistant Clinical Professor. Adult neuromuscular rehabilitation; balance and falls in Multiple Sclerosis.
Margaret O'Neil, PT, PhD, MPH (MCP Hahnemann University; Duke University; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Associate Professor. Measurement of and interventions to improve physical activity and fitness levels and promote participation in children and youth with who are overweight/obese and those with physical disabilities (especially cerebral palsy).
Margo Orlin, PT, PhD, FAPTA (Drexel University). Associate Professor. Walking and running biomechanics and participation in children with developmental disabilities, evaluation of enhancing participation for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.
Robert J. Palisano, PT, ScD, FAPTA (Boston University). Distinguished Professor. Classification and prognosis for gross motor function in children and youth with cerebral palsy; interventions to improve activity and participation in children with physical disabilities; transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities.
Joseph A. Rubertone, MPT, PhD (West Virginia University). Associate Clinical Professor. Connectivity of vestibular nuclear complex, brain tumor imaging, and clinical studies pertaining to the effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation.
Patricia Rubertone, PT, MPT, MSW, EdD (Widener University) Director of Experiential Learning. Assistant Clinical Professor. Student learning; course design; judgment of physical therapy student clinic performance by novice vs. experienced clinical instructors.
Sheri Silfies, PT, PhD (MCP Hahnemann University) Research Lab Coordinator. Associate Professor. Identification and treatment of impairments in neuromuscular control of trunk mobility and stability in patients with low back pain, focusing on mechanism of recurrent low back pain; core control in athletes.
Sinclair A. Smith, MS, DSc (Boston University) Chair, Health Sciences. Professor. The use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and near infrared spectroscopy to non-invasively study neuromuscular metabolism in humans; creatine supplementation on mitochondrial respiration; weight training studies.
Susan Smith, PT, PhD (University of Connecticut, Texas Woman's University) Interim Chair, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and Associate Dean for Research and Health Professions Graduate Education. Associate Professor. Geriatrics: health promotion and interventions for manifestations of low bone mass; assessment of fall risk and fall prevention interventions for older adults
Sara Tomaszewski, PT, DPT, OCS (Duke University). Clinical Instructor. Orthopedics and sports physical therapy, injury prevention, and return-to-sport decision making.
Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS (Arcadia University; Temple University) Coordinator, Professional Practice Lab. Assistant Clinical Professor. Health, wellness and fitness, models for preventative physical therapy, dance medicine.
Annette Willgens, PT, EdD, PCS (Northcentral University) Director of Clinical Education. Associate Clinical Professor. Qualitative focus using phenomenology and grounded theory to explore issues in clinical education, student stress during clinical education, mindful clinical practice and pediatric topics relating to wellness and health promotion.
Glenn Williams, PT, PhD, ATC (University of Delaware) Chair, Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. Associate Professor. Neuromuscular plasticity after joint injury, orthopaedic-sports rehabilitation, human performance, post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
  • Schedule of Classes
  • All Course Descriptions
  • Co-op
  • Academic Advising
  • Admissions
  • Tuition & Fees