Rehabilitation Sciences

Major: Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 48.0 (MS); 93.0 (PhD)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.2308
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-1123

About the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Rehabilitation Sciences program is designed to prepare physical therapists and other professionals to take leadership roles as researchers and educators in rehabilitation sciences, and to conduct research that will ultimately impact the quality of life for individuals with limitations in motor function. Concentrations are offered in three areas:

Program Objectives

The PhD program prepares individuals for leadership, teaching and research roles in the profession. On completing the Doctor of Philosophy degree, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Analyze the impact of movement dysfunction from multiple perspectives, including body function, activity, and participation.
  • Analyze theory, research, and health care policy relevant to health promotion and rehabilitation to translate knowledge into clinical practice.
  • Develop and evaluate innovative  mechanisms, methods, interventions, and models of service delivery for health promotion and rehabilitation.
  • Effectively communicate information orally through professional presentations and in writing through grant proposals and publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Develop an ongoing area of research that is competitive for grant funding.
  • Apply innovative teaching methods to a wide variety of situations, including the education of physical therapists and physical therapy students.


Student and faculty advisor collaboratively design an individualized plan of study based on common research interests. Prospective students are encouraged to explore our faculty research areas and information on our PhD faculty mentors on our program website

Degree Requirements

The core curriculum includes coursework in research and teaching. Concentration courses in clinical and basic science are selected based on the student’s area of interest, objective for doctoral study, and dissertation research. Students work individually with a faculty mentor to complete the required research and teaching practica.

Requirements vary according to the student’s previous degree. Students with master’s degrees must successfully complete 48.0 credits; students with baccalaureate degrees must complete 93.0 credits. A comprehensive examination and a dissertation research project are required.The PhD degree can be completed in 3.5 to 4 years of full-time study for students who enter with a master’s or DPT degree.

Additional Information

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

Core Courses
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
RHAB 760Academia for Rehabilitation Scientists1.0
RHAB 761Foundations of Rehabilitation Research3.0
RHAB 815Scientific Inquiry and Writing3.0
RHAB 830Dissertation Research1.0-12.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 811Intermediate Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 812Interpretation of Data3.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
Concentration/Elective Course Options8.0-12.0
A minimum of 8 to 12 additional credits of courses are selected based on the student's concentration area and objectives for graduate study. Students may take courses from any concentration with the approval of their advisor and permission of the course instructor.
Biomechanics in Rehabilitation
Biomechanics in Human Movement
Introduction to Movement Science
Sensors & Transducers in Rehabilitation
Motor Control and Learning Rehabilitation
Applied Tissue Biomechanics
Issues in Pediatric Health & Rehabilitation
Evidence-Based Rehabilitation
Pediatric Decision Making
Pediatric Clinical Application
Selected Topics in Pediatrics
Geriatric Rehabilitation
Extremity Rehabilitation
Spinal Rehabilitation
Foundations in Hand Therapy
Upper Quarter Joint Pathology
Nerve Injuries of the Upper Quarter
Diseases That Affect the Hand
Work Injury Management
Foundations of School-based Practice
Advanced Competencies in School-based Practice
Additional courses (as approved) *
Practica and Independent Study
RHAB 820Independent Study1.0-4.0
RHAB 823Research Practicum1.0-6.0
RHAB 824Teaching Practicum I1.0
RHAB 825Teaching Practicum II2.0
RHAB 826Teaching Practicum III3.0
Total Credits48.0


Students also may take courses from other departments and schools in the University with approval of their advisor and permission of the course instructor.

Master of Health Sciences (MHS): 45.0 quarter credits

Master of Health Sciences

Individuals cannot enroll directly in the Master of Health Sciences in Rehabilitation Sciences program.  Requirements for the degree completion include successful completion of 45.0 credit hours concluding with a case study or a clinical project.

Upon completion of the MHS program, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Analyze the impact of injury or disease process on musculoskeletal or neuromuscular function within a specific population, including orthopedics, pediatrics, and hand rehabilitation.
  • Improve their practice through clinical decision-making that is consistent with concepts of health promotion, client-centered care and current best evidence.
  • Facilitate the transfer of health care policy and research findings into clinical practice.
  • Evaluate methods of service delivery and intervention strategies and procedures at individual and program levels.
  • Serve effectively as clinical educators and consultants to consumers and colleagues.
  • Engage in professional life-long learning and contribute to the field of rehabilitation.

Additional Information

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

Master of Health Sciences (MHS): 45.0 quarter credits

Core Requirements
RSCH 519Introduction to Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 523Methods for Health Research3.0
PTRS 721Teaching Concepts in Rehabilitation3.0
PTRS 651Applied Tissue Biomechanics3.0
PTRS 758Evidence-Based Rehabilitation4.0
PTRS 650Motor Control and Learning Rehabilitation3.0
Students select a minimum of 16-18 credits in one of the following concentrations.16.0-18.0
Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation Concentration Options
Foundations in Hand Therapy
Upper Quarter Joint Pathology
Nerve Injuries of the Upper Quarter
Diseases That Affect the Hand
Work Injury Management
Pediatrics Concentration Options *
Issues in Pediatric Health & Rehabilitation
Pediatric Decision Making
Pediatric Clinical Application
Selected Topics in Pediatrics
Orthopedics Concentration Options *
Spinal Rehabilitation
Extremity Rehabilitation
Biomechanics in Rehabilitation
Biomechanics in Human Movement
Introduction to Movement Science
Advanced Musculoskeletal Anatomy
Foundations in Hand Therapy
Upper Quarter Joint Pathology
Nerve Injuries of the Upper Quarter
Diseases That Affect the Hand
Work Injury Management
Electives *
Select at least two of the following:3.0-5.0
Teaching Practicum I
Teaching Practicum II
Teaching Practicum III
Special Topics
Independent Study
Final Project
PTRS 786MHS Final Project I1.0-2.0
PTRS 787MHS Final Project II1.0-2.0
Total Credits45.0

Additional courses (as approved). Contact the Rehabilitation Sciences Master of Health Science Program for more details.


Teaching Facilities and Resources

Most classes are held in lecture halls, classrooms, or laboratories on the Center City (Health Sciences) Campus of Drexel University. The entire campus has wireless capability for easy internet access. The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences has two state-of-the-art dedicated laboratories. Our teaching resources also include 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. Our online courses are highly interactive through the use of web discussion boards, audio chat tools, and video conferencing.


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 Colleges 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. Motor learning and motor control in pediatrics; timed ambulation; obstacle course for children with and without motor disabilities.
Lisa Ann Chiarello, PT, PhD, PCS (Hahnemann University; Ithaca College) Director, PhD Program. Professor. Models of service delivery in early intervention; parent-child relationship and the use of play; family-centered care.
David Ebaugh, PT, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Professor. Quantitative analysis of movement in patients with shoulder pathology; differential diagnosis of shoulder problems; orthopedic examinations and interventions.
Jane Fedorczyk, PT, PhD, CHT, ATC (Beaver College) Director, Post-Professional Clinical Programs. Associate Clinical Professor. Hand and upper extremity injuries related to repetitive movement including tendinopathies and nerve compression syndromes.
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.
Noel Goodstadt, DPT, OCS, CSCS (Pennsylvania State University; Hahnemann University; Temple University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Orthopedics, musculoskeletal disorders.
Jan Meiers, PT, DPT, GCS (Temple University) Assistant Director of Clinical Education. Assistant Clinical Professor. Wellness in the geriatric population.
Kathryn D. Mitchell, PT, DPT, NCS (Temple University) Assistant Director of Clinical Education. Assistant Clinical Professor. Adult neuromuscular rehabilitation, vestibular rehabilitation, and balance and falls; clinical health informatics.
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 (Drexel University) Interim Chair, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences. Associate Professor. Gait and function in children with developmental disabilities, evaluation of musculoskeletal interventions for children with cerebral palsy; enhancing participation for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.
Robert J. Palisano, PT, ScD, FAPTA (Boston University). Professor. Motor function of children with cerebral palsy, mobility and self-care in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, evaluation of therapy services in early intervention, outcomes measurement.
Deborah Rose, PT, DPT, PCS (Drexel University). Adjunct Instructor. Pediatric clinical specialist.
Patricia Rubertone, MSW, MPT (Temple University; Hahnemann University) Director of Clinical Education. Assistant Clinical Professor. Student learning; course design.
Patricia A. Shewokis, PhD (University of Georgia). Professor. Roles of cognition and motor function during motor skill learning; role of information feedback frequency on the memory of motor skills, noninvasive neural imaging techniques of functional near infrared spectroscopy(fNIR) and electroencephalograpy (EEG) and methodology and research design.
Sheri Silfies, PT, PhD (MCP Hahnemann University) Research Lab Coordinator. Associate Professor. Identification and treatment of impairments in neuromuscular control of trunk mobility and postural stability in patients with low back pain; focusing on mechanism of recurrent low back pain.
Susan Smith, PT, PhD (University of Connecticut, Texas Woman's University) Associate Dean for Research and Health Professions, Graduate Education, CNHP. Associate Professor. Health promotion and interventions for manifestations of low bone mass in women; quantitative evaluation and interventions in orthopedic physical therapy with an emphasis on spinal pain and dysfunction.
Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS (Arcadia University; Temple University) Coordinator of Experiential Learning. Assistant Clinical Professor. Health, wellness and fitness, models for preventative physical therapy.
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