Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD

Major: Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 48.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.2314
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is designed to prepare PhDs to be leaders as research scientists and educators in health and rehabilitation sciences.

Program Objectives

On completing the Doctor of Philosophy degree, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Create innovative mechanisms, methods, interventions, and approaches for service delivery for health promotion and rehabilitation
  • Establish a research agenda that will impact health and rehabilitation sciences
  • Collaborate, integrate expertise, and conduct research within interprofessional teams
  • Write research proposals that are competitive for grant funding
  • Disseminate and translate research through presentations, publications, and contemporary media
  • Teach effectively and contribute to the academic community
  • Institute a plan for continued professional development as a research scientist

Admission Requirements


Applicants must provide proof that they have earned a master’s, DPT, or other advanced degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. university or college. A degree in physical therapy is not required. Applicants from all health- or rehabilitation-related backgrounds (e.g., kinesiology, occupational therapy, exercise science, biomedical or rehabilitation engineering, etc.) are welcomed.

Standardized Tests

Submit standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). International applicants must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score.


  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency.
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions.


Submit three recommendations, including at least one from a previous supervisor and one from a mentor or advisor.

You may use our electronic letter of recommendation service.

If a recommender prefers to submit an original, hard copy letter, please remind them that it must include an ink signature and be submitted in a sealed envelope.

Personal Statement/Essay

Your essay should address the following points:

  • Introduction
    • Tell us why you want to earn a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at Drexel University.
    • What knowledge and skills do you want to learn?
    • What career path are you planning to pursue with a PhD?
  • Research Experience and Interest
    • What research experience do you have?
    • What is your research area of interest?
    • How did you become interested in this area?
    • Briefly indicate a gap in knowledge in your area of interest that might be addressed in dissertation research.
    • Based on having identified and communicated with a potential PhD mentor, how does your area of research interest match the research of one of the PhD faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences at Drexel?


An interview is required. A scholarly writing sample may be required.




Applicants with clinical degrees may be required to have a Pennsylvania license to practice depending on proposed research activities.

Clinical/Work/Volunteer Experience

For some areas of research, it is preferred that applicants with clinical degrees (PT, OT, etc.) have two years of relevant clinical experience beyond that required to complete the professional degree.

International Students

International applicants must have their transcripts evaluated and sent to us by one of the following agencies:

Degree Requirements

Core Courses
NHP 760Academia for Health Professionals2.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
RHAB 761Foundations of Health and Rehabilitation Research3.0
RHAB 830Dissertation Research6.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 811Intermediate Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
RSCH 814Intermediate Biostatistics II3.0
RSCH 815Scientific Inquiry and Writing3.0
Independent Study
Practica **9.0
Teaching Practicum
Research Practicum
Total Credits48.0

Sample Plan of Study

The 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.

First Year
RHAB 7613.0RHAB 8233.0NHP 7623.0
RSCH 7593.0RSCH 7703.0RSCH 8143.0
RSCH 8133.0RSCH 8113.0Elective3.0
 9 9 9
Second Year
NHP 7602.0NHP 8221.0NHP 8222.0
RHAB 8231.0RHAB 8231.0RHAB 8231.0
 Elective4.0RSCH 8153.0
 3 6 6
Third Year
RHAB 8301.0RHAB 8301.0RHAB 8301.0
 1 1 1
Fourth Year
RHAB 8301.0RHAB 8301.0RHAB 8301.0
 1 1 1
Total Credits 48

Note: International students are required to maintain 9.0 credits per term except for summer term.

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
Benjamin Binder-Markey, PT, DPT, PhD (Northwestern University, University of Delaware). Assistant Professor. Skeletal muscle adaptations after neural injury and effects on function
Lisa Ann Chiarello, PT, PhD, PCS, FAPTA (Hahnemann University) Director, 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.
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. Clinical Professor. Orthopedics; sports medicine.
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 Durham, University of Leeds) Director, PhD in Rehabilitation Science. Associate Professor. Biomechanics of lower extremity injury, injury prevention, and rehabilitation; overuse injuries in runners; gait in people with knee pathology
Annalisa Na, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS (University of Delaware). Assistant Research Professor. Interactions of multimorbidity diseases on functional outcomes in 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.
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.

Emeritus Faculty

Margo Orlin, PT, PhD, FAPTA (Drexel University). Associate Professor Emeritus. 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.
Patricia Rubertone, PT, MPT, MSW, EdD (Widener University) Director of Experiential Learning. Associate Clinical Professor Emerita. Student learning; course design; judgment of physical therapy student clinic performance by novice vs. experienced clinical instructors.
Susan Smith, PT, PhD (University of Connecticut, Texas Woman's University). Associate Professor and Dean Emerita. Geriatrics: health promotion and interventions for manifestations of low bone mass; assessment of fall risk and fall prevention interventions for older adults
  • Schedule of Classes
  • All Course Descriptions
  • Co-op
  • Academic Advising
  • Admissions
  • Tuition & Fees