Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science Ph.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Overview

The Ph.D. program in Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science is translational in nature focusing on understanding the spectrum of human functioning from the basic physiological function of cells and body systems to overall physical capability and unified by the common theme of human motor performance. The program is designed to consider health at three levels: 1) status of body structures and functions (molecular, cellular, and organ systems levels); 2) ability of the individual to participate in human activities and assume societal roles; and, 3) physical and social aspects of the environment that support the health of individuals and populations. Study of abnormal functioning and the related activity impairments and participation restrictions can lead directly to improvements in the physical, psychological, and social health of people with disabling health conditions. In addition, changes in physiological function at the molecular, cell, organ and systems level; motor control; language production and understanding; social cognition; and participation in physical activity often coincide in persons with disabling health conditions. This interprofessional doctoral program will facilitate the generation of new knowledge by providing an academic training platform for research collaboration across the professional health disciplines represented by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS).

Doctoral student preparation considers three central principles:  

1. Educating students as researchers and scientists, including how to contribute to evidence-based practice.

2. Fostering in students an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, and practice.

3. Engaging students in innovative instruction and assessment that is inter-professional and aligns with changes in delivery of health and human services.

Specific Requirements

REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION TO GRADUATE STUDIES FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

Students with at least a master’s degree or the equivalent in a health-related field (e.g., kinesiology, exercise physiology, exercise science, movement sciences, communication sciences and disorders, rehabilitation science, nursing, biomedical science, laboratory science, etc.) may apply.  Evaluations will be based upon the applicant’s grade point average, scores on the Graduate Record Exam (strongly recommended but not required), previous research experience, a statement of purpose for graduate study, and letters of reference. In rare circumstances students with a bachelor of science degree showing exceptional promise as evidenced by their previous research experience, mentor recommendations, undergraduate GPA, and GRE scores (required in this case) will be considered.

MINIMUM DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

For students entering with a prior graduate degree in a relevant field, the Ph.D. in Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science requires 76 credits, 32 of which are required course credits  and  20 of which are required research credits. The remaining 24 credits are elective, 12 of which may transfer in from the prior degree. Students must maintain a 3.0 average in coursework, have no more than one grade below a B, have acceptable evaluations of their research, and pass their qualifying examination. Students will be required to teach in at least one course under the mentorship of a faculty member or serve as a teaching assistant for at least one course and mentor/co-mentor an undergraduate or master’s degree research project. The dissertation will be based on original research focusing on a significant problem in the student's area of specialization with an interprofessional application. Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, each student will use a format consisting of three publishable papers (at least one of which has been submitted for publication) for which they are first author, with integrated introduction and conclusion chapters.

Students are required to take the following courses:

CTS 301Design Clin&Translational Res3
CTS 310Conduct Clin&Translational Res3
CTS 315Report Clin&Translational Res3
CTS 320Analyze Clin&Translational Res3
CTS 325Multi Analysis Clin&Trans Res3
EDLP 409Applied Educational Research3
HFRS 401Topics & Measurement in HFRS3
HFRS 402Applying the ICF Model to HFRS3
HFRS 430Sem/Pract Teach & Learn HFRS3
HFRS 450Prof Writing & Grantsmanship2
HFRS 491Doctoral Dissertation Research20
PH 301Public Health & Health Policy3
Elective courses related to Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science (face to face, online, evening)12
Students coming into the program with a graduate degree will transfer in 12 credits from their prior degree12
Total Credits76
Students coming into the program with an undergraduate degree will need to earn an additional 12 credits of elective courses, for a total of 88 credits.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

The qualifying examination process (QE), which serves as a comprehensive exam and the exam for advancement to candidacy for the PhD, will be undertaken after students have completed all of the didactic course requirements of the program with a GPA of 3.0 or better. This exam process will consist of two portions, a research proposal written in the form of a grant proposal and an oral defense of this proposal, and a dissertation concept paper.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

Doctoral candidacy is achieved after the student passes a formal proposal defense. After approval of the concept paper, the student works on the formal dissertation proposal, and, with guidance from his/her dissertation chair, schedules a date with the committee for the formal proposal defense.