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 aim of the program is to prepare physical and occupational therapists to be leaders in Rehabilitation Sciences by acquiring skills and educators, members of research teams and advocates for best practice. The curriculum includes foundation courses in the health professions, teaching, and research.

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. 


 Graduates of the Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences program will be prepared to:

  • Assume leadership positions in professional, academic, clinical and/or community organizations.
  • Educate students and practitioners in rehabilitation sciences in academic, clinical, and community organizations.
  • Consult with consumer groups and organizations to create interprofessional partnerships to foster healthy communities.
  • Contribute to and disseminate scholarship for transfer of knowledge in the rehabilitation sciences to promote best practice and quality education.

 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 Professions3.0
NHP 766Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness3.0
NHP 767Leadership & Professional Issues3.0
RHAB 768Advancing the Practice of Rehabilitation3.0
RSCH 758Application of Evidence to Practice3.0
RSCH 741Foundations in Scholarly Inquiry & Writing3.0
Teaching Courses
NHP 760Academia for Health Professionals1.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
NHP 822Teaching Practicum3.0
Research Courses
NHP 810Biostatistical Applications2.0
RSCH 519Introduction to Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
Elective Practicum Experience2.0
Teaching Practicum
Leadership Practicum
Research Practicum
Additional Elective Option3.0
An Elective may be selected from courses and practica (including independent study) within and outside the program to support the student's plan of study.
Scholarship Experience *
NHP 818Scholarship Question Development1.0
NHP 827Scholarship I2.0
NHP 828Scholarship II2.0
NHP 829Scholarship III2.0
Total Credits48.0

 Students must successfully complete comprehensive examination prior to enrolling in the Scholarship Experience series

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
NHP 767Leadership & Professional Issues3.0
RSCH 519Introduction to Biostatistics3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 2
RSCH 758Application of Evidence to Practice3.0
RSCH 741Foundations in Scholarly Inquiry & Writing3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 3
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
RHAB 768Advancing the Practice of Rehabilitation3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 4
NHP 818Scholarship Question Development1.0
NHP 822Teaching Practicum1.0
 Term Credits2.0
Term 5
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
NHP 822Teaching Practicum2.0
 Term Credits5.0
Term 6
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
NHP 766Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 7
NHP 810Biostatistical Applications2.0
NHP 680Informatics in the Health Professions3.0
 Term Credits5.0
Term 8
NHP 760Academia for Health Professionals1.0
Elective Practicum Experience2.0
 Term Credits3.0
Term 9
NHP 827Scholarship I1.0
 Term Credits4.0
Term 10
RHAB 827Clinical Dissertation Research I1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Term 11
NHP 828Scholarship II2.0
 Term Credits2.0
Term 12
NHP 829Scholarship III1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Term 13
NHP 829Scholarship III1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Total Credit: 48.0


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, FAPTA (Hahnemann University) Director, PhD and Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences and Associate Director of Center for Family Intervention Science. 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, PT, 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.
Noel Goodstadt, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS (MCP Hahnemann University; Temple University) Director of Residency Programs. Associate Clinical Professor. Orthopedic care of shoulder, knee and spine, residency training.
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). Associate 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. Associate Clinical Professor. Adult neurologic rehabilitation; vestibular rehabilitation/concussion; 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. . Identification of psychometrically sound objective physical activity measures for use as outcomes in activity-based physical therapy interventions for children with chronic conditions (obesity) and those with physical disabilities (especially cerebral palsy) and designing flexible active video games to improve access and participation and increase fitness, physical activity, and functional mobility in youth with physical disabilities.
Robert J. Palisano, PT, ScD, FAPTA (Boston University) Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing and Health Professions. Distinguished University 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.
Sheri Silfies, PT, PhD (MCP Hahnemann University). 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.
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. Associate Clinical Professor. Health and wellness in underserved populations, chronic care management, chronic pain.
Annette Willgens, PT, EdD, PCS (Northcentral University) Director of Clinical Education. Associate Clinical Professor. Qualitative and mixed methods research focus using survey data, phenomenology, and grounded theory to explore issues in clinical education including self-care and stress management. She is a yoga, mindfulness, and reiki practitioner. She teaches in the pediatrics and functional mobility courses as well as developing integrated clinical experiences during each term.
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.
Patricia Rubertone, PT, MPT, MSW, EdD (Widener University). Associate Professor Emeritus. 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, College of Nursing and Health Professions. Geriatrics: health promotion and interventions for manifestations of low bone mass; assessment of fall risk and fall prevention interventions for older adults
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