Letter to Prospective Students

The mission of the Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Program is to fulfill a leadership role in addressing the rehabilitation needs of individuals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond through research, education, and service. The University of Kentucky is a comprehensive, land-grant university and is designated as a Doctoral Extensive University by the Carnegie Foundation.

The Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Program is designed to produce research and academic leaders in rehabilitation sciences for the professions of:

  • Athletic Training
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy

The University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences offers the RHB doctoral program in collaboration with Eastern Kentucky University, Murray State University, and Western Kentucky University. Our program is dedicated to the idea of interdisciplinary education, research, and service delivery. Students in the program have the unique opportunity to study with professionals from all four disciplines and take courses from faculty from all four institutions. Distance technologies are used to deliver some portions of the program, thus making it more widely accessible.

Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists, and athletic trainers who have a master’s degree and are eligible for certification or licensure in one of the disciplines may apply for admission to the program. Those with basic science graduate degrees and rehabilitation interests are also welcomed to apply and will be considered equally for admission.  Students can choose from several areas of concentration to focus their research interests depending on faculty availability and mentorship.  Acceptance into the program is dependent upon identifying and matching your area of research interest with an RHB faculty member willing to serve as your doctoral studies program mentor.  The length and content of a program of study depends upon the student’s educational background and enrollment status (full or part-time).  

Our curriculum consists of a minimum of 48 hours of course work. The curriculum includes:

  • a required core sequence of classes in rehabilitation theory and practice;
  • training in clinical and/or experimental research methodologies related to rehabilitation;
  • advanced study in specialization areas consistent with the student's discipline and research interests;
  • research apprenticeships in various labs across different fields of expertise;
  • a teaching apprenticeship; and
  • a dissertation.

Our goal is to prepare capable academicians with a broad understanding of the rehabilitation sciences, expertise in their discipline, skills to fulfill leadership responsibilities and demonstrated ability to advance knowledge through research and scholarship. Through academic, clinical, and research experiences, the program is designed to prepare graduates to conduct rehabilitation-related research, teach at the university level, direct discipline-specific educational programs, work in the rehabilitation services field, and collaborate with other professionals to provide leadership in rehabilitation and health.