Program Information Sheet

Thank you for your interest in the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences PhD (RHB-PhD) program at the University of Kentucky.  My name is Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD, and I am the Director of the RHB-PhD program.  Let me provide you with a brief introduction and description of our graduate program in Rehabilitation and Health Sciences. The RHB-PhD program is designed to produce leaders in Rehabilitation and Health Sciences for the professions of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Athletic Training, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistants, as well as Exercise Physiology, Respiratory Therapy and Music Therapy. Our goal is to prepare academic leaders with the ability to advance knowledge through research and scholarship, with broad understanding of the rehabilitation and health sciences, expertise in their discipline, and skills to fulfill leadership responsibilities. Through research and academic experiences, the program is designed to prepare graduates to conduct rehabilitation and health-related research, teach at the university level, direct discipline-specific educational programs, and collaborate with other professionals to provide leadership in rehabilitation and health sciences.

The RHB-PhD program offers a unique multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional emphasis. Students will study with professionals from all disciplines and course work is offered by faculty members from three institutions within the Commonwealth of Kentucky: University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University.  Our program is dedicated to the idea of interdisciplinary research, education and service delivery. Core courses may be taken at the participating universities and at other sites throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky through live interactive television with the UK campus in Lexington.  While distance learning is widely used for course work, the program cannot be completed through distance education only and no dys-synchronous online classes are available. 

With regard to admissions requirements, students must hold a professional or post-professional Master’s degree. Eligibility for licensure or clinical certification in Communication Disorders, Athletic Training, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, or Physical Therapy is encouraged, but not required for admission into the program. Those with basic science graduate degrees and interests are also welcomed and encouraged to apply and will be considered equally for admission on a case by case basis. 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 44 hours of course work, including dissertation hours. The curriculum includes:

  • a required core sequence of classes in rehabilitation and health theory and research;
  • training in clinical and/or experimental research methodologies;
  • 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.

We follow a Fall semester admission guideline, except under special circumstances for students. For international students, a Fall start date is required by the Graduate School. All applications for graduate study at the University of Kentucky Graduate School must be submitted on-line through the graduate school website.  The website to access the needed forms and begin your application is:

This website also has important information for international students with regard to mandatory English language proficiencies (TOEFL and IELST). 

Please note: The application deadline for international students is March 15th and the deadline for domestic students is June 1st for Fall admission.

We have teaching assistantships available, but they are on a competitive basis and will only be awarded when positions are open. Please inquire about teaching assistantships with Dr. Dupont-Versteegden (

If you have questions regarding the RHB-PhD program or application process, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail. As Director of the RHB-PhD program I will be your point person regarding application procedures and RHB program requirements. Thank you again for your interest in our graduate program.


Esther E. Dupont-Versteegden, Ph.D.