PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences


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PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences


The PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the MGH Institute of Health Professions is designed for clinically certified health care professionals who wish to acquire the advanced knowledge and skills to conduct clinical research with an emphasis on assessing clinical outcomes in rehabilitation. Please request information to learn more about the PhD program.

Graduates from the program are well prepared to pursue a research-oriented career in academic, research, and/or health care settings. 

One of fewer than 20 such programs in the country, the MGH Institute program provides students the opportunity to work with internationally renowned experts in the heart of the U.S. medical community.

A hallmark of the program is the interdisciplinary composition of its faculty, curriculum, and student body. Students come from a mix of rehabilitation-related disciplines, including but not limited to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation nursing, and/or physiatry/rehabilitation medicine.

The focus on outcomes research and the interdisciplinary structure of the program are well-aligned with national priorities in health care and rehabilitation (e.g., NIH Roadmap) which increasingly emphasize evidence-based practice and interdisciplinary approaches to patient management and research. 

The PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences Program

The PhD program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions takes full advantage of its affiliation with Partners HealthCare for academic and clinical support, and access to facilities and patient populations for research.

Through Partners the program has close connections with a number of world-renowned hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

The program's interdisciplinary faculty includes leaders in rehabilitation from across the departments at the MGH Institute as well as adjunct faculty members who are eminent researchers at leading academic institutions in the Boston area including Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Northeastern University. Review the PhD program faculty.

The program is housed within the Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation at the MGH Institute. The Program Director is Robert E. Hillman, PhD, CCC-SLP.

Dr. Hillman is also Co-Director and Research Director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts General Hospital; and Professor of Surgery and a member of the Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology faculty at Harvard Medical School.

The program is based on the integration of core knowledge/concepts across the multiple disciplines that are associated with rehabilitation sciences (e.g., models of disability), coupled with the acquisition of basic research skills and tools, and specialization within specific areas of rehabilitation.

Graduates of the program will be capable of conducting research that contributes new knowledge about the development, identification and treatment of selected disabilities, leading to improved rehabilitation outcomes for disabled individuals.

The program also emphasizes the development of skills for obtaining research support (e.g., research grant preparation), and for effective dissemination of knowledge in rehabilitation sciences (e.g., courses in teaching and learning with mentored classroom experiences, preparation and submission of peer-reviewed publications, etc.).

See Curriculum Outline: PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

Student Financial Aid

Full tuition scholarships for courses at the MGH Institute of Health Professions are available for up to six qualified students each year. When needed, the program will also assist students in finding Fellowships or Assistantships to help defray living expenses.

The MGH Institute Financial Aid Office also offers information on a wide array of financial aid options for students.


To qualify for admission prospective students must be clinically certified and/or licensed in a rehabilitation field (e.g. physical or occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation nursing, physiatry, etc).

In addition to the requirement for clinical certification, admission decisions are based on grade point averages (undergraduate and graduate), a written personal statement, written recommendations from former professors/clinical supervisors/colleagues, score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and personal interview.

We will accept applications on a rolling basis, with application review beginning on February 1, 2016. We will continue to accept new applications after February 1, 2016, but only until the class is filled.


For questions or more information, please:


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PhD Program FAQ

View answers to frequently asked questions about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program.



Policies & Procedures

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