What to Expect

Our PhD program is an advisor-driven program, which means that you’ll decide on your courses with guidance from your primary advisor.

The program requires 96 hours past the baccalaureate, including:

  • At least 24 credit hours of 400- and 500-level
  • A minimum of 9 credit hours of 500-level courses that must be letter-graded courses (A to F)—not project, thesis, or independent study, or seminar courses that are graded Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U)
  • At least 32 hours of AHS 599 PhD Thesis Research

We also expect all PhD students to participate on some level in the teaching programs at AHS.


  • Rehabilitation sciences courses: 22-28 hours
    • At least two theoretical courses: 6-8 hours
    • At least two statistical and data analysis courses: 6-9 hours
    • At least three methodological courses: 9-10 hours
  • Minimum of 18 hours of electives from within the college
  • Additional electives to reach 96 total hours

Preliminary exam

All students take a preliminary examination prepared individually by an examination committee.​ This exam evaluates your knowledge of the broad area of rehabilitation sciences, as well as your specific content area, after you’ve completed your coursework and are getting ready to start preparing your dissertation.

This exam is generally taken during the third or fourth year, at least one year before your anticipated dissertation defense.


You’ll need to complete a dissertation. The proposal for your dissertation has to be defended in written and oral form before your dissertation committee. The dissertation itself must be defended at a public session before the dissertation committee and other members of the academic community.