PhD & MPT/PhD Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) & MPT/PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

RHSC PhD & MPT/PhD students will lead independent and collaborative research in the rehabilitation sciences field. RHSC prepares trainees to become rehabilitation scholars and scientists that will hold leadership roles in academia, public health, education, and other industry-related roles. 

RHSC PhD & MPT/PhD students are required to complete both courses, research, and dissertation requirements. Students will typically spend 4-6 years completing coursework and dissertation requirements.

Download a PDF version of the RHSC PhD General Timeline here.

Please note, the forms listed in the timeline can be downloaded under the ‘Forms and Resources’ tab.

Prior to the start of the PhD & MPT/PhD Program, all RHSC students are required to complete the following onboarding items.

We recommend allocating around 5-10 hours for all the onboarding items if you are new to UBC.

RHSC PhD students are required to complete 6 credits of RHSC specific courses: RHSC 500 (2 credits), RHSC 502 (3 credits), and RHSC 530 (1 credit). PhD students are also required to register for RHSC 699 throughout the duration of their degree; including both winter and summer terms. This course has no credit value and simply maintains your student status at UBC which is important for funding, scholarships, and other student pieces on campus. 

If you wish to take additional courses, ask your supervisor and/or Dissertation committee for recommendations as registered courses should directly relate to your research or growth as a rehabilitation sciences PhD student.

PhD Course Requirements

RHSC 500 Advanced Concepts for Rehabilitation Research (2 credits)

RHSC 502 Rehabilitation Theory (3 credits)

RHSC 530 Research Proposal (1 credit)

RHSC 699* Doctoral Dissertation (0 credit)

RHSC requirements = minimum 6 credits total

*Ensure that you are registered for RHSC 699 in every term that you are completing research or your thesis to maintain student status.*

For a full list of courses, visit the RHSC Course Listings Page

Specific Information on the MPT/PhD Program can be found on the Department of Physical Therapy MPT/PhD Program page. 

Students may choose from two options to complete the MPT/PhD program based on discussion with their research supervisor. Given the emphasis on clinical research in the program, though students may enter the MPT program initially, they will be expected to maintain progress towards their PhD requirements from the outset. Similarly, if students choose to enter the MPT program in Year 3, they would still be expected to maintain PhD progress for the final three years of the Dual Degree program.

Note: The MPT program is a fixed program at 26 months in length. Therefore, the MPT 3 components in Year 5 or 3 (Option 1 or 2 above) would be completed by November of that calendar year.

Upon completion of the program (expected to take approximately 5 years), students will receive both an MPT degree and a PhD degree.

PhD course requirements for the MPT/PhD follow the same courses of those only completing a PhD. MPT curriculum can be viewed on the Physical Therapy Curriculum Page.

RHSC PhD & MPT/PhD students are expected to excel in the following upon completing the program:

  • Prepare students to conduct independent and collaborative research in the discipline of rehabilitation sciences.
  • Facilitate students to conduct significant and original research which will contribute to the body of evidence-based rehabilitation practice.
  • Enhance the links between theoretical advances and practice through the development of the conceptual knowledge base of rehabilitation.
  • Develop leaders in rehabilitation research who can initiate and complete original, innovative and effective rehabilitation treatments.

PhD &MPT/PhD students are highly encouraged to read the Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences Student Handbook in depth to understand the entire academic process. The PhD program can be divided into two components: “Pre-Candidacy” and “PhD Candidate”. 

Pre-Candidacy Requirements
(must be completed within 36 months)

  • Form a PhD Supervisory Committee
  • Form a PhD Examination Committee
  • Complete RHSC Course Requirements
  • Complete a Comprehensive Exam (Written and Oral component)
  • Complete and Defend a PhD Dissertation Proposal

PhD Candidate Requirements

  • Complete and Defend a PhD Dissertation

Specific forms that need to be completed through the duration of the PhD & MPT/PhD programs can be found on the Student Forms and Resources page.

Please refer to the RHSC Student Handbook for detailed information regarding program requirements. If you are unable to find what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to the RHSC Program Assistant at

Download: RHSC Graduate Student Handbook