PhD in Health & Rehabilitation Science

Heather Shaw Bonilha, Ph.D., Co-Director
Annie Simpson, Ph.D., Co-Director

The Doctoral Program in Health and Rehabilitation Science will uniquely position graduates for independent and team investigation of complex health issues and rehabilitation disorders that translate from the laboratory to the clinic and the community. Graduates will be researchers, clinician scholars, educators and administrators who lead interdisciplinary teams to optimize the health and rehabilitation outcomes of patients through investigations using innovative methods and cutting-edge technology.

The three tracks of our program, Pathology and Impairment, Functional Limitations, and Health Service, allow our graduates to address health and rehabilitation questions across all levels of the translational continuum and domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The core courses permit students to develop their specialized research interests and mentored science from a strong foundation in health and rehabilitation theory, pedagogy, research design, statistics, grant writing, ethics and diversity. The concentration courses, laboratory rotations, independent studies, electives, and dissertation provide a comprehensive education experience through a combination of classroom and individualized learning and laboratory research experiences.

Qualified students may enter the program with a background in a variety of health-related areas such as, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, audiology, medicine, occupational therapy, exercise science, health administration, public health, biology or engineering.



The program enrolls students once a year in the fall semester who meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate the likelihood of success in the Ph.D. program and research career based on previous academic work and relevant professional experience.
  • Demonstrate potential for a successful pairing with a faculty mentor and mentorship team conducting research in the student’s area of interest. Prospective students are encouraged to investigate this potential prior to submitting an application.

To determine the likelihood of success, the admissions committee will review:

  • Baccalaureate or graduate degree in a relevant discipline or first professional degree (such as DPT, OT, SLP)
  • Grade-point average in prior academic work (3.0 minimum required)
  • Personal Statement
  • Professional experiences in the discipline
  • Letters of professional and academic reference
  • Scores on the Graduate Record Exam

Strong candidates will be invited to interview.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the program, please contact Becca Barry at (843) 792-5323 or Visit us at

Application Checklist

  1. Complete the appropriate Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science application: 

    ·         Post-Baccalaureate Application: for applicants seeking entry with              an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of study.

    ·         Post-Masters Application: for applicants seeking entry after                         completion of a graduate or professional degree (such as MHA, MPH,            DPT, OT, SLP). 

  2. Submit three (3) recommendations from professionals and/or academics who are familiar with your research aptitude. It is recommended that at least two come from doctorally prepared faculty who have taught you in relevant coursework and can assess the likelihood of your academic and research success in a PhD program.
  3. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results. School code 5407, no department code. (View official results)
  4. Personal Statement
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Mentor-Match Agreement Form (provided in application)
  7. Submit official transcripts from previous colleges/universities.
  8. Foreign Institutions – Academic records from foreign institutions must be provided in English and must be certified or validated as true by a university or government official. International transcripts must be evaluated & officially submitted by professional agencies and show the equivalency of work completed outside the United States.
    The following websites provide more information about professional transcript evaluation agencies:

    * More Information for International Students is available and should be reviewed prior to applying.

Please note: All above information must be received before an admission decision can be made. It is the applicant's responsibility to review the status of his/her application by visiting the Application Progress Portal.

International Applicants

The Health & Rehabilitation Science PhD Post-Master’s program is unable to admit international students requiring an F-1 visa, at this time. Applications will only be accepted from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or those holding other valid nonimmigrant visa classifications that allow participation in lawful study while in the United States.

MUSC’s Health & Rehabilitation Science PhD Post-Baccalaureate program can admit international students requiring an F-1 visa. * More Information forInternational Students is available and should be reviewed prior to applying.

Application Deadlines

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Fall 2021 Regular July 1, 2020 February 28, 2021

In addition to the application, there are supplemental materials that need to be submitted by the application deadline. Please visit this website for more details: