PhD in Health & Rehabilitation Science


The Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary program with concentrations in Pathology and Impairment, Functional Limitations, and Health Services. The concentration areas encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between students and faculty and train team scientists to approach complex disorders and conditions from a cross-discipline and cross-system perspective. The doctoral program fits the conceptual framework established by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and strategic initiatives set forth by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Graduates of the Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science will become the scholars, researchers, program directors and educators who advance the body of knowledge about health and rehabilitation sciences.

The interdisciplinary nature of the program emphasizes curriculum and research that center around function, factors, and interventions that disable or enable people. Qualified students may enter the program with a bachelor’s or graduate degree from several health-related areas such as, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, audiology, medicine, occupational therapy, exercise science, health administration, public health, biology or engineering.

Within MUSC, the College of Health Professions (CHP) collaborates with the College of Graduate Studies (CGS). Students have the opportunity to take courses with peers from other basic and translational research-based master and doctoral programs at MUSC. The relationship with CGS greatly increases the number of potential faculty mentors and advisors for students and enhances the program’s ability to partner and collaborate with other disciplines critical to the study of rehabilitation science.


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 or or Natalie Plaehn at (843) 792-5578 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: