DPT/PhD Joint Degree

Our joint degree program offers an opportunity to combine their entry-level Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) preparation and their PhD preparation in Rehabilitation Sciences.

The DPT/PhD program allows for up to 18 credits of DPT course work to be applied to the PhD course requirements, but distinct learning processes are still retained and required for each degree. The program also allows for extension of research experience in a focused area across the time period of the two programs. It is important to note that this program will only be appropriate for a select few students with focused career goals in research and teaching, and it does not allow completion of two degrees in the time frame for one.


Interested students must first be admitted to the DPT Program. In the first year of the DPT program, students can be approved for lab rotations working with mutually agreed upon research faculty. The experiences are designed to give the student and potential advisor an opportunity to work together and determine if there is a good match for the student in that lab. Upon successful completion of lab rotations (generally after year 1 of the DPT program), students apply to the Rehabilitation Science (PhD) Program. If accepted, joint degree students can register for courses that are considered as credit for both doctoral programs.

After completion of the full 3 year DPT Program, which includes all clinical internships, students continue in a full-time capacity in pursuit of the RSC PhD. The length of this phase is variable, but will likely require an estimated 3 years of further full-time study. The full DPT/PhD is expected to be completed in 6 years, whereas completing both degrees independently will take a student a minimum of 8 years. 


No funding stipend or tuition remission is currently guaranteed for students in the DPT phase of the joint degree Program. Once beginning the PhD phase of the program, students will be eligible for TA (teaching assistant) or RA (research assistant) appointments. These appointments include a stipend and tuition remission.

Ideal candidates

Ideal candidates will be passionate about a lifetime career in rehabilitation research and have previous experience in undergraduate research. Successful candidates will likely have undergraduate and DPT pre-requisite GPAs above the mean of DPT students (3.6)