Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program

The mission of the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program is to discover and disseminate rehabilitation knowledge and improve the quality of life, participation, health, performance and well-being of people in Minnesota and throughout the world. Our mission further encompasses the cultivation of premier leaders and researchers in academia, industry and clinical environments to transform the science and practice of rehabilitation.


Welcome to the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. Our interdisciplinary program was established in 1997 to provide a high quality educational experience to train future researchers to meet the growing demand for scientists and faculty in rehabilitation science. Students come to our program with backgrounds in physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology, biomedical engineering, and a variety of other biology and health care educations.

From its inception, the program’s philosophy has been to provide students with a strong foundation in research methodology; a concentrated educational and research experience tailored toward each student’s specific area of interest in rehabilitation science; and a working knowledge of the importance of a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to the scientific process.

The scientific basis of rehabilitation practice is at an important crossroad in health care, requiring scientifically-based and specifically-targeted approaches to maximize treatment effectiveness and minimize progression of dysfunction. It is therefore a goal of the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program to train students for research careers as scientists investigating the basic mechanisms and treatment approaches to rehabilitation science practice.

Meeting future challenges requires that translational research be directed to evaluate current methods and theoretical bases of practice and to develop these new methods of practice based on sound scientific principles.

The Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program is one of seven graduate programs served by the Office of Biomedical Graduate Research, Education and Training (BGREAT) in the University’s Medical School, offering graduate students a rich environment for pursuing advanced studies.  

Dawn Lowe, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies
Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program

Facts & Figures


Many students hold degrees beyond a bachelor's. Majors held by past and current students include: Biology, Education, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy, Organic Chemistry, Physical Therapy, Public Health, Psychology, and Sports Medicine.

Admissions Data

  • GPA operational standard = minimum 3.00 or greater
  • GPA average of admits = 3.37 (undergraduate); 3.66 (graduate)
  • TOEFL operational standard = minimum 79 or above, with section scores of 21 on writing and 19 on reading.


Current students hold research assistantships (RA), teaching assistantships (TA), or a combination of two. Several students each year are funded through training grants that their faculty mentors are associated with. Funding is dependent on the student participating full-time.

Diverse Student Body

We all share responsibility for equity and diversity. Far from just enriching campus life or the academic experience, equity and diversity are critical issues and fundamental to everything we do at the University of Minnesota and within the Division of Rehabilitation Science. In addition to a commitment to diversity, Rehabilitation Science welcomes students from around the globe, from as far as Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Taiwan and Thailand. Others have studied in Canada and South Africa. On the home front, students come from all regions of the United States, including locally.