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Rehabilitation Science (PhD) Overview

The PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Utah is an interprofessional doctoral program that allows students to develop their clinical expertise and unique line of research while working alongside other rehabilitation scientists and health care providers.

Students in the program come from diverse backgrounds including occupational therapy, recreational therapy, physical therapy, exercise science, athletic training, and other health care disciplines. 

Faculty from the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies participate in the program and are available to serve as mentors to students who have similar research interests.

Students have opportunities to take part in:

  • Internally-and externally-funded research projects
  • Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research
  • Developing and testing evidence-based practices
  • Teaching experiences in our OT and RT programs
  • Interprofessional education and collaboration

Current faculty projects (faculty named in parentheses) include the following focus areas:

Technology based recreation

(R. Nelson)

  • Virtual reality usability for clinicians and clients
  • Multisensory environments and interventions for rehabilitation and health promotion
  • Video journaling as a treatment modality
  • Therapeutic use of robotic pets with older adults

Neurological conditions

(R. Bailey, L. Richards, A. Terrill, M. Zahl)

  • Feasibility of adaptive recreation as cost effective rehabilitation intervention for spinal cord injury
  • Non-pharmacological treatment options for improving health and well-being for individuals with neurological conditions
  • Positive psychology interventions for couples coping with neurological conditions
  • Understanding changes in relationships after neurological injury
  • Health interventions and app development
  • Neuromotor rehabilitation after stroke

Autism spectrum

(A. Kirby)

  • Supporting the transition to adulthood for youth and families
  • Understanding suicide risks and prevention
  • Improving oral health for children with ASD and hyper-responsivity
  • Interdisciplinary drama intervention to improve social skills for children with ASD

General Information on the PhD in Rehabilitation Science Program

For information on working with a specific faculty mentor, contact the faculty member directly.