Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)

Overview

The Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences (RHSC) is jointly run by the Department of Occupational Sciences and Occupational Therapy (OSOT) and the Department of Physical Therapy (PT). It is a program for advanced research study and original investigation in areas relevant to the Rehabilitation Sciences at the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level. It focuses on the discipline of Rehabilitation Sciences - the study of providing treatment and education to persons with temporary or permanent disability to return them to maximum function, well-being and personally-satisfying levels of independence.

It encompasses the three dimensions of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (body structure and function, activity and participation) and thus spans the individual, community and society. Our faculty have active research programs that cover this diverse spectrum.

In the Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences, we strive to create outstanding learning and research experiences for occupational therapists, physical therapists and others with various health-related disciplines. Through these opportunities, in combination with the PhD thesis, graduates advance the science of rehabilitation which aims to promote physical, mental and social well-being among people of all levels of ability. Our collaborative initiatives result in a reciprocal transfer of new knowledge among academic, clinical, and community settings.

What makes the program unique?

Our faculty have an outstanding record of scholarly productivity, receiving funding from provincial and national research granting agencies. Over 30 graduate students from a broad range of backgrounds including occupational therapy, physical therapy, recreation therapy, social sciences, human kinetics, and engineering have graduated from our program. These students have authored numerous peer-reviewed journal publications and won various scholarships and awards.

Program faculty members are well integrated with several of the world class research facilities established here in BC including: Arthritis Research Centre, Brain Research Centre, Centre for Hip Health, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Providence Health Care Research Institute, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, and the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute.

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Program Enquiries

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Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

23

Writing

23

Speaking

23

Listening

23

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.5

Reading

7.0

Writing

7.0

Speaking

7.0

Listening

7.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is required by some applicants. Please check the program website.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Completion of a recognized baccalaureate degree and thesis-based master’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences, or other related field.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 3 credits in research methods or statistics

Other Requirements

Applicants from non-Canadian or United States universities may be required to provide general (GRE) (Graduate Record Examination) scores as part of their application at the request of their proposed supervisor. Scores must be valid within the past 2 years.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 January 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 January 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2024

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,802.52$3,166.73
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,407.56$9,500.19
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $19,323.20 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

PhD students will be provided with a Minimum Funding Package for each of the first four years of a PhD. The funding package may consist of internal or external awards, scholarships or bursaries, teaching and research assistantships, or any combination of the above. This policy only applies to full-time students. The minimum funding amount will be equivalent to the UBC Four-Year Fellowship (4YF) stipend (excluding the tuition waiver) for a given academic year.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 33 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $34,639.
  • 17 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 17 students was $3,696.
  • 23 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 23 students was $16,943.
  • 2 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 2 students was $4,082.
  • 32 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 32 students was $13,684.
  • 9 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 9 students was $27,167.

Study Period: Sep 2021 to Aug 2022 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

18 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 18 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Simon Fraser University (3)
McGill University (2)
Universite de Montreal (2)
University of British Columbia (2)
Saad College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences
McMaster University
Douglas College
Trinity Western University
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Burrard Physiotherapy
Sanctuary Ministries
Vancouver Coastal Health
Fortius Sport and Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Physiotherapist
Founding Director
Physical Therapy Teaching Supervisor
Co-founder
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Graduates from our programs go on to become faculty members that teach and conduct research at universities. They also work as research scientists, clinical scientists and consultants to government, health authorities and other organizations with interests in rehabilitation specifically, and health care as a whole.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20222021202020192018
Applications910191812
Offers8818127
New Registrations7715106
Total Enrolment4549483434

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 91% based on 24 students admitted between 2009 - 2012. Based on 24 graduations between 2019 - 2022 the minimum time to completion is 1.37 years and the maximum time is 8.21 years with an average of 5.47 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Barbic, Skye (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; assessment; community integration; health and well-being; Implementation Science; Individual Placement Support; measurement; Mental Health and Society; mental health; metrology; Patient Engagement; Rasch Measurement Theory; recovery; Supported Employment; youth)
  • Boyd, Lara (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Learning; Learning and Memory; Motor System; Motor learning; Neurophysiology; Physiology; Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration; stroke)
  • Camp, Pat (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine)
  • Campbell, Kristin (Clinical oncology; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Biomarkers; Breast Cancer; Exercise Physiology; oncology; physical function; Physiology; Quality of Life and Aging; rehabilitation)
  • Eng, Janice (Neurorehabilitation, spinal cord, brain)
  • Forwell, Susan (Neurological conditions and their impact on chosen occupations)
  • Glegg, Stephanie (Child Development; Children's Health; Developmental Disabilities; Exercise for Children; Health services research; Opioid Abuse and Addiction; rehabilitation; Translational Medical Research; Knowledge translation)
  • Guenette, Jordan (Respiratory diseases; Other biological sciences; Clinical exercise physiology; Cardiorespiratory physiology; Mechanisms and management of breathlessness and exercise intolerance; Chronic respiratory diseases)
  • Holsti, Liisa (Medical, health and life sciences; premature infants; neurodevelopment; stress; pain; measurement; technology transfer; sucrose; rehabilitation; pediatrics)
  • Hunt, Michael Anthony (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Arthritis / Osteo-Arthritis; biomechanics; exercise; Joints (Articulations); musculoskeletal; Musculoskeletal Deformation; Neuromuscular Diseases; Orthoses and Prostheses; Physical Activity; rehabilitation)
  • Huot, Suzanne (Occupational therapy; Human geography; asylum seekers; bilingualism; community-engaged research; critical theory; francophone minority communities; francophones; french; Gender; immigration; intersectionality; Migration Studies; Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges; occupational science; Qualitative research; refugees; social inclusion; social integration; Platform economy)
  • Jarus, Tal (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Disciplinary education; art-based research; disabled practitioners;; Disabled students;; diversifying health and human service professions; Justice and equity in health professions)
  • Li, Linda (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine)
  • Liu-Ambrose, Teresa (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Healthy Aging; exercise; Fall prevention; Cognitive Aging; Randomized Controlled Trials; Physical Activity; Mobility; Neuroimaging; Sleep)
  • Miller, William (disabled people with respect to mobility (wheelchairs); influence of self-efficacy with respect to participation in daily activity, social activity and general quality of life especially among disabled adults and elderly; wheelchair prescription, performance and function; outcome measurement in health care, Use of power wheelchairs, fatigue, Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation)
  • Mortenson, Ben (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Accessibility; Assistive technology; Caregiving; Mobility; Outcome measures; Quality of Life and Aging; rehabilitation; Robotics; Social Aspects of Aging; Social participation; Spinal cord injury)
  • Nimmon, Laura (Health sciences; Qualitative research; medical education; Health Professions Education; Social network analysis; Human connection; Interdependence; Social theories; Social power; Palliative Care)
  • Pollock, Courtney (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; impact of neurological changes associated with aging, disease and injury on motor control; motor control of walking balance and balance reactions)
  • Schmidt, Julia (Occupational therapy; Trauma / Injuries; cognition; Neurological diseases; Cognitive impairment; neuroscience; rehabilitation; Self-awareness; Self-identity; Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Scott, Alexander (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; musculoskeletal; Musculoskeletal Lesions and Repair; orthopaedics; physical therapy; physiotherapy; sports medicine)
  • Virji-Babul, Naznin (Concussion/mild traumatic brain injury, Developmental disabilities (Down’s syndrome), Developmental neuroscience (mirror neurons, perception-action coupling) )
  • Whittaker, Jacqueline (Physical therapy; Exercise counselling; Exercise therapy; Health care; Kinesiology; Knee injuries; Knee osteoarthritis; Low back pain; Osteoarthritis prevention; Physical Activity; physical therapy; rehabilitation; Sport injury prevention; sports medicine; Sports/exercise; Ultrasound Imaging; Wearable activity tracker; youth)
  • Zwicker, Jill (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Brain development; developmental coordination disorder; Infant / Child Development; Learning Disorders in Children; Motor System; neuroplasticity; Prematurity; rehabilitation)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2023 Dr. Solomons studied patterns of nervous system sensitisation in musculoskeletal pain syndromes. This research gives insight into the nature of persistent pain problems that is expected to inform more effective management strategies.
2023 Dr. Syed studied the acute effects of air pollution on lung function and exercise responses in individuals with & without COPD. He found that air pollution negatively affected exercise responses more in healthy individuals compared to COPD. This work has implications for physical activity guidelines during periods of increased air pollution.
2022 Dr. Ferris examined patterns of brain damage in aging and after stroke using a magnetic resonance imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging. Her work advances the development of novel MRI-based tools to measure brain damage and predict behavioural impairments after brain injury.
2022 Dr. Simpson investigated the epidemiology, measurement, and recovery of arm and hand use following a stroke. This research increases our knowledge of this unique aspect of stroke recovery and will inform future stroke rehabilitation treatments.
2022 Dr. Tse evaluated shoe orthotic insoles as a novel complementary treatment for individuals with progressive knee joint degeneration. These works highlight how shoe orthotics alter movement patterns and knee joint load transfer during walking, and provide a prediction tool to match insole designs to individual presentations knee joint degeneration.
2022 Dr. Kenny investigated heading in female varsity soccer players and provided important details on the frequency and magnitude of these repetitive head impacts. Using the substantial video data and comprehensive data collection over 3-years, she demonstrated a potential dose response to the number of headers and both brain physiology and function.
2022 Dr. Charlton applied novel wearable technology to measure how people walk in everyday life, and to develop new ways to use physical activity to treat joint disease. His work contributes to the understanding of how people with musculoskeletal disease move, and their capacity to integrate movement-based rehabilitation into daily walking practices.
2022 Dr. Crockett used novel brain imaging techniques to determine functional brain networks disrupted in older adults vulnerable to dementia. She also studied the benefits of physical activity and resistance training for brain health. Her take away message is: to make gains for brains, we should all regularly squat low and feel our brains grow.
2022 Dr. Atoyebi explored the needs of family caregivers of people with neurocognitive disorders as well as possible solutions to address those needs. He collaborated with caregivers and care recipients to develop a medium fidelity prototype of their most preferred solution, which is a web-based service to assist families in hiring paid support workers.
2022 Dr. Beaulieu's dissertation research focused on generating evidence to inform optimal care provision for those living with concurrent opioid use disorder and mental illness. Her work advances the field of health and integrated services research and has important implications for future health research, policy, and practice.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Specialization

The Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science (MSc) is designed to prepare individuals to conduct research independently and in collaboration with other scientists. Students will investigate an area of research relevant to rehabilitation through critical analysis of problems related to basic sciences, clinical practice, or to development of theory.

The Master of Rehabilitation Science (MRSc) is designed for working health professionals and to enhance interdisciplinary practice. Unlike traditional thesis-based research master’s programs, the MRSc is a combination of courses and a work- or practice-based research project. The MRSc allows you to obtain a master’s degree without interrupting your work.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focuses on the discipline of rehabilitation sciences, the study of providing treatment and education to persons with temporary or permanent disability to return them to maximum function, well-being and personally-satisfying levels of independence.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-VL

Classification

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2024
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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