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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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 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
07 February 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 October 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 October 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 October 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 October 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 October 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 October 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2023

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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding 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$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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, 22 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 $28,886.
  • 11 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 11 students was $2,842.
  • 13 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 13 students was $11,783.
  • 22 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 22 students was $13,165.
  • 7 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 7 students was $23,060.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - 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.

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.

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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

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

 20202019201820172016
Applications161711611
Offers1411647
New registrations1110526
Total enrolment5138354041

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 94.12% based on 17 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 24 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 5.39 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 April 2021]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 29 October 2020].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 19 November 2021 - 12:30pm

Shannon Lim
Shedding Light on the Brain- Characterizing Functional Brain Activation During Simple and Complex Walking After Stroke

Monday, 6 December 2021 - 9:00am

Andrew Harry Ramsook
Sex Differences in Voluntary Activation of the Diaphragm

Thursday, 9 December 2021 - 1:00pm - Koerner Conference Centre 1 - DMCBH Koerner Labs, 2211 Wesbrook Mall

Rachel Alexandra Crockett
Why so Hyperintense? Identifying Functional Networks Associated with Cognition and Mobility in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease

Research Supervisors

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.

  • Backman, Catherine (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; activity disruption; arthritis; Arthritis / Osteo-Arthritis; chronic illness; health & well-being; Lifestyle Determinants and Health; occupational balance; rehabilitation; social role participation)
  • 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, Patricia (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; E-health; Environment and Respiratory Diseases; Health Care Technologies; health services delivery; Indigneous health; Knowledge translation; Mixed methods; Mobility; Native Health; Physical Activity; pulmonary rehabilitation; rehabilitation; Rehabilitation Care and Services; Telemedicine)
  • 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)
  • 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; Rehabilitation medicine; 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)
  • Jarus, Tal (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; art-based research; disabled practitioners;; Disabled students;; diversifying health and human service professions)
  • Li, Linda (Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Arthritis / Osteo-Arthritis; digital media; E-health; Health Care Technologies; Health services research; Implementation Science; Knowledge translation; Patient Engagement; Patient help-seeking experiences; Patient self-management; rehabilitation; Rehabilitation Care and Services; Rehabilitation and lifestyle interventions in arthritis management; Shared decision-making)
  • Liu-Ambrose, Teresa (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Age and Risk Factors; Cognitive Aging; Cognitive Neuropsychology of Aging; Fall prevention; Healthy Aging; Lifestyle Determinants and Health; Mobility; Physical Activity; rehabilitation; 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 (Occupational therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Qualitative research; Health Professions Education; Chronic Diseases in Elderly; Chronic disease care; Collaborative pratice; End of life care; Families and Caregivers; Family and Care Givers; Health Care Organization; Interdisciplinary team communication; Interpersonal Communication; Palliative Care; Patient centered care; Power and Organization; Teamwork)
  • 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)
  • Sakakibara, Brodie (Clinical medicine; Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; Gerontology; rehabilitation; Physical Activity; Physical Rehabilitation; Spinal cord injury; Stroke Rehabilitation; Chronic disease self-management and prevention; Telehealth in people with stroke and cardiovascular disease; Complex behavioural intervention development; Clinical trial methodologies; Participatory and patient-oriented research)
  • 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
2021 Dr. Prescott studied how people with disabilities navigate their communities. He found barriers in the pedestrian environment that negatively affected their ability to get around, which made it challenging to reach destinations. His research identifies policy and practice changes needed to improve their access to outdoor urban spaces.
2021 Dr. Izadi-Najafabadi's doctoral study focused on understanding brain changes following rehabilitation in children with developmental coordination disorder. Her results showed that rehabilitation is effective for improving motor performance and induces changes in brain regions underlying self-regulation, emotion regulation, and attention regulation.
2021 Dr. Gill determined that children developmental coordination disorder have smaller cerebellar volume compared to typically-developing children, and that rehabilitation can increase the size of this brain structure and improve motor function. Results may influence clinical care and improve outcomes for the 450,000 Canadian children with this disorder
2021 Dr. Louie studied the walking recovery process after stroke. He specifically examined the use of robotic exoskeleton technology for clinical stroke rehabilitation. His research informs physical therapy practice and offers guidance on selecting appropriate patients with stroke and treatment parameters for this novel therapeutic technology.
2021 Belonging is an essential human need. Through relationship and research, Dr. Bulk elucidated how belonging develops in places of learning, teaching, and working; deepened understanding of being blind and belonging; expanded upon how communities can co-create belonging; and highlighted scholarly teaching through research-based theatre.
2020 Dr. ten Brinke examined the effect of lifestyle strategies on cognitive function in older adults. She showed that computerized cognitive training, especially when combined with exercise, improved cognitive function and its brain networks. Overall, her research supports cognitive training as a promising strategy to promote healthy cognitive aging.
2020 Dr. Dao's research identified relevant brain imaging markers for studying vascular cognitive impairment, a common form of dementia. She found that greater beta-amyloid plaque deposition and reduced myelin integrity contributed to worse clinical outcomes. This research is important for improving care in people with vascular cognitive impairment.
2019 Dr. Rafn's research focused on delivery of rehabilitation for women with breast cancer. She provided insight into the experiences and preferences for delivery, and developed resources to support self-managed detection and rehabilitation of issues. This work may improve early detection, access to care, and prevent the development of chronic issues.
2019 Dr. MacGillivray studied wheelchair training in older adults. She conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of motor skill-based wheelchair propulsion training. Results showed that older adults significantly improved their wheelchair propulsion biomechanics with training but not with unguided practice.
2019 Dr. Glegg's research informs the use of network analysis as a method to study the social drivers that mobilize evidence-informed change in healthcare. Research and healthcare centres can apply the social and organizational strategies she identified, to support faster access to the safest, most effective healthcare innovations for Canadians.

Pages

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 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 June 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 June 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
07 February 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 October 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 October 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 June 2023
International Applicant Deadline
15 June 2023
 
Supervisor Search
 

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