Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences

Program Overview

This Ph.D. in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences prepares its graduates to conduct independent (original) basic, translational, and applied research to restore and maximize human functional capacity and wellbeing across the lifespan. The interdisciplinary program and its faculty emphasize core competencies in motor control and motor learning, movement measurement and analysis, knowledge translation theory, and the use of traditional and emerging technologies.

Diversity Information

As global citizens, the Doctor of Philosophy program in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences is dedicated to access, equity, and inclusion. We are committed to developing professionals and researchers who can advance diversity by providing culturally informed care to people across race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, age, ability, and nationality. We support the acquisition of competencies that ready our faculty, staff, and students to recognize, broach, and interrupt discrimination in its many forms.

Interdisciplinary mentoring by distinguished faculty

Innovative research improving human wellbeing

Core training in movement and rehabilitation sciences


Priority: Dec 6, 2022
Regular: Jun 1, 2023



Our doctoral students conduct research that addresses several factors in human movement and rehabilitation sciences including but not limited to:


Stroke and Neurorehabilitation

Pediatric Rehabilitation

Virtual Environments for Rehabilitation

Occupational Biomechanics


Students must complete 32 credit hours of courses, complete a comprehensive exam, and publish a doctoral dissertation. The course requirements include five required courses and then a set of electives determined by the student and their research advisor to provide the individual set of skills needed for their research project and career.

We expect each student in the program to have core knowledge and skills addressing the common issues for human movement and rehabilitation sciences as well as research methods. These are reflected in the core courses in:

  1. Biostatistics (3 SH)
  2. Core Concepts in Rehabilitation Science and Research (3 SH)
  3. Measurement and Analysis of Human Movement and Bioinstrumentation (4 SH)
  4. Technologies in Movement and Rehabilitation (4 SH)
  5. Interdisciplinary Seminar in Rehabilitation Science (1 SH)

Electives will be agreed upon case by case for each student in consultation with their primary advisor.

  1. Research Methods in Health Care Research. 3 Hours+ 1 Recitation.
  2. Kinesiology. 3 Hours.
  3. Advanced Biomedical Measurements and Instrumentation. 4 Hours.
  4. Design of Biomedical Instrumentation. 4 Hours.
  5. Biomedical Imaging. 4 Hours.
  6. Special Topics in Biomechanics. 4 Hours.
  7. Functional Human Neuroanatomy. 4 Hours.
  8. Neuroscience. 4 Hours.
  9. Motor Control, Development, and Learning. 4 Hours.
  10. Neurological Rehabilitation 1. 4 Hours.
  11. Ergonomics and the Work Environment. 3 Hours.
  12. Neurological Rehabilitation 2. 4 Hours.
  13. Robot Mechanics and Control. 4 Hours.
  14. Control Systems Engineering. 4 Hours.
  15. Musculoskeletal Biomechanics. 4 Hours.
  16. Advanced Control Engineering. 4 Hours.
  17. Introduction to Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition. 4 Hours.
  18. Biomedical Signal Processing. 4 Hours.
  19. Linear System Analysis. 4 Hours.
  20. Multidisciplinary Approaches in Motor Control. 4 Hours.
  21. Applied Regression Analysis. 3 Hours.
  22. Advanced Methods in Biostatistics. 3 Hours.
  23. Physical Activity and Exercise: Prescription, Measurement and Testing. 3 Hours.


Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences accepts applications through 6/1/2023 for Fall 2023 entry. Priority deadline is 12/6/2022.

Applicants accepted: Domestic and International
Delivery: On campus with some options to take classes online
Student status: Choice of part-time or full-time
Term Start: Fall only*
Application deadline: 6/1/2023. Priority deadline 12/6/2022

*Requests for a Spring start are considered on a case by case basis by the Program Director.

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

Completed application
Official transcripts
Official test scores
3 letters of recommendation
Personal statement

Prof. Hasson ❯

C.J. Hasson

Neuromotor Systems Laboratory

Learn more

Prof. Tunik ❯

Eugene Tunik

Movement Neuroscience Laboratory

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Prof. Hillman ❯

Chuck Hillman

Learn more

Prof. Stefanik ❯

Joshua Stefanik

Musculoskeletal Epidemiology and Biomechanics

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Prof. Shepherd ❯

Max Shepherd

Prosthetics, Exoskeletons, Mechatronics, Rehabilitation

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Prof. Chukoskie ❯

Leanne Chukoskie

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your program have course prerequisites?

No, our program does not have specific requirements with regard to classes applicants must take or have taken prior to applying.

Do I need to possess an advanced degree to apply?

While competitive applicants typically already possess an advanced degree, we will consider exceptionally qualified applicants with a bachelor’s degree, as well.

Does your program accept transfer credits?

A maximum of 9 semester/12 quarter hours of credit obtained at another institution may be accepted towards the degree, provided the credits consist of work taken at the graduate level for graduate credit, carry grades of 3.000 (B) or better, and have not been used toward any other degree. These courses must have been taken within 5 years prior to the transfer.

Can I be waived from submitting official test scores?

Applications to the Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program must include GRE scores (taken within the past five years) from all applicants. This requirement cannot be waived. In addition, TOEFL scores are required from all international applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the United States. Guidelines for submitting a request to waive the TOEFL requirement are outlined in the Admissions section.

How much does the program cost?

Doctoral students in the Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science PhD program pay per credit taken. The latest cost per credit for Bouve College of Health Sciences programs can be found on Northeastern’s Student Financial Services webpage.

What kind of funding does the PhD Program offer?

Our program offers a select number of graduate assistantships for doctoral students, which covers tuition and includes a yearly stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work each week. You do not need to do anything further than submitting an application to the Program to be considered for a graduate assistantship.

Does your program offer online courses?

Some required courses have online course equivalents that doctoral students may choose to take, but it is not required.

Can I speak with faculty in the PhD Program that may share my research interests?

Yes, we would be happy to put you in touch with our faculty. Please send your query to Kinaesiaa Carrington, Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program Administrator, along with a description of your research interests so you can be appropriately matched.

Why Northeastern?

The program leverages the unique faculty and research laboratories in human movement and rehabilitation sciences as well as our highly-ranked programs in Bouvé College of Health Sciences, the College of Science, and the College of Engineering. Northeastern is dedicated to advancing the field of human movement and rehabilitation science and translating research from bench to clinic. Students benefit from our new research laboratories utilizing state-of-the-art movement and rehabilitation methods including virtual reality, ultrasound, neuroscience, neurophysiology, robotics, and movement measurement technologies.

What will I learn?

Our program focuses on research within a highly interdisciplinary setting using multidisciplinary and multidimensional concepts of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model (ICF). It operates with the support of University based research activities at the interface of rehabilitation, neuroscience, and movement sciences that span the colleges of the university. All students will have exposure to basic, translational, and applied research training since these are considered hallmarks of the program. The curriculum incorporates global concepts for human movement and rehabilitation sciences.

What can I do with this degree?

Graduates of the program will be capable of conducting, creating, and communicating research that contributes new knowledge in the field of human movement and rehabilitation sciences in academic, industrial, policy, and governmental settings. Graduates will also be capable of leading and performing new independent research projects related to human movement and rehabilitation sciences. Our graduates are well-prepared to enter into a number of post-doctoral career paths including: industrial research positions, government consultants, post-doctoral or junior faculty positions in academic institutions in either technology programs or schools of health science, public health, or medicine.

Contact Information

We welcome any questions you might have about our program. Please feel free to send general program inquiries and admissions-related questions to Elizabeth Holaday, the Program Manager, or Jack Dennerlein, the Program Director.

(This program is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education)


Jack Dennerlein
Program Director
301 Robinson Hall
Tel: 1-617-373-5428
[email protected]


Elizabeth Holaday
Program Manager
301 Robinson Hall
Tel: 1-617-373-3748
[email protected]