Rehabilitation Science — Ph.D.

Program director
Grenith J. Zimmerman

The School of Allied Health Professions offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree in rehabilitation science. By design, the degree program is inclusive of the many rehabilitation professions and offers opportunities for qualified clinical professionals in allied health to prepare for careers in independent research, teaching, and administration. It is the goal of this program to prepare graduates who will:

  • Provide vision and direction for the integration of the rehabilitation professions.
  • Commit themselves to whole-person care.
  • Advance the theory and practice of rehabilitation science through research.
  • Acquire and integrate knowledge related to the social and basic medical sciences.
  • Assess, develop, and implement interdisciplinary community-based services.

In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor's or master's degree in any allied health professions area or discipline related to rehabilitation science.
  • Minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 in academic and professional course work.

Prospective students are required to submit the following:

  1. A formal letter of support from a primary research faculty member at Loma Linda University whose research interests and availability most closely match those of the applicant. The program director will coordinate meetings between applicants and prospective research faculty.
  2. Curriculum vita, including work history, formal education, continuing education, licensure or certification, professional organizations, honors, awards, publications, presentations, and grants.
  3. At least one example of written work (e.g., term paper, course assignment, publication, master's degree research project or thesis).

A minimum of 114 units beyond the bachelor's degree is required for students holding a master's or doctoral degree in a professional area; up to 45 academic graduate-level quarter units taken in completion of the graduate academic or professional degree may be applicable to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Application of these credits to the Doctor of Philosophy degree must be reviewed by the School of Allied Health Professions Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science Committee prior to submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for approval. The student's program course work for the degree must be approved by the Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science Committee.

Domain 1
Political and professional advocacy
RESC 517Profession Advocacy in Allied Health Professions4
RESC 519Rehabilitation Theories and Applications in Health Care3
Choose from the following (9 units minimum):9
Lifestyle Health and Wholeness
Legal and Ethical Issues in the Health Professions
Spirituality and Health: The Wholeness Connection
Epidemiology of Aging
Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
Rehabilitative Care in Developing Nations
Couples, Families, and Disabilities
Women's Health Issues I
Domain 2
Choose from the following (6 units minimum):6
Human Resource Management in the Health-Care Environment
Administration in Higher Education
Theoretical Foundations of Leadership
Personal Leadership
Principles of Health-Care Finance
Principles of Health Policy and Management
Organizational Behavior in Health Care
Foundations of Leadership
Building Healthy Communities: Integrative Health Policy
Domain 3
Choose from the following (6 units minimum):6
Educational Evaluation and Clinical Assessment
Transformational Teaching and Learning
Collaborative Learning in Higher Education
Directed Teaching
Instructional Design I
Religion and wholeness
Include 9 units of religion, chosen from the following ethical, theological, and relational courses; and the Graduate Wholeness Portfolio
AHCJ 519Graduate Wholeness Portfolio1
Choose from the following (3 units minimum):3
Ethics and Health Disparities
World Religions and Bioethics
RELR 525Health Care and the Dynamics of Christian Leadership3
Choose from the following (3 units minimum):3
The Bible and Ecology
Anthropology of Mission
Christian Understanding of God and Humanity
World Religions and Human Health
Theology of Human Suffering
Health Care, Humanity, and God
Research and dissertation
Didactic course work (15 units minimum)
AHRM 581Research and Statistics I3
AHRM 582Research and Statistics II3
EPDM 509Principles of Epidemiology3
Select from the following (6 units minimum):6
Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature
Qualitative Research Methods
Grant- and Contract-Proposal Writing
Survey and Advanced Research Methods
RESC 697Research21
Advanced coursework in speciality area6
Total Units80

Comprehensive examinations

The written comprehensive examination is designed to establish that the student has a broad understanding of rehabilitation science. A student is eligible to take the written examination after completing a minimum of 30 quarter units of course work, including 6 units from each of the four core domains and 6 units in research and statistics.

The oral examination is designed to establish that the student has adequate foundational information in appropriate content areas, as well as a plan to answer a research question appropriate for a doctoral dissertation. Following successful completion of the written comprehensive examination, the oral examination will be scheduled by the student's research mentor in consultation with the program director. Questions for the examination will be over the student's research proposal and the content areas on which the proposal rests.

Advancement to candidacy

The student may apply for admission to doctoral candidacy after (a) passing the written and preliminary oral comprehensive examinations; and (b) securing the approval of his/her research advisory committee.


The candidate's capacity for independent investigation and scholarly achievement must be demonstrated by the presentation and oral defense of an acceptable dissertation, resulting in at least two publications in peer-reviewed journals. One paper must be accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal before the candidate's graduation.

General requirements

For information about requirements and practices to which all graduate students are subject, the student should consult the Policies and General Regulations sections of this catalog for the University and the School of Allied Health Professions.

Normal time to complete the program

4.5 years based on three-quarter-time enrollment


RESC 517. Profession Advocacy in Allied Health Professions. 4 Units.

Examines legislative and regulatory bodies that define and regulate health-care practice in California. Identifies techniques to advance the profession's advocacy. Field training experience includes district and state capitol meetings with legislators and policymakers.

RESC 519. Rehabilitation Theories and Applications in Health Care. 3 Units.

History of and current trends in health care theory and applications, emphasizing successful approaches to integration of the rehabilitation professions.

RESC 697. Research. 1-12 Units.

Must be repeated to complete the total required units.