Program Overview

Definition and Mission

Our definition of Rehabilitation Science is adapted from the seminal 1997 report from the Institute of Medicine1.  We view rehabilitation science as those disciplines which focus on both basic and applied aspects of health science and services, the social sciences, and engineering as they relate to restoring human functional capacity and improving a person’s interaction with the surrounding environment. An important point of emphasis is that we believe that rehabilitation science should encompass research ranging from molecular biology through population health. Thus, we embrace a wide range of disciplines, and support the view that by working together we can best advance human health.

The mission of the Rehabilitation Science PhD (RSD) Program at the University of Florida follows the mission of the College of Public Health and Health Professions. Our specific mission is to educate future investigators in the area of rehabilitation science. The faculty of the RSD program are charged with training future rehabilitation scientists who will be capable of engaging in translational research and sustaining independently funded research programs.

1Brandt, E. N., Pope, A. M., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Assessing Rehabilitation Science and Engineering. (1997). Enabling America : assessing the role of rehabilitation science and engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.


Life-saving medical interventions are extending the lives of Americans, increasing the elder population and saving the lives of individuals who might have previously succumbed to disease or injury. These medical advances have resulted in an increased need for rehabilitation services for persons who survive, but have temporary or chronic disabling conditions which interfere with their ability to function. As a result, there is a dramatically increased demand for rehabilitation personnel and a need for new therapies to assist individuals as they recover, adjust and adapt to health changes. As the role of research personnel has expanded, so has the demand for research examination into rehabilitation outcomes and theoretical rationale by doctoral-trained investigators. This program provides an ideal training environment for tomorrow’s junior researchers and faculty members in the rehabilitation sciences.

Concentrations and Emphasis Area

The Rehabilitation Science PhD program offers students the opportunities to specialize in three areas of vital importance to the field:

Students also have the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from UF’s renowned MPH program as part of the PhD-MPH joint degree program in Rehabilitation Science. Additionally, we offer students from other doctoral programs at UF the opportunity to pursue an RSD minor.

Affiliated Centers

UF’s Ph.D. program in Rehabilitation Science affords its students unique and valuable opportunities to collaborate in projects with our affiliates: