This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

The Ph.D. in Rehabilitation and Movement Science is an interdisciplinary degree program developed through a collaborative partnership of the departments of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The mission of this collaborative degree program is to prepare applied scientists capable of approaching multifaceted health care, preventive medicine and rehabilitation initiatives from an integrative perspective and to prepare graduates to assume research, teaching and leadership positions within rehabilitation and movement science professions.

There are two program concentrations: applied physiology and neuromusculoskeletal dynamics. The applied physiology concentration prepares individuals to conduct research, direct external funding initiatives and teach in the area of applied physiology, with particular focus on physical activity’s impact on chronic disease states. The neuromusculoskeletal dynamics concentration prepares individuals for research, teaching and clinical initiatives associated with the identification and rehabilitation of movement disorders.

Student learning outcomes

Program core learning outcomes

At the completion of the program students will:

  1. Develop the skills and abilities to collect and manage research data while ensuring ethical
    and responsible conduct of research
  2. Develop the ability to analyze research data and subsequently interpret and synthesize
    results and draw appropriate conclusions
  3. Demonstrate teaching effectiveness in the classroom and/or clinical environment
  4. Disseminate research findings effectively in oral and/or written formats

Applied physiology concentration-specific outcomes

  1. Demonstrate comprehensive foundational knowledge of exercise physiology
  2. Develop testable hypotheses and appropriate study designs to address relevant research questions in the field of exercise physiology

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Ph.D. Fall preferred Applications received prior to Jan 9 will be given priority consideration; applications received following the deadline may be considered if space and resources are available. GRE

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must:

  1. Have completed at least one of a master’s degree in a related area, 30 hours of post-baccalaureate work (e.g. course work at 500 level or greater) or a first-professional degree program
  2. Provide official GRE score
  3. Submit a curriculum vitae or professional resume indicating an applicant’s educational and career experience as well as evidence of research potential
  4. Submit a personal statement describing goals and research interests
  5. Submit three letters of reference

Admission decisions are made only on the basis of a completed application packet.

Applicants being considered for admission must complete an interview with a Ph.D. admissions committee representative and/or research faculty member with whom the student would like to work.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students pursuing the Ph.D. in Rehabilitation and Movement Science must successfully complete:

  1. A minimum of 50 credit hours developed in conjunction with their advisers
  2. Written and oral comprehensive examinations
  3. All other university requirements of qualification for degree candidacy
  4. Written dissertation based on a focused line of research
  5. Oral defense of the dissertation

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
Core courses
BIOS 543Graduate Research Methods I3
BIOS 544Graduate Research Methods II3
REMS 690Research Seminar in Rehabilitation and Movement Science (.5 credit-hour course repeated for a total of 3 credits)3
REMS 710Research Techniques in Rehabilitation and Movement Science3
REMS 793Teaching Practicum in Higher Education1
REMS 794Research Presentation Seminar (Select two of the following:)1
Statistics and research design electives
Select two of the following:6
Grant Writing for Health Science Research
Clinical Epidemiology
Analysis of Biomedical Data I
Clinical Trials
Biostatistical Methods I
Quantitative Research Design
Health Services Research Methods I
Introduction to Research Design in Health and Movement Sciences
Research Methods in Developmental Psychology
Behavioral Measurement
Concentration courses
REMS 701Applied Physiology (Change name to Applied Physiology)4
Select three of the following:9
Advanced Exercise Physiology
Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology
Psychobiology of Physical Activity
Metabolic Aspects of Physical Activity
Approved electives (from list below)5
Dissertation research12
Research in Rehabilitation and Movement Science
Total Hours50

Approved concentration electives

Course Title Hours
BIOL 524Endocrinology3
HEMS 610Laboratory Techniques in Rehabilitation Science3
HEMS 675Clinical Exercise Physiology3
PHTX 614Foundation in Psychoneuroimmunology3
REMS 660Neuromuscular Performance3
REMS 692Independent Study1-3
REMS 702Advanced Exercise Physiology (Change name to Advanced Exercise Physiology)3
REMS 703Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology3
REMS 704Psychobiology of Physical Activity3
REMS 705Metabolic Aspects of Physical Activity3
REMS 707Programing for Rehabilitation Sciences3

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 50.

R. Lee Franco, Ph.D.
Associate professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1948

Additional contact
Sheryl D.G. Finucane, Ph.D., P.T.
Assistant professor, Department of Physical Therapy
(804) 828-0234

Program website: