The Movement Science PhD Program offers training to investigate and improve movement in people with chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, low back pain, Parkinson disease, hip disorders and obesity. Studies span the full spectrum of investigation levels, from fundamental discovery through clinical application.
Our students become part of the next generation of scientists improving human health through movement. They go on to pursue postdoctoral fellowships, academic faculty positions, and careers in industry.
The Movement Science Program is an interdisciplinary training experience housed within the Program in Physical Therapy. Our students — some with and some without clinical backgrounds — learn to be movement scientists in an energetic, dynamic, and collaborative environment.
The program is unique in being an integral part of one of the world’s largest biomedical research institutions. Students and faculty collaborate with multiple departments within the School of Medicine, as well as with colleagues on the Danforth Campus in Biomedical Engineering, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Biology, and Social Work. The environment at Washington University provides a strong infrastructure for translational and clinical research. We use the expertise of outstanding researchers from diverse fields to create a world-class training experience, and we take mentoring seriously.
Accepted students receive full tuition remission, a stipend, and health insurance. The Movement Science Program is supported by National Institutes of Health training grant T32HD007434.
PhD in Movement Science
Students in the Movement Science Program complete core course work, electives, original laboratory research, and a dissertation.
Students must complete 48 credit units*:
- 28 units of required course work
- 20 units of elective course work
Students with master's or doctoral degrees can receive up to 12 units of transfer credit.
The following elements are also required of all students:
- Qualifying examination: Part one of the qualifying exam requires the student to develop a research proposal pertinent to the projected area of dissertation research that is based on a question/problem provided by the student’s mentor(s). Part two of the qualifying exam is an oral examination that consists of a presentation of the proposal by the student followed by a question-and-answer period with the faculty reviewers.
- Laboratory research: Students will develop, implement and complete original laboratory research appropriate for a doctoral dissertation.
- Doctoral dissertation: Students will successfully provide an oral defense of their dissertation proposal, complete a written doctoral dissertation, and defend an oral presentation of the doctoral dissertation.
On average, students complete the degree in four and a half years.