Admissions Information

Minimum Requirements

To qualify for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements:


A bachelor’s, master’s or a doctoral degree in physical therapy, neuroscience, exercise physiology, biomedical engineering, or a related rehabilitation science or professional field is required. Additionally, applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater (or its equivalent).

Because of the broad and varied interests of PhD in Rehabilitation Science applicants, prerequisite courses vary depending on each applicant’s area of study. The majority of applicants are expected to have previous research experience, whether through their undergraduate training or in post-graduate work. Applicants with a Master’s degree or higher may petition 30 units to cover certain coursework requirements. All applicants are expected to have completed preparatory coursework in the following areas:

  • Biology (minimum 2 semesters)
  • Chemistry (minimum 2 semesters)
  • Physics (minimum 2 semesters)
  • Mathematics (through calculus)
  • Statistics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology

Note that applicants are not required to be a physical therapist or possess an academic degree in Physical Therapy.

How to Apply

Submit the following required materials to the UCSF Graduate Division Online Application, where you will find complete instructions:


Applicants must submit unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. The UCSF Graduate Division requires a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in order to be eligible for admission. Non-English and/or non-US transcripts must be translated and evaluated for comparison to US educational standards, e.g., GPA. Please note that official transcripts will need to be submitted upon acceptance into the program. 


Applicants must submit their CV and a Statement of Purpose (3 to 5 pages) discussing their background, interests, research goals, purpose in applying for graduate study and plans for the future. Applicants must indicate what they hope to gain from being a doctoral student in rehabilitation science, how their interests fit with those of the program’s faculty, and any other pertinent information supportive of their application and qualifications.


Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who know the applicant well and can speak to their ability to succeed in graduate school.


In addition to meeting the same admissions requirements domestic students meet, international applicants from non-English speaking countries must also demonstrate proficiency in English.  Please click here to learn more about satisfying the English proficiency requirements and about submitting international transcripts.

Additional Information


GRE scores are not required nor accepted.


UCSF is committed to ensuring access to graduate education for all students. Early communication with the relevant administrators is critical to successful partnership in arranging accommodations. SDS is the appropriate and confidential office for seeking accommodations, and will coordinate communications and procedures with you and the graduate faculty and programs. Please visit the website and look over the student disability services info for more information.


Success in graduate school requires care and attention to all aspects of your life: health and wellness, community, career development, personal and professional relationships, and security and safety. UCSF is committed to providing a full range of resources and services to help you succeed. Learn more about these resources by visiting our Student Success website.

Application Deadline

We admit a new class of PhD students every other year. The next application cycle will open on September 1, 2022, for admissions into the fall quarter of 2023. The application deadline for fall 2023 admission will be January 15, 2023.


Do students receive a stipend?

Yes, students are provided with a modest stipend to cover living expenses while enrolled in the program.

Where do students live?

Students live both on and off campus. We recommend using the resources through UCSF Campus Life for more detailed information on housing.

What is the difference between the Rehabilitation Science Program and other programs at UCSF?

Rehabilitation Science is a distinct program that maintains a separate curriculum, a separate admission process, and a unique set of primary faculty. However, students are encouraged to pursue their unique scientific interests through collaborations or by joining  laboratories throughout the greater UCSF scientific community. Yes. To date we have a 100% pass rate for our residency alumni on the OCS exam. Our curriculum and patient caseload is designed around the Description of Specialty Practice in Orthopedics.

What kind of jobs do Rehabilitation Science students get after graduation?

Graduates of the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science will be prepared as researchers, educators, and leaders in the field of rehabilitation science. Openings in academia for faculty positions are numerous in this field, and range in positions in Physical Therapy, Gerontology, Oncology, Physiotherapy, Health Sciences, Rehabilitation, and Movement Science departments. Additional career opportunities may lie in for-profit, government, and non-profit sectors.