May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Health Sciences (PhD)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree and Certificate Programs

Health Sciences (PhD): Educational Philosophy

We believe our students will become future stewards of health sciences, worthy of being entrusted as guardians of the vitality, quality and integrity of their field. Toward that goal, we teach the highest levels of competence and integrity in education, leadership and research, and provide professional development and research mentoring by established scholars across the continuum of health sciences.

The underlying educational philosophy of the program is grounded in a triad of learner-centered thought:  progressivism in which the learners’ experiences, needs and interests are explored and fostered; reconstructionism in which the learners see their growth applied to real-world problems; and existentialism by which learners are challenged to own their future and become leaders in the evolution of health care.

Health Sciences (PhD): Mission

Our mission is to produce experienced health science professionals with a broad-based, interdisciplinary education who are prepared to lead, teach, practice clinically and perform research at the highest levels of competency and integrity.

Health Sciences (PhD): Vision

To become the highest quality PhD in health sciences program in the United States.

Health Sciences (PhD): Curricular Design

We offer a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes fundamentals and advanced concepts in leadership, education, research and professional development. We provide high quality, asynchronous online courses in leadership, education and research. The role of the curricular design is to provide a logical progression to learner growth.

The guiding principal of the curricular design is three-fold and presented in a continuum of foundations (theory), application (real-world problem resolution) and vision (synthesis and creative/critical forward thinking regarding the future trajectory of health care). The curricular design first establishes a foundation of past and current thinking (epistemological framework) and theory associated with leadership, education and research. The curriculum challenges learners to address real-world applications through focused seminar courses and learner-centered projects.  The curriculum progresses and challenges the learners’ axiological considerations, encouraging the value of moving health care forward through research, demonstration projects, dissertation focus, ownership of learning and philosophical challenges to the status quo.

The program director provides general academic support and oversees the professional development courses. Transition to doctoral candidate occurs upon successfully completing most core courses, passing a comprehensive qualifying exam and passing a dissertation proposal presented to the dissertation committee.

Doctoral candidates conduct research and publish under the guidance and supervision of a research mentor. The dissertation committee consists of the research mentor, the program director and at least three additional qualified members. The dissertation committee ensures students are well-prepared to identify and fill important gaps in knowledge through the generation and dissemination of new knowledge, and endorses the awarding of the PhD degree.

Health Sciences (PhD): Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences program was launched by the College of Health Sciences in fall 2011. The program is designed to prepare health science professionals to assume major leadership, research and educational positions within their professions, as well as to foster career advancement opportunities.

The program provides a broad-based, interdisciplinary education that prepares graduates to teach, practice and perform research across the continuum of health care. The program prepares individuals for careers in research, education and leadership within allied health and, more broadly, within health care and higher education.
The program of study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree involves formal courses in leadership, education and research. It also involves mentored professional development within a health science specialty field. The publication of scholarly work in a peer-reviewed journal and the passing of a comprehensive oral examination are also required. In addition, students must complete and present a dissertation proposal that meets the approval of their advisory committee prior to beginning a dissertation research project that culminates in the writing and oral public defense of a dissertation.

The PhD degree demonstrates the capability for independent research and recognizes a unique contribution to scientific knowledge. The program may be taken on a part-time basis, however, in all cases must be completed in seven years or less.

The program consists of five major core areas: leadership (12 credits), education (nine credits), research (18 credits), professional development (three credits) and dissertation research (12 credits minimum). The professional development courses are based on learning contracts that provide opportunities for advanced mentored learning and skill development in the allied health profession matching the students’ interests. Student learning objectives have been developed for each major core area and are mapped to individual courses.

Students entering the program must have a master’s degree in an area related to health sciences/health care administration or substantial professional experiences in a health sciences related field.

Health Sciences (PhD): Program Objectives

  1. Produce scholars who will generate new knowledge and innovative applications through research
  2. Produce scholars who will disseminate knowledge through education and publications
  3. Produce scholars who will shape the future of health sciences through leadership and cooperation
  4. Produce scholars who will uphold the highest ideals of health sciences

Health Sciences (PhD): Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed a master’s degree or higher degree-such as an MD, AuD or OTD-from a regionally accredited college or university, provide official transcripts from each college or university attended and hold appropriate certification/licensure in their individual health profession by a major U.S. certification/licensing agency, as applicable. Degrees obtained outside the United States must be evaluated by Education Credentials Evaluators and must be judged equivalent to at least a master’s degree by U.S. standards.

Additional applicant requirements include the following:

  • Possess a minimum overall cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Provide three letters of recommendations from people who are knowledgeable about the quality of the applicant’s scholarly activities and/or work experiences.
  • Prior health science experience is required for admission. Prior research experience will also be considered favorably.
  • If your native language is not English, submit Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, scores.
  • Specific admission requirements may be waived by the College of Health Sciences admissions office. These will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Admission is on a competitive basis. The basis for inviting an applicant for an interview includes the applicant’s academic performance represented by coursework grades, course load, trends, and degree of course difficulty. In addition, the review includes consideration of the non-academic qualifications listed below in no particular order of preference or weight:

  • Professional work experience
  • Positions of leadership held
  • Public/community service or volunteer-related activities
  • Volunteer activities in areas related to health care
  • Communication skills, as demonstrated in the essay and personal interview
  • Reference letters or recommendations
  • Research accomplishments
  • Applicant’s future goals

Once the College of Health Sciences admissions office has received all required documents, including the application fee, the application is forwarded to the program admission committee for review. If an applicant meets all the college and program admission criteria and, following an interview, the program admission committee agrees to admit the student, the College of Health Sciences admissions office writes the acceptance notification to the applicant.

For more information, please contact the program director:
Douglas Kuperman, PhD, RRT
PhD in Health Sciences Program Director

Admissions Applications

Application to the RUSH University PhD in Health Sciences program must be completed online.

Transfer of Credit

Credit for equivalent doctoral level courses may be transferred into the program using the petition to transfer credit form obtained from the Registrar. Only courses with grades of A or B are eligible. However, grades from courses transferred from another institution are not recorded on the student’s academic record; the number of credits is recorded and added to the cumulative number of credits. Students must receive a minimum of 30 credit hours from RUSH University to be eligible for the degree.

Health Sciences (PhD): Technical Standards

RUSH University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will serve diverse communities locally and nationally.

Our core values-I CARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence)-translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. RUSH actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. RUSH is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the PhD in Health Sciences program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses, such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers/procedures
  • Use and interpret information generated from diagnostic tools


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with day-to-day responsibilities commensurate with the student’s discipline
  • Practice in a safe manner and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, employees, other professionals and all members of the health care team during practicum, internship and/or other learning experiences

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the PhD in health sciences role
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, management or treatment strategy


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others
  • Integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the RUSH University and PhD in Health Sciences program Code of Ethics

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to create and implement the accommodations.

Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. Contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to learn more about accommodations at RUSH University:


Marie Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Director, Office of Student Accessibility Services
RUSH University
600 S. Paulina St., Suite 901
Chicago, IL 60612     
(312) 942-5237

Health Sciences (PhD): Curriculum

Student Learning Objectives

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of foundational content and an understanding of the historical and contemporary theoretical frameworks of leadership and education through active discussion and written projects, including leadership needs assessments, organizational culture evaluations, and self-assessment of learner’s current leadership and educational operational basis with the development of individual action plans for improvement and growth
  2. Apply the foundational knowledge to real-world settings, as demonstrated by the successful completion of course projects, group activities, advanced critical thinking related to health science educational program and course design, development, implementation, administration and evaluation, critical discussions and publications
  3. Synthesize program content into a creative and unique forward-looking research project while applying current research ethics, theory and practice to influence the future of the health science professions
  4. Integrate advanced skills and knowledge of composition, oral presentation, leadership, education and research into practice of the health science professions


Student Learning Objective 1 maps to HSC 631, HSC 632, HSC 633, HSC 641 and HSC 643

Student Learning Objective 2 maps to HSC 631, HSC 634, HSC 641, HSC 642 and HSC 643

Student Learning Objective 3 maps to HSC 631, HSC 651, HSC 652, HSC 653, HSC 654, HSC 655, HSC 656 and HSC 699

Student Learning Objective 4 maps to HSC 631, HSC 661, HSC 662 and HSC 663

Prior to graduation, all students in the program will demonstrate achievement of the competencies described above in each of the core competency areas of education, research and leadership. Students will also demonstrate achievement of the required competencies by professional development in their individual professional disciplines.

Independent Study

Dissertation Research

Program Total: 54 Credit Hours

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree and Certificate Programs