Jun 24, 2019  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Health Sciences, PhD

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PhD in Health Sciences: Educational Philosophy

We believe that 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 including progressivism in which the learners experiences, needs, and interests are explored and fostered, reconstructionism in which the learner’s 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.

PhD in Health Sciences: 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.

PhD in Health Sciences: Vision

To become the highest quality PhD in Health Sciences program in the United States.

PhD in Health Sciences: 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. Scaffolding on these foundations, the curriculum challenges the 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.

To assure learner progress through the curricular constructs we assign each student an academic advisor who is an established scholar in a health sciences field matching the student’s background and professional interest. The academic advisor provides general support and leads the student’s professional development. Transition to doctoral candidate occurs upon successfully completing all 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 is comprised of the academic advisor, research mentor, program director and at least two additional qualified members. The dissertation committee ensures that 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 in Health Sciences Degree.

PhD in Health Sciences: Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences degree program was launched by the College of Health Sciences in the Fall of 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 provide career advancement opportunities.

The program will provide a broad-based, interdisciplinary education that will prepare graduates to teach, practice and perform research across the continuum of health care. The program at Rush will prepare 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 upon completion of all course work are also required. In addition, the student must complete and present a dissertation proposal that meets the approval of his or her 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 PhD program in Health Sciences consists of five major core areas: Leadership (12 SH), Education (9 SH), Research (18 SH), Professional Development (3 SH) and Dissertation Research (12 SH 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 for the PhD in Health Sciences 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 or health care administration.

PhD in Health Sciences: Program Objectives

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

PhD in Health Sciences: Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed a Masters 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 the Education Credentials Evaluators (ECE) and must be judged equivalent to at least a Masters degree by U.S. standards.

In addition, applicants should:

  • Possess a minimum overall cumulative grade point average (cGPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Please use the Rush University institution code 3263
  • Provide three letters of recommendations from persons 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 (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, degree of course difficulty and GRE or MCAT scores. 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 health care related areas
  • 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, it forwards the application to the program director for review. If an applicant meets all the college and program admission criteria and following an interview, the program director 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
Program Director
(312) 942-8271
email: douglas_kuperman@rush.edu

Admissions Applications

Application for 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 with approval of the program director, instructor, advisor and Registrar 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 30SH of credit from Rush University to be eligible for the degree.


PhD in Health Sciences Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE - 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:

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 & 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 healthcare 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 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 they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability 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. To learn more about accommodations at Rush University please contact:


Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St. AAC 440
Chicago, IL 60612     
(312) 942-5237

PhD in Health Sciences: Curriculum

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 seeing 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.

Prior to graduation, all students in the program will demonstrate achievement of the competencies described above.

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.

Education Core Courses (9 Semester Hours)

Independent Study (Variable Credit)

Dissertation Research (12 Semester Hours Minimum)

Total Requirement: 54 Semester Hours

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