PhD, Research in Physical Therapy

This program is open to licensed physical therapists holding a master's degree in physical therapy. Established in 1970 as the first post-professional doctoral program of its kind in the United States, the Ph.D. program emphasizes pathokinesiology research including the measurement of human motion and issues in motor control as they apply to people with physical disabilities. The goal of this doctoral program is to prepare critical thinkers and independent researchers so as to further expand the knowledge base of the physical therapy profession. Through an integrated approach, students will enhance their capacities to critically review scientific literature, formulate questions, devise hypotheses, and test those hypotheses using valid and reliable research designs. The doctoral program will provide the student with the opportunity to develop:

  • An understanding of the structure and function of healthy and physically disabled persons
  • The ability to analyze human motion in a variety of activities utilizing clinical and research instrumentation
  • An understanding of research designs and the ability to form hypotheses and draw conclusions from studies concerned with improvement of functions in physically disabled persons
  • The ability to communicate the findings of studies to others concerned with the scientific study of human motion
  • The leadership skills necessary to continue the advancement of the physical therapy research and education professions

Program Director

Smita Rao, PT, PhD
Associate Professor of Physical Therapy
Phone: 212-998-9400

Recent Graduates and Their Dissertation Topics

  • Mark Archambault: A kinematic and kinetic analyses of the modern and stabilized-spine golf swings
  • Kevin Chui: A comparison of selected walking parameters between individuals with vestibular pathology and healthy individuals
  • Susan Garritan: Muscle performance in sedentary individuals with and without a history of chronic hypoxia
  • Menachem Kozol: Changes of kinematic parameters between self-selected and fast-walking speeds of adults with post-stroke hemiparesis: magnitude and symmetry
  • Hen-Yu Lien: The effect of mental practice on modulating spinal motoneuron excitability of the soleus in healthy adults
  • Martha Macht Sliwinski: A comparison of dynamic stability between total hip arthroplasty individuals and healthy older adults during walking
  • Audrey Zucker-Levin: Gait speed and symmetry in individuals with unilateral trans-tibial amputation
  • Yen-Wei Chen: An examination of coordination from the movement pattern perspective of walking in response to arm movement perturbations in healthy adults
  • Sylvester Carter: The association between age related increases in minimum toe clearance variability and joint movement variability during level overground walking
  • Shingpui Betty Chow: The relationships of selected gait parameters to gait symmetry in individuals who underwent unilateral total hip replacement

Student Body

This program is open to those individuals with master's degrees who have graduated from an accredited physical therapy program or possess professional credentials to become licensed in the United States.