Rehabilitation and Participation Science (RAPS) PhD Degree Offered

A new PhD in Rehabilitation and Participation Science (RAPS) degree offerred within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and administered through the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine is being offered to meet the growing demand for medical scientists. The deadline to apply is January 15. Application information can be found here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 109,400 medical scientists were employed in 2008 and earned a median annual salary of $72,590. The BLS has predicted job growth of 40% for medical scientists during the 2008-2018 decade, roughly four times the expected growth rate for all other occupations. “Improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities requires knowledge that the Rehabilitation and Participation Science program will produce,” says Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, professor of occupational therapy and neurology and Elias Michael Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy. “Our Rehabilitation and Participation Science degree will help meet these needs.”

Over the past two decades, the medical rehabilitation and disability communities have come to a consensus on the importance of participation as an important goal for interventions. The RAPS degree will be unique in that it focuses on participation—the interaction between the person and the environment. The complexity related to participation comes in its measurement as it can encompass time, frequency, effort, difficulty, support, satisfaction, meaning, choice, control, importance and expectations. Graduates will be prepared to conduct research that will address the issues of human capacity and/or environmental features that impact the participation of daily life.

The RAPS is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to be productive in rehabilitation research and to pursue a career in academia. The program offers training to investigators who want to contribute knowledge in one of three core content areas: Neurorehabilitation, Performance, and Community Participation. The cores are derived from basic or social sciences such as neuroscience, psychology, engineering, computer science, environmental science, public health, and clinical sciences including neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery, and occupational health. Senior biomedical, clinical, and population health scientists will serve as mentors to generate knowledge to understand and inform rehabilitation interventions that will improve the human condition of a person with a disability, chronic illness, and/or developmental disabilities.

Individuals holding a degree relevant to Participation and Rehabilitation Science, which can include but is not limited to occupational therapy, medicine, physical therapy, anthropology, engineering, public health, social work, and speech language pathology, are encouraged to apply to the RAPS program.

For more information on this exciting new degree and application process, please see below.

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Current, future, and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.

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*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653