Program Director

Ken Learman, PhD, PT

Director, PhD in Health Sciences

Professor, Physical Therapy


To prepare the next generation of academics who are excellent researchers, instructors, and are prepared to serve Northeast Ohio and beyond


We aspire to become the premier choice for doctoral preparation of healthcare professionals seeking to transition from the clinic to the classroom or research lab.

Admissions requirements:

Adequacy of students 
The Ph.D. in Health Sciences is designed to accept students who possess a bachelor’s, master’s or a clinical doctorate degree. The bachelor’s and master’s degrees considered should be health related, but will consider students with a basic science degree (ex. biology) if there is an established interest in healthcare. Additionally, there has been a track established for the current entry-level DPT students at YSU to enter a dual DPT/Ph.D. track at the end of their first year in the DPT program. All applicants to the program will be evaluated against the following admission criteria:

•    Student with an interest in the Health Sciences and an interest in pursuing employment in academia, research, or clinical practice.
•    Minimum overall 3.0 GPA from a bachelor's or master's degree.
•    Exceptions will be considered on an individual basis for a GPA of 2.7-2.99. This will mandate a provisional admission.
•    Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will be required for applicants who currently have a bachelor's degree. Scores of 290 on parts 1 and 2, and 3.5 writing score are recommended.

All applicants applying with a current graduate degree will not be required to take the GRE but will be required to provide 2 examples of academic writing. 

•    If required by the field, a current license to practice.
•    3 letters of reference.
•    Personal essay of why you are pursuing this degree and what area of research you are intending to pursue.
•   A TOEFL score of at least 550 on a paper-based test, the equivalent score on a similar test, or an undergraduate degree from a university in the US.

Admissions will be completed by considering the student’s individual research agenda as well as compatibility and availability of faculty to serve on dissertation committees.

Graduate Faculty

James A. Benedict, PT, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Healthcare policy; pro bono care; vulnerable populations

Matthew Campbell, Ph.D., ATC, Assistant Professor
Experiential learning in athletic training education; clinical education, youth sports, physical literacy/motor learning; social justice issues in athletic training and athletic training education

Cara A. Carramusa, Ed.D., PT, M.S., GCS, Assistant Professor
PT education research: employability skills and professional dispositions/identity, teaching and learning, clinical education; older adults: fall risk management/prevention, active aging, population health/socialization of the physical therapy profession

Chad Cook
Clinical examination and conservative or surgical treatment of orthopedics

Richard Albert Deschenes, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Materials science; concrete durability and materials; applied mechanics

Debbie Espy
Human movement science; neurological rehab; biomedical engineering

David William Griswold, D.P.T., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Concussion management; vestibular rehabilitation; effects of manual therapy on pain and disability for orthopedic conditions; physiological and clinical effects from dry needling

John M. Hazy, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Community/behavioral health (drugs and crime); methodology and assessment; life course and cultural issues; teaching effectiveness

Nancy Crum Landgraff, PT, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Stroke rehabilitation and outcomes

Kenneth Learman, PT, Ph.D., Professor
Physical therapy interventions for the spine; concussion management; chronic pain phenotyping; headache differentiation

Linda Pax Lowes
Pediatric Physical Therapy; neurological rehab

Rachael J. Pohle-Krauza, Ph.D., Professor

Richard Lee Rogers, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Social problems and criminology; organizational and economic sociology; statistics and research methods; social history; Anglo-American religious movements; ecological analysis

Annie Q. Tapp, D.P.T., Assistant Professor

Degree Requirements

Candidates that enroll with a bachelor’s degree will complete all core courses(64 s.h.) and an additional 28 s.h. as approved by the Program Director. These courses can be an individualized plan using existing master’s courses in the College of Health and Human Services, the Gerontology program, other master’s courses, or Concentration Course Electives in the Ph.D. program.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
PHYT 8921 Evidence Based Practice in Health Sciences 1
 Semester Hours1
TCED 6922 Principles of Instruction 3
PHYT 8935 Epidemiology in Health Sciences 3
PHYT 8940 Interdisciplinary Health Care Delivery 3
 Semester Hours9
TCED 6934 Assessment and Accountability 3
CJFS 6945 Research Methods in Health and Human Services 3
PHYT 8941 Psychosocial & Cultural Aspects of Healthcare 3
 Semester Hours9
Year 2
PHYT 8942 Mental and Behavioral Aspects of Healthcare 3
PHYT 8990 Graduate Research in Health Sciences 3
 Semester Hours6
TCED 6936 Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction to Improve Learning 3
CJFS 6940 Statistical Techniques in Health and Human Services 3
Concentration Course Elective 3
 Semester Hours9
PHYT 8962 Mentored Instruction 3
PHYT 8970 Scientific Writing in Health Sciences 3
Concentration Course Elective 3
 Semester Hours9
Year 3
 Semester Hours0
PHYT 8990 Graduate Research in Health Sciences 3
 Semester Hours3
PHYT 8995 Dissertation in Health Science 4
 Semester Hours4
Year 4
PHYT 8995 Dissertation in Health Science 4
 Semester Hours4
PHYT 8995 Dissertation in Health Science 5
 Semester Hours5
PHYT 8995 Dissertation in Health Science 5
 Semester Hours5
 Total Semester Hours64

Learning Outcomes

By graduation from the Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences program, students will:

  1. Formulate a research question based on an identified gap in the literature in their field of study.
  2. Synthesize how elements of research design can be used to control studies.
  3. Identify appropriate statistical testing or assessment techniques to analyze data based on the purpose of a research question.
  4. Effectively relate the scientific evidence to specific patient/client cases in their fields. 
  5. Outline and explain how psychosocial and mental & behavioral factors impact healthcare outcomes of various disease processes relate to their area of research. 
  6. Create a research question and design a research study to answer a postulated question regarding the teaching andragogy in Health Sciences education. 
  7. Synthesize current literature on economic, political, and social influences of current health care policy and their interdependency for future policy change.
  8. Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication skills. 
PHYT 8921Evidence Based Practice in Health Sciences3
PHYT 8935Epidemiology in Health Sciences3
PHYT 8940Interdisciplinary Health Care Delivery3
PHYT 8941Psychosocial & Cultural Aspects of Healthcare3
PHYT 8942Mental and Behavioral Aspects of Healthcare3
PHYT 8970Scientific Writing in Health Sciences3
PHYT 8990Graduate Research in Health Sciences1-6
PHYT 8995Dissertation in Health Science1-9
TCED 6936Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction to Improve Learning3
CRJS 6940Statistical Techniques in Health and Human Services3
CRJS 6945Research Methods in Health and Human Services3