Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences

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 1 example of academic writing and the committee reserves to right to request a second example at their discretion. 

•    If required by the field, a current license to practice.
•    Names and contact information for three references.
•    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

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

Kelly Colwell, Ed.D., Assistant Professor
Distance learning; improving patient and family health literacy through education for management of chronic asthma in children; improving access to healthcare in undeserved areas; improving student awareness of the need for cultural competency to better understand, educate, and treat patients in a multi-diverse patient population

Weiqing Ge, D.P.T., Ph.D., Professor
Biomechanics; manual therapy including complementary and integrative approaches; telehealth; cultural competence; scholarship in teaching

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

Edmund C Ickert, D.P.T., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Cardiopulmonary programs/outcomes/interventions; falls/fall prevention and outcome; geriatrics; education

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

Kenneth L. Miller, Ph.D., Professor
Measurement of cultural bias and discrimination; child abuse; technology use in clinical supervision; gender equity

Cathy Bieber Parrott, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Orthopedic-related disability measurement; program assessment

Nicolette Powe, Dr.P.H., Associate Professor
Health equality; chronic diseases; cancer prevention; healthy lifestyles

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

Daniel J. Van Dussen, Ph.D., Professor
Social and psychological determinants of health among older adults; the family; social support; statistics and methods

Affiliated Faculty

Chad Cook

Clinical examination and conservative or surgical treatment of orthopedics

Debbie Espy

Human movement science; neurological rehab; biomedical engineering

Linda Pax Lowes

Pediatric Physical Therapy; neurological rehab

Degree Requirements

Candidates that enroll with a bachelor’s degree will complete all core courses (60 s.h.) and an additional 30 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.

HRS 8921Evidence Based Practice in Health Sciences3
HRS 8935Epidemiology in Health Sciences3
HRS 8941Psychosocial and Cultural Aspects of Healthcare3
HRS 8942Mental and Behavioral Aspects of Healthcare3
HRS 8960Higher Education in Health Sciences3
HRS 8961Classroom Management & Teaching Strategies in Health Sciences3
HRS 8962Mentored Instruction3
HRS 8970Scientific Writing in Health Sciences3
HRS 8990Graduate Research in Health Sciences12
HRS 8995Dissertation in Health Sciences18
CRJS 6940Statistical Techniques in Health and Human Services3
CRJS 6945Research Methods in Health and Human Services3
Total Semester Hours60

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Propose a research study utilizing appropriate statistical or assessment techniques to answer a question based on an identified gap in the literature.  
  2. Apply scientific evidence to specific patient/client cases in their fields.   
  3. Explain how psychosocial and mental & behavioral factors impact healthcare outcomes of various disease processes relate to their area of research.   
  4. Design a study to answer an original research question regarding the teaching andragogy in Health Sciences education. 
  5. Communicate their original research both verbally and through manuscripts submitted for publication in academic journals.   
  6. Apply interdisciplinary research skills to solve current and future problems as professionals in Health Sciences.