Program Overview

The School of Rehabilitation Science offers a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences for individuals who have a prerequisite degree in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Language Pathologist or other health-relevant program; and wish to pursue graduate training in Rehabilitation Science.

There are two options within the Rehabilitation Science Master's programs:

  1. The thesis option, which may be undertaken on a full or part-time basis on campus; and

  2. The course-based option, which is offered on a part-time basis and can be completed entirely through online education, or include on-campus course options.

MSc Thesis Based

The MSc Thesis-based option in the Rehabilitation Science Program provides training that will develop knowledge, appraisal and evaluation skills. Students study and apply theory, research design, analysis methods within the context of a Rehabilitation Science research thesis. Students are prepared to assume future leadership roles in health. The MSc Thesis-based option in Rehabilitation Science is offered at either full-time and part-time basis.

Time to completion: 

Full-time students should normally take two (2) years (6 terms) to complete the program. For part-time students, the expected duration of the program is three (3) years (9 terms). 


Required Courses
Thesis Defense

MSc Course Based

The MSc Course-based option in the Rehabilitation Science Program provides education to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, athletic therapists, prosthetists, orthotists, other health professionals and those with an interest in rehabilitation science who do not have a professional background. This program provides flexibility for students working in clinical settings, research programs, etc., at a distance to complete the program entirely online and on a part-time basis. Students also have the option to take on-campus courses, provided through the thesis-based program. Courses emphasize evidence-based practice, clinical measurement/evaluation, critical thinking and application of knowledge to practice.

Time to completion:
Students are expected to complete the program in 3-4 years, which reflects reasonable progress based on other commitments, affording as much flexibility as needed. If the program is taken at an accelerated pace, it can be finished in 24 months. Although not typical, a student could complete the required eight (8) ½ credit courses in one-year.

Format/Delivery Method:
While the course-based program is delivered entirely online, every course has both synchronous and asynchronous components. Synchronous sessions on Microsoft Teams include: student presentations, discussion of course content, Q&A sessions for upcoming assignments, etc. Instructors work with students to determine suitable dates/times for these sessions. The asynchronous components involve students completing readings and learning activities, reading and writing posts summarizing their learning and uploading assignments and self-assessments. McMaster University’s Avenue to Learn, learning management system, is used for asynchronous components.

Further, students engage in group work both synchronously and asynchronously for formative and summative evaluation of learning in all courses. Most courses are 13 weeks in duration with a different topic being addressed each week.

Required Courses
Elective Courses
Completing the Program (Final Courses)

Course Descriptions

REHAB 702 : Participation and Community Living
REHAB 703: Selected Topics in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
REHAB 704: Independent Study
REHAB 705: Evaluating Sources of Evidence
REHAB 706: Measurement in Rehabilitation
REHAB 708: Clinical Reasoning & Decision Making
REHAB 710: Facilitating Learning in Rehabilitation
REHAB 715: Advanced Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy (OMPT)
REHAB 730: Scholarly Paper
REHAB 735: Rehabilitation Research Project
REHAB 770: Leadership in Rehabilitation
REHAB 771: Work Organization and Health
REHAB 772: Introduction to Qualitative Research
Rehab 773: Knowledge Translation in Rehabilitation Practice
REHAB 774: Quantitative Research Methods
REHAB 775:Technological Innovation and Rehabilitation

MSc Course Based OMPT Specialization

Please connect with Anita Gross at to express your interest in the OMPT Specialization well in advance of submitting your application

The MSc Course Based Program offers an Orthopaedic Musculoskeletal-Manipulative Physiotherapy (OMPT) Specialization field of study for registered physiotherapists. The MSc(RS) OMPT field of study is designed for orthopaedic physiotherapists to develop a specialization standard in musculoskeletal including pain science and manipulative clinical practice. The OMPT Specialization is comprised of three required foundation courses, two Clinical Specialty courses and one Research Project that is completed over a 2 to 3 year timeline. The objective of this OMPT field of study is to advance scientific knowledge, clinical reasoning application, clinical and research skills development with a broad appreciation of the concepts of clinical measurement, and integrated evidence-based orthopaedic musculoskeletal-manipulative physiotherapy practice.

This specialization field of study is offered part-time, primarily online, has  two on-site hands-on lab periods and one residency period with a clinical mentor.

The OMPT field of study is accredited by the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT) and meets International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapy (IFOMPT) standards.

Click here for the OMPT Brochure: Master of Science, Orthopaedic Musculoskeletal-Manipulative Physiotherapy Specialization 2022 Brochure to review course details and timelines: Masters in Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy Specialization 2022 Brochure


Time to completion:
Students are expected to complete the program with a time period, usually 2-3 years, which reflects reasonable progress based on their other commitments, affording as much flexibility as needed. If the program is taken at an accelerated part-time pace, it can be finished in 24 months.

Contact: If you are interested in the MSc Rehabilitation Science Course-based program with OMPT Specialization, please connect with Anita Gross at to express your interest well in advance of submitting your application.

Required Courses
Elective Courses

PhD Thesis Based

The Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science provides training to develop rehabilitation scientists who will advance rehabilitation research and transfer new knowledge into practice and policy. This competency-based program educates students in rehabilitation theory, research design and methods, grantsmanship, scientific writing, knowledge exchange and translation, and teaching/learning strategies. This option includes coursework, a comprehensive portfolio and a thesis. Graduates will be prepared to take on academic, leadership or research roles.

Time to completion:

  • Full-time students should normally take four (4) years to complete the program.
  • Part-time students, the expected duration of the program is six (6) years.
Required Courses
Comprehensive Examination
Thesis Defense

PhD Dual Degree 

The McMaster Rehabilitation Science Dual-Degree Option allows students to obtain the established Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (OT) and Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science (RS) OR the Master of Science in Physiotherapy (PT) and Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science (RS) offered within the School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS) in 5 years.

The Dual Degree option provides students with advantages through integrated scholarship training and professional development and stream-lined time efficiency. Completing the two degrees, an OT or PT professional degree and Ph.D., concurrently rather than sequentially develops clinician scientists who have an understanding of the issues facing the professions, the potential contributions they can make and research expertise to undertake these roles.

The program will provide research training for individuals who will pursue leadership roles in areas including integrated research initiatives, interdisciplinary and knowledge translation health research. The graduates from this program will be leaders in advancing the contribution of rehabilitation science towards examining health outcomes within a broader scope.

Time to completion: 5 years, full-time only

Required Courses: Students should refer to the course requirements for the PhD Thesis-Based program, and the website for the MSc PT or MSc OT for the professional degrees portion of their training.


Comprehensive Examination
Thesis Defense
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