Our Program

The graduate specialization in Movement and Cognitive Rehabilitation Science (MCRS) is a scientifically rigorous program that prepares students for further education and important careers in related fields. The program offers advanced multidisciplinary coursework and extensive opportunities to pursue innovative practical experiences and research.

Both the master’s and doctoral programs are designed to be flexible. Students have some flexibility to adjust their individual programs to line up with their future directions and career goals.

Faculty members work closely with students to tailor an academic, practical, and research program based on the interests of the students. This targeted coursework allows each student to lay a foundation for the professional, technical, and practical aspects of their future career. Students can pursue a practical route (M.Ed.) focused on functional and applied coursework or a research-intensive route (M.S. or Ph.D.).

Program Resources

The facilities of the graduate program in MCRS are state of the art. Our two core biomechanics labs are equipped with 3-dimensional force and motion capture systems and multichannel surface EMG equipment. One of the biomechanics labs features instrumented treadmills and a virtual reality surround; the other features multiple force plates for assessing overground locomotion.

In addition, the Neuromuscular Control Laboratory is equipped to study selected non-locomotor motor control tasks with a variety of force and motion transducers and both surface and intramuscular EMG systems. The Sensorimotor Neuroplasticity Laboratory and the Cognitive Rehabilitation and Learning Laboratory are outfitted with a cutting-edge closed-loop transcranial magnetic stimulation system that integrates electroencephalography with noninvasive brain stimulation. The laboratories are also equipped with a range of software and hardware resources for testing cognitive and motor function in healthy and clinical populations. Students and investigators in this lab also regularly use on-campus core resources for functional and structural neuroimaging.

Current interests in physical rehabilitation, motor development (including both young children and aging populations), motor skill acquisition, and elite performance biomechanics guide the research projects in these labs and afford natural bridges to students’ future careers and applications. These include

  • physical therapy,
  • occupational and cognitive therapy,
  • clinical gait analysis,
  • biomechanical analysis and consulting,
  • and basic and applied research.

By participating in cutting-edge research and coursework, students will be prepared for a variety of ways to be engaged in and to guide these specializations.

Please note, however, that before you begin working in a laboratory, you are required to perform:


Each student is advised by the professor whose research or expertise corresponds with the academic interests of the student. The role of the advisor or supervising faculty member is to provide advice about possible coursework for the degree, to approve the selection of specific courses within the student’s program, and to provide feedback about student progress. Students should contact an appropriate faculty member for more information on advising.

Central Research Themes

Our Rehabilitation and Movement Science graduate programs focus on research aimed at studying biomechanical, neural, and neuromuscular mechanisms of human movement and cognition with applications to development and aging, skill acquisition, and rehabilitation following acute and chronic injuries. Some central aims addressed in our research laboratories include:

  • mechanisms underlying the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of memory in healthy younger and older adults, and patients with memory deficits (Freedberg).
  • Cortical and subcortical mechanisms of voluntary movement and skill learning in the healthy and damaged brain (Hussain)
  • biomechanical analysis of, and neurological correlation to fine motor skill acquisition and performance (Abraham)
  • neural control mechanisms during muscle fatigue and aging with single-motor unit recording, and electrical stimulation protocols for individuals with paralysis. (Griffin)
  • mechanisms of biomechanical and neuromuscular control of normal and pathological movements, and interventions that improve functional movements such as walking (Hsiao)
  • changes in motor competencies across a lifetime with an emphasis on posture and locomotor control including populations of autism and cerebral palsy. (Jensen)

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