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PhD Funding

There are many funding opportunities appropriate for neurologic physical therapists who are pursuing advanced doctoral degrees. Opportunities are available from a variety of sources including foundations, government agencies and associations/societies.

Below are frequently accessed funding sources. For additional information on scholarships visit the APTA webpage.

Federal Funding Sources


Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA):
The objective of this funding opportunity is to help ensure that highly trained scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research agenda. There are variety of award mechanisms under this umbrella.

Please see this NIH webpage for details.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Dissertation Grant Program (R36):
This award will fund 9-17 months of the dissertation phase of PhD training for research that focuses on topical areas unique to AHRQ, demonstrating how expected results can be used or made available for use to enhance patient safety and quality of care. Results should be directly relevant to customers, such as providers and practitioners, administrators, payers, consumers, policymakers, and insurers. The strategic research goals are:

  • Safety/quality – Reduce the risk of harm from health care services by promoting the delivery of appropriate care that achieves the best quality outcomes.
  • Efficiency – Achieve wider access to effective health care services and reduce health care cost.
  • Effectiveness – Assure that providers and consumers/patients use beneficial and timely health care information to make informed decision choices.

Applicants are further encouraged to address health services research issues critical to AHRQ priority populations, including: individuals living in inner city and rural (including frontier) areas; low-income and minority groups; women, children, the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including those with disabilities and those who need chronic or end-of-life health care.

For more details see this NIH Web Page .


The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program

The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program seeks to train scientists and engineers to address the global questions of the future. Through the use of innovative curricula and internships, and by focusing on problem-centered training, these programs give their graduates the edge needed to become leaders in their chosen fields. To learn more about IGERT PhD programs located at universities across the country, and to find a program that's right for you, click here.

An important part of this mission is to help students find the IGERT program that is right for them, and help IGERT faculty and PIs find the students that are right for their programs. As part of this mission, we seek to increase the participation of underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, in doctorate programs in the engineering, science and mathematics fields, by helping Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and their constituencies tap into a bountiful resource opportunity. Funded by the National Science Foundation

For Financial Support in New Interdisciplinary PHD Programs Graduate School IGERT Opportunities:


These types of grants, offered by the National Institutes of Health, are awarded to an individual institution as the primary means of supporting doctoral research training.  The primary objective is to prepare qualified individuals for careers that have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the Nation. Individuals interested in applying for funding through an institution's training grant mechanism must contact the institution directly for detailed information. More information about Institutional Training Grants can be found on the NIH website.

Institutions with training grants of interest to neurologic physical therapists during PhD training:

University of Delaware, Department of Physical Therapy
University of Florida, Department of Physical Therapy
University of Kansas, Kansas University Medical Center
University of South Carolina, Behavioral-Biomedical Interface Program
Northwestern University, Biomedical Engineering
Northwestern University, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Washington University, Program in Physical Therapy


Foundation Funding Sources


The Foundation for Physical Therapy offers several options for funding for PhD training. Below is a brief summary. Please see the Foundation for Physical Therapy webpage for further details.

Florence P. Kendal Doctoral Scholarship: Kendall Doctoral Scholarships, part of the Foundation's Doctoral Opportunities for Clinicians and Scholars (DOCS) program, assist physical therapists and physical therapist assistants with outstanding potential for doctoral studies in their first year of graduate studies towards a doctorate. Applicants must be formally accepted as a student in a regionally accredited post-professional doctoral program whose content has a demonstrated relationship to physical therapy.


Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I & II Scholarships: Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I & II Scholarships, part of the Foundation's Doctoral Opportunities for Clinicians and Scholars (DOCS) program, are to fund doctoral students, who having completed one full year of coursework, wish to continue their studies or have entered the dissertation phase of their doctoral program.

Two scholarship categories within the PODS program have been established for the two distinct phases of education and training:

PODS I - Up to $7,500 per year in support of the coursework phase of post-professional doctoral studies prior to candidacy (as defined by the applicant's institution).

PODS II - Up to $15,000 in support of the post-candidacy phase of post-professional doctoral studies (as defined by the applicant's institution).


Pre-doctoral Fellowship: Helps students initiate careers in cardiovascular or stroke research by providing research assistance and training. Please see the AHA webpage for further information.


Dissertation Fellowships are available to women who will complete their dissertations within a specified period of time. To qualify, applicants must have completed all course work, passed all required preliminary examinations, and received approval for their research proposal or plan by a pre-set deadline. Students holding any fellowship for writing a dissertation in the year prior to the AAUW Educational Foundation fellowship year are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study, except engineering. Scholars engaged in researching gender issues are encouraged to apply.

For more information please see the AAUW web site .

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