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State Board of Higher Education Approves New Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science

November 09, 2015

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has approved a new Master's degree in Rehabilitation Science at Lasell College with an interdisciplinary approach offering professionals in the Exercise Science and Athletic Training fields the opportunity to study the management of pathomechanics in an online setting with a required hands-on manual therapy residency. The online program launches in Fall 2016.

The new Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science is distinct in that it addresses psychology, ethics and leadership aspects of the field and fills a void for master's level study in the rehabilitation sciences field, which is an area of relative weakness in undergraduate programs. In addition, the online degree includes an optional Field Experience Course and a required 10-day residency where students will acquire and apply manual therapy techniques in a laboratory setting.

"Most graduate study in the field offers Doctorate programs for physical therapy. This degree option offers an alternative and gives others, such as athletic trainers and others in the healthcare profession, the opportunity to specialize in the area of rehabilitation science," said Cristina Haverty, Chair of Lasell's Athletic Training and Exercise Science program.

In addition, Haverty said, the new program addresses a growing need for graduate degrees among athletic trainers in order to advance in the field and will allow current Lasell Exercise Science and Athletic Training students to gain a bachelor's and master's degree through a 5th Year Option.

"Having more providers with a degree in rehabilitation science gives my non-surgical patients the opportunity to have a comprehensive biomechanics analysis and allow them to restore their pre-injury function," said Dr. Laurie Katz, an orthopedic surgeon at Newton-Wellesley Orthopedic Associates and an advisory board member to Lasell's Exercise Science program.

The master's in Rehabilitation Science is designed as a multidisciplinary degree that will appeal to an array of health care professionals and expose them to a core set of knowledge, skills and abilities that can be applied in diverse settings.

Among the knowledge areas addressed in the degree curriculum are: motor control and functional movement and the basis of dysfunctional movement, pharmacology and the effects of medicine on movement and tissue healing, psychosocial interventions in health, wellness and treatments, specialized techniques such as the Graston® technique and other areas.

Students will also learn research techniques, how to design an exercise prescription and protocol and how to analyze and interpret normal/abnormal movement.

A unique feature of the new program is the required residency course that provides theory and clinical application of current best practices in manual therapy techniques utilized in the treatment of orthopedic conditions that limit functional movement. Participants will receive a certificate in manual therapy technique upon completion of the course.

The new master's program will have two start-up times in January and September each year. The program offers a 5-year program that is open to Lasell undergraduate students who meet the requirements.

More information is available online at