Skip to main content

Call for Applications

The Queen Elizabeth Scholars Program for Excellence in International Community Based Rehabilitation at Queen’s University

Download PDF

The School of Rehabilitation Therapy’s International Centre for the Advancement of Community-Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) at Queen’s University (Canada) is providing the opportunity for exceptional disability and rehabilitation leaders to complete a PhD in Rehabilitation Science (RHBS) at Queen’s, with a focus on international community-based rehabilitation (CBR).

The doctoral program in RHBS at Queen's University stresses the multi-disciplinary contribution of many health professions and disciplines to rehabilitation. The successful candidate will join a cohort of like-minded scholars for 3-4 years to complete a PhD in RHBS. With this program, community leaders will gain further education in leading international CBR projects through RHBS coursework, a CBR-focused dissertation, and a 10 hour/week community service commitment at the ICACBR office at Queen’s and with community partners. With training and experience in CBR, QE Scholars will be challenged to find innovative, community-driven solutions that will result in improved access to health and social services for people with disabilities and their communities globally.


Successful candidate must demonstrate the following:

1. High Level of Academic Ability

2. Commitment to Community Development, CBR, and/or Disability Rights

3. Willingness/ability to lead international CBR programs following graduation


Scholar eligibility:

  • Scholars must meet Queen’s guidelines for eligibility to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation therapy. (Find eligibility requirements here: )
  • Scholars must demonstrate leadership capacity and a commitment to working with people with disabilities, families, and communities
  • Scholars must be 35 years of age or under at time of application
  • Scholars must be citizens from a country listed in the table below:
  • Individuals who have Canadian citizenship or who have applied for Canadian citizenship or permanent residency are not eligible
  • Scholars must be proficient in English (see for specific English language requirements, including minimum TOEFL scores)
  • Scholars must reside in Canada throughout the period of studies, commit to their studies on a full-time basis, and participate in community engagement activities while in Canada
  • Scholars must be in good academic standing (minimum B- in all courses) in order for the award to be renewed the following year


Details of the Scholarship

The successful scholar will receive the following funding package:

1. One return airfare and airport transfers from applicant’s home country to Kingston, Ontario

2. Assistance with student visa-related costs

3. Full Queen’s RHBS tuition/fees

4. A laptop computer

5. Office space at Queen’s

6. An annual allotment for printing, books, and supplies

7. Partial funding for travel to academic conferences

8. Modest, one-time installation allowance

9. Modest living allowance

10. Health insurance


Duties and Responsibilities of Scholars

PhD student learning will be structured to develop capacity for leadership and motivation to engage with the community. In addition to general RHBS PhD coursework and requirements, QEII scholars are expected to be active, contributing members of a vibrant PhD cohort, which will involve weekly meetings, enrichment activities, a 10-hour/week work commitment, and other duties as appropriate.

By the end of their training, scholars should be able to:

1. Show mastery of the breadth and depth of knowledge related to RHBS.

2. Formulate and defend arguments based on critical appraisal of the evidence within the RHBS literature.

3. Integrate and situate knowledge generated in the RHBS field more broadly in society.

4. Competently discuss how different techniques of inquiry are used to create knowledge in the field of RHBS.

5. Demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and design research.

6. Apply their knowledge to critically appraise basic, clinical and applied research relevant to their research area.

7. Make informed judgments on the application of appropriate research methodologies to their research area.

8. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the scope, perspectives, concepts, current issues and research methods relevant to international community based rehabilitation and their specific areas of focus.


Application Process

The rigorous application process will follow three stages.

STAGE 1: PRE-SCREEN (Deadline January 3, 2019)

Applications will undergo a pre-screen for completeness and alignment with eligibility requirements. In Stage 1, applicants should submit the following documents via email to Dr. Heather Aldersey at by January 3, 2019:

1. A PDF copy of an official transcript from each university previously attended. If the degree is not complete at the time of application an official interim transcript should be provided with the final transcript forwarded as soon as it is available. Transcripts must demonstrate upper second-class standing (B+) in a Master’s degree relevant to occupational therapy, physical therapy, health sciences, education, international development, community development, or another CBR-related field.

2. A letter of intent, no longer than 3 single-spaced pages, describing the applicant's personal and professional background, previous and current involvement in disability and CBR, motivations for pursuing a PhD program, key topics of interest and potential RHBS supervisors, a potential dissertation subject, and post-PhD career plans. In this letter, applicants must explicitly state that they do not have Canadian citizenship and have not applied for Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.

3. A professional C.V., with a list of community engagement and volunteer activities, as well as all previous academic awards and publications, including abstracts and full papers

4. Letter of commitment from government ministry / other potential disability or rehabilitation employer in home country to engage the individual in paid employment following completion of the graduate degree program (desirable but not required). 

5. Any other proof of willingness and ability to lead CBR programs in home country after PhD completion (desirable but not required)


STAGE 2: Queen’s University Online Application (Deadline: January 17, 2019)

Candidates who demonstrate fulfillment of fellowship application requirements will be invited to submit an application to the program via the Queen’s University online portal. This application will require:

6. Two (2) letters of recommendation from professors under whom the applicant has studied and one (1) letter of recommendation from an employer or community partner who has worked with the applicant in community development, rehabilitation, or disability rights. (Applicant must request their referees to submit letters via the online system.)

7. Two (2) official transcripts from each university previously attended. If the degree is not complete at the time of application an official interim transcript should be provided with the final transcript forwarded as soon as it is available. Transcripts must demonstrate upper second-class standing (B+) in a Master’s degree relevant to occupational therapy, physical therapy, health sciences, education, international development, community development, or another CBR-related field.

8. A non-refundable application fee of $105 in Canadian funds must be submitted by credit card. Applicants who cannot pay by credit card must submit a paper application and include a money order or cheque in Canadian dollars with the application.

9. Proof of acceptable competency in English if the language of instruction in previous academic programs has not been English. If required, a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper based) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.



The top shortlisted applicants may be invited for a Skype interview. This interview would take place in February, 2019, with finalists notified of decisions shortly thereafter.

Queen’s University will work with successful candidates to procure a student visa. Scholars are required to relocate to Canada by late August 2019, to begin program orientation.

Note to applicants

1. Women and individuals with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.

2. We regret that only successful short-listed candidates will be notified (via email) of their advancement in the selection process.

3. Scholars cannot seek permanent residency in Canada upon completion of the PhD program 


Further Information

School of Rehabilitation Therapy

The School of Rehabilitation Therapy is committed to leading and inspiring positive changes that transform lives through rehabilitation research, education and practice. As part of this commitment, our core mission is to educate occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehabilitation scientists who contribute to health and well-being globally through collaboration, creativity, and the discovery of new knowledge. We are recognized nationally and internationally for our excellent faculty, high-quality professional and research programs, and the ways in which our scholarship contributes to the lives of people affected by or at risk of disability. For further details about the PhD in Rehabilitation Science Program, visit:


Established at Queen’s University in 1991, the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) is an organization committed to mainstreaming disability and advancing the concept of community based rehabilitation (CBR) practice in partnership with women and men with disabilities and their communities around the world. All of ICACBR's activities are directed towards achieving international excellence in CBR education, policy, service delivery and research. Over its 25+ years’ history, the ICACBR has conducted a wide range of CBR and international development projects in many nations around the world. For further details about the ICACBR, visit:

Queen Elizabeth Scholars

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program fosters a dynamic community of young global leaders that create lasting impacts at home and abroad. Through professional experiences, the program provides international education opportunities for discovery and inquiry.

Queen Elizabeth Scholars engage with communities, learn about cultures and create projects and actions that impact the world. They are part of a global network of young scholars who share knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate on meaningful initiatives.

The program is managed through a unique partnership of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, Universities Canada and Canadian universities. For further details about the QE Scholars program, visit: