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How to Get Involved in Human Movement & Rehabilitation Science Research

Industry Advice Healthcare

Research in human movement and rehabilitation science has significantly contributed to our understanding of the human body. 

The study of human movement science addresses critical questions surrounding bodily performance. It also informs developments of technologies and interventions used to prevent, diagnose, and treat injuries, disabilities, and neurological conditions that can impact human movement, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and more. 

Through such research, scientists have been able to gain a deeper understanding of how athletes can improve their performance, how workplace injuries can be prevented, how assistive technology can improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, and much more. 

Engineers, clinicians, and other professionals who work in related industries are often drawn to this field for the rewarding and interesting work that it includes. If you’re interested in furthering the study of human movement and rehabilitation science, below are four ways to get involved in research in the field. 


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4 Ways to Get Involved in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science Research

1. Make connections. 

As with any field or industry, the importance of networking cannot be overstated. To get involved in human movement research, one of the first steps you should take is to form relationships with those performing similar work. 

Making connections with researchers and professionals involved in human movement science will allow you opportunities to ask questions and learn more about the current state of research in the field. If possible, find a mentor who can help guide you into the field. These connections could include anyone from a colleague to a personal relationship or even a current or former professor.

2. Volunteer as a subject.

Before you begin conducting research, it can be highly beneficial to gain experience on the other side of the equation. Volunteering as a research subject is a great way to gain exposure to the latest topics in the field. 

To get started, look for research studies taking place in your area. This work often occurs in laboratories, clinics, hospitals, and even corporate firms like athletics companies. Depending on the specific research questions being asked, you may be able to participate in such studies by allowing researchers to observe and measure certain functions to understand the human body better. 

Assistive technology is one example of a current area of focus in human movement and rehabilitation science today. As a research subject in this type of study, you may be asked to test out such technologies so that researchers can measure their effectiveness. Doing so will allow you to contribute to the field and provide you with a deeper understanding of the research process and the critical questions being asked among the field’s experts. 

3. Find research-driven employers.

Working for a company that regularly invests in human movement research is another great way to find opportunities to get involved. An athletics company that manufactures running shoes, for example, might invest in research to better understand how different features of the shoes impact the performance of the human body. 

You don’t have to work directly in a research capacity in order to gain this experience. Instead, no matter what your role entails, look for ways to network with others at the company who take part in this work, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is also a great opportunity to become familiar with the different types of tools, equipment, and machinery that are used in the study of human movement and rehabilitation. 

4. Advance your education.

The traditional route toward human movement and rehabilitation science research typically involves earning a PhD in a related field. Such programs are specifically designed to further research in the field and train students to address critical questions. 

For those students who are uninterested in or not yet ready to commit to a PhD program, another option exists to advance their education. Master’s degree programs such as Northeastern’s MS in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science (MS in HMRS) offer students an alternative path toward success. This route typically offers similar coursework and industry partnerships to allow someone to advance into research or industry more quickly. 

It’s important to note that pursuing a master’s degree program does not exclude you from enrolling in a doctoral program down the line. Rather, it is often a stepping stone for many students who decide to continue their education and a great way to test the waters. 

Contributing to Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science Research

If you are interested in human movement science and would like to contribute to the field in the form of research, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. As with any field, forming strong connections with colleagues and mentors is a great way to gain exposure and develop your knowledge. Participating as a subject in a study before transitioning to the role of a researcher can be highly beneficial, as well. 

Finally, pursuing advanced education in the form of a master’s degree in human movement and rehabilitation science is an effective way to break into the research arena. Programs like Northeastern’s MS in HMRS offer students the opportunity to get hands-on experience addressing the most pressing questions in the field. With state-of-the-art facilities like the Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Laboratory and Movement Neuroscience Laboratory and research-driven faculty, students enrolled in the program learn to apply their skills and knowledge while contributing to the deeper understanding of human movement. 

Learn more about the MS in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Northeastern, and take your first step toward a career in this exciting field today.

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