Health Sciences Calendar
2005 - 2006

6.1.4 History of the School

In response to the marked need for rehabilitation specialists in Canada at the time of the Second World War, the School of Physiotherapy was started at McGill University in 1943. It was the first Canadian School to be under the aegis of a Faculty of Medicine. Initially the School offered a two-year program in physiotherapy plus internship, upgraded to a three-year program in 1947.

In 1950, Occupational Therapy was introduced in a three-year combined Physical and Occupational Therapy diploma program, followed by two months of internship in each profession. The School was given its present name the following year. In 1954, McGill introduced Canada's first B.Sc. program in Physical and Occupational Therapy, together with separate diploma programs in Physical Therapy and in Occupational Therapy.

Due to the advancement of science and technology and to the increasing emphasis on health care needs of society, the programs have evolved, integrating a greater academic and scientific base over the ensuing decades. Thus the diploma programs were phased out, allowing for the creation of the B.Sc. degree in Physical Therapy in 1969, and the B.Sc. degree in Occupational Therapy in 1971. The School vigilantly and continually revises these science-based curricula, to prepare the best qualified graduates for entry into professional practice or advanced studies in rehabilitation.

At the graduate level, an M.Sc. (Applied) program in Health Science (Rehabilitation) was initiated in 1972 and formally approved in 1976. To provide the foundation for the development of a doctorate degree, it was changed from an applied to a thesis degree in 1982. The School now offers both an M.Sc. program in Rehabilitation Science and, since 1988, a Ph.D. program in Rehabilitation Science, the first of its kind in Canada.

McGill University