This program prepares students to join the next generation of public health professionals by furthering the understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health practices, experiences and outcomes. Students select a research focus in cognitive motor neuroscience, exercise physiology or physical cultural studies.

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Completion of the Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology degree signifies that a student is capable of conducting independent research and has attained a high level of scholarship. Students are expected to demonstrate high scholastic achievement, an understanding of current theoretical foundations, and appropriate research skills necessary to advance knowledge in their specialization. The capability to conduct quality independent research using sound methodology is essential. In addition to coursework, doctoral students are expected to engage in ongoing research under the guidance of their advisor. The graduate faculty is committed to providing both the leadership and experiences necessary to attain these goals.

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the Masters degree. This total includes a minimum of 12 credit hours for the dissertation. The actual credit hours and related experiences approved by the student’s Program of Study Committee may exceed 60 credits and should be based on the student’s previous experiences and future scholarly goals. The graduate faculty anticipates that credit hours and ancillary experiences taken by doctoral students will vary considerably from student to student. The Program of Study committee determines the number of credits required in the specialization.


  1. Students will be expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the interdisciplinary field of Kinesiology, and be able to analyze their own research and locate it in relation to the broader field of kinesiology, and the aims and objectives of the School of Public Health.
  2. Students will be expected to identify, apply, and critique the range of empirical foci, concepts and theories, and research methodologies, appropriate to their specialized area of kinesiological inquiry.
  3. Students will be expected to originate, develop, and complete individually generated, high quality, and prescient scholarly research appropriate to their specialized area of kinesiological inquiry.
  4. Students will have demonstrated an ability to disseminate their scholarship (through presentation, publication, or other means) to appropriate scholarly constituencies.


Required Coursework (48 credits) 

A minimum of 48 credits as reflected in Coursework Plan of Study (M1), including the courses and categories listed below: 

KNES 600, Kinesiology in Public Health (3 credits)
KNES 601, Epidemiology and Physical Activity (3 credits)

Professional Ethics Course (1 credit)
Several professional ethics courses meet this requirement (M1)

Research Skills & Methods Courses
Requirement may be met through a variety of 600 or above level courses reflected in Coursework Program of Study

Research Issues Courses
KNES 609 or other issues-related courses; a maximum of 6 credits of KNES 609 may be applied to the Ph.D. degree.

Teaching Expectation
Students are expected to demonstrate some formal training in teaching as reflected in Coursework Plan of Study (M1)

Dissertation Credits (12 credits, minimum)
KNES 899


Successful completion of Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology degree requires completion of both a Comprehensive Examination (Milestone 3) and a dissertation project.

The Comprehensive Examination includes both written and oral components, and represents an opportunity to assess whether the student has demonstrated the necessary knowledge and ability to successfully pursue creative, independent research that will advance the body of knowledge within the specialization. Students have the opportunity to integrate knowledge gained from formal coursework, independent reading and study, and research competencies. The student should be able to discuss theoretical issues and frameworks from the body of knowledge, synthesize findings from current research, and pose the next logical research steps to advance knowledge in the area. The student should demonstrate a high level of scholarship as evidenced by clear, logical, and scholarly thinking in both written and oral portions of the examination.

The dissertation is the culminating experience in the doctoral program. It reflects the candidate’s ability to conduct original, independent research that will expand the body of knowledge in the specialization. The Dissertation Proposal and Oral Defense represent Milestones 4 and 5, respectively, in the doctoral degree. 
The dissertation topic must be within the advisor’s and candidate’s specialization and consistent with the student’s Program of Study and Comprehensive Examination tested areas. Research skills necessary to complete the dissertation are developed gradually throughout the curriculum as documented in the Program of Study Research Plan.