Kinesiology, M.S./Ph.D.

For information regarding deadlines and requirements for admission, please see

In addition to the application materials required by the Graduate School, applicants must submit supplementary application materials required by the department.

Exceptional students who have an appropriate baccalaureate degree and who demonstrate superior ability and a high level of motivation and dedication to research and learning are eligible to apply directly into the M.S./Ph.D. track. Current master’s degree students in Kinesiology who wish to pursue the Ph.D. may apply once they have completed at least 18 credits of foundational course work in their discipline, have demonstrated dedication to research, and have not yet formally proposed their thesis. Students must apply for admittance to the M.S./Ph.D. and must identify one of the possible concentration areas (Applied Neuromechanics, Exercise Physiology, Curriculum and Pedagogy Studies in Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Psychology, or Kinesiology.)

Degree Program Requirements

Required: 78 credit hours


  • Breadth Requirement (0-6 credits). Please see description under M.S. degree program requirements.
  • Integrative experience (6 credits)
  • Research methods (3 credits)
  • Research tools and statistics (12 credits)
  • Independent doctoral research (KIN 795 Independent Doctoral Research ) or equivalent (minimum of 6 credits)
  • Electives in major concentration area (33 credits)
  • Dissertation (12 credits)

Items 1-3 plus 15-21 credits of electives are required to complete the M.S. degree. (See the requirements for the M.S. Thesis and Non-Thesis options.) Items 1-7 are required to complete the M.S./Ph.D. A minimum of 9 credits must be in courses numbered 750 and above.

Program Progression

Year One

18 credits of coursework, to include courses related to the research process
Benchmark: Preliminary screening (early/mid semester 2)

Year Two

18 credits of coursework, to include courses related to the research process
Benchmark: Oral and written demonstration of research competence (end of semester 2)

Years Three and Four

Completion of remaining coursework
Benchmark: Comprehensive examination (oral and written)

Year Five

12 credits of dissertation
Benchmark: Completion of and oral defense of dissertation

Required Benchmarks

Continued progression in the M.S./Ph.D. track is contingent on satisfactory progress through each year of study. Progress will be formally assessed each Spring as follows:

Year One

Preliminary Screening (Early/Mid Spring)

The preliminary screening will consist of a formal evaluation of the scholarly work completed from the time of admission through the completion of 18 credits of coursework (counting work in progress in a current term). This screening must occur during the second semester of study, so that a decision can be made prior to admission and graduate assistantship decisions for the upcoming Fall. An advisory committee consisting of a minimum of 3 members (the student’s advisor, Director of Graduate Study, and at least one other) will conduct the first year preliminary screening review. The intent is to determine relatively early in students’ academic careers whether or not they display the high quality of academic achievement necessary to pursue and successfully complete the doctoral degree. Excellent students will be encouraged to continue in the program. Students who do not meet the requirements will be strongly urged through counseling by their advisory/dissertation committee to complete the M.S. degree level and pursue other intellectual/career avenues.

In order to progress to Year 2, all members of the student’s preliminary screening committee must review all criteria and confirm satisfactory progress in the preliminary evaluation.

Year Two

Research Competence (End of Spring Semester)

Students will be expected to be actively engaged in research from the beginning of their studies in Year 1. In Year 2, students will be expected to complete a comprehensive research project by the end of their second year of study. This project should encompass all aspects of the research process, including the following:

  • Conception and design of the project
  • Acquisition and reduction of the data
  • Analysis and interpretation of the data
  • Written summary of the work (e.g. Submission ready manuscript)
  • Oral presentation of the work

To progress to Year 3, the student’s M.S./Ph.D. advisory committee must approve the work.

Year Three

Comprehensive Examination

When the student has completed a minimum of three-quarters of the coursework (60 credits) contained in the program of study and completed the research skill requirements, they are then eligible to take the comprehensive examinations. Each doctoral student is required to pass the doctoral preliminary examinations which consist of both a written and oral examination, per the guidelines of the Graduate School and the Department of Kinesiology.

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