Physical Education, Ph.D.

The doctoral program in physical education is designed to prepare individuals for academic positions in departments of physical education and/or kinesiology at universities and colleges. Concentrations are offered in physical education pedagogy and motor behavior. Individuals who complete the doctoral program should be prepared to assume leadership roles in physical education teacher education or motor behavior. This document provides information about the expectations for doctoral study, sample programs of study, and other required experiences for doctoral degree in physical education.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Cultural Competence. Advanced program candidates demonstrate a high level of competence in understanding and responding to diversity of culture, language, and ethnicity.
  2. Knowledge and Application of Ethical Principles. Advanced program candidates demonstrate in-depth knowledge and thoughtful application of the Code of Ethical Conduct and other guidelines relevant to their professional role.
  3. Communication Skills. Advanced program candidates possess a high level of oral, written, and technological communication skills, with specialization for the specific professional role(s) emphasized in the program.  For doctoral programs, candidates are prepared to publish and present at conferences.
  4. Mastery of Relevant Theory and Research. Advanced program candidates demonstrate in-depth, critical knowledge of the theory and research relevant to the professional role(s) and focus area(s) emphasized in the program.
  5. Skills in Identifying and Using Professional Resources. Advanced program candidates demonstrate a high level of skill in identifying and using the human, material, and technological resources needed to perform their professional roles and to keep abreast of the field’s changing knowledge base.
  6. Inquiry Skills and Knowledge of Research Methods. Using systematic and professionally accepted approaches, advanced program candidates demonstrate inquiry skills, showing their ability to investigate questions relevant to their practice and professional goals.
  7. Skills in Collaborating, Teaching, and/or Mentoring. Advanced program candidates demonstrate the flexible, varied skills needed to work collaboratively and effectively with other adults in professional roles.
  8. Advocacy Skills. Advanced program candidates demonstrate competence in articulating and advocating for sound professional practices and public policies for the positive development and learning of all students.
  9. Leadership Skills. Advanced program candidates reflect on and use their abilities and opportunities to influence better outcomes for students, families, and the profession.

Specialized Competencies

  • Advanced knowledge essential to the field
  • Application of professional knowledge in teaching/clinical settings
  • Advanced knowledge of professional knowledge and standards following graduation
  • Human growth and development/human learning

Admission Requirements

In addition to submitting all documents required for admission to the Graduate School, individuals applying for the doctoral program in physical education will participate in an interview with departmental faculty and must submit the following information:

  • a sample of expository writing to include future goals and specific research interests
  • a current curriculum vitae
  • two letters of recommendation

Degree Requirements (60 Post-Masters Hours)

Total Hours Required

Minimum of 60 hours beyond the master’s degree; the degree must be completed in six years.

Qualifying Assessment

Written and oral assessment that must be successfully completed prior to the completion of 18 hours of 700- and 800-level course work.

Required Coursework

Students are expected to complete a minimum of 60 credits beyond the masters degree. The program of study committee may decide that more than 60 credits are necessary for an individual student to meet minimal expectations based on prior experiences and future professional goals. There are at least five categories within which students will complete courses to successfully receive a Ph.D.

These five areas include the following:

  1. Courses in the Department of Physical Education;
  2. Research Methods;
  3. Cognate;
  4. Research Practica;
  5. Dissertation

All doctoral students follow a similar template for selection of required course work with a focus on either physical education pedagogy or motor behavior. This template is presented below. Specific programs of study are determined by the program of study committee.

Physical Education Program Content (15-18 Hours)

Course Title Credits
Select 15-18 hours of the following:15-18
Psychosocial Aspects of Athletic Performance and Injury Rehabilitation
Motor Skill Learning
Analysis of Instructional Behavior in Physical Activity Programs
Advanced Topics in Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
Development of Skilled Sport Performance
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Study of Teaching and Instruction
Seminar in Research on Teaching in Physical Education
Research, Theory, and Practice of Teacher Education in Physical Education
Advanced Curriculum and Philosophy in Physical Education
Promoting Integrative Youth Physical Development
Total Credit Hours15-18

Research Methods (15 Hours)

Course Title Credits
Select 15 hours of the following:15
Educational Statistics I
Educational Statistics II
Qualitative Inquiry
Research Methods in Physical Education
Advanced Qualitative Inquiry in Education
Correlational and Multivariate Methods
Design and Analysis of Experiments
Total Credit Hours15

Cognate (9-12 Hours)

Research Practica (3-6 Hours)

Course Title Credits
PEDU 832Research Practicum in Motor Learning/Motor Performance3
PEDU 833Research Practicum in Physical Education1-6
Total Credit Hours4-9

Dissertation (12 Hours)

Course Title Credits
PEDU 899Dissertation Preparation12
Total Credit Hours12

Foreign Language

Students are required to meet competency in a foreign language or in computer and/or technology skills.

Comprehensive Exam

Students are required to successfully complete a written comprehensive examination and an oral examination.