The school of exercise and rehabilitation sciences provides qualified students with the opportunity to pursue coursework and research leading to the doctor of philosophy in exercise science. Students work closely with a faculty mentor to design a program that is consistent with the mentor's research focus and that meets the unique needs of the student. This includes courses, seminars, independent study and research, and may reflect a secondary area of specialization (cognate) that some students choose to pursue. Areas of research include:
- muscle physiology,
- cardiovascular physiology,
- biomechanics of human movement,
- sports injury and rehabilitation.
Typically, graduates of this program go on to pursue careers in higher education teaching and research or post-doctoral research in areas related to their area of specialization.
A unique feature of the program is the possibility for students in the university’s doctorate in physical therapy and the occupational therapy doctorate programs to combine either of these programs with work leading to the completion of the doctor of philosophy in exercise science degree. This option is ideal for students who wish to pursue a career in academics and research relating to physical or occupational therapy.
Prospective students are considered for admission to the doctoral program on the basis of the following:
- the individual’s previous academic training: admitted students will typically have a master’s degree in exercise science or a closely related area.
- the individual’s academic record: the applicant’s undergraduate and graduate academic record should demonstrate the ability for high-level scholarship.
- the applicant’s scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE): applicants should have a combined (quantitative and verbal) GRE score above the 50 percentile and outstanding writing.
- the applicant’s letters of recommendation: three letters are required from individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s potential for success in doctoral education.
- the applicant’s intended area of study: applicants must identify their intended area of study within the Ph.D. program and be selected as an advisee by faculty member working in that area.
Students enrolled in the first year of study in the doctor of physical therapy or the occupational therapy doctorate should apply for the doctor of philosophy in exercise science. In addition to the admission criteria above, a faculty member from the student’s clinical doctoral program should provide a letter of recommendation and be willing to serve as mentor to the student.
The doctor of philosophy in exercise science requires a minimum of 72 post-master’s credits for completion; all students complete a dissertation as part of the degree process. Of the 72 credits, a minimum of 36 credits will be composed of coursework and an additional minimum of 36 credits will comprise dissertation. All prospective applicants should contact a faculty member in the department of kinesiology to discuss their interests and plans.
Students work closely with a faculty mentor to design a program that meets the unique needs of the individual. The program of study typically requires four years of full-time study. The dual degree program with the clinical doctoral degrees in occupational therapy and physical therapy provide a limited number of courses and competencies that meet the requirements of both degrees.