PhD in Exercise Physiology

The PhD in Exercise Physiology is focused on training students to prepare for academic research careers related to exercise and physical activity to prevent and treat chronic health-related conditions, health and well-being, and the underlying physiological and/or behavioral mechanisms.  Specifically, this degree will prepare students for academic careers focused on research, teaching, mentoring, and translation of research findings to a variety of settings.  For students interested in primarily an academic research career, this degree will also prepare students for post-doctoral fellowships. 

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration:  Minimum of 3 years for full-time students. 
  • Time Commitment: Full time 
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall 
  • Application Deadline: December 1
  • Course Requirements: 90 credits
  • Application Requirements: GRE exam is required

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Program Details

The student will work closely with their faculty mentor to develop a plan of study and research experiences. Current research expertise of the faculty includes the following:

  • Obesity and Body Weight Regulation
  • Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease
  • Epidemiology of Physical Activity and Chronic Disease
  • Physical Activity Programming for Health and Fitness
  • Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents
  • Technology-Based Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease
  • Perceptual Responses to Physical Activity and Exercise

View Program Curriculum >>

Degree Requirements

  • Minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. 
    • A maximum of 30 credits can be transferred from the Master’s-level degree. 
  • Successful completion of Preliminary Comprehensive Examination. 
  • Successful completion of doctoral dissertation
  • Courses consist of the following:
    • Minimum of 30 credits in core exercise physiology, physical activity, and health
    • Minimum of 9 credits in an appropriate collateral area of study
    • Minimum of 12 credits in statistical analysis
    • Minimum of 9 credits in research methods
    • Minimum of 18 credits for completion of a doctoral dissertation
    • Additional credits taken as electives or directed research experiences. 


Applicants must demonstrate completion of a related degree and/or course work that are foundational to exercise physiology.  The applicant also needs to demonstrate a desire to pursue doctoral training in an area of study that is matched to the focus of graduate faculty in the department who may serve as their mentor, with a particular interest in pursuit of an academic research career. 

Career Pathways

  • Academic research careers at institutions of higher education. 
  • Academic teaching careers at institutions of higher education. 
  • Research careers in commercial, government, or academic medical centers. 
  • Preparation for admission to high quality post-doctoral fellowship programs.