PhD in Exercise Physiology

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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 not 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


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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.