College of Education

Exercise Science - Graduate

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The major goal of the Ph.D. Program in Exercise Science is to provide education to qualified students so that they will have a better understanding of the full spectrum of exercise science, as well as an in-depth knowledge of one specific area or discipline. Graduates of the program will be able to conduct exercise science related research, teach at the university level, direct discipline specific education programs, and collaborate with other professionals on various issues pertaining to exercise science and health related topics. Objectives of the proposed program are to:

  • provide a multidisciplinary doctoral program in exercise science with coordinated and expanded course offerings to meet the varied needs and interests of students wishing to pursue a research and/or academic career in the exercise science areas of exercise physiology, biomechanics, and motor control.
  • develop scientific expertise and knowledge of resources which will enable students to conduct independent research in their given area of expertise.
  • foster cooperative interdisciplinary research.
  • provide opportunities for critical interdisciplinary evaluation of current research trends.
  • participate in guided research projects of sufficiently complex scope and design to prepare students for conducting their own research.
  • prepare leaders to educate others in the area of exercise science.

Doctoral Program Description

There are two Exercise Science Ph.D. specializations in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion: Exercise Science with a specialization in biomechanics,and Exercise Science with a specialization in exercise physiology. Each program requires 36+ credit hours prior to sitting for the qualifying exam, followed by the completion of a dissertation. Determination of a student’s particular course plan is made in consultation with the student and his or her approved advisory committee. The dissertation is guided and ultimately approved by the student’s dissertation committee.

The Exercise Science Core includes 20 hours, and provides the student with a broad understanding of the various disciplines involved in this field. Each student is also required to take a minimum of 7 hours in research/statistic coursework and 3 hours of computer programming or demonstate proficiency in programming. Beyond this minimum of 30 hours, the structure and content of the doctoral program are set by an advisor and committee in consultant with each student. The number of formal courses within each area of specialization may vary. It is expected that the depth of knowledge in each area of study comes from independent study and research experiences, in addition to the dissertation, which are under the direction of the faculty. Each student will demonstrate their depth of knowledge by their qualifying exams. Typically, it will take from 3-5 years for the student to complete the degree requirements including the dissertation.

Doctoral (PhD) Degree - Application Requirements

  1. CV
  2. Personal Statement
    • Submit a statement of your professional aspirations and explain how you believe graduate study at the University of Kentucky will enhance your ability to achieve those professional goals. In your statement, provide information about your background, research skills and experiences, personal and professional achievements, and educational, work or life experiences that influenced you and your life goals.
  3. Writing Sample
    • ​Students who have not written a Master’s level thesis will be required to submit an example of their research writing. A literature review or project from a completed class are acceptable examples for submission for application. Special circumstances will be considered at the discretion of the applicant’s designated potential advisor.
  4. A Master’s degree or graduate level professional (e.g. M.D.) degree from a fully accredited institution of higher learning. 
  5. The Graduate School of the University of Kentucky requires an overall grade point of 3.0 on all prior graduate work and a 2.75 from undergraduate work.
  6. For the Graduate School, the minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based) 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5; Submitted scores must be no more than two years old.
  7. Four letters of recommendation
    • EXCEPTION: For application to the Biomechanics program only: A total of 3 reference letters are required, with a minimum of 2 out of 3 of these letters being submitted by someone with a terminal degree (i.e. Ph.D., M.D., Ed.D., etc.)

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program.

An assistantship appliction is available here.


Application Deadlines

Spring: December 1

Summer: April 1

Fall:  February 1