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College of Education

Physical Education, Ph.D.

What will I study?

The doctoral program in Physical Education will prepare you to work as an educator and researcher in higher education. The goals of the program emphasize skills, knowledge and dispositions that are essential to long term success as a faculty member at a college or university. Concentrations are offered in physical education pedagogy and motor behavior. Within each concentration, you will also have opportunities to specialize in more specific areas of focus, such as adapted physical education and educational sport psychology. Our graduates are well prepared to contribute to the holistic education of current and future teachers and researchers to ensure all children and adolescents find personal meaning and enrichment in maintaining a physically active lifestyle.

During your program of study, you will gain experience working directly with teacher candidates, school professionals, and other stakeholders to develop strategies for increasing the positive impact of physical education and youth sport. In addition, you will have the ability to collaborate on research teams that include nationally and internationally renowned scholars. Your research training in the doctoral program will enable you to advance evidence-based practice in your respective field of study


What kinds of work will I be able to do?

Graduates from the program often secure faculty appointments at colleges and universities. Some of our graduates also enter careers in the private sector and industry where they can apply their skills as an educator or researcher.


Typical Coursework

Physical Education Core Courses (15-18 hours) Core courses will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to understand both the breadth and depth of subject matter in physical education and motor behavior. Courses range in focus, covering areas such as historical and philosophical perspectives of physical education, research on teaching in physical education, motor learning, motor development, motor control, growth and development, curriculum, teacher education, and sport psychology.


Research Methods Courses (15 hours)
One of the distinguishing features of a Ph.D. degree is the focus on learning to become a researcher. The research methods courses will prepare you to understand, design, and conduct research using a wide variety of specialized techniques, including quantitative and qualitative methodologies.


Cognate Courses (9-12 hours)
You will be able to choose a cognate (specialized area of focus) as part of your program of study. Students often choose a cognate that advances their knowledge and skills related to specific research interests. Examples include emphases in public health, adapted physical education/activity, special education, educational sport psychology, statistics, and qualitative research.


Research Practicums (3 hours)
The research practicums provide hands-on learning experiences related to conducting research. You will learn grant writing skills that prepare you for success in obtaining funding to support your research and you will work under the supervision of faculty to complete research projects and publish the results.


Dissertation (12 hours)
The dissertation is considered the signature educational experience in most doctoral programs. It enables students to demonstrate their ability to lead a major research study and share the results within the scientific community. You will work closely with a faculty advisor to plan and conduct your dissertation.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.