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Arnold School of Public Health

  • Collage of man performing physical therapy, man running on treadmill, and child playing

Doctor of Philosophy in Exercise Science

Are you interested in attending the #1 ranked Ph.D. program in the United States? Our unique mentor-based program will prepare you to lead the future of Exercise Science research!

The Exercise Science department’s Doctor of Philosphy (PhD) program, which is ranked #1 in the United States by the National Academy of Kinesiology, is a mentor-based program that prepares graduates for entry into positions in universities, colleges, research institutes, research-oriented clinical settings, and industry.

The PhD curriculum includes coursework in exercise science, statistics, and research design, providing a solid foundation in advanced research methods.  The department's research labs further enhance the training within the areas of specialization. 

 

Core Curriculum

Students will complete an approved Plan of Study of up to

  • 60 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree
  • 30 hours beyond the Master’s or clinical doctorate degree
    • Includes students entering with a Master's in Athletic Training or a  Master's/Doctorate in Physical Therapy

The Plan of Study is determined in consultation with their mentor and tailored to the individual student's interest, research focus, and division. Progression within the program requires reaching specific Milestones outlined by the program. In addition to coursework and dissertation hours, doctoral students are expected to attend and present at research seminars and be heavily involved in ongoing research during their time in the academic program.

General Course Requirements – PhD
Public Health (> 3 hours)
Exercise Science (>6 hours)
Research/Statistical Methods (>6 hours) 
Dissertation (>12 hours)

 

 

Applied Physiology

Understanding the effects of physical activity, exercise, nutrition, stress, and sleep on different physiological processes provides a basis for health promotion by controlling & reducing risk factors for disease.  Managing these risk factors through enhanced nutrition, targeted exercise, and other behavioral factors in cancer survivors, women undergoing complicated pregnancy, and athletes (sport and tactical) are the current research foci of the division faculty with the goal of identifying the physiological response to and efficacy of their contribution to recovery and optimal performance.

The research programs in the division address many areas including:

  • Endocrine mechanisms & biomarkers related to the HPA axis and inflammation
  • Resistance training & nutritional interventions to improve functionality, mental health, and the systemic response to stress
  • Impact of exercise, nutrition, and supplementation interventions during & after cancer treatments to prevent or reduce side effects of cancer
  • The processes of long-term heart disease risk in women who have had certain pregnancy complications
  • Integrated -omics (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, lipidomics, and diverse cellular assays) approach to identify & characterize biological factors associated with the response of lipids & lipoproteins
  • Sport nutrition, eating disorders, female athlete triad, body image in female & males athletes as well as the military
  • Behavioral factors such as exercise & sleep on energy balance, body composition, and cardiometabolic outcomes in women & the adult population
  • Exertional heat illnesses, thermoregulation, and hydration behaviors

 

  • EXSC 723 - Genetics in Health Science
  • EXSC 755 - Selected Topics in Exercise Science (3)
  • EXSC 777 - Endocrinology in Exercise & Health (3)
  • EXSC 780 - Physiology of Exercise (3)
  • EXSC 781 - Physiology, Exercise, & Disease (3)
  • EXSC 790 - Independent Study in Exercise Science (6-12 hr total)
  • EXSC 880 - Myology & Exercise Science (3)
  • EXSC 881 - Advanced Cardiorespiratory Exercise Physiology (3)
  • EXSC 700/882 - Exercise & Public Health
  • EXSC 883 - Physical Activity, Chronic Disease, & Disabilities (3)
  • EPID 894 - Translational Science



Health Aspects of Physical Activity

The PhD in Health Aspects of Physical Activity (HAPA) prepares doctoral students to understand and optimize physical activity patterns, physiological & psychological well-being across diverse populations, and prevent & treat chronic health-related conditions. Research focuses within HAPA align with the flexible curriculum tailored to individual students with courses selected from exercise physiology, exercise psychology, biostatistics, epidemiology & population health, nutrition, or other areas deemed to provide a solid foundation sufficient to understand and conduct research in this area.

The research programs in the division address many areas including:

Physical Activity Interventions

  • Examine the feasibility & efficacy of physical activity programs on behavioral & health outcomes implemented in a variety of settings, including schools, churches, after school settings, summer camps, and clinics
  • Investigate the influence of lifestyle (exercise, diet, and sleep) on cardiometabolic disease prevention & weight management
  • Technology-based interventions for the prevention & treatment of chronic disease

Physical Activity Epidemiology

  • Explore correlations between physical activity, fitness, sleep, sedentary behavior, and physical & mental health-related variables/outcomes

Physical Activity Across the Lifespan

  • Study the role of physical activity & nutrition on biological factors in populations including children & adolescents, pregnant women, older adults, cancer survivors, individuals with obesity, and patients with arthritis

 

Courses within the HAPA division might be chosen from the following EXSC cognate classes as well as from other departments such as EPID, PSYC, HPEB, or other related fields.

  • EXSC 710 - Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity
  • EXSC 727 - Controlled Trials in Exercise Science
  • EXSC 732 - Measurement of Body Composition & Associated Heath Behaviors
  • EXSC 742 - Clinical Exercise Testing
  • EXSC 754 - Community-Based Physical Activity Interventions
  • EXSC 778 - Exercise & Childhood Obesity
  • EXSC 780 - Physiology of Exercise
  • EXSC 781 - Physiology, Exercise, & Disease
  • EXSC 787 - Research Methods & Design for Exercise Science
  • EXSC 801 - Ethical Conduct in Public Health Research (1 credit)
  • EXSC 802 - Predoctoral Fellowship Writing Course with Special Emphasis on NIH F31 (1 credit)
  • EXSC 882 - Physical Activity & Health: Epidemiology, Research, & Practice

 

 

Rehabilitation Sciences

As the rates of chronic disability increase across the globe, the need to develop novel rehabilitation treatments that reduce disability and increase physical activity is vital for improving the health & wellness of individuals with chronic disabilities. Prevention of chronic conditions starts with assessing & treating the risk factors for their development including poor nutrition, training behaviors, and injuries that occur with sports participation. Research focuses within Rehabilitation Sciences prepare students to examine health & motor behaviors and consider how the development & delivery of rehabilitative & preventative therapies are used to reduce disability, promote health, and prevent further disease.

The research programs in the division address many areas of scientific inquiry including:

  • Evidence-based practice & outcomes in physical therapy, athletic training, and rehabilitation
  • Neural & behavioral basis of motor control and motor learning
  • Posture-balance-gait-mobility in older adults & special populations
  • Epidemiology, assessment, and treatment of musculoskeletal pain syndromes
  • Movement impairment associated with musculoskeletal injury & persistent pain
  • Assessment of sensory, motor, cognitive deficits, and rehabilitation following stroke & brain injury
  • Sports nutrition, eating disorders, and body image in athletes & the military
  • Screening for & prevention of mental health disorders in athletes & the military
  • Exertional heat illness, thermoregulation, and hydration behaviors
  • Upper extremity impairments in overhead athletes & breast cancer survivors

 

Exercise Science (PHYT considered as EXSC hours)
  • EXSC 700 (3) – Physical Activity and Health: Epidemiology, Research and Practice
  • EXSC 710 (3) – Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity
  • EXSC 723 (3) – Genetics in Health Sciences
  • EXSC 731 (3) – Mechanisms of Motor Skill Performance
  • EXSC 732 (3) – Measurement of Body Composition and Associated Health Behaviors
  • EXSC 735 (3) – Applied Human Biomechanics
  • EXSC 742 (1) – Clinical Exercise Testing
  • EXSC 755 (1-3) – Special Topics in Exercise Science
  • EXSC 775 (3) – Neural Basis of Skilled Motor Behavior
  • EXSC 777 (3) – Endocrinology in Exercise and Health
  • EXSC 780 (3) – Physiology of Exercise
  • EXSC 781 (3) – Physiology, Exercise and Disease
  • EXSC 787 (3) – Research Methods and Design for Exercise Science
  • EXSC 790 (1-6) – Independent Study (maximum of 9 total hours)
  • EXSC 801 (1) – Ethical Conduct in Public Health Research
  • EXSC 802 (1) – Predoctoral Fellowship Writing Course with Special Emphasis on NIH F31
  • EXSC 882 (3) – Physical Activity and Health: Epidemiology and Research Methods
  • PHYT 788 (2) – Evidence Based Practice in Physical Therapy

Biostatistics

  • BIOS 701 (3) – Concepts and Methods in Biostatistics
  • BIOS 754 (3 – Discrete Data Analysis
  • BIOS 755 (3) – Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • BIOS 757 (3) – Intermediate Biometrics
  • BIOS 758 (3) – Advanced Biometrics
  • BIOS 759 (3) – Theory and Methods of Discrete Data Analysis
  • BIOS 760 (3) – Biostatistical Methods in Clinical Trials
  • BIOS 765 (3) – Research Design in the Biomedical Sciences
  • BIOS 770 (3) – Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • BIOS 820 (3) – Bayesian Biostatistics and Computation

Epidemiology

  • EPID 700 (3) – Introduction to Epidemiology
  • EPID 701 (3) – Concepts and Methods of Epidemiology
  • EPID 741 (3) – Intermediate Epidemiological Methods
  • EPID 800 (3) – Advanced Methodological Theory in Epidemiology
  • EPID 802 (3) – Advanced Analytical Methods in Epidemiology

Health Promotion, Education, & Behavior

  • HPEB 715 (3) – Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health

Psychology

  • PSYC 700 (3) – Psychological Approaches to Gerontology
  • PSYC 702A (3) – Basics of Neuroscience
  • PSYC 702C (3) – Basics of Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 703A (3) – Integration across Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience
  • PSYC 709 (3) – Basic Quantitative Methods in the Analysis of Behavioral Data I
  • PSYC 710 (3) – Basic Quantitative Methods in the Analysis of Behavioral Data II
  • PSYC 714 (3) – Psychoeducational Assessment of Children I
  • PSYC 715 (3) – Psychoeducational Assessment of Children II
  • PSYC 732 (3) – Clinical Neuropsychology
  • PSYC 801 (3) – Cognitive Neuroscience I
  • PSYC 823 (3) – Multivariate Analysis of Behavioral Data
  • PSYC 824 (3) – Special Topics in Quantitative Psychology
  • PSYC 825 (3) – Introduction to Statistical Mediation Analysis
  • PSYC 826 (3) – Longitudinal Data Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences
  • PSYC 888 (1-6) – Special Topics (vary each semester but are often highly relevant)

Physiology, Pharmacology, Neuroscience

  • PHPH 750 (4)† – Fundamental Neuroscience I
  • PHPH 751 (4)† - Fundamentals of Neuroscience II

 


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