College of Education and Human Development

School of Kinesiology

Kinesiology PhD

A PhD in kinesiology prepares students for a career in academics, teaching, research, or clinical settings. Students will work closely with a faculty advisor with expertise in their area of interest to conduct research and write a dissertation. The PhD program explores kinesiology through an interdisciplinary approach across emphasis areas in the life sciences and social sciences.

87% PHD STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED FULL OR PARTIAL FUNDING*
4.5 years AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE OUR PHD PROGRAM
62% PHD STUDENTS WHO HAVE PUBLISHED ONE OR MORE PEER-REVIEWED PAPERS*

* Fall 2020 data

Emphasis areas

All students pursuing a PhD in kinesiology will need to select their emphasis area and faculty advisor prior to applying. Students should review the following emphasis area options and the associated faculty and labs. They should choose an emphasis area that aligns with their future career goals and research interests.

Emphasis: Biomechanics and neuromotor control Emphasis: Biomechanics and neuromotor control

rovides advanced knowledge for understanding how the human nervous system controls movement and how the neurological disease affects motor function. Students will focus on the application of the laws of physics to the motion of biological systems.

Emphasis: Sport and exercise psychology Emphasis: Sport and exercise psychology

Explores the thoughts, feelings, and actions of people in physical activity contexts. Research focuses on participants of competitive sport, exercise and fitness, sports medicine and rehabilitation, physical education, and health and wellness.

Emphasis: Sport sociology Emphasis: Sport sociology

Focuses on the scientific study of human behavior and social organization in the sport context. The primary objective is to attempt to identify, describe, and explain the role and relationship of sport in society.

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How to apply

    Before you apply

    Before you apply review the MS/MA vs MEd information. All master's programs are designed to educate students in their chosen degree path and prepare them for professional or academic work. Read through the MS/MA versus MEd comparison page to decide which program is the best fit for you.

    It is highly recommended that applicants contact the professor they are interested in working with before applying online. It helps facilitate the application process and familiarizes the professor with applicants and their interests.

    Apply

    All required materials need to be submitted by the application deadline, December 1.

    Applications received by December 1 will be given priority consideration for admission and financial support. The majority of applications are reviewed in January for admission for the following fall semester. A few applicants with exceptional credentials or exceptional situations may be considered for admission outside this review period or for semesters other than fall, but these are rare and are subject to faculty advisor availability.
     

    Graduate school application requirements

    You will apply online through the University of Minnesota Graduate School.

    • Graduate application instructions
    • Admission requirements
       

    School of Kinesiology application requirements

    Applications must be completed online and the fee ($75 for permanent U.S. residents, $95 for international students) paid by credit card. The School of Kinesiology requires applicants to:

    • Complete an online application
    • Upload a personal statement
    • Upload a diversity statement
    • Upload a research description
    • Upload copies of unofficial transcripts
    • Upload one (1) scholarly writing sample
    • Upload three (3) letters of recommendation
    • Graduate assistantship application (if interested): Assistantships in the department are competitive and the number of assistantships given each year is limited. Chances for getting an assistantship vary from year to year depending on availability and funding. Applicants must not assume that they will be awarded an assistantship automatically if they are accepted into the program. Admitted students should contact their future faculty advisor directly for more information.

    Starting with the 2024-25 admissions cycle, GRE scores will not be considered in the admissions review process for PhD or master's (MS or MA) applications. Additionally, GMAT scores will not be considered in the admissions review process for master's (MA) applications.

    All School of Kinesiology application materials are uploaded to the online application system and must be submitted by December 1 for the following fall semester.

    Application process and timeline

    An admission decision notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the School’s admission committee and your unofficial transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by University officials.

    Applicants who apply by the due date (December 1) should receive an admissions decision in January or February. Assistantship applicants will find out if they received an assistantship no later than mid-April.

    Review process

    Faculty with expertise in the emphasis areas identified by the applicants will review the MS/MA and PhD applications. Based on the comments and recommendations of the faculty, the director of graduate studies makes the final recommendations to the Graduate School, which informs students of the School's decision.

    Meeting minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. In making admission decisions, faculty reviewers and the director of graduate studies consider level of achievement in previous college work, performance on standardized graduate exams, experience, congruence of the program with an applicant's stated goals, advising and teaching load of faculty in the identified emphasis area, and academic records of other applicants for the same emphasis.

    Potential MS/MA or PhD students who have not received a response by late March, should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.

    Readmission requirements for MS, MA, and PhD students

    1. Contact the faculty advisor prior to the readmission application submission, and
    2. Contact the graduate program coordinator to request the paperwork for readmission.

    Questions?

    We’re here to help. Get in touch with our Graduate Studies Office through the request information form or contact one of our staff.

    Daheia Barr-Anderson Daheia Barr-Anderson

    • Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, Physical Activity and Health Promotion
    • 612-301-1309
    • barra027@umn.edu

    Graduate education faculty Director, Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory (BPAL) Professional memberships Council on Black Health (CBH) American College of Sports Medicine Special Interest Group: Minority Health & Research American Public Health…

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    Daheia Barr-Anderson
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