Apr 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology and Physical Education

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The Ph.D. program in kinesiology and physical education prepares students for faculty positions that comprise teaching, research, service, and leadership in a specific area of specialization. The doctoral program builds on the practical competencies of the master’s program to prepare the student for the integration of theory and skills as the base for original research. Areas of specialization include, but are not limited to: adapted physical education, athletic training, biomechanics, exercise physiology, motor control, sport pedagogy, sport and exercise psychology, and sport management.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.


Admission to the doctoral program requires a master’s degree in one of the specialization areas of kinesiology and physical education, which includes, but is not limited to; adapted physical education, athletic training, exercise physiology, pedagogy, sport and exercise psychology, and sport management.

Required application materials include a(n):

(1) official report of GRE Scores
(2) official or student copies of transcripts
(3) personal statement regarding the student’s academic and career goals
(4) current resume or vita
(5) two letters of recommendation
(6) writing sample.

In addition to the aforementioned application materials, a student must identify a graduate faculty member in the kinesiology and physical education department with whom to work, obtain a letter/memo of support of the faculty member’s willingness to serve as the student’s doctoral advisor, and participate in a personal interview with the doctoral admissions committee.

Milestones and Examinations

In conjunction with their dissertation advisor, committee members, and doctoral program director, students must successfully complete various milestones and examinations during their time in the program.


Program requirements are flexible to best complement the individual student’s background and professional goals. The student will have significant input into the selection of specific courses for their program of study, in consultation with their doctoral advisor and committee. The doctoral degree, which is comprised of four core elements (outlined below), requires a minimum of 60 semester hours beyond the master’s degree. No previous coursework completed during a master’s program will be accepted within the doctoral plan of study. These core elements are as follows.

Kinesiology and Physical Education Core (15)

Research Core (15)

Specialization Area (15)

Advisor-approved specialization coursework in areas such as specialization-specific courses (not completed during a master’s program), quantitative statistics, qualitative research, directed research hours, independent study, seminars (15)

Dissertation Research (15)

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