Ph.D. concentration in Exercise Physiology

The mission of the Exercise Physiology doctoral program is to develop the competencies that are needed for someone who intends to teach exercise physiology, pursue research, or apply exercise physiology in practice.


The student must meet requirements of the College of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Health Sciences (HS). The College and School will determine acceptability of the prospective doctoral student's application.  All aspects of the student's credentials are considered; i.e., experience, suitability of academic background, and academic record. While the university has rolling deadlines for applicants regarding admission to our program, it is recommend that if you are interested in a Graduate Assistantship to apply early in the spring semester.

Applicants' research interests and how they align with faculty in our program as well as the student's career goals play an important part in the evaluation process. Accordingly, please be sure that these are specifically addressed in the Goals Statement as applicants meeting all admission requirements will also be accepted as an advisee by one of the Exercise Physiology graduate faculty. In general, the student seeking admission is expected to:

  • Have substantial preparation in the sciences which usually includes coursework in mathematics through calculus, chemistry (Chem I and Chem II, at a minimum) through organic (physical chemistry also desirable), physics, biology including human physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, and exercise physiology. 
  • Have a Master's degree or an approved course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree
  • Contact potential faculty mentor(s) to discuss personal research interests and future goals as they relate to the faculty member and the Exercise Physiology program.

Transfer Credit

A Master's degree and a maximum of twelve semester hours may be accepted for transfer from accredited institutions (e.g. North Central Association for graduate level work). Equivalency of content appropriate to exercise physiology is determined by the evaluation committee and approval given by the graduate coordinator, the student's advisor, and the College of Fine and Professional Arts. Such credit received from the institution where work was transferred must be of "A", "B", or "S" quality and less than nine years old at the time that the doctoral degree is conferred by Kent State University.


The residence requirements for the College of Fine and Professional Arts are two semesters. The course requirements in the Exercise Physiology Concentration make it difficult to complete degree requirements by spending only two semesters in residence. Students should plan to spend three or four years of full-time study, especially those holding appointments as Graduate Assistants.


The doctorate represents competency in a specialized area. The Ph.D. curriculum is designed to develop competencies which we feel are essential for someone who intends to teach exercise physiology, pursue research or apply exercise physiology in practice. It emphasizes human and mammalian physiology. 

The minimum credit requirement for the doctorate is 90 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree or 60 hours beyond the master's degree. Only in rare instances does a student fulfill educational and research expectations at the minimum.

The student must confer with the academic advisor regarding their plan of study before registering for courses. Within the first semester of study, the student must submit a plan of study which must be approved by the graduate faculty who advise students in Exercise Physiology. Equivalency of course work and work experience will be considered in developing the plan (also see Transfer Credit paragraph above). Requisite coursework, identified at the time of application review, should be completed early in the student's program. This plan of study must be forwarded to the graduate coordinator for inclusion in the school's file of the student.

View Exercise Physiology PhD Plan of Study

View Graduate School Forms

The following must be used by students as a guide in program planning:

A. Research Tools: (6 credit hours)

1. Data Analysis
  • EXPH 73050 Research Processes in Ath Train & Ex Phys (3)
  • EXPH 73051 Quantitative and Research Methods in Ath Train & Ex Phys (3)
  • Or other doctoral-level data analysis course, as approved by instructor
2. Exercise Physiology (9 hours)
  • EXPH 75075 Muscle Function and Exercise (3)
  • EXPH75076 Environmental Stress and Exercise (3)
  • EXPH 75081 Energy Metabolism and Body Composition (3)   or
    • EXPH 75083 Exercise Energy Metabolism (3)
  • EXPH 75082 Cardiorespiratory Function (3)   or
    • EXPH 75084 Cardiovascular-Respiratory Dynamics During Exercise (3)
3. Elective Areas (6 hours)

It is strongly recommended that students take further courses in statistics if their proposed dissertation work will require extensive use of multivariate analysis, factor analysis, or other more advanced and specialized statistical analysis. Course work in the electronics of instrumentation and computer programming would also be of value.

4. Research Competency

Prior to taking the candidacy examination, the student must demonstrate his or her ability to conduct independent research related to the field of exercise physiology. This may be in the form of a completed thesis, an independent study project, or an article published in an acceptable research journal. The acceptability of such evidence is to be determined by faculty advising students in Exercise Physiology.

Exercise Physiology Concentration: (28-30 credit hours)

Required Courses: (25-27 credit hours)
Exercise Physiology (15 credit hours)
  • EXPH 75075 Muscle Function and Exercise (3)
  • EXPH75076 Environmental Stress and Exercise (3)
  • EXPH 75081 Energy Metabolism and Body Composition (3)   or
    • EXPH 75083 Exercise Energy Metabolism (3)
  • EXPH 75082 Cardiorespiratory Function (3)   or
    • EXPH 75084 Cardiovascular-Respiratory Dynamics During Exercise (3)

A number of required and elective courses have prerequisites. The student must consult the Kent State University Course Catalog to determine specific requirements.

Elective Hours: (3 credit hours)

Students are expected to take elective course work that will support doctoral dissertation research and increase competencies in specialized areas of interests. Course work that may be of value is listed below. Electives are not restricted to this list, the list serving only as examples of possible elective coursework. However, elective courses are expected to be in accord with the overall goals of the program and approved by the student's advisor.

  • EXPH 70610 Physiology of Aging (3)
  • EXPH 75080 Neurobiology of Movement (3)
  • BSCI 70158 Molecular Biology of the Gene (3)
  • BSCI 70495 Special Topics in Physiology (2 or 3)
  • BSCI 70432 Endocrinology (3)
  • BSCI 70435 Reproductive Physiology of Mammals (3)
  • BMS 70729 Neurophysiology (4)
  • BMS 70451 Microcirculation (2)
  • BMS 70452 Pulmonary Physiology (2)
  • BMS 70461 Integrative Physiology of the Cardiovascular System (2)
  • BMS 70550 Medical Pharmacology I (3)
  • BMS 70551 Medical Pharmacology II (3)
  • CHEM 70555 Elementary Physical Chemistry I (3)
  • CHEM 70556 Elementary Physical Chemistry II (3)

B. Other Academic Experiences

EXPH 83098 Research (12-15 credit hours)
A major goal of doctoral study is to develop competency in doing research. After admission to doctoral study and until the student passes the doctoral candidacy examination, he or she is required to enroll for at least two semester hours of credit with a faculty member who advises graduate students in exercise physiology. This is to serve as a research apprenticeship and to introduce students to problems that may be used for the doctoral dissertation. Each student must work with at least two faculty members prior to taking the candidacy examination.

EXPH 73095 Research Seminar
All doctoral students must enroll in Research Seminar every term while in residence unless course conflicts make it impossible.

C. Dissertation: (30 credit hours)

All doctoral candidates, upon admission to candidacy, must enroll in EXPH 83199 for a total of 30 semester hours. Subsequent registration in EXPH 83299 will be required for each semester, including a summer session, until the dissertation is defended and the final copy submitted.
The dissertation for the doctorate must show that the student has the competency to conduct research in a discriminating and original manner. The quality of the dissertation must be such that one of more articles acceptable for publication in a professional journal may be expected to be derived from it.

Have any questions? Contact Program Coordinator Dr. J. Derek Kingsley at or 330-672-0222.