Programs by Campus


Exercise Science

School of Health & Human Sciences

Departmental Email:

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degrees Offered

Special School Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

IUPUI's Ph.D. in Exercise Science is designed to prepare doctoral research scholars to create and disseminate knowledge.

The program will provide training through a rigorous, mentor-based interdisciplinary curriculum with pedagogical and research experiences, and conduct applied and translational science research focusing on exercise science for the purposes of enhancing and prolonging quality of life.

Ph.D. in Exercise Science

This is a full time, face-to-face, research-based doctoral program that includes 90 credit hours of graduate study.  

During the program, students will pass qualifying exams, defend a dissertation proposal, then research, write, and defend a final dissertation.

You should plan to complete coursework, pass exams, and defend your dissertation proposal within three years (post-master’s degree) or five years (post-bachelor’s degree) of full-time enrollment.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the Ph.D. in Exercise Science at IUPUI you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants may be admitted into the Ph.D. program with a Master’s in Kinesiology or related field, or directly after completing undergraduate study in exercise science, kinesiology or related field.
  • Applicants must maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale for the final 60 semester hours of undergraduate study, and 3.2 on a 4.0 scale for all previous graduate work to be considered.
  • GRE scores are recommended.
  • Sample of scientific writing from published or unpublished work.
  • 3 letters of recommendation.
  • Interview with graduate faculty involved in the admission process.

You must identify a graduate faculty member to perform your research with and your research must be congruent with that faculty member’s.


Students must maintain an academic average of at least 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale.

Core Curriculum

Credit Hours: 90 credit hours of graduate study will be required for the doctoral degree. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree will be admitted into the M.S. in Kinesiology program and obtain the nonthesis master’s at the end of their second year of study.

The 90 credit hours, required of all students, beyond a bachelor’s will consist of:

  • 19-20 hours of required core exercise science courses:
  • 12 hours in research tools courses
  • 12 hours in a concentration area
  • 12 hours in an outside minor
  • 24 hours for dissertation work
  • 9-10 hours for electives

Movement Science Core:

Every student in the program will take five or six required courses, depending on which human physiology class they will take:

  • KINE-K 530 (3 hrs) Mechanical Analysis of Human Performance
  • KINE-K 535 (3 hrs) Physiological Basis of Human Performance
  • KINE-K 542 (3 hrs) Neuromuscular Control of Human Movement
  • ANAT-D 501 (5 hrs) Functional-Oriented Human Gross Anatomy
  • BIOL-K 556 (3 hrs) Physiology & BIOL-K 557 (3 credits) Physiology II OR PHSL-F 503 (5 hrs) Human Physiology

Research Tools Courses (12 credits):

All students will take 12 credits in courses focused on statistics, experimental design, data interpretation, instrumentation, scientific writing, or grant writing. Examples of some research tools courses within the Department of Kinesiology or other Schools are:

  • KINE-T 590 (3 hrs) Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation
  • KINE-T 591 (3 hrs) Introduction to Statistics in Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation or PBHL-B 551 (3 hrs) Biostatistics in Public Health I
  • PBHL-B 562 (3 hrs) or Biostatistics in Public Health II
  • KINE-K 701 (3 hrs) Scientific Writing in Exercise Science
  • KINE-K 705 (3 hrs) Experimental Laboratory Techniques

A plan for these courses will be formulated and approved in consultation with Graduate Coordinator and faculty advisor.

Concentration Area (12 credits):

All students will identify a concentration area that they will receive additional coursework. We propose four different areas: Biomechanics, Motor Control, and Exercise Physiology. Each concentration track offers the flexibility for the individual to choose courses from the IUPUI course catalog that can meet their independent need for expertise. The choice of courses is up to the individual in consultation with their Doctoral Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

Concentration Courses:

Movement Biomechanics

  • KINE-K 533 Clinical Biomechanics
  • KINE-K 500 Biomechanics of Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • KINE-K 593 Physical Ergonomics
  • KINE-K 631 Quantitative Mechanical Analysis of Human Motion
  • HPER-K 533 Advanced Theories of High Level Performance
  • GRAD G819 Basic Bone Biology

Motor Control

  • KINE-K 543 Cortical Control of Human Movement
  • HPER-K 533 Advanced Theories of High Level Performance
  • ANAT-D 852 (D505) Neuroscience and Clinical Neurology
  • KINE-K 631 Quantitative Mechanical Analysis of Human Motion
  • ANAT-D 701 Translational Neuroscience
  • ANAT-D 527 Neuroanatomy: Contemporary and Translational

Exercise Physiology

  • KINE-K 500 Muscle Physiology
  • KINE-K 563 Cardiac Assessment in Exercise
  • KINE R-K 533 Physical Activity and Disease
  • KINE-K 638 Biochemical Adaptations to Exercise
  • G805 Diabetes and Obesity
  • ANAT-D 502 Basic Histology
  • PHSL-708 Cardiac and Coronary Physiology
  • KINE-K 533 Advanced Theories of High Level Performance
  • KINE-K 635 Cardiovascular Physiology of Exercise

Minor (12 hours):

All students will take 12 credits in a minor area formulated and approved as part of their POS in consultation with their Doctoral Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator. These hours must be from other departments outside of Kinesiology on the IUPUI campus. Students electing to pursue the degree minor in a separate department or school must obtain permission from that school to take the courses. The student will solicit an advisor in the minor’s area of scholarship to give guidance, ensure the student’s eligibility, appropriate course selections, and participate in preparing qualifying and oral examinations.

We propose the following approved external minors already existing at IUPUI:

Biostatistics, Cardiovascular Science, Clinical Research, Computer Science, Diabetes and Obesity, Health Informatics, Epidemiology, Human Computer Interaction, Public Health, Anatomy & Cell Biology,  Physiology, Rehabilitation Sciences, and others individualized minors.

The required core exercise science courses (19-20 hours) will consist of the following existing courses from schools outside of SHHS:

  • Functional-Oriented Human Gross Anatomy
  • Physiology I and II or PHSL-F 503 Human Physiology

In addition, the following three existing core courses (9 hours) are required within Department of Kinesiology:

  • Mechanical Analysis of Human Performance
  • Physiological Basis of Human Performance
  • Neuromuscular Control of Human Movement

Research Tools courses (12 hours):

All students will take 12 credits in courses focused on statistics, experimental design, data interpretation, instrumentation, scientific writing, or grant writing. Courses can include:

  • Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology and Recreation
  • Interpretation of Data in Health, Kinesiology and Recreation or Biostatistics in Public Health II
  • Experimental Analysis and Design
  • Experimental Laboratory Techniques

Concentration Area (12 hours):

All students will identify a concentration area that they will receive additional coursework in the following areas:

  • Biomechanics
  • Motor Control
  • Exercise Physiology

Electives (9+ hours):

The remainder of the hours must be elective courses from departmental offerings, or outside the department or school. These would be in disciplines supporting the student’s dissertation and career focus, but that may not fit in the concentration or minor area. As an individual may take extra credit hours in the research tools, concentration area, or minor, the electives are proposed as 0 or greater credit hours to offer flexibility to the student to meet their credit hour requirement (if needed or not).

Dissertation (24+ hours):

At least 24 of the required 90 credit hours of graduate study must dissertation credits.

Advisory Committees:

Upon entry into the Ph.D. program in exercise science each student will form his or her Academic Advisory Committee. The role of the Academic Advisory Committee is to advise and approve the student's POS. This committee must comprise a minimum of three kinesiology graduate faculty or affiliated member and a faculty member from the student’s chosen minor subject area. The committee serves in an advisory capacity until the student passes the Qualifying Examination and forms his or her Doctoral Advisory Committee.

After successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student will solicit faculty members to serve on his or her Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC consists of at least four members whose duties will be to advise the student during their final course of study through to their dissertation defense. The student's Major Professor serves as the chair of the DAC.

The selection of the Major Professor requires his or her consent and the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. The student's research interests should align with the Major Professor's specialties. The DAC will comprise the student's Major Professor, two additional exercise science or affiliated graduate faculty, and one faculty member representing the student's minor area. Additional members may be included at the student's request. Inclusion of individuals without graduate faculty standing may be included but cannot supplant the other four members with graduate faculty status.

Examination Requirements:

Students must pass the three major examinations during the course of a Ph.D. program are the Qualifying Examination (QE), the Proposal Examination, and the Defense Examination. The purpose of the QE is to verify that students have mastered fundamental area-related topics in the student’s concentration and minor areas at the core course level, and to present an oral examination of a topic in the concentration area. The purpose of the Proposal Examination is to determine whether a student is adequately prepared to conceive and undertake a suitable research topic. The Proposal Examination typically includes an oral presentation and a written thesis proposal. The purpose of the oral Defense

Examination of the dissertation is to determine if the thesis research warrants granting the Ph.D. degree. Doctoral research must be original and merit publication in the scholarly literature.

Qualifying Examination:

Ph.D. candidates will be required to complete a comprehensive knowledge examination following completion of core coursework, and at least two terms before the final examination. The student’s graduate committee, in consultation with the graduate student, will determine the timing of this examination and its content. The format and content for the exam is at the discretion of the student’s advisory committee and will vary from student to student. The exam will have written and oral components. The written exam will be completed first and submitted to and graded satisfactory/not satisfactory by each committee member. The results of the written exam must be satisfactory to the committee before moving to the oral portion of the exam. No later than two weeks after the completion of the written exam, the student will undertake an oral defense of their exam. Students who fail to successfully complete the written or oral component of the comprehensive exam will, at the discretion of the student’s graduate committee, be given no more than one attempt to retake the examination. A Ph.D. candidate must successfully pass the preliminary exam before being eligible for further progress in the program.

Requirements for Doctoral Candidacy

Candidates for the Ph.D. in Exercise Science shall demonstrate the following (through successfully completing the QE) as a prerequisite to qualifying for the degree:

  1. Intellectual awareness and curiosity sufficient to predict continued growth and contribution to the discipline.
  2. Significant advanced, in-depth understanding in exercise science
  3. Knowledge of representative literature and historical precedence of exercise science.
  4. Considerable depth of knowledge in some aspect of exercise science, such as measurement, evaluation, clinical application, or technological advancement.
  5. Sufficient writing and speaking skills to communicate clearly and effectively to members of the scholarly community and the wider community, and especially in teaching situations.
  6. Research skills appropriate to the student’s specific focus within exercise science, including expertise with appropriate methodologies, analysis, and statistics tools.

Proposal Examination:

The Proposal Examination is given to determine whether a student is adequately prepared to conceive and undertake a suitable research topic in the student's concentration and minor areas. Students may not schedule their Proposal Examination until after they have passed the Qualifying Examination and submitted their final Plan of Study. The Proposal Examination is primarily an oral examination associated with a written thesis proposal, but may include a written exam component at the discretion of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. Students must complete the Proposal Examination at least two academic sessions (counting regular semesters and summer sessions), for which they are registered, before taking the Defense Examination. The written dissertation proposal should be submitted to members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee at least two weeks before the examination.

During the Proposal Examination, the student is expected to exhibit:

  • A clear understanding of the research problem;
  • An awareness of pertinent background literature and current efforts in the research area of interest;
  • Some initial progress toward solving the research problem; and
  • A plan to execute the remainder of the dissertation research.

Only two attempts to pass this examination will be allowed.

Defense Examination:

A written narrative of original research must be approved by the Doctoral Advisory Committee in a public defense as described in the Graduate School Bulletin. Students enroll in KINE-K799 PhD Dissertation each semester after the dissertation topic is approved until the research has been completed.

Time Limit for Completion of the Ph.D. Degree:

Students entering the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree are to complete all degree requirements within five equivalent full-time years from the beginning of their first semester registration. Those entering the program with a bachelor’s degree have seven years to complete their degree requirements.

Extension to the cited time limit may be requested in writing and approved at the recommendation of the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator. Only full semesters count toward the time limit. A student who is not in good standing with regard to the cited time limit will not be allowed to register for the following semester without the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

Click here for the PDF version.