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Doctorate of Philosophy in Kinesiology, Physical Education

The nationally and internationally acclaimed PhD program in physical education teaches you the skills and know-how to advance the field of physical education in order to improve the lives of people through physical activity.

The Kinesiology program at The Ohio State University provided me the opportunity to collaborate and work one-on-one with "renowned" scholars within and outside my discipline. This experience was invaluable! This program also afforded me the opportunity to participate in several professional development opportunities, including: engaging in all aspects of the research process, the dissemination of research through publications and presentations at international and national conferences, serving on various college and university committees and funding opportunities. My entire experience in the doctoral program instilled me with the tools needed to be a successful and productive faculty member. Leah Robinson
Associate Professor, University of Michigan


When you choose the physical education program at The Ohio State University, you will join a group of engaged and passionate educators and scholars who attract some of the best minds in the field from around the world.

Our physical education program exemplifies learning by doing and reflecting on it. This lead-by-example approach gives you the capacity to motivate your students to make physical activity a part of their lifestyle.

The doctor of philosophy provides you the opportunity to study and engage in an intensive research program within the field of physical education. You will tackle research projects that are in line with your interests and specialization that will make a difference in the lives of students and teachers.

Your studies will be mentored by faculty committed to an excellent learning environment. Your education in physical education will be as diverse as the people in it. And you will have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with school districts, professionals and researchers.

As you learn the best practices in teaching physical education to children and youth, a doctoral degree in physical education will prepare you to:

  • Apply relevant theoretical knowledge to educational problems
  • Design reserach to answer specific questions
  • Refine, modify, apply and teach knowledge in the field
  • Become a leader who is able to engage in public policy discussion and advocacy
  • Serve as a model for the profession

Ohio State is a long-time leader in the study and application of adapted and general physical education. The faculty and the students a part of it are committed to advancing the field of physical education, physical activity and sport while educating children and youth to embrace a lifetime of health and wellness.

Career Paths

Graduates from the PhD program either pursue careers in PETE or move into a research role in universities or other agencies.


Deadline to Apply: 
December 1 – to be considered for funding. Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions beginning in late January and rolling admissions continue until the cohort is filled. Contact the program if you need to request review of a late application.
Program Start: 
Autumn semester
Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: 
Bachelor's and master's degree in physical education or related field; K-12 teaching experience or experience working with youth in a physical activity setting.
Minimum Program Hours: 
80 beyond bachelor’s degree

Application Materials: Online application, Transcripts, Statement of Purpose, CV/resume, 3 Letters of Recommendation, Test of English scores (if applicable). GRE scores not required.
Time to Degree: 3 years
Location: While a limited number of courses may be completed online, in-person learning on the Columbus campus is essential to degree completion.
Coursework: Research on Physical Education, Research Methods, Advanced Study in APE, Advanced Study in PETE, Doctoral Seminar
Degree requirements: 3 Kinesiology core courses (9 hours), specialization core courses (30 hours), additional courses in (9 hours), research methods (9 hours minimum), dissertation (6 hours), flexibility requirement (6 hours)
Academic opportunities: Physical Education Club, Kappa Phi Kappa, Society of Health and Physical Educators, Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

PDF iconDoctoral Appendices
PDF iconGraduate Program Handbook

View the Curriculum Sheet


Dena Deglau, PhD, Lecturer
Jackie Goodway, PhD, Professor
Samuel R. Hodge, PhD, Professor
Weidong Li, PhD, Professor
Sue Sutherland, PhD, Professor
Phillip Ward, PhD, Professor


Department of Human Sciences
PAES Building, 1st Floor
305 W. 17th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Graduate Student Services