Doctorate Programs in Physical Education: Degree Info
Get information on Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in physical education. Learn about admission requirements, courses, required research and employment opportunities for graduates.
Physical education programs at the doctorate level tend to be multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary in their instruction curriculum and are commonly designed to bridge the gap between theory, research and practice. Concentrations offered within most of these programs are physical education pedagogy (the science or profession of teaching), motor behavior and athletic training education. Some Ph.D. degree programs in physical education are specifically designed for students pursuing careers as exercise science researchers, professors, and preventive or rehabilitative program directors.
Applicants need a master's degree in exercise science or another relevant area. As doctoral students in physical education, they will complete classes in subjects such as athletic training education, the psychology of physical education and analysis of instruction behavior. These programs are research-intensive and usually require a study that can be published or presented at a national conference.
Ph.D. degree candidates are normally required to hold a bachelor's and a master's degree in exercise science or a similar academic category. Specific classes that might also be prerequisites include cadaver anatomy and physiology, exercise, nutrition and motor learning.
In order to graduate with a Ph.D. in physical education, students must usually complete a scholarly project in the form of a research study for journal publication or for presentation at a national organization's professional conference. Common coursework to most physical education doctorate degree programs can include:
- Athletic training education
- Mechanisms of motor skill acquisition
- Psychology of physical education
- Analysis of instructional behavior
- Development of skilled sport performance
- Perspectives on teaching and instruction
The majority of graduates from physical education doctorate degree programs find employment teaching in a variety of environments, including high school, postsecondary and college settings along with non-profit organizations and medical care industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median salaries for health educators in 2012 were about $48,790. Postsecondary health specialties teachers earned a median of $81,140 per year.
Continuing Education Information
For those who complete a Ph.D. program in physical education, there is really no higher academic achievement available to pursue. There are, however, other continuing education opportunities in the form of online classes, workshops and professional development conferences.
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