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.

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Essential Information

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.

Education Prerequisites

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.

Program Coursework

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

Career Information

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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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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