Kinesiology students in a classroom at UWM.

Our Kinesiology doctoral degree will help you build a successful career as a leading scholar, research, teacher or industry professional in exercise physiology, the psychosocial aspects of physical activity and exercise, or neuromechanics.

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Kinesiology is…

With a PhD in kinesiology, you have endless possibilities. Some of the many career paths you could follow are faculty and/or administration within colleges and universities, careers in nonprofit service and research organizations, policymaker in government agencies and institutions or careers in for-profit businesses.

Kinesiology students discussing physical fitness test results.
  • You will contribute to and lead cutting-edge research that will move the fields of human movement and health sciences forward.
  • You will have opportunities to teach and mentor other students.
  • You will receive mentoring from our award-winning faculty who, as skilled educators and inventive scholars, integrate life experiences and active research projects into the classroom.
  • You will experience a rich and collaborative learning environment that includes the opportunity to learn with other graduate students in the College of Health Sciences.
  • All of our graduates have found employment within their chosen field, going on to a variety of faculty positions, postdoctoral fellowships and industry jobs.
  • As the only PhD Kinesiology program in the greater Milwaukee area, we offer an urban, research-intensive experience at a fraction of the cost of private schools.

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School. In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the following departmental requirements:

  1. Possess, or be in the process of completing, an MS degree in kinesiology or closely related field. In exceptional cases, applicants with a BS degree in kinesiology or closely related field who demonstrate significant involvement in research and exceptional academic achievement may be considered for admission.
  2. Submit a curriculum vitae that includes all academic institutions attended, degrees achieved, and academic and professional accomplishments, such as publications or presentations.
  3. Submit verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores from the GRE General Test taken within five years of the application date.
  4. Demonstrate, through submission of official transcripts from all institutions attended, a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the highest degree program in which you enrolled and/or completed. Particular attention will be paid to grades in classes that are relevant to your selected area of emphasis for the PhD Kinesiology program. If you are currently enrolled in a baccalaureate program, you must demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  5. Solicit two confidential letters of recommendation from previous university instructors and/or faculty advisors. These letters should be sent directly from the letter writer to the program director.
  6. Submit a writing sample from a research project in which you were involved. Acceptable writing samples include, but are not limited to, submitted/published manuscripts, submitted/published abstracts, review of literature, report of a completed research project, research proposal, etc.
  7. Submit a letter of intent that addresses your research interests (including intended area of emphasis and advisor at UWM) conducted research, ongoing research and career goals.

The final admission decision is contingent upon the availability of a faculty member to serve as your primary advisor.

You are required to complete a minimum of 58 graduate credits beyond the master’s degree, or a minimum of 79 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. The curriculum is comprised of five components:

  1. Core curriculum
  2. Area of emphasis curriculum
  3. Cognate
  4. Electives
  5. Dissertation

All coursework will be decided upon and approved by you and your PhD committee.

Credit Distribution

Core Curriculum16 credits22 credits
Area of Emphasis Curriculum1521

All credits listed are minimum required credits for the program.

Area of Emphasis

You will propose an area of emphasis in consultation with your advisor and take an array of courses that explore the main dimensions of that area. The academic area of emphasis within kinesiology will be identified prior to your entry into the program. Your doctoral committee will be charged with reviewing your program of study to ensure that sufficient doctoral level coursework is completed.

For information regarding the curriculum and for course descriptions, visit the UWM Academic Catalog.

Portrait of Stephen Cobb
  • Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Christy Greenleaf|
  • Professor, Kinesiology, ACSM Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist
Portrait of Kevin Keenan
  • Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Portrait of Lori Klos
  • Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences Undergraduate Program Director, MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics Program Director
Kristian O'Connor
  • Professor, UWM Associate Vice Provost for Research
Portrait of Scott Strath
  • Professor, Kinesiology Graduate Program Director
Portrait of Ann Swartz
  • Professor, Kinesiology
Portrait of Jinsung Wang
  • Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Important Dates
Fall priority deadline to be considered for funding:
December 1

Final deadline:
March 15 (international students) May 1 (domestic students)
Spring deadline:
October 1 (international students) November 1 (domestic students)

Scott J. Strath, ACSM Fellow
Program Director