Kinesiology Ph.D. Requirements

Iowa State University requires doctoral students to earn a minimum of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree with at least 36 from Iowa State University. These requirements may be exceeded at the discretion of the Program of Study (POS) Committee. The doctorate in kinesiology is awarded based on achieving a satisfactory level of expertise as judged by the major professor and POS committee.


Doctoral students identify specialization areas within kinesiology and a focus area outside the department. The specialization areas are used to identify breadth of coursework and guide the selection of primary and secondary research experience.


  • Kinesiology specialization areas – fifteen credits that provide a focused area and breadth beyond that focused area in kinesiology
  • Focus area outside the department – nine credits in the area related to, but outside of kinesiology. These nine credits don’t need to be from the same department. Examples include courses in human-computer interaction, statistics, engineering mechanics, gerontology, psychology, industrial engineering, human development and family studies, food science and human nutrition, etc.
  • Statistics – nine credits in statistics and advanced research methods, including KIN 620. STAT 587 and 571 are basic graduate-level courses, but courses such as STAT 582 or 575 may be more appropriate depending upon the student’s background and interests
  • Ph.D. seminar – one credit each semester in the Ph.D. seminar during full-time enrollment (six credits minimum)
  • Ethics – one credit in research ethics course that has been approved for Responsible Conduct of Research training. GR ST 565 is a recommended course
  • Dissertation – 21 credits of 699. A minimum of nine credits are required prior to preliminary exams (credits may be concurrent) and a minimum of nine credits after preliminary exams (the additional three credits can be taken before or after preliminary exams)
  • Secondary area of research – students are encouraged to take one-three credits of KIN 590 to document their secondary research experience if their time was not supported by a research assistantship

Other Requirements

Successful kinesiology doctoral student will have done all of the following:

  • Presented research papers at national and/or international conferences
  • Submitted research papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrated laboratory and/or teaching skills

Full-time Student Status Requirement

We expect all incoming doctoral students to be full-time students. To enable this, the Department of Kinesiology provides financial support for students in the form of assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships during the fall and spring semesters. These types of financial support are from departmental, college, and university resources or from external grant/contract resources. With sufficient progress toward a degree, funding is provided to Ph.D. students throughout the completion of their program. Summer funding may also be provided for Ph.D. students depending on the availability of research/teaching assistantships and scholarships/fellowships.

Course Descriptions

Check out our catalog of courses you will have to take to get your Ph.D.

Need More Information?

Jason Gillette

103F Forker Building
534 Wallace Road
Ames, IA 50011-4008