Exercise Physiology

Doctoral Program

Department of Kinesiology and Health Education

Exercise Physiology is the study of how our bodily systems respond and adapt to stimuli of acute and chronic exercises and how these changes are related to health, disease, physical function, and performance. Our Exercise Physiology program offers students the opportunity to explore practical areas of study that prepare them for a career promoting healthy lifestyles.

Additionally, graduate students can focus on a research-intensive route that benefits from the vast amount of resources and knowledge provided by the university and faculty.

Program Details

Semester Start: Fall, Spring

Deadline to Apply:
Fall Priority: December 1
Fall Final: May 1
Spring Final: October 1

GRE Required? No

Location: On Campus

Length of Program: 60 months, 57 hours 

Students applying to the Ph.D. degree program are expected to hold a master’s degree in kinesiology or a related field from an accredited college or university. Exceptional students with only a bachelor’s degree may be admitted straight into the Ph.D. program.

Meeting the Requirements

Competency is typically demonstrated by completion of specific undergraduate courses taken in kinesiology or other disciplines.  Students may be admitted to the graduate program without these core courses, provided that they fulfill these requirements either prior to starting their degree for master’s students or prior to advancement to candidacy for doctoral students.

Students can meet these competencies by taking the necessary course(s) at the University of Texas, as noted above.  Students taking any of these courses at the University of Texas will also need to fulfill any prerequisites for these courses. Undergraduate core competencies are in addition to the required courses in the student’s graduate program.

It is recommended that any deficiencies be completed prior to entering the program.  It is typically possible to complete the core competencies during the summer prior to beginning the program. All courses must be taken for a letter grade to fulfill the competency area requirement. 

After entering the program, the student should download and submit the prerequisite form to the faculty advisor for approval before it is submitted to the graduate program coordinator for filing.

Additional Ph.D. Requirements

  • Demonstrated capability of independent research. Examples include completing a thesis or presenting a poster at a scientific conference or publishing a research article.
  • Approval of a faculty advisor willing to supervise the student’s doctoral program. The laboratory in which student’s research project is conducted provides the setting for student’s most crucial learning experiences.

Applicants without a faculty member willing to supervise them will not be admitted into the program.  Prior to applying to the program, students should contact the professor that they are interested in working with. 

During their first year, each student and their academic advisor will develop an individualized program of study. The program will be based on the student’s research interests and dissertation topic. This will outline the coursework the student will take to complete their degree.

This program of study will be presented for approval to the graduate studies committee during the student’s second year. It will include any and all coursework deemed necessary to meet the degree requirements described in the Program Overview below.

  1. The sequencing of course offerings favors admission in the fall semester.
  2. Prerequisites, if needed, should be completed in the first semester of study, and must be completed prior to advancement to doctoral candidacy. Submit the prerequisite form signed by the faculty advisor to the graduate program coordinator.
  3. At the end of each academic year, the yearly progress report checklist will be filled out by the student, signed by the faculty adviser, and submitted during the doctoral seminar.    
  4. During the second year of doctoral study, the program of study should be established and presented to the exercise physiology faculty and the graduate studies committee for approval.
  5. By the end of the second year of post master’s study, organized coursework in the program of study should be near completion, and the comprehensive examination should be taken.
  6. Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student may be advanced to candidacy (see Doctoral Candidacy below).
  7. In the year following the successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the dissertation proposal should have been defined and presented to the dissertation committee.
  8. The dissertation defense will be conducted and evaluated by the dissertation committee.  

Ph.D. students must make satisfactory progress and will be evaluated for satisfactory progress each year. The evaluation will be based on completion of coursework, GPA, and research involvement.

  1. Incompletes. Graduate students are expected to complete courses within the time frame of the semester. In unusual cases where this semester framework is not in the best interest of the student, the professor may report the symbol X (incomplete) in place of a grade. The student must then complete the course requirements and the instructor must report a final grade by the end of the grade reporting period in the student’s next long-session semester of enrollment (i.e., spring or fall semester). If this deadline is not met, the symbol X is converted to the symbol I (permanent incomplete). The symbol I cannot be converted to a grade. The GSC considers two or more grades of incomplete including permanent incompletes as unsatisfactory progress. (TAs, GRAs, etc., may acquire no more than two grades of X or one grade of X and I. They cannot have two or more grades of I.)
  2. GPA. The student is expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 required by the Graduate School. This GPA pertains to all coursework within the major department, outside the department, and also to the overall combined GPA.
  3. Research Involvement. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with the Academic Advisor to be certain that all research expectations are made clear. Students who are not actively involved in research will be considered as not making satisfactory progress.

Specific requirements for the doctoral degree program are outlined below. All organized graduate courses (i.e., not including Directed Research) taken in Exercise Physiology must be taken for a letter grade. Courses taken outside of Exercise Physiology may be taken on a credit/no credit basis (with advisor’s approval), as allowed by the Graduate School (i.e., no more than 6 credit hours, or 20% of the total hours on the Program of Work).

  • Coursework in Exercise Physiology (minimum 18 hrs)
    • KIN 382 Advanced Lab Techniques in Exercise Physiology
    • KIN 395 Cardiovascular Responses and Adaptations to Exercise
    • KIN 395 Human Cardiovascular and Autonomic Physiology
    • KIN 395 Pulmonary Exercise Physiology
    • KIN 395 Sports Nutrition
    • KIN 395 Endocrine Physiology
  • Directed/independent study and doctoral seminar (minimum 6 hrs)
    • KIN 196 Doctoral seminar for 2 consecutive Fall semesters
    • KIN 296 (or KIN 396) Directed or independent research for 2 semesters 
  • Statistics and grant writing (minimum 9 hrs)
    • KIN 386 Research Methods: Grant Writing (offered every other year)
    • At least two advisor-approved graduate statistics or research methods courses (see flowchart)
  • Supporting coursework outside Department (minimum 6 hrs)
    • At least two advisor-approved courses (see below for a list of suggested courses)
  • Dissertation (minimum 18 hrs)
    • KIN 999R/999W (or KIN 699 and KIN 399) Dissertation

Organized Courses in Exercise Physiology

  • KIN 395 Aging and Cardiovascular/Disease Risks
  • KIN 395 Conditioning for Competitive Athletics
  • KIN 395 Environmental Physiology
  • KIN 395 Ergogenic aids for exercise
  • KIN 395 Exercise and Preventive Medicine
  • KIN 395 Exercise as Medicine
  • KIN 395 Human Anatomy Dissection

Sample Graduate Statistics Courses

  • EDP 380C Fundamental Statistics
  • EDP 480C Statistical Analysis for Experimental Data
  • EDP 482K Experimental Design and Statistical Inference
  • EDP 480C Correlation and Regression
  • EDP 380K Survey of Multivariate Methods
  • SSC 382 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
  • SSC 385 Topics in Applied Statistics: Experimental Design
  • SSC 385 Topics in Applied Statistics: Applied Regression
  • SSC 385 Topics in Applied Statistics: Applied Multivariate Methods

Research Methods Course Options

  • KIN 386 Research Methods: Proposal Writing
  • KIN 386 Research Methods: Grant Writing

Laboratory Techniques Course

  • KIN 382 Advanced Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology students have taken a variety of non-departmental courses to complement their degree plans and programs of study.

  • ANT 391L Analysis of Primate Anatomy
  • ANT 392L Physical Anthropology: Morphology/Evolution
  • BCH 395J Genes/Genomes/Gene Expression
  • BIO 365S Human Systems Physiology
  • BIO 382K Informatics/Data Analyses Life Science
  • BIO 384K Human Variation
  • BME 385J Adv Oral Comm Intl Eng Stud
  • BME 385J Adv Written Comm Intl Eng Stud
  • N 382 Sociocultural Influences on Health
  • N 396C Advanced Pathophysiology
  • NEU 185D Responsible Conduct of Science
  • NEU 383C Functional Neuroanatomy
  • NEU 383T Principles of Neuroscience II
  • NEU 385L Neurobiology of Disease
  • NEU 394P Career Dev for Neuroscientists
  • NEU 394P Grant Writing Behavioral Biological Science
  • NEU 394P Sensory Motor Systems
  • NEU 482T Principles of Neuroscience I
  • NTR 390 Molecular Nutritional Science
  • NTR 390 Principles of Epidemiology in Nutritional Science
  • PGS 384S Introduction to Epidemiology
  • PGS 384T Advanced Epidemiology
  • PGS 386C Cellular/Systems Physiology I
  • PGS 386D Cellular/System Physiology II
  • PGS 388C Intro Bioorganic Chemistry
  • PSY 184R Data Analysis with R
  • PSY387S Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • SOC 389K Human Mortality
  • SOC 395J Gender, Health, and Society
  • SOC 395L Race and the Body

To be considered for doctoral candidacy, students must pass a comprehensive examination in the student’s area of specialization. The exam is typically given following completion of all course work (approximately two years of post-Master’s study). The focus of the exam is a student-written research proposal, the topic of which is determined by the examining committee. Faculty on the examining committee will include at least three faculty members from Exercise Physiology.

The examination is comprised of both a written proposal and an oral defense. The written portion of the examination must be successfully completed prior to the scheduling of the oral exam.

The outcome of the examination will be recorded as one of four outcomes:

  • Pass
  • Pass with Contingencies
  • Re-take
  • Fail

Students who fail the comprehensive examination a second time are dismissed from the program.

Students are advanced to doctoral candidacy after completion of the following:

  1. The student has passed the comprehensive examination.
  2. The student and their supervising professor must recommend to the Graduate Adviser the names of four faculty members (three departmental and one from outside department) whom they would like to have appointed to the dissertation committee. The student should contact the Graduate Coordinator for assistance in completing the necessary paperwork for advancement to candidacy. Only after the student has been advanced to candidacy and has the approval of the supervising professor, will the student be permitted to register for dissertation hours.

Under the direction of the Supervising Professor and Dissertation Committee, the student will prepare a written dissertation proposal and make an oral presentation of it to the Dissertation Committee. Interested students, faculty, and especially Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) members are also encouraged to attend the proposal presentation.  However, a quorum of the GSC is not required. The proposal will include an appropriate literature survey, extensive methodology, and preliminary results. The proposal should be presented following the completion of the comprehensive exam.

The dissertation is required of all candidates and must be an original contribution to scholarship based on independent research in the major area. It is expected to be a significant contribution to the body of the current research. Writing of the dissertation will be supervised by the Dissertation Committee, which is appointed by the Graduate Dean and will include the Supervising Professor, and at least two other members from the Exercise Science faculty. At least one member must be from outside the departmental Graduate Studies Committee.

The candidate must present a formal seminar on the dissertation research as a part of the final oral examination. All interested faculty members and graduate students will be encouraged to attend the formal seminar and to ask questions about the candidate’s research.

Evaluation of the candidate’s performance will be decided by members of the Dissertation Committee. It is the responsibility of the student and the supervising professor to schedule the formal seminar through the office of the Graduate Adviser.

All completed work that is included in a doctoral student’s degree program at the time of admission to candidacy must have been taken within the previous six years (exclusive of a maximum of three years of military service).

The Graduate Studies Committee will review the program of students who have not completed the degree at the end of three years from admission to candidacy. The committee will review the status of the student’s program yearly thereafter. At those times, the committee may recommend additional coursework, further examinations, or termination of candidacy. In addition, the program is subject to review by the graduate dean.

Photo of faculty member Edward F Coyle

Investigates metabolic and cardiovascular factors that limit exercise performance.

Photo of faculty member Brittany N Crim

Directs the department's Nutrition & Development program.

Photo of faculty member Michelle  Harrison
Research Assistant Professor

Biochemical techniques including ELISA's, multiplexing, automated western blotting, associated data analyses, and standard wet lab skills. Research involving diabetes, inflammation, and neural control of circulation.

Photo of faculty member Jasdeep  Kaur
Assistant Professor

Interests include racial disparities in vascular function and blood pressure responses during exercise in health and disease, and investigating the potential mechanisms for elevated sympathetic activation in patient populations such as type 2 diabete...

Photo of faculty member Harold W Kohl, III
Research Professor

Specializes in public health, epidemiology and the study and promotion of physical activity for health.

Photo of faculty member Sophie  Lalande
Assistant Professor

Studies the limiting factors to exercise capacity in healthy individuals and clinical populations.

Photo of faculty member Jeff  Monaco
Assistant Professor of Instruction

Experienced certified strength and conditioning specialist who develops curriculum for fitness professionals and conducts physiological assessment and exercise program design for those with chronic diseases.

Photo of faculty member Logan K Schwartz
Clinical Assistant Professor

Teaches and develops undergraduate medical fitness and rehabilitation curricula and works with the health fitness instructor specialization.

Photo of faculty member Audrey J Stone
Associate Professor

Autonomic control of circulation during exercise in health and disease, specifically in type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Photo of faculty member Hirofumi  Tanaka

Effects of vascular dysfunction due to aging, and the lifestyle habits that can prevent or reverse dysfunction. Role of peripheral vascular dysfunction in the pathogenesis of cognitive and cerebrovascular dysfunction Reduction in physiological functi...

Photo of Hiro Tanaka

Program Director
Hirofumi Tanaka

Graduate Students

Request Information

Tell us a bit about yourself and what programs you are interested in. We’ll be in touch with information soon!