Physical Culture and Sport Studies

Associate Professor Thomas Hunt with Ph.D. students in the Stark Center

Program Directors

Pursue a Ph.D. in Physical Culture and Sport Studies to prepare for an academic career as a faculty member in Kinesiology and Health Education or another academic field with a research focus in sport and physical culture history, sport policy, and/or sport management. This program brings together the disciplines of sport history, history of physical culture and exercise science, sport and international relations, and sport economics. Students admitted to the doctoral program take the basic core courses for the degree and then choose additional courses to develop the research methods and subject knowledge needed to become an academic expert in their research area.  

The relationship between you and your doctoral advisor is crucial to your success as it is expected that you will be engaged in research during your time in the program. Finding an advisor who understands and can assist you with your research interests is, therefore, important. Our PCSS faculty have slightly different skill sets and research interests so please take a look at our faculty profiles and publications before contacting us about pursuing this degree. Faculty members Jan ToddThomas M. Hunt, Brian Mills, and Conor Heffernan all direct doctoral students. You are welcome to email all of us or to direct your query to only one of us. Please include

  • a brief statement of research interests
  • GRE scores (if taken)
  • undergraduate and master's GPA 
  • your major(s)
  • a brief description of other kinds of post-undergraduate academic work such as law school or other professional or military training

We encourage you to write and discuss your interests even if you have not yet taken the GRE. You do not have to have a completed master's degree to apply.  

Doctoral students are expected to work closely with their adviser and other core faculty on research projects that enhance our understanding of sport history, physical culture history, sport management, Olympic studies, cultural studies, sport sociology, race and gender studies, law, political science, and ethics/philosophy. Access to the archival and book collections at the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center provides students with unparalleled resources for primary research in sport and physical culture studies.

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Faculty

Photo of Conor Heffernan, Kinesiology and Health Education faculty member

Conor Heffernan

Assistant Professor

Studies the historical, philosophical, sociocultural, and political dimensions of sport and physical culture.

Photo of Thomas Hunt

Thomas Hunt

Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor

Examines the intersection of sport and international political history.

Photo of Brian Mills, Kinesiology and Health Education faculty member

Brian Mills

Associate Professor

Studies managerial economics in sport relating to the market power of pro sports leagues under three primary branches: industrial organization, labor markets, and public policy and economic development.

Photo of Jan Todd

Jan Todd

Professor, Program Director

Specializes in the history of strength and conditioning, doping, women and sport, and physical culture; directs the Ph.D. program in Physical Culture and Sport Studies and the master's program in Sport Management.

Affiliated Faculty

Photo of Kim Beckwith

Kimberly Beckwith

Assistant Professor of Instruction

Teaches courses on sport history and strength and conditioning. Research focuses on physical culture history.

Photo of Matt Bowers

Matthew Bowers

Associate Professor of Instruction

Examines the management of systems for athlete development, including how different sport settings influence performance and participation over the lifespan.

Photo of John Fair

John Fair

Adjunct Professor

Focuses on the history of sport culture, particularly Olympic weightlifting, and its impact on society.

Photo of Tolga Ozyurtcu

Tolga Ozyurtcu

Associate Professor of Instruction

Studies the historical, sociocultural, and political dimensions of sport and physical culture.  ​