Program Overview

The Physical Culture and Sport Studies (PCSS) program is designed for students who are interested in:

  • Sport History
  • History of Physical Culture
  • Sport Law
  • Sport and Politics
  • Sport Philosophy
  • Organization and Management of Sport
  • Sport Economics

Our Ph.D. students come from a wide variety of preparatory programs including: Kinesiology, Health, History, American Studies, Journalism/Communications, Law, Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Exercise Science, and Sport Management.

Program of Study

Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program in Physical Cultural and Sport Studies should first contact the faculty affiliated with the program to discuss research interests and determine if a faculty member is willing to sponsor them.  Students must be accepted by a faculty member before admission.  While prior training in either Kinesiology, History, American Studies, Sport Management,  Sociology, or Philosophy is preferred, students are welcome to apply from all disciplines. A completed masters’ degree is not required for admission. Doctoral candidates without a Master’s degree, however, may be required to take additional coursework.   


  • KIN 349 History of Sport and Physical Activity or a(n) equivalent sport history course from a prior university that gives you a basic understanding of the history of ancient and modern sport from a global perspective.  This prerequisite can be taken either at UT-Austin in the first semester if missing from the student’s transcript; it must be taken for a letter grade to fulfill prerequisite requirements.  
  • HIS 355N/AMS 355 Main Currents in American Culture to 1865 (Must be taken in year one if you do not have comparable coursework. One of these may be counted in the Concentration Area) 
  • HIS 360N/AMS 360 Main Currents in American Culture Since 1865 (Must be taken in year one if you do not have comparable coursework. One of these may be counted in the Concentration Area) 

Required KIN Core Courses (15 Hours)

  • KIN 395 Critical Issues in American Sport History 
  • KIN 395 History of Physical Culture and Alternative Medicine 
  • KIN 395 Physical Cultures of the Body: Race, History, and the Quest for Body Perfection
  • KIN 395 History of the Sport Industry in America
  • Three Hours from KIN 395 Sport Policy, KIN 395 Sport and International Relations, KIN 395 Sport Development, KIN 395 Sport Economics, or an additional KIN class approved by your advisor. 

Research  Methods  (15 Hours) 

  • KIN 386 Qualitative Research Methods for Physical Culture and Sport Studies 
  • KIN 395 Directed Research: Archival Research Methods for Sport Historians
  • KIN 396T Directed Research-Comprehensive Exam
  • KIN 396T Directed Research-Historical Essays- Research and Writing
  • 3 Hours of Statistics or Experimental Design Coursework as Approved by the Advisor 

Concentration/Outside Field (6-12 Hours)

6-12 Hours of Graduate Coursework from a discipline outside Kinesiology and Health Education.  You may elect to do hours in two fields, or 12-15 hours in one field, depending on research needs.  These courses must be approved by the Advisor.  American Studies and History are highly recommended for these outside courses. 

Dissertation Courses  (18 Hours) 

  • KIN 999R and 999W Dissertation Research and Writing     

No Two Programs Are the Same. All Ph.D. programs vary depending on the research interests of the student and prior training. While there is a common core of knowledge that we want all students to possess, beyond that core doctoral students are encouraged to build their expertise in specialist areas by taking courses in their concentration that will enhance both their dissertation and their future career.  

Our faculty views research as a collaborative forum for learning and the dissemination of new knowledge and all doctoral students are expected to work on articles for scholarly journals, present their research at meetings of learned societies, and be actively engaged in research while a student in the program. To understand more about the program and the kind of research our students participate in see the Profiles of our current students.

Program Resources

The H.J Lutcher Stark Center

Students have access to unique resources available for studying sport and physical culture at The University of Texas. The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports includes the largest and most complete archive in the field of physical culture in the world. In addition, the Stark Center is recognized as an official Olympic Studies Center by the International Olympic Committee. The Stark Center is also the official repository of the UT Intercollegiate Athletic Department Media Relations Archives. The Center is recognized as one of the premier sport repositories in the world giving undergraduate and graduate students in our programs great advantages not available at other universities.

Additional Libraries and Museums

The holdings of the general libraries at the University of Texas are among the best in the world. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History contains the archives of the University Interscholastic League and the records of the women’s physical education program at UT among other athletic resources.

The LBJ Presidential Library, the Jamail Center for Legal Research, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection are located on the UT-Austin campus and provide additional research opportunities.

How to Apply