Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Physical Education

NIU’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education provides a theoretical, psychomotor and business understanding of sport and exercise. Our faculty are experts in areas such as athletic training, biomechanics, exercise physiology, physical education, sport and exercise psychology, and sport management. Their expertise helps individuals and organizations achieve goals related to exercise, performance and sport development.

Our innovative and one-of-a-kind, 60-semester-hour Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Physical Education integrates all of those disciplines, providing doctoral candidates with a strong foundation in both research and teaching — preparing them for faculty careers at universities that value both aspects equally. Doctoral research and dissertation are required.

Innovative Programs

Program requirements are flexible to best complement the individual student's background and professional goals, and students have significant input into the selection of specific courses for their program of study, in consultation with their doctoral advisors and committees.

Doctoral students also are able to guide undergraduates and master's students in "changing the world" through some of our hands-on learning programs. Our Physical Activity and Life Skills (PALS) Group transforms lessons of the gym, the field, the court, the park or wherever people have played and competed into productive life skills. Our Project FLEX, meanwhile, provides biweekly, leadership-based sport sessions to young men ages 14 to 20 incarcerated at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles.

Most doctoral students also will have the opportunity to teach within their areas of specialization in the department.

  • A master’s degree in a specialization area of kinesiology and physical education.
  • A written statement of your academic and professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • A current résumé or vita.
  • Official or student copies of transcripts.
  • A letter of support from a KNPE faculty member expressing their willingness to serve as your doctoral advisor.
  • A personal interview with the doctoral admissions committee.

Graduates of the Ph.D. program in Kinesiology and Physical Education:

  • Demonstrate advanced and comprehensive knowledge of an area of specialization in kinesiology and physical education.
  • Design, conduct and analyze original scholarship that makes a substantial contribution to an area of specialization, including completion of a dissertation.
  • Identify, develop and demonstrate best practices for effective pedagogy and successful teaching at the college level.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of norms and expectations of service and collegiality in a university setting to improve future successes in academia.
  • Demonstrate professional integrity and collegiality in the roles of educator, researcher and departmental citizen.

Our department boasts a strong international presence with faculty hailing from countries such as Brazil, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom. We have established research collaborations, workshops and exchanges with other countries such as Belize, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Macedonia, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Turkey. This demonstrates our educational philosophy combining academic and service-based programs that encourage students and faculty to become more aware and more socially responsible citizens of tomorrow’s world and to work jointly to help solve problems, both globally and domestically

  • Kinesiology and Physical Education Core (15 credits)
    • KNPE 701 Pedagogy in Kinesiology and Physical Education (3)
    • KNPE 702 Advanced Pedagogy in Kinesiology and Physical Education (3)
    • KNPE 711 Advanced Seminar in Kinesiology and Physical Education I (3)
    • KNPE 712 Advanced Seminar in Kinesiology and Physical Education II (3)
    • KNPE 721 Scholarship in Kinesiology and Physical Education (3)
  • Research Core (18 credits)
    • ETR 521 Educational Statistics I (3)
    • ETR 522 Educational Statistics II (3)
    • ETR 525 Qualitative Research in Education (3)
    • ETR 720 Advanced Research Methods in Education (3)
    • Advisor-approved coursework in research methods, quantitative analyses or qualitative research. (6)
  • Specialization Area (15 credits)
    • Advisor-approved coursework in areas such as specialization specific courses (not completed during master's program), quantitative statistics, qualitative research, directed research hours, independent study, seminars. (15)
  • Dissertation Research (12 credits)
    • KNPE 799 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (12)

Contact Us

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education
Anderson Hall 221
DeKalb, IL 60115
P: 815-753-1407
F: 815-753-1413

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