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