Ph.D. in Kinesiology

Comprehensive details for the Doctoral Program in Kinesiology.

Academic Core Requirements

The following classes are mandatory for all Ph.D. (Kinesiology) students in HHP

  • Principles of Scientific Inquiry (3 hours)

  • Doctoral Residency Seminar  (3 hours)

  • HHP Research Seminar (3 hours)

  • Applied Multivariate Statistics (3 hours)

  • Applied Statistical Models in Health Research (3 hours)

  • Programming and Proposal Writing (3 hours)

Residency Requirements

All Ph.D. (Kinesiology) students are required to register for Residency during their first full academic year of entering the program (Fall and Spring semesters).

During this residency period, a student must be registered as a full-time student (i.e. 9 hours of academic classes per semester) for both the Fall and Spring semesters of their residency period.

During the Fall semester, each student in residency shall register and successfully complete the designated departmental residency class, Principles of Scientific Inquiry.

During their residency period students will be introduced to “professional activities” including research experiences, journal club, seminar attendance, attendance at thesis/dissertation defenses and other experiences that are applicable to continual professional development.

Journal Club

All Ph.D. students are required to participate in journal club meetings scheduled within their specific content area. Attendance in person and full participation are mandatory. Students, who do not attend journal club meetings in person or who do not participate fully, and their faculty adviser will receive written notification from the course facilitator, so that attendance and participation can be documented in the student's annual review. Failure to meet these requirements may result in probation and possible expulsion from the program.

Students may request an excused absence in writing from the journal club facilitator and their faculty adviser for previously planned activities. Students must provide ample documentation to justify their absence at least 20 working days (four weeks) in advance of the anticipated planned absence. Permission must be granted by both the journal club facilitator and the faculty adviser. Unplanned absences due to unavoidable circumstances such as medical and family emergencies will be reviewed on an individual basis by the journal club facilitator and the faculty adviser. Students who receive an excused absence will be responsible for completing a written make-up assignment in advance of the absence to receive credit. Disputes will be reconciled by the GRD, and the decision of the GRD will be final.

Designated Electives

All designated electives must be considered applicable for a doctoral course of study and normally be at the 7000/8000 academic level. These courses are to be taken under the direction and approval of the student’s advisor.

For those classes not at the 7000/8000 level, but deemed necessary to the professional preparation of the student by the advisor, approval of such classes for inclusion in the students degree plan in the designated elective area must be obtained from the Graduate Research Degrees (GRD) committee in the department.

Such non-7000/8000 level classes must satisfy the following criteria to be considered for approval for inclusion in the students degree plan by the GRD committee:

  • The course syllabus must be reviewed by advisor and/or qualified HHP faculty member to assess suitability for doctoral academic credit
  • Student must submit a general petition along with supporting documentation from the advisor requesting inclusion of said class in the students degree plan.
  •  Such hours cannot be substituted for completion of any class that appears in either the departmental or discipline core

Final approval for inclusion of such non-7000/8000 level classes in a doctoral degree plan lies with the Dean's office.

Elective classes can be taken within the department, other departments within the University of Houston and other universities that UH has inter-institutional agreements with (for more information contact your advisor and the registration office).

Examples of Ph.D. (Kinesiology) elective classes available within the Department of Health and Human Performance.

  • Advanced Skeletal Muscle Physiology

  • Advanced Topics in Exercise Physiology

  • Motor Control

  • Obesity in the Media

  • Child and Adolescent Obesity

Elective classes in support areas can be taken at the University of Houston and other universities that UH has inter-institutional agreements with (for more information contact your advisor and the registration office). These classes MUST be approved by the advisor and normally be at the 7000/8000 level. If a class is not at the 7000/8000 level then it must be approved by the GRD committee following the guide-lines listed above.

 Example support areas include:

Behavioral medicine Human Factors Pharmacy
Biochemistry Measurement Physiology
Biology Nutrition Psychology
Educational Psychology Optometry Statistics
Health Orthopedic & Rehabilitative medicine

There are a number of programs within the University of Houston, which complement and support the Ph.D. degree. Representative support areas include

  • Biology (endocrinology and physiology)
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Science (biochemistry)
  • Educational Psychology (learning, research, and statistics)
  • Health, Human Development and Consumer Sciences (nutrition)
  • Optometry, Pharmacy (pharmacology and patho-physiology)
  • Psychology (behavioral medicine, cognitive psychology, and statistics)
  • Decision and Information Sciences (statistics).

Additionally, students can complete work in the Texas Medical Center under the University’s Inter-institutional agreement. These areas include

  • Cardiovascular physiology
  • Orthopedic and rehabilitative medicine
  • Pulmonary physiology

 

Ph.D. (Kinesiology) Qualifying Exam

At the end of the first academic year a student is enrolled in the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program (i.e. at the end of the Spring Semester) and successfully completes the first year’s coursework, each student will be required to take a Qualifying Exam. This assessment will consist of a written examination administered within the department based on a number of short essays supplied to the student at the beginning of the semester in which they sit the examination.

This examination is designed to assess the critical thinking and critical writing skills of the student, skills that the student will have been expected to begin developing as part of the educational experience supplied in the Principles of Scientific Inquiry class and continue to self-develop during the period they have to review the short essays supplied to them.

The questions posed in the examination will be formulated by an external examiner and be based on general conceptual themes appearing in the short essays identified by the departmental GRD committee. The examination will be graded by the external examiner and will be of a PASS/FAIL nature.

A student must receive a PASS grade in their Qualifying Exam to continue in the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program.

Any student that does not receive a PASS grade on the first attempt will be given the opportunity to retake the qualifying examination in the Summer semester after being supplied an additional series of short essays at the beginning of that semester. The second examination attempt will be administered in the same manner as the initial attempt. A student that receives a FAIL grade on their second attempt of the Qualifying Exam will be immediately dismissed from the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program.

Student Annual Review Process

Annual reviews are formative and are performed at the end of each Spring semester a student is enrolled in the program.

Reviews are performed by the advisor in partnership with the student and include:

  • Review of academic performance in class
  • Details of involvement in research projects
  • Student feed-back on their perception of the progress they are making in the program.
  • Advisor’s assessment of the student’s progress.
  • Advisor-generated decision on whether or not the student is making “adequate progress” towards completion of the degree.

The information generated is then reviewed by the departmental GRD Committee for a final decision on whether or not a student is making adequate progress towards the degree.

After review of the information supplied by the advisor and student by the GRD committee, there are three potential outcomes of the annual review process that can be arrived at.

These are:

  • Adequate progress (student continues in the program)
  • Academic probation (student continues in the program with remedial action determined by the GRD committee).
  • Termination from the program (after failure of probationary period)

 

Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations

A student is eligible to take the comprehensive examination after having completed a minimum of 45 hours in the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program, including 30 hours of core requirements and completion of the candidacy paper requirement.

A student’s advisor will serve as the student’s Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations Committee Chair and will be responsible for identifying Readers for their student’s comprehensive exam questions. If the Reader/Readers are not members of the GRD committee, the advisor will require approval from the GRD Committee for non-GRD members to serve as comprehensive exam question readers.

A student’s advisor and two independent readers will examine the comprehensive examination responses.

The student’s Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations Committee Chair will be responsible for the process of collecting questions from each faculty member tasked with writing comprehensive examination questions, collecting the graded examination, compiling the final grade for the examination and communicating this grade to GRD committee. The GRD committee (based on the information supplied by the student’s Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations Committee Chair will have final authority to recommend a pass or fail grade on the comprehensive examination.

Pass/Fail decisions on all comprehensive exams are ultimately the decision of the GRD committee who will vote on the issue once a grade has been communicated to the committee by the student’s Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations Committee Chair.

Once the GRD committee has reviewed and accepted the results of the comprehensive exam, a student can approach the Chair of the GRD committee who can indicate whether the student has passed or failed, with a clear statement by the Chair of GRD committee that a final notification from the Department is required before the result of the exams are official.

A student can also speak with their advisor, who may indicate to the student that the GRD Committee voted a “pass” or “fail” but that official communication of the result will be sent on Department letterhead.

If a student fails the comprehensive doctoral examination the advisor, with the approval from the GRD committee will recommend a remediation plan for that student. The contents and implementation of this plan are the responsibility of the advisor. Once approved, the advisor must document that the student has reviewed and understood the remedial course of action.

If a student fails the comprehensive exam a second time, he/she will be considered ineligible for a Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology at the University of Houston and be immediately dismissed from the program.

Candidacy Paper Requirements

A Ph.D. candidate is required to write and present an article that has been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal as a candidacy paper to the GRD committee for consideration as completing the candidacy paper requirements. The subject of the candidacy paper will be based on data generated as part of a research project carried out by the student while being enrolled in the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program.

A student may begin work on the research that will form the basis of their candidacy paper immediately upon entry to the Ph.D. (Kinesiology) program.

A student is eligible to submit their candidacy paper to the GRD committee after passing the Qualifying Examination.

A student’s advisor will serve as the Candidacy Paper Committee Chair and will be responsible for identifying Readers for their student’s candidacy paper. If the Reader/Readers are not members of the GRD committee, the advisor will require approval from the GRD Committee for non-GRD members to serve as Candidacy Paper Readers.

The advisor and two independent readers will examine the candidacy paper. A decision on whether or not a candidacy paper fulfills the requirements for acceptance is ultimately the responsibility of the GRD committee who will vote on the issue once a recommendation has been communicated to the GRD committee by the student’s advisor.

Advancement to Candidacy

To be eligible for advancement to candidacy the student must have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. Passed the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations.

  2. Filed an approved degree plan with the university.

  3. Have maintained a 3.3 grade point average on all graduate work.

 

Formation of Doctoral Dissertation Committee

A student is eligible to form a Doctoral Dissertation Committee after Advancement to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

A student’s faculty advisor will serve as the Chair of Doctoral Dissertation Committee. The Chair will be responsible for identifying Committee members for their student’s dissertation committee. The student is encouraged to plan the composition of the student’s research committee with the Chair of the Dissertation Committee. 

Approval of the composition of the Doctoral Dissertation Committee by both the GRD committee and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and requires the presence of expertise in the substantive area and in the necessary methodology for the proposed dissertation. 

The Dissertation committee should be composed of at least four members which must include:

  1. The Chair of the Dissertation Committee,

  2. At least one additional faculty member from the Department of Health and Human Performance,

  3. A committee member who is outside of the department who can be either a full-time or adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston, or can be an individual who does not hold faculty status at the University of Houston.

If a dissertation committee member is not a full-time/adjunct faculty member of the University of Houston, the Dissertation Committee Chair will require approval from the GRD Committee for that individual to serve as a dissertation committee member.

Notification of any changes to the composition of committee (i.e. reconstitution or resignation) should be made in writing to the GRD committee and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. All changes to the composition of committee once formally approved should be approved by the GRD committee and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Development of a Research Proposal

A student is encouraged to begin the development of their dissertation research area in conjunction with their advisor as early in their doctoral education as possible.

A dissertation proposal defense cannot be scheduled until after a student has formed a Doctoral Dissertation Committee.

The student is responsible for developing a dissertation proposal document under the supervision of their advisor and with the assistance of the dissertation committee members.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

In collaboration with their advisor, a student is responsible for preparing an abstract of their dissertation proposal of not more than two pages, securing the signatures of all dissertation committee members on the abstract, and distributing the abstract electronically to the faculty of the Department of Health and Human Performance. Instructions for electronic distribution of the dissertation proposal abstract can be obtained by contacting the Chair of the GRD Committee.

At least ten (10) working days must elapse between the electronic distribution of the abstract and the student’s oral defense of the dissertation proposal.

In consultation with the advisor, the student must notify the GRD Committee of the date, time and place of the oral defense at least ten (10) working days prior to the defense.

Students are required to provide a complete copy of the dissertation proposal to committee members at least ten (10) working days prior to the proposal defense.

The dissertation proposal may not be approved if more than one member of the committee is absent at the time of the student’s oral defense. 

The committee may approve the proposal as is, suggest changes, or disapprove the dissertation proposal.  For the project to move forward, all committee members must approve the dissertation proposal and must indicate their approval by signature on the proposal document face page.

Dissertation Defense

The student is responsible for ensuring that the dissertation document is prepared correctly with regard to type set and formatting requirements prior to submission of the dissertation. The College maintains guidelines for dissertation formatting.

In conjunction with their advisor, a student is responsible preparing an abstract of their final dissertation document, securing the signatures of all dissertation committee members on the abstract, and distributing the abstract electronically to the faculty of the Department of Health and Human Services before the oral defense. Instructions for electronic distribution of the final dissertation abstract can be obtained by contacting the Chair of the GRD Committee.

At least ten (10) working days must elapse between the electronic distribution of the final dissertation abstract and the student’s oral defense of the dissertation.

In conjunction with their advisor, a student is responsible for scheduling a room for the final defense.

In consultation with the advisor, the student must notify the GRD Committee and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences of the date, time and place of the final defense of the dissertation at least ten (10) working days prior to the defense.

Students are required to provide a complete copy of the final dissertation to committee members at least ten (10) working days prior to the final dissertation defense.

The oral defense of the dissertation may not take place if more than one member of the committee is absent at the time of the student’s defense.  The quality of both the dissertation document and the candidate’s oral defense will be evaluated.  The dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee with no more than one dissenting member and this member’s name shall not appear on the final dissertation face page.

If approved, the student is responsible for securing the signatures of all committee members and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences on at least three copies of the dissertation face page and delivering at least three copies of the completed dissertation to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences for binding.

Dissertation Hours

Students are required to complete a minimum of 6 hours of dissertation credit. Students may not enroll in dissertation credit hours until they have Advanced to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Once enrolled in dissertation hours, students are required to maintain continuous enrollment (i.e. a minimum of 3 hours per semester) until completion of their degree. The student must enroll in summer semesters if working on the dissertation utilizing faculty time or university facilities during the summer.

If  a student has completed a minimum of 6 hours of dissertation credit, successfully completed their dissertation proposal defense in a semester in which they were enrolled for 6 hours of dissertation credit, but will conduct their dissertation defense within 30 days of the beginning of the following semester, they will be required to register for only 1 hour of dissertation credit in the semester they graduate.