Degree Requirements

Iowa State University requires doctoral students to earn a minimum of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree with at least 36 from Iowa State University. These requirements may be exceeded at the discretion of the Program of Study (POS) Committee. The doctorate in kinesiology is awarded based on achieving a satisfactory level of expertise as judged by the major professor and POS committee.


Doctoral students identify a primary area of emphasis within kinesiology, and a focus area outside the department. The secondary area of emphasis is used to identify breadth coursework and guide selection of the secondary research experience.


  1. Kinesiology primary specialization - 9 credits in a focused area
  2. Kinesiology secondary specialization - 6 credits that provide breadth beyond the student’s secondary area of emphasis
  3. Focus area outside department - 9 credits in area related to, but outside of kinesiology. these 9 credits do not need to be from the same department. Examples include courses in human computer interaction, statistics, engineering mechanics, gerontology, psychology, industrial engineering, human development & family studies, food science & human nutrition, etc.
  4. Statistics - 9 credits in statistics and advanced research methods, including KIN 620 (or equivalent). Stat 401 and 402 are basic graduate-level courses, but courses such as STAT 404, 407 may be more appropriate depending upon the student's background and interests
  5. Ph.D. seminar - 1 credit each semester in the Ph.D. seminar during full-time enrollment (6 credits minimum)
  6. Ethics - 1 credit in research ethics course that has been approved for Responsible Conduct of Research training. GR ST 565 is a recommended course
  7. Dissertation - 21 credits of 699. A minimum of 9 credits are required prior to prelims (credits may be concurrent) and a minimum of 9 credits after prelims. the additional 3 credits can be taken before or after prelims
  8. Secondary area of research - Students are encouraged to take 1-3 credits of KIN 590 to document their secondary research experience if their time was not supported by a research assistantship

Other Requirements

Successful kinesiology doctoral student will have done all of the following:

  • Presented research papers at national and/or international conferences
  • Submitted research papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrated laboratory and/or teaching skills


We expect all incoming doctoral students to be full-time students. To enable this, the Department of Kinesiology provides financial support for students in the form of assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships during the fall and spring semesters. These types of financial support are from departmental, college, and university resources or from external grant/contract resources. With sufficient progress toward degree, funding is provided to Ph.D. students throughout the completion of their program. Summer funding may also be provided for Ph.D. students depending on availability of research/teaching assistantships and scholarships/fellowships.