Doctorate Programs in Physical Education: Degree Info

Physical education programs at the doctoral level are commonly designed to bridge the gap between theory, research and practice. Concentrations may be available in physical education pedagogy (the science or profession of teaching), motor behavior and athletic training education.

Essential Information

Some Ph.D. programs in physical education are specifically designed for students pursuing careers as exercise science researchers, professors, or preventive or rehabilitative program directors.

Applicants need a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in exercise science or another relevant area. As doctoral students in physical education, they will complete classes in subjects like athletic training education, the psychology of physical education and analysis of instructional behavior. These programs are research-intensive and usually require a study that can be published or presented at a national conference.

  • Program Levels in Physical Education: Ph.D.
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's and master's degrees in related area
  • Completion Requirements: Research study
  • Program specializations: Physical education pedagogy, motor behavior, training education and more

Doctoral Degree in Physical Education

In order to graduate with a Ph.D. in physical education, students must usually complete a scholarly project in the form of a research study for journal publication or for presentation at a national organization's professional conference. Prior to taking the core courses of this program, students must complete basic prerequisite coursework such as cadaver anatomy and physiology, exercise, nutrition and motor learning. Common coursework to most physical education doctorate degree programs can include:

  • Athletic training education
  • Mechanisms of motor skill acquisition
  • Psychology of physical education
  • Analysis of instructional behavior
  • Development of skilled sport performance
  • Perspectives on teaching and instruction

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The majority of graduates from physical education doctorate degree programs find employment teaching in a variety of environments, including high school, postsecondary and college settings along with non-profit organizations and medical care industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median salaries for health educators in 2014 were about $50,430. Postsecondary health specialties teachers earned a median of $62,330 per year.

Continuing Education Information

For those who complete a Ph.D. program in physical education, there is really no higher academic achievement available to pursue. There are, however, other continuing education opportunities in the form of online classes, workshops and professional development conferences.

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