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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 20, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Exercise Physiology, PhD

*PhD students admitted prior to Fall 2023 are eligible to follow these revised requirements to qualify for graduation.*

The PhD in Exercise Physiology is focused on training students to prepare for academic research careers related to exercise and physical activity to prevent and treat chronic health-related conditions, health and well-being, and the underlying physiological and/or behavioral mechanisms. This degree will prepare students for academic careers focused on research, teaching, mentoring, and translation of research findings to a variety of settings.  For students interested in an academic research career, this degree will also prepare students for post-doctoral fellowships and faculty positions.

Minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 30 credits can be transferred from the Master’s-level degree plus 9 post master’s doctoral-level courses may be applied to the doctoral plan of studies. 

For additional degree requirement information, refer to the School of Education section on Doctoral Degree Requirements.

Exercise Physiology Requirements

  • The Plan of Study is to be submitted for Graduate Faculty review in the second semester of doctoral study.
  • A minimum of 90 credits is required in the Doctoral Program
  • A maximum of 30 credits from the master’s degree, plus 9 post master’s doctoral-level courses may be applied to the doctoral plan of studies.
  • A minimum of 15 credits must be at the 3000 level for courses taken at the University of Pittsburgh. Note that only 3 hours can be in a Directed Study or Clinical Internship, and only 3 hours can be in a College Teaching Practicum (enrollment in a College Teaching Practicum Requires Prior Department Approval).


Major Field Health and Physical Activity, Exercise Physiology (30-36 Credits)

Supporting Field Area (9 Credits)

Students are required to take a minimum of 9 credits of courses in an academic discipline that is complementary to the student’s major field of specialization. These credits must be graduate-level coursework outside of the student’s PhD major program. This requirement does not prohibit students from taking coursework in the School of Education or even department so long as it is deemed outside of the student’s specific PhD program.

Research Methodology (15 Credits Minimum)- Minimum requirement is for the student to demonstrate coursework through ANOVA and ANCOVA, and HPA 3400 Advanced Research Methodology

Research Practicum (6 Credits Minimum)

Electives (Credits Variable)

Dissertation (18 Credits Minimum)


PhD Core Curriculum


    Methods Courses Credits / Units: 15


    Preparing students to tackle problems of practice and policy, and create innovative research agendas, requires intentionality in the mentods coursework that supports students’ development of independent projects, meaningful contributions to advisors’ research, and critical analysis of past research. To help ensure that students develop the necessary analytic competencies, students across the areas of concentration (ARCOs) for the PhD in the School of Education are required to complete a minimum of 5 methods courses: Quantitative 1 (EDUC 2100) and 2 (EDUC 3100); Qualitative 1 (EDUC 3104); and 2 seminars in advanced quantitative or qualitative methods, determined by the student and their advisor.



    First Year Seminar Credits / Units: 3


    To further support students’ research competencies, PhD students also participate in a school wide first year seminar (EDUC 3102) and EDUC 3105). This seminar meets every other week (1 credit in fall and 2 credits in spring, taken over and above the typical 9 credit course load) and focuses on familiarizing students with practical and ethical issues in research (e.g., necessary clearances for working in schools, resolving questions of authorship and authorship order, human subjects guidelines), and supporting students work on their pre-dissertation proposal (e.g., developing innovative research questions, conducting a literaature review).



    Additionally, PhD students enroll in writing seminar courses taken over and above the typical 9-credit course load beginning in the second year of study. These credits are above and beyond the 90 credits required for graduation.

Total Credits: 90

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