UCF’s new Kinesiology Ph.D. degree program will prepare students for careers as clinical researchers, sports scientists, university professors, and professional leaders in one of the nation’s fastest growing fields. Approved by the Florida Board of Governors in November 2021, UCF will begin offering the new doctoral degree program in Fall 2022.

The new program in kinesiology explores physical activity and its impact on health, society and quality of life. It will be housed in UCF’s School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy. The new degree program will be the first Ph.D. program offered within UCF’s College of Health Professions and Sciences. It also is the first program of its kind offered at a Hispanic Serving Institution in the state of Florida, providing career and research opportunities for a more diverse range of students.

“Through this unique program, UCF will produce the next generation of leaders, who are advancing the broad discipline of kinesiology,”

David H. Fukuda,  founding program director


“Through this unique program, UCF will produce the next generation of leaders, who are advancing the broad discipline of kinesiology through exploration of human movement, applied physiology, sports performance, sports medicine and clinical rehabilitation,” says David H. Fukuda, the program’s founding director. “In the coming years, we expect to see UCF become a national leader in developing these professionals, who will play an integral and collaborative role in helping our society live healthier, happier and more active lifestyles.”

The program’s predecessor at UCF, the Education Ph.D. track in Exercise Physiology, has had a 100% job placement rate for graduates since 2011. Over the next ten years, the kinesiology field is expected to see up to a 20% employment growth. UCF doctoral students will contribute to this growth by helping to develop a competent workforce and through collaborative efforts with local healthcare and fitness facilities, sports organizations, and the UCF Athletics Sports Science Initiative.

University officials say ample research opportunities help students foster a team approach to healthcare and wellness through interdisciplinary research conducted with faculty through the Institute of Exercise Physiology and Rehabilitation Science. Students contribute to educating future clinicians and scientists with research and teaching in a robust undergraduate kinesiology program.

“The new Ph.D. in Kinesiology program builds upon the successful history of a top-ranked program, led by nationally-recognized researchers in the field of exercise physiology,” says Christopher D. Ingersoll, dean of the College of Health Professions and Sciences. “This degree, coupled with the mentorship of our esteemed faculty, will provide future scholars with a top-quality education and research experiences that jump start their careers.”

For the doctoral program, a minimum of 63 credit hours beyond the master’s degree will be required. Students must complete 24 credit hours of core foundational research courses, 24 credit hours of specialization courses, and 15 credit hours of dissertation work. All students must also complete the candidacy requirements.

The program admits students once per year for the fall semester. Applicants must apply online and all requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline. Applicants who plan to enroll fulltime in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the fall priority date.

Potential applicants to the Ph.D. program are encouraged to reach out directly to program faculty to demonstrate interest and identify common goals that will facilitate mentorship and completion of the degree.