Doctoral Program

The PhD degree in Kinesiology is a research oriented thesis-based degree. The areas of research include the broad domain of physiological, biomechanical, behavioural and psychosocial factors influencing human movement and the analysis of social and cultural transformations in the role and functions of physical activity. Entry requirements : a thesis-based master’s degree in Human Kinetics, Physical Education, Kinesiology, or other related fields of study with a minimum of 76% (B+) overall from the Master’s degree. *For International Students, the admission criteria will vary for different countries. Therefore, select the country your academic credentials were acquired from on the international MAR page to see the admission criteria.

The PhD program is tailored to individual student’s needs. The student’s supervisory committee may recommend course work, and the amount to be taken by the student in relation to the student’s background, and to the requirements which are appropriate to the PhD level in the chosen major field of study. All students must have an individual faculty member who agrees, during the application process, to serve as the student’s advisor. No student is admitted to the program without an advisor being assigned at the time of admission.

What makes this program unique?
The PhD in Kinesiology program affords students an opportunity to learn in a vibrant, supportive, and multidisciplinary research environment. Graduate students are drawn to the School to work with specific research faculty members and benefit from their expertise in specific content areas. Students work closely with individual faculty members who provide exceptional training and focused supervision using a mentorship model. The School offers competitive financial packages to highly qualified students in the form of teaching assistantships and entrance scholarships. Individual faculty members can “top up” a financial package from external grant sources to assist with recruitment of exceptional students.

Career Options
The PhD program prepares graduates for a broad range of careers. Former PhD students have pursued additional training including post-doctoral degrees as well as careers in health promotion, governmental and non-governmental work, research, and teaching. Many former Kinesiology graduates have become successful academics.

The program is governed by the general requirements for the PhD degree as laid out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ policies and procedures. In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies' provisions, the School of Kinesiology normally requires a thesis-based master's degree in Human Kinetics, Physical Education, Kinesiology, or other related fields of study, with a minimum of 76% (B+) overall for admission.

All students must have an individual faculty member who agrees during the application process to serve as the student’s supervisor. Select a potential supervisor by reviewing the School’s faculty and their research interests. Complete the Faculty Contact Form and email the form directly to the potential supervisor. This form provides important background information and will help determine your suitability in a research partnership. No student is admitted to the program without a supervisor being assigned at the time of admission. Confirm the proposed faculty member’s interest and availability before proceeding with the formal application procedure.

Applicants will be evaluated for acceptance using the following criteria:

  • Scholastic Performance (transcripts)
  • Three Letters of Reference
  • Statement of Purpose
  • CV

The applicant's Statement of Purpose is given close consideration by the Selection Committee and should include:

  • relevant background and preparation such as previous academic specialization, work and personal experience(s).
  • field of emphasis, specific study interests, and type of research being sought should be clearly outlined.
  • a list of graduate courses the applicant finds interesting and would like to complete.
  • a list of Graduate Faculty Supervisors whose research areas parallel the applicant's study interests.

Aptitude tests, including the Graduate Record Exam or the Miller's Analogy Test are not required, but may be submitted for consideration.

Students entering the program normally will be required to spend a minimum of two (2) sessions, [an uninterrupted duration of at least eight (8) months such as a winter session], in full-time attendance at UBC. Students are allocated six (6) years from their initial date of registration to complete the entire program. Students who do not complete their Admission to Candidacy Requirements within a period of three (3) years from their initial date of registration will be required to withdraw from the program. Based on 10 graduations between 2009 – 2012 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 6.66 years with an average of 4.81 years of study.

The Graduate Faculty Supervisor who accepts the applicant as a PhD student will generally act as Chair of the student's supervisory committee, and supervisor of the student’s thesis research. The supervisory committee must be formed as soon as the student commences the program and will consist of at least three (3) members, including the Chair. The Chair, and at least one (1) other member, must be belong to the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. The majority of committee members must be from UBC. The Committee is responsible for guiding the student throughout the student's program.

The study for the PhD degree in Kinesiology is research oriented. The student's supervisory committee will recommend course work, and the amount to be taken by the student in relation to the student's background, and to the requirements which are appropriate to the PhD level in the chosen major field of study. A program will be designed for each individual to suit their needs.

Students in the program will complete a Comprehensive Examination following the completion of required course work. The Comprehensive Examination will normally be a two-part examination, which the student's thesis committee will set and judge. The content of the exam will be relevant to the student's general area of study and will include questions covering theory, application, and methodology. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination is a prerequisite for the presentation and defence of the formal PhD thesis proposal.

Students normally will be Admitted to Candidacy when they have: (1) completed all required course work; (2) passed the Comprehensive Examination, and (3) had their thesis proposal presented and approved.

An Examining Committee approved by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies evaluates the PhD student's thesis and meets for a Final Oral Examination of the thesis presentation and defence. Detailed reference information is available from the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The area of research will embrace the broad domain of physiological, biomechanical, behavioural and psychosocial factors influencing human movement and the analysis of social and cultural transformations in the role and functions of physical activity.

Each student's program of study will be tailored to support the student's experience, background and area of thesis research. The PhD program in Kinesiology is a thesis-based program of study, and as such, is research-driven and not course-driven. Thus, the program for each student will be tailored to that student. For example, a student of biomechanics will have experience in mechanics, physics, mathematics and an understanding of the mechanical features of the human locomotor system. To augment the student's background it may be appropriate to have this student undertake course work within Kinesiology as well as from the broader spectrum of courses in other departments.

The deadline for annual Program Outline & Progress Report is February 1 of each year. The goal is to encourage reflections on how the year is going so far, assess progress on goals, and raise/address any issues or concerns -- and support our attempts to track student progress through the program.

Students are required to fill out PhD Program Outline & Progress Report form and set up meetings with their supervisors to discuss the draft. After the form is signed, a hard copy or an electronic copy should be submitted to kin.gradsec@ubc.ca.

Supervisory committees will be based upon individual students.  For more information please contact Graduate Program Assistant.