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Department of Kinesiology

Kinesiology Doctoral Program

Criteria for Admission to the Ph.D. Program

KIN faculty members use the following criteria when judging applicants for admission, and when determining which prospective doctoral students to nominate for fellowships. Sources of information include transcripts, GRE test report, professional goals statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and writing/research sample. Students may submit additional materials if desired. Prospective students should make certain that all of these criteria are addressed in their admissions portfolios.

  • Academic excellence - GPA, GRE scores and percentile ranks, reputation of department or program of study pursued, letters of recommendation
  • Research goals and their match to the department/program – statement of purpose, breadth and depth of research experience, fit with faculty research or department strengths, potential to benefit from and contribute to KIN
  • Leadership potential – academic/professional/community activities or employment, evidence of leadership potential, capacity to make a distinctive professional or scholarly contribution
  • Contribution to a diverse educational community – consider personal history and experience, research goals, and/or the promotion of understanding among persons of different backgrounds and ideas
  • Record of overcoming obstacles – social, economic, personal

Regular Admission

To be considered for regular admission, applicants must demonstrate:

  • A two-page professional goals statement in which you describe your interest and aptitude in one or more of the concentrations offered in the doctoral program, state your research interests, and specify the faculty member(s) that you prefer as your mentor(s). Your response to the personal statement field (Item #22) on the Application for Graduate Study is not sufficient. The Department of Kinesiology requires a separate two-page statement.
  • Completion of a master's degree. Although a completed master's degree is typically required, in cases of exceptional scholarly promise, a student may enter the doctoral program following the completion of an undergraduate degree. KIN does consider applicants who do not have undergraduate or master's degrees in kinesiology.
  • A competitive cumulative grade point average. The department prefers GPAs of 3.3 or higher.
  • Competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The department prefers a minimum score of 150 points on the verbal test, a combined score of 300 points or higher on the verbal and math tests, and a score of 4.0 points or higher on the analytical writing test.
  • A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score that meets the MSU Graduate School requirements.
  • Research experience such as a master's thesis, master's project, or collaborative work with a faculty member.
  • Strong letters of recommendation

Provisional Admission

A student who does not satisfy the requirements for regular admission may be considered for provisional admission, with approval of the Dean of College of Education. If accepted, the conditions of provisional admission (e.g., academic performance, completion of designated courses) will be specified in the student's letter of acceptance. Provisional status will be removed when the student has successfully fulfilled those conditions.

Admission Following the B.A./B.S. Degree

A completed master's degree is typically required of students entering the doctoral program; however, in cases of exceptional scholarly promise, a student may enter the doctoral program following the completion of an undergraduate degree.


An on-campus or telephone interview with faculty members, especially your proposed mentor, is strongly advised. An interview is required for students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program immediately following undergraduate study.