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Department of Kinesiology

Kinesiology Doctoral Program

Ph.D. Expectations for Professional Growth

The majority of KIN doctoral (Ph.D.) students prepare for careers in higher education; therefore, it is important that they acquire sufficient expertise and experience in research, teaching, advising, and service to prepare for successful careers in the academy. The following expectations are designed to help achieve that goal. These expectations are individualized for students during advising and guidance committee meetings. Therefore, Ph.D. students are encouraged to discuss these expectations with their advisors early in the degree program to seek a shared understanding of personal expectations

Progress Toward Degree Completion

The Department of Kinesiology expects full-time Ph.D. students to complete their degrees within four years, and part-time students within eight years. We strongly encourage students to become familiar with the Ph.D. degree requirements and academic progress guidelines for Ph.D. students. Students should consult with their advisors and guidance committees to develop a program plan during the first year of study to facilitate timely degree completion.

Fact: Graduation data for KIN doctoral students during the 1999-2004 academic years showed that 42% of the students completed the Ph.D. degree within four years. Most students who took a longer period of time were part-time students or students who chose to leave the East Lansing area before completing the degree. Four years was the modal number of years to degree completion.


We expect all graduates of the KIN Ph.D. program to be capable researchers. Specifically, we expect doctoral students to:

  • Become skillful in scholarly writing.
  • Develop sufficient expertise in content knowledge, skill in laboratory methods, and knowledge of research methods and statistics to provide a platform for a line of inquiry related to the student’s concentration and research interests.
  • Acquire knowledge about responsible conduct of research through mentoring, course work, workshops, and other resources, and practice ethical behaviors in research.
  • Learn about and abide by the codes of conduct or ethics associated with professional organizations in their chosen disciplines.
  • Participate actively in lab/disciplinary meetings, departmental seminars, thesis/dissertation proposal and defense meetings, and professional conferences
  • Participate in research endeavors consistently throughout doctoral study by assisting with faculty and graduate student research projects and by conducting one’s own research (including the research practicum and dissertation projects). Students should consider assisting with research projects in related fields of study and projects conducted by faculty members other than their academic advisors as a means of developing additional research skills.
  • Present two or more research papers at professional meetings prior to graduation, and present dissertation findings within 12-18 months following the dissertation defense
  • Publish two or more research papers in professional journals prior to graduation, and submit dissertation findings for publication within 12-18 months following the dissertation defense.
  • Submit a research proposal to a funding agency, or assist a faculty member with a grant proposal, prior to graduation.


All KIN doctoral students are required to demonstrate the ability to teach subject matter in their concentrations or areas of support. In this regard, doctoral students are expected to:

  • Participate in courses, seminars, and workshops about teaching, including the use of technology in teaching.
  • Maintain appropriate certifications to support their work in teaching assignments (e.g., lab safety training for exercise physiology laboratory courses, and first aid, CPR, and blood-borne pathogens training for athletic training courses).
  • Co-teach or teach a KIN undergraduate course. This expectation could be met by teaching on a volunteer basis, participating in a graduate course that involves significant teaching experiences, or as part of graduate assistantship responsibilities.
  • Document teaching experiences via a portfolio of teaching experiences that includes course syllabi, course materials, videotapes, course evaluations, etc. In addition, students should consider enrolling transcript-visible courses about teaching and earning the Certificate in College Teaching offered by the MSU Graduate School.
  • Possess effective spoken and written English language skills as per current University policies (e.g., acceptable TOEFFL and SPEAK scores)


The Department of Kinesiology does not have specific expectations related to advising; however, doctoral students are encouraged to develop skills in advising by serving as ex-officio members of master’s student committees, supervising independent study or fieldwork experiences for undergraduate students, working in tutorial or counseling roles in Student Athlete Support Services, or by volunteering time to community or university agencies that provide academic or counseling support to students of any age.


KIN doctoral students are expected to make service contributions in the areas of university citizenship, service to professional organizations, and community service prior to graduation. In addition, they are expected to engage in discussions with their advisors about an appropriate balance of research, teaching, advising, and service activities, both during doctoral study and as a future member of the academy. Examples of service contributions include, but are not limited to:

  • University citizenship – provide leadership to the Kinesiology Graduate Students Organization (KGSO), participate in college and university student organizations, or serve as a graduate student representative to departmental or college committees.
  • Service to professional organizations – become a member of appropriate professional organizations, assist or conduct reviews of manuscripts submitted for publication, assist with the conduct of professional meetings, or volunteer for committees of professional organizations.
  • Community service – share expertise with community organizations and agencies via presentations, volunteer service, or leadership positions.

Approved 3/4/05