Jul 23, 2024  
2013-14 Graduate Catalog 
2013-14 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Human Performance, Ph.D.

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Joey Gray, Program Director
(615) 904-8359

The Department of Health and Human Performance  offers three Master of Science degrees: one with a major in Exercise Science; one with a major in Health and Human Performance with concentrations in Health and Physical Education; and one with a major in Leisure and Sport Management with concentrations in Sport Industry and in Recreation and Leisure Services.

The department also offers the Ph.D. in Human Performance with specializations in five areas: Exercise Science, Health, Kinesmetrics, Leisure Studies, and Physical Education. The Ph.D. degree is offered for the purpose of developing doctoral level expertise in research (both applied and theoretical) and as preparation for teaching at the collegiate level.

Additionally, the department offers courses in Communication Disorders (CDIS).

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admissions decisions will be made after reviewing all materials and determining the applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation for doctoral study. Admission decisions are based on consideration of a number of criteria that are believed to predict success in the Ph.D. program.

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Human Performance program requires

  1. an earned bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited university or college with an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken. Successful applicants typically have a grade point average (GPA) on the last 60 hours of academic work of 3.00 or above on a 4.00 scale.
  2. completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with acceptable scores. Successful applicants to the Ph.D. program typically have scores that exceed 297 (current scale) or 1,000 (former scale). The Analytical Writing Assessment score is also considered.
  3. research skills. Successful applicants typically have statistical and research methodology skills as evidenced by coursework in both areas.
  4. coursework in a related field. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree will be expected to have completed at least 30 hours of coursework in a related field. Applicants with a master’s degree are expected to have completed at least 20 graduate hours in a related field.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applications for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 1, and applications for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. Late applicants who meet the admission criteria may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants must submit 

  1. application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
  3. official transcripts of all previous college work;
  4. three letters of recommendation from persons who can address their academic qualifications and potential for success in doctoral study;
  5. a 400–500 word statement of purpose giving their reasons for applying to the Ph.D. program, academic interests, professional goals, and area of specialization.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Human Performance must

  1. complete 60 credit hours past the master’s degree (see Curriculum section below for specifics). A maximum of 12 hours from the master’s degree may be transferred in from an accredited program. Two-thirds (40 semester hours) of the program must be at the 7000-level. Applicants holding only a bachelor’s degree will complete the requirements for an M.S. (thesis option) in addition to the Ph.D. requirements. 
  2. complete a thesis or scholarly equivalent prior to admission to candidacy.
  3. successfully complete preliminary examinations to advance to candidacy.
  4. be enrolled in full-time study (9 semester hours) for at least one semester to fulfill residency requirements.
  5. complete a dissertation and successfully defend it in the final oral examination.


All candidates for the Ph.D. in Human Performance must complete 60 hours in the following course of study:

Research Tools (12 hours)

 Choose two of the following:

Dissertation (12 hours)

Specialization (24 hours)

A total of 24 hours coursework and independent research is to be selected in consultation with the graduate program advisor.

Program Notes

Pre-dissertation Advising - Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, the candidate will be assigned an advisor who (in cooperation with the graduate coordinator) will advise the student on an appropriate program of study and of any deficiencies to correct.

Preliminary Examinations - Upon completion of coursework, the candidate will be eligible to take preliminary exams. The written exams will be structured to test the student on the breadth of knowledge gained from statistics, research methods, and design components as well as the specialization component. All exams are to be taken within one calendar year.

Advancement to Candidacy - Upon successful completion of the preliminary exams, the student will file an “Advancement to Candidacy” form with the College of Graduate Studies. No more than six credit hours of C grade will count toward the Ph.D. degree requirements. D and F grades will not count toward degree requirements but will be computed in the GPA. The student must have a GPA of 3.25 for the program of studies to advance to candidacy.

Dissertation Committee - Upon advancement to candidacy, the student will formally construct his/her dissertation committee. The committee should include at a minimum three faculty members; two must be from the department, and one must be from outside the department. The chair of the committee must be a doctoral-level graduate faculty member.

Time Limit - There is a ten-year limit for completing all Ph.D. degree requirements, i.e., all doctoral coursework taken at MTSU, as well as the dissertation, must be completed within ten years of the first semester of enrollment.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to the completion of 30 credit hours;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the semester in which candidate intends to graduate.

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