Human Performance, Ph.D.
Dr. Don Belcher, Graduate Director
The Department of Health and Human Performance offers the Ph.D. in Human Performance with specializations in Exercise Science (for further information contact Dr. John Coons, John.Coons@mtsu.edu); Health (for further information contact Dr. Andrew Owusu, Andrew.Owusu@mtsu.edu); Leisure, Sport, and Tourism Management (for further information contact Dr. Rudy Dunlap, Rudy.Dunlap@mtsu.edu; and Physical Education (for further information contact Dr. Don Belcher, Don.Belcher@mtsu.edu). 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.
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
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 predict success in the Ph.D. program.
Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Human Performance program requires
- 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.
- completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with acceptable scores. Successful applicants to the Ph.D. program have scores that exceed 297. The Analytical Writing Assessment score is also considered.
- research skills. Successful applicants typically have statistical and research methodology skills as evidenced by coursework in both areas, and have completed a thesis or scholarly project that can be reviewed by the graduate director.
- coursework in a related field. Applicants with a bachelor's degree are expected to have completed at least 18 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.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
Applications for admission must be complete by March 1 for Summer admission, by June 1 for Fall admission, and by October 1 for Spring admission. Late applicants who meet the admission criteria may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants must submit
- application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php). Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
- official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
- official transcripts of all previous college work;
- three letters of recommendation from persons who can address their academic qualifications and potential for success in doctoral study and teaching ability;
- 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.
The Ph.D. in Human Performance requires completion of 60-72 semester hours.
- 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.
- complete a thesis or scholarly equivalent prior to admission to candidacy.
- successfully complete preliminary examinations to advance to candidacy.
- be enrolled in full-time study (9 semester hours) for at least one semester to fulfill residency requirements.
- complete a dissertation and successfully defend it in the final oral examination.
The following illustrates the coursework requirements. In addition, a maximum of 24 hours of dissertation research may be required to fulfill degree requirements.
Human Performance Core Requirements (15 hours)
HHP 7060 - Research Practicum in Human Performance
1 to 6credit hours
Research experience under the direct supervision of a graduate faculty member resulting in the submission of a manuscript to a refereed journal or a grant to a funding agency.
HHP 7600 - Teaching Practicum in Human Performance
Teaching experience under the direct supervision of graduate faculty member in a three-credit undergraduate course within the student's area of specialization. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6 credit hours. S/U grading.
HHP 7700 - Advanced Data Analysis and Organization for Human Performance
Prerequisites: HHP 6610 and HHP 6700 or equivalent. Skills and understanding necessary to read, conduct, report, and interpret advanced data analytical techniques using data from HHP. Practical and written assignments, presentations, examinations, and projects will furnish doctoral student with tools necessary for data analysis associated with dissertation requirement.
Select 3 hours from the following:
FOED 7570 - Issues in Higher Education
Higher education in America and its historical, philosophical, political, and sociological background, development, and relationships. Current trends and problems, particularly those relating to the financial and legal aspects.
FOED 7580 - The College Student
The changing nature of the college student with emphasis on institutional efforts to provide for the development of the student.
SPSE 7551 - Instructional Development in Higher Education
Prerequisite: Previous college teaching (instructor of record) or completion of the LT&ITC graduate teaching assistant teaching preparation certification program or approval of the instructor. Addresses effective course design, instructional strategies, and use of technology in teaching at the higher education level.
Research Tools (9 hours)
Choose three courses from statistics, research design, and data analysis in consultation with advisor.
Specialization (24 hours)
A total of 24 hours coursework and independent research is to be selected in consultation with the graduate program advisor.
Dissertation (12-24 hours)
HHP 7640 - Dissertation Research
1 to 6credit hours
Assignment by department or chair of candidate's committee. Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of dissertation. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of doctoral research each semester until completion. S/U grading
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 three content areas (research methodology and data analysis, Ph.D. specialization area, and area of research interest). All exams are to be taken within one calendar year.
Advancement to Candidacy - 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, students will formally construct their dissertation committees. The committee should include at a minimum three faculty members; two must be from the department, and one must be from outside the department. All members of the committee must have graduate faculty status.
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.