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Applied Physiology (Ph.D.)

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The mission of the Applied Physiology Ph.D. program is to provide advanced training to students in the field of applied physiology with the goal of preparing students for research-based careers. Areas of in-depth study are driven by faculty research and encompass cardiovascular physiology, exercise physiology, musculoskeletal physiology, and neurophysiology


The programmatic emphasis is on the regulation, adaptation, and integration of mechanisms across all levels of biological organization from molecules to organ systems. New knowledge on health, aging, chronic disease, and injury prevention will be generated and disseminated. Along with in-depth, laboratory-based immersion, the mission of the proposed program is to provide high quality classroom-based instruction through a core graduate curriculum, electives, and seminars.


University Policy on Admission

Admission to the graduate program is competitive. Those who meet stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer appropriate strengths.

University Admission Procedures

Applicants must submit all of the following items directly to the University Office of Graduate Studies using the online admission process before admission can be considered.

Expected Minimum Requirements for Admission into the Applied Physiology Program

Admissions decisions are made by the Applied Physiology Program Committee. Students will be admitted to the program based on enrollment availability and their ability to meet the following minimum recommended entrance requirements:

  • BS, MS or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university.
  • GRE scores of at least 600 on math and at least 450 on verbal
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Written statement of goals and objectives (the personal statement) that clearly identifies the applicant’s research and curriculum interests and explains how admission to the program will facilitate his/her professional objectives.
  • Current résumé and three letters of recommendation.

All students will be expected to be sufficiently conversant in English and knowledgeable in the written word to convey clear, logical and complex written expressions. Knowledge of mathematics and statistics is expected.

Admission Application Processing

The admission process is completed as follows: First, completed applications consisting of the application form, undergraduate/graduate transcripts, official GRE scores, letters of recommendations, resume, statement of purpose, and written statement of goals and objectives are reviewed by the Program Committee of the Applied Physiology Program.

Pending a successful review of the initial application materials, the application is circulated to the entire Applied Physiology faculty in an effort to match the student with an advisor. Faculty members advise students whose background, goals and objectives are compatible with their own research and funding. The Program Committee arrives at an admission decision after reviewing the completed application. To be admitted, a student must have an advisor.

Applications are processed as they are submitted.

Admission Status

Students admitted to the Applied Physiology Program may be admitted into one of two categories:

Regular status is offered to students who meet all of the established entrance requirements, who have a record of high scholarship in their fields of specialization, and who have the ability, interest, and maturity necessary for successful study at the graduate level in a degree program.

Provisional status is offered to students who are seeking admission to the degree program but lack one or more of the specified prerequisites. All provisional requirements must be met within the deadline given before regular status can be granted. Students admitted with provisional status are generally not eligible for assistantships or fellowships.

Students who file an application during the final year of undergraduate or current graduate work and are unable to supply complete official transcripts showing the conferral of the degree will be admitted pending conferral of the degree if their records are otherwise satisfactory and complete.

Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physiology

The degree requirements are the same, whether a student is entering the program with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

Course Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physiology requires a minimum of 46 credits including 9 credits of dissertation. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years. The 46 required credits are specified in the student’s plan of study and normally include:

Required courses (28 credits)
• Advanced Mammalian Physiology (3)
• Medical Physiology (3)
• Practice of Science (3)
• Research (12)
• Biostatistics (3)
• Seminar (4)
(Seminar taken 8 semesters, 4 semesters for credit and 4 semesters as listener.)

Elective Courses (9 credits): See recommended elective courses below

Students who have had substantially similar courses to one or more of those required prior to entering the Applied Physiology Program may substitute other appropriate courses with the approval of the advisor and the Program Committee.

Only those courses in the 600, 800, 900 levels will apply towards the doctoral degree. Independent study courses will be accepted based on approval of the advisor and the Department Chair. A maximum of 9 independent study credits may be included in the program of study.

Planned Program of Study

Students are required to develop a plan for a program of study with their advisor during the first semester of study. Depending on the student’s background and interests, the program of study may include courses beyond the minimum number required for the degree. The planned program of study must first be approved by the advisor and then the Program Committee by the end of the first semester. A typical plan for the program of study (showing only the minimum requirements for the degree) is shown below.

Fall – Year I
Adv Mammalian Phys (3)
Research I (3)
Biostatistics (3)
Seminar (1)

Spring – Year I
Medical Phys (3)
Research II (3)
Practice of Science (3)
Seminar (1)

Preliminary Exam at end of year 1

Fall – Year 2
Elective (3)
Research III (3)
Seminar (1)

Spring – Year 2
Elective (3)
Research IV (3)
Seminar (1)

Fall – Year 3
Seminar (0)
Elective (3)

Spring – Year 3
Seminar (0)
Dissertation (3)

Fall – Year 4
Seminar (0)
Dissertation (3)

Spring – Year 4
Seminar (0)
Dissertation (3)

Preliminary Examination Requirement

Students must pass a preliminary examination that tests their general knowledge base in applied physiology and their ability to critically evaluate scientific literature. The preliminary examination includes a written component followed by an oral component on a separate day. Content of the exam is usually based on:
1) course work taken during the student’s first year of the academic program and
2) an area of study that is consistent with the student’s planned dissertation work. The preliminary examination must be completed by the end of the student's first year of enrollment.

Recommended Elective Courses

Course Credits

HESC604 – 3 credits
Sensorimotor Characteristics of Injury
HESC605 – 3 credits Pathoetiology of Musculoskeletal Injuries
HESC607 – 3 credits Motor Learning and Control
HESC650 – 3 credits Life Span Motor Development
HESC651 – 3 credits Neurophysiological Basis of Human Movement
HESC654 – 3 credits Medical Physiology
HESC655 – 3 credits Advanced Physiology of Exercise
HESC666 – 1-6 credits Special Problem
HESC680 – 3 credits Exercise, Nutrition and Bone Health
HESC686 – 3 credits Math and Signal Processing
HESC688 – 3 credits Electromyographic Kinesiology
HESC802 – 3 credits Human Cardiovascular Control
HESC804 – 3 credits Clinical Measures in Exercise Physiology
HESC808 – 3 credits Seminar in Motor Behavior
HESC840 – 3 credits Advanced Human Anatomy
BISC602 – 3 credits Molecular Biology of Animal Cells
BISC612 – 3 credits Advanced Cell Biology
BISC615 – 3 credits Vertebrate Developmental Biology
BISC626 – 4 credits Neuroscience I
BISC627 – 3 credits Neuroscience II
BISC639 – 3 credits Developmental Neurobiology
BISC656 – 3 credits Evolutionary Genetics
BISC660 – 3 credits Environmental Physiology
BISC665 – 3 credits Advanced Molecular Biology & Genetics
BISC671 – 4 credits Cellular and Molecular Immunology
BISC675 – 3 credits Cardiovascular Physiology
BISC693 – 3 credits Human Genetics
BISC806 – 3 credits Advances in Cell and Organ Systems
BISC833 – 1-4 credits Special Topics in Biology
CHEM641 – 3 credits Biochemistry

Financial Aid and Assistantships

Funding for PhD students within the Applied Physiology program will primarily come from faculty advisor grant support and department teaching assistantships. Research Assistant awards will be made on a competitive basis for students that best fit the needs of the sponsoring faculty member. Teaching Assistant awards will be made on a competitive basis for students prepared to teach and otherwise assist with undergraduate instruction.


Students can also apply for internal funding. For example, students can apply for any of the competitive awards offered through the UD Research and Graduate Studies Office. This includes the University Graduate Fellow Award, the University Graduate Scholar Award, and the University Dissertation Award.

Students can also apply for pre-doctoral support from funding agencies such as the American Heart Association. All students will be encouraged to apply for these external awards. The sponsoring faculty member will work with the student to develop the proposal.

Summer appointments will be made on an individual basis. If funds are available, it is expected that students will work full-time in the sponsoring faculty’s laboratory during the summer months (with a reasonable amount of time for vacation).

Support for a student enrolled in the Ph.D. program will not normally be provided for more than 5 years.

Applied Physiology Faculty
  • David Edwards, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • William Farquhar, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Nancy Getchell, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Slobodan Jaric, Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Thomas Kaminski, Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Christopher Knight, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Shannon Lennon-Edwards, Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition
  • Raelene Maser, Associate Professor, Dept. of Medical Technology (joint faculty in KAAP)
  • Kathleen Matt, Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and Dean, College of Health Sciences
  • Christopher Modlesky, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Michelle Provost-Craig, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • William Rose, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
  • Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
  • Charles “Buz” Swanik, Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology

  • College of Health Sciences  •   Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology  •   541 South College Ave.
    Newark, DE 19716    •   Phone: 302-831-2937  •   •  © 2014
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