Kinesiology (PhD)

As our population ages and physical activity declines, there is a critical need for advanced researchers who can investigate and understand physical activity, sport, exercise, health and physical education.

Our PhD in Kinesiology provides a highly integrated approach to scholarship, so you can follow your research passion and become an expert in the field. You’ll collaborate with faculty mentors as you conduct leading-edge research in one of our core research areas.

When you complete this program, you’ll be able to engage in research and take part in the vital conversation about our nation’s health.

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Funding Highlights

  • Winners of major external awards (OGS and Tri-Council) may be eligible for top-up funding which includes the Dean’s Graduate Scholarship (total value exceeds $10,000).
  • Eligible domestic students admitted to study on a full-time basis receive a minimum of $22,000 a year. This support may be made up of teaching assistantships, internal/external scholarships, and/or faculty-funded studentships or research assistantships.

Program Details

Program Structure

The PhD in Kinesiology is research intensive and, as such, course requirements in most areas are minimal. The minimum requirements are as follows:

  • A total of at least six courses at the graduate level (including both master’s and PhD).
  • Two courses must be completed while registered in the PhD in Kinesiology program (in addition to KP801: Seminar in Kinesiology I; KP811: Seminar in Kinesiology II; KP891: Comprehensive Examination; and KP899: Doctoral Dissertation). These additional courses can be completed through the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education or other departments as deemed necessary.
  • Additional courses at the discretion of the Doctoral Advisory Committee may be required.

Core Research Areas

Our program has four core research strengths:

  • Movement science: motor control, biomechanics and physiology.
  • Health: wellbeing of individuals, risk factors that influence health, and the methods to evaluate health and social services within a variety of populations.
  • Psychology of physical activity: using psychological principles for understanding performance and adherence to physical activity and sport.
  • Sport development: sociocultural issues in sports, including sport history and ethics.
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"I had a wonderful network of supporters including my supervisor and other faculty mentors and staff members who were truly committed to providing meaningful training opportunities for the students."

Jeemin Kim (PhD '19), assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University

Admissions

Take the first step in your graduate education and apply to one of our graduate programs. Follow our three-step admission process — we’ll walk you through how to apply and prepare for your first day as a graduate student.

  • Start: Fall (September)
  • Format: Full-time
  • Application opens: May 1 (international applicants) or Aug. 16 (domestic applicants)
  • Application deadline: April 30 (international applicants) or Aug. 15 (domestic applicants). The program will continue to accept applications until the program is full.

Your Next Steps

Questions? Contact gradadmissions@wlu.ca or call 519.884.0710 x3127.

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"This program undoubtedly increased my critical thinking skills, sharpened my scientific writing, and helped me navigate stressful situations with patience and respect towards peers. This program facilitated the transition into a postdoctoral appointment at Laurier and current industry research collaborations."

Kelly Robb (PhD '21), postdoctoral researcher, Wilfrid Laurier University

Waterloo Campus

This program is available on Laurier's Waterloo campus.

Laurier's Waterloo campus is home to more than 19,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Tucked into several city blocks, this campus is walking distance to your classrooms, food, and various campus amenities.

Laurier is a leading force in research among Canadian universities, and many of our research centres and institutes are housed in Waterloo.

Learn more about Laurier's campuses.

Tuition and Funding

Regardless of the type of graduate degree program you intend to pursue, financial planning is important. At Laurier, we want to provide you with as much information as possible about a variety of scholarship and funding opportunities and equip you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.

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"The PhD Kinesiology program allows you to work with experts in multiple disciplines, but also gives you autonomy in developing your own research program. It is truly a multidisciplinary community that prides itself on the success of its students and will set you up for the next stage of your career and beyond."

Michael Godfrey (PhD '20), postdoctoral researcher, University of Windsor

Careers

  • academic settings
  • upper-level management positions in a wide range of health and physical activity-related settings

Your Path to Post-Degree Success

ASPIRE is Laurier's professional skills development training program for graduate students. The program helps you craft an individualized, extracurricular learning plan tailored to your professional journey and entry to the workplace.

Faculty

Learn about the interests and ongoing research of our faculty members. If their research interests you, email the professor directly to set up a meeting. Include information about yourself, your skills, your experience, and why you’re interested in their research.

Pam Bryden
Professor

  • Handedness, laterality and manual asymmetries
  • Motor development
  • Developmental disabilities

Michael Cinelli
Associate Professor

  • Perception-action integration
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Balance control
  • Concussions

Kimberley Dawson
Professor

  • Sport psychology
  • Exercise adherence
  • Sport performance

Tim Elcombe
Associate Professor

  • Sport
  • Culture and politics
  • Sport ethics and athlete development

Mark Eys
Professor
Canada Research Chair (Tier II), Group Dynamics and Physical Activity
Graduate Coordinator

  • Sport psychology
  • Group dynamics
  • Team building

Paula Fletcher
Professor

  • Lived experience/qualitative research
  • Chronic disease, disability and caregiving
  • Examination of aging issues (falling and health behaviours)

Diane Gregory
Associate Professor

  • Biomechanics
  • Spine health
  • Ergonomics

Dawn Guthrie
Professor

  • Aging
  • Health care and service delivery
  • Sensory impairments
  • Palliative care

Alanna Harman
Assistant Professor

  • Organizational behaviour in sport
  • Media representations of athletes

Tom J. Hazell
Assistant Professor

  • Energy balance
  • Appetite regulation
  • Gut hormones
  • Energy expenditure
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)/sprint interval training (SIT)
  • Vitamin D and skeletal muscle function

Jayne Kalmar
Associate Professor

  • Neuromuscular fatigue
  • Neural control of movement
  • Motor neuron properties

Renée S. MacPhee
Associate Professor

  • Occupational injury status of paramedics
  • Pre-hospital care environments
  • Health

Stephen Perry
Professor

  • Biomechanics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Dynamic balance control
  • Footwear and orthotics
  • Falls in the elderly

Jennifer Robertson-Wilson
Associate Professor

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Health promotion
  • Built environment

Margaret Schneider
Associate Professor

  • Chronic illness/disability
  • Health and well-being
  • Phenomenology

Jill Tracey
Associate Professor

  • Psychological recovery from injury and rehabilitation
  • Mental skills consulting/performance enhancement
  • Enhancing health and physical activity behaviours across the lifespan
  • Retirement from sport and lifelong health and physical activity
  • Coaching effectiveness; talent identification and development

Stephen Wenn
Professor
Undergraduate Advisor

  • The International Olympic Committee and television rights negotiations
  • Sport and commerce