Ph.D. in Kinesiology - Sports Medicine

  • Guskiewicz is recognized internationally for his laboratory and field-based research on sport-related concussions. Findings from his research have led to changes in the clinical practice of sports medicine, including the use of balance testing in concussion diagnosis, increases in sit-out time for athletes after concussions, and computerized neurocognitive testing for concussion now regularly used in intercollegiate and professional sports settings.

    Kevin Guskiewicz Named U.Va. Curry School’s 2013 Distinguished Alumnus >>

The PhD program in sports medicine is typically completed in 4 years and is designed to prepare graduates for academic careers in athletic training, physical therapy, or other disciplines related to the study of musculoskeletal injuries. The program is research-intensive and includes 2 years of formal course work and 2 years to complete the dissertation. The program has three primary faculty: Jay Hertel, Sue Saliba, and Joe Hart. Additionally, there are several other faculty in kinesiology, orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and other units across the University that contribute to the program.

Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Admission to the PhD program is highly competitive and requires: 1) target GRE scores greater than or equal to 153 quantitative, 151 verbal, and 4.5 writing, and 2) undergraduate and masters GPA >3.0. International applicants must also meet university TOEFL requirements. Preference is typically given to applicants who are certified athletic trainers (ATC) or licensed physical therapists.

Application Due Date

The deadline for applications is December 15. An on-site interview is also required before any offer of admission.

Degree Requirements

36 didactic credits including:
KINE 7420       Evidence-Based Sports Medicine
KINE 8400       Clinical Biomechanics

12 credits of statistics/research design courses
18 credits of electives

12 credits of KINE 9998 (Doctoral Research Apprenticeship)
24 credits of EDHS 9999 (Doctoral Dissertation)


Extensive supervised research experiences are performed under the direction of one of our core Sports Medicine faculty members in their area of research expertise:


Joe Hart, PhD, ATC - muscle inhibition, knee injuries, clinical outcomes in orthopaedic sports medicine

Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC, FNATA - ankle sprains and instability, gait and postural control, clinical outcomes

Jake Resch, PhD, ATC - sports-related concussion

Sue Saliba, PhD, ATC, PT, FNATA - therapeutic modalities, therapeutic exercise

Funding Opportunities

All PhD students receive an assistantship that provides a full tuition waiver, an annual academic year stipend of approximately $14,000, and health insurance. Assistantships are renewable for up to 4 years pending successful progress through the program. Assistantships require either clinical, teaching, and/or research responsibilities.

All PhD students, regardless of what type of assistantship they have, are actively involved in working with students in our post-professional masters program in Athletic Training and whenever possible with teaching in our undergraduate Kinesiology major.

Typical Length of Study

4 years

Full or Part Time:

Full time students only.

Course Overview

• Fall I:
KINE 7420 Evidence-Based Sports Medicine
KINE 8400 Clinical Biomechanics
Statistics Course
KINES 9998 Doctoral Research Internship

• Spring I:
Statistics Course
KINES 9998 Doctoral Research Internship

• Fall II:
Statistics Course
KINES 9998 Doctoral Research Internship

• Spring II:
Statistics Course
KINES 9998 Doctoral Research Internship

• Fall/Spring III and IV:
KINE 9998 Doctoral Research Internship

• Fall/Spring III and IV:

KINE 9999 Doctoral Dissertation

Elective courses are available in a variety of disciplines including Kinesiology, Biomedical Engineering, Public Health Science, Neuroscience, Nursing, and Education, among others.

Sample Jobs After Graduation

Faculty positions in accredited Athletic Training or Physical Therapy programs.

Contact Us

Jay Hertel              

Mem Gym 202


Locations Offered

  • Charlottesville

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