Ph.D. Program

Welcome to the Division of Exercise Physiology at West Virginia University School of Medicine. This is an exciting time for Biomedical research. Public awareness in the importance of research for understanding health, disease and the environment is increasing, providing exciting opportunities for well-trained scientists. We believe that we are striving to train the best scientists in exercise physiology to meet the challenges of our post-genomic era.

The Division of Exercise Physiology offers a program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in the School of Medicine through the university’s graduate program. The program is intended to give exceptional students’ knowledge in basic medical and scientific areas to prepare them for careers as effective and knowledgeable researchers and teachers in the broad field of Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology. In the Division of Exercise Physiology these goals are achieved by several means. Formal course work in the sub-disciplines of Exercise Physiology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience provides the student with the opportunity to develop a solid foundation in basic subject matter of medical sciences that can be applied to aspects of exercise and disease. The student's knowledge base will be further strengthened by participation in elective courses offered within the Division, selected courses offered by other departments within the School of Medicine and by departments in other colleges of West Virginia University.

The faculty in the Division of Exercise Physiology views the Ph.D. primarily as a research degree. Research training and experience are provided under the guidance and supervision of the graduate faculty. The aim of this effort is to promote attitudes, habits, skills and abilities that will enable the student to grow and develop as an independent scientist.

In Exercise Physiology the graduate program is designed to foster the student's ability for independent thought and research. For the first semester, all graduate students are enrolled in the umbrella biomedical sciences program in school of medicine (see: Prospective Students and Biomedical Sciences ). 

In this program students complete the "undifferentiated curriculum" for one semester (See: Common Core Curriculum. This semester provides a strong background in basic cellular function and whole organism dynamics. Students will conduct research rotations with up to three eligible mentors in Exercise Physiology during the first semester. At the end of the first semester of enrollment, graduate students choose their program (e.g., Exercise Physiology) and the mentor which they will work with and conduct their dissertation (one of the eligible mentors that they completed the research rotations with). Students who choose to specialize in Exercise Physiology will therefore enter our graduate program at the end of the semester of the first year by choosing an advisor from our faculty. 

Students will work with their advisor and learn techniques, collect pilot data etc. leading towards the dissertation research. Go to Faculty and to see a description of each faculty member's research program. Each semester we offer a seminar series/graduate colloquium and invite scientists from other institutions to the Department.

Graduate work involves a program of study and research individually designed to utilize the abilities and strengths of the faculty and accommodate the needs of the student within an area of specific interest. The exact content of a program of study for a particular student usually will differ from another student. Advanced courses provide a comprehensive exploration of topics in exercise physiology utilizing systems biology, and molecular biology tools to understand and interpret data. Through the choice of advanced courses and electives, each student, with the help of their advisor, designs a program to suit individual research needs and career objectives.

The typical course sequence after gaining admission to Exercise Physiology can be seen here

The process for admission and the link to the PH.D.  Application for Exercise Physiology 

The application portal

GRE (required) and TOEFL (for international applications)

What you can't see from our Web site is perhaps more important. At West Virginia University we offer our graduate students significant amounts of individual attention. We pride ourselves on the friendly atmosphere in our Division of Exercise Physiology and throughout the Health Sciences Center. Students receive both academic and professional development via courses in the sciences and training in seminar presentation, manuscript writing, writing grants and professional ethics. The graduates of our program can be found in academic research positions in medical schools, and other health related schools, industry positions, at the Center for Disease Control, and in teaching positions and throughout the academic research community. We also can't show you the beauty of West Virginia, the convenience of life in the small town of Morgantown, or the ease of reaching Pittsburgh for major league sports, excellent museums, arts, restaurants and cosmopolitan ambiance.