Wayne State University

Ph.D. Programs and Assistantiships

Ph.D. Programs in Kinesiology

The Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies at Wayne State University welcomes Ph.D. applications for tracks in Exercise and Sport Science (ESS) and Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership (PE-PAL).

Program Overview

Doctoral training in KHS at Wayne State University pair's students with world-class scholars to train the next generation of university research faculty.  Students select from two tracks: Exercise and Sport Science or Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership. Students in ESS receive interdisciplinary training in motor learning and control, biomechanics, physical activity and exercise physiology, exercise psychophysiology, disability sport, and sport psychology. Students in PE-PAL work directly with faculty in the Center for School Health on physical activity and nutrition programs and interventions in schools and community organizations. Doctoral students in both tracks develop scholarly and professional skills through course work, research projects, tailored mentoring with faculty advisors, participation in grant writing, presenting at scientific conferences, and journal publishing. Interested students are encouraged to learn more about both Ph.D. tracks by contacting the research faculty. Applications can be completed at Graduate Admissions.


The division offers both Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs). Preference is given to students completing doctoral degrees, although students completing master's degrees will be considered. Students are invited to apply for GRA and/or GTA positions.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships: GTAs will be assigned a maximum of 20 hours of instructional support in the division. The majority of GTAs will be assigned to teach group exercise classes in our Lifestyle Fitness Activities program (LFA). LFA classes are 2-credit general exercise classes taken by any students attending the university. In addition, students with specialized skills may be assigned to teach lower level courses for division majors or assist faculty with lab components of large-lecture courses. Applicants for these positions should review the menu of LFA classes that the division offers and indicate the courses they have the qualifications to teach. Applicants should also identify any research or instructional experiences that may qualify them to lead courses for division majors or assist full time faculty with higher level courses.

Graduate Research Assistantships: GRAs will be assigned to support faculty research projects for a maximum of 20 hours each week. Duties may include: literature reviews, IRB development, data collection, data analysis, report/publication writing, or presentations at national research meetings among other assignments. The intent of GRA positions is to provide research support for division faculty and to give students in-depth research training as future independent scholars. Applicants should describe all past research experiences, and identify the research programs of division faculty with which they find overlap with the applicant's career aspirations.

Graduate student assistantships will continue throughout the duration of a student's Ph.D. program, provided they make adequate progress toward their degree and perform their assistantship roles and responsibilities to the highest possible standard. It will be common that students rotate between GRAs and GTAs over the course of their studies. To be considered for graduate assistant funding, applicants must have completed the Ph.D. application for either Kinesiology track. Students often rotate between GRAs and GTAs over the course of their studies. Assistantships are 9- month positions with opportunities for additional spring/summer employment, and include a salary stipend (approximately $18,000, comprehensive health and dental benefits, and full tuition waiver). Applicants must have completed the Ph.D. application for either Kinesiology track. Students can apply for assistantship positions by emailing the following: detailed cover letter, resume, and three letters of recommendation to Heather Ladanyi at eb3703@wayne.edu.

Wayne State University and the GEOC recognize an obligation and reaffirm their commitment to achieve equal employment opportunity, non-discrimination, and non-harassment within the University. Accordingly, it is agreed that, consistent with University policies, the University and members of the bargaining unit shall not discriminate or harass on the basis of race, color, veteran status, height, weight, ethnicity, religion, creed, political affiliation, political beliefs, membership in any social or political organization, national origin, ancestry, marital or parental status, age, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, or HIV status, of those capable of performing their professional duties.

Additional funding opportunities through: