Students in the Movement Science Program complete core coursework, electives, laboratory experience, and a dissertation.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 48 credits:

  • 28 credits of required coursework
  • 20 credits of elective coursework
  • Students with a Masters or Doctorate degree can receive up to 12 transfer credits.

In addition to completion of coursework, the following elements are required of all students:

  • Completion of Qualifying Exam after the second year
  • Development, implementation, and completion of original laboratory research
  • Oral defense of dissertation proposal
  • Completion of written doctoral dissertation
  • Oral defense of doctoral dissertation


Movement Science Core Courses

Instrumentation Theory and Application

This course is designed for the student to have a greater understanding of computer hardware, software, and biological signal transduction and processing. Basic computer architecture and operating systems are discussed and students gain a basic understanding of software programming logic and structures. Circuits, signal capture and transduction and relevant hardware are reviewed.

Movement Science I – Bioenergetics

This didactic course is designed to provide a comprehensive examination of skeletal muscle bioenergetics: structure, function, physiologic regulation of substrate utilization, and physiological/pathological adaptation (mutability) to external and internal stimuli. The course is designed to provide the student with a solid basis in muscle structure, function, and physiology needed for high level clinical care. Course content will include skeletal muscle histology, function of intracellular & extracellular muscle proteins, mechanisms of contraction, myogenesis, utilization of fuel substrates including hormonal control, and the effects of exercise, mechanical properties of muscle, and the response of muscle to training, disuse, and selected pathologies.

Movement Science II – Biomechanics

The focus of this course will be upon understanding mechanical principles as they relate to the study of human movement. The course will use an integration of quantitative principles and published literature to explore methods to study biomechanics and also to learn how the human body responds to mechanical stimuli in healthy and selected disease conditions.

Movement Science III – Biocontrol

The goal of this course is to understand how the nervous system controls movement and how human movement is affected after pathology to the nervous system. Each class session will consist of an introductory lecture followed by student-led discussions of selected papers. During the course, we will gain insight into how the enormous repertoire of human movements (e.g. gait, posture, voluntary hand movements) is controlled by a distributed motor system (e.g. spinal cord, basal ganglia, motor cortex), how pathology to the system alters movements, and how various structures in the system may or may not be able to compensate for each other.

Introduction to Statistics for the Health Sciences

This is a basic course in statistics with particular focus on the health sciences. It is taught in a user-friendly manner with emphasis on use of SPSS, statistical analysis software commonly used in clinical research. The course will teach basic statistical methods in which clinical researchers should have facility to execute their own analyses.

Intermediate Statistics for the Health Sciences

This 15-week course is designed to build on skills developed in Introduction to Statistics for the Health Sciences and foster basic expertise required to independently use common multivariate biostatistical methods to analyze clinical research data for peer-review presentation and publication.

Epidemiology for Clinical Research

This course introduces principles of epidemiology as they apply to clinical research. The course provides basic tools used in descriptive and analytical epidemiology, which are crucial for making informed decisions in the care of patients. Critical thinking and scientific/analytic competencies are emphasized throughout the course.

Teaching Practicum

The teaching practicum provides an opportunity for the doctoral student to engage in a focused and supervised classroom teaching experience. The student’s teaching should be in a content area relevant to the student’s area of interest. Students are expected to provide at least six hours of formal classroom instruction. To include a minimum of 4 hours of lecture presentation to an appropriate educational audience.

Program Seminar

Our Program Seminar focuses on review of current literature, scholarly presentation, and the development of skills in creating and presenting grant proposals. Required for each of the first four semesters of enrollment in the Movement Science program.

Ethics: Responsible Conduct of Research

Student will review and discuss case studies about ethical situations that might occur in a research and academic career. Topics will include, but are not limited to: student-mentor relationships, allegations of fraud, collaborators’ rights and responsibilities, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and publications.


Electives are selected as appropriate to the study of movement science and the student’s focus for the dissertation. Elective coursework necessary to meet the minimum requirements of the PhD degree may be taken either before or after qualifying examinations, which occur after the second year of study. Potential elective courses available are:

School of Medicine/Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences

  • BIO 531: Biochemistry
  • BIO 554: Neural Sciences
  • BIO 5571: Cellular Neurobiology
  • BIO 5651: Neural Systems

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • MATH 408: Non-parametric Statistics
  • MATH 415: Partial Differential Equations
  • MATH 420: Experimental Design
  • MATH 438: Sampling Techniques
  • MATH 439: Linear Statistical Models
  • MATH 475: Statistical Computation
  • MATH 493: Probability
  • PSYCH 426: The Psychology of Aging
  • PSYCH 504: Traditional and Non-Traditional Research Strategies in Psychology
  • PSYCH 516: Applied Multivariate Statistics