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PHD PROGRAM IN BIOKINESIOLOGY

The PhD program in Biokinesiology — ranked 12th in the nation by the National Academy of Kinesiology — prepares students to address important research questions to improve the health and well-being of society. Graduates develop expertise in a focused area of Biokinesiology as well as the requisite technical skills to make meaningful contributions to the field.

The PhD in Biokinesiology program prepares graduates to be educators and scientists in Biokinesiology, capable of directing an interdisciplinary research program that is innovative, collaborative and sustainable.

Areas of concentration include motor control and learning, muscle physiology, biomechanics, motor development and exercise physiology.

Biokinesiology integrates the study of movement at the molecular, cellular, organ and systems levels, giving students a unique, interdisciplinary perspective of the biological bases of normal and disordered movement.

– Chris Powers, PhD, PT Director, Biokinesiology Program
Application Deadline: November 1

Admission will be considered for the fall semester only. Once completed, your application will enter the review process. You will be notified of our admission decision by the end of February. Students only are admitted to the PhD program if there is a strong match between a potential faculty advisor and an applicant’s research interests. It is highly recommended you contact the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with prior to the submission of your application.

Student Handbook

PhD in Biokinesiology
Student Handbook 2021–2022

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Application Deadline: November 1

Admission will be considered for the fall semester only. Once completed, your application will enter the review process. You will be notified of our admission decision by the end of February.

Students only are admitted to the PhD program if there is a strong match between a potential faculty advisor and an applicant’s research interests. It is highly recommended you contact the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with prior to the submission of your application.

To apply for the PhD in Biokinesiology:

1. Complete the online USC Graduate Application.

The application requires you to submit:

  • Résumé or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals able to comment on your academic and research capabilities and potential
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
    Note: For the 2021-2022 admission cycle, the GRE requirement will be waived.
  • Statement of purpose, in an uploadable document, double-spaced

To assist in preparing your statement of purpose, consider the following questions:

  • Why have you chosen to apply for admission to the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy?
  • What is the area of your current research?
  • Which USC faculty member do you hope to conduct research with?
  • Why are you interested in the PhD in Biokinesiology?
  • What are your professional goals or objectives?
  • How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
  • How will this program facilitate the accomplishment of your professional goals?
  • How do you feel you will contribute to the field of physical therapy and/or science of movement?

2. Mail your official transcripts from all schools attended to:

USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

  • Curriculum and Training

    The USC Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy is committed to PhD training that provides students with the skills necessary to function independently in a scientific setting by the time they graduate.

    The curriculum strikes a balance between providing students with a broad exposure to the variety of disciplines within Biokinesiology and giving students the advanced skills necessary to excel in a specialized area.

    Students achieve breadth of knowledge by taking a set of required core courses, and they develop depth by taking elective courses in their areas of concentration. Students complete a dissertation in which they plan and conduct a unique and significant research investigation under the guidance of a Biokinesiology faculty member as research advisor.

     

    Required Courses:

    BKN 550 Neurobehavioral Basis of Movement
    BKN 551 Musculoskeletal and Biomechanical Basis of Movement
    BKN 552 Physiological Basis of Voluntary Movement
    BKN 553 Experimental Methods for the Analysis of Human Movement
    BKN 790 Research
    BKN 794 Doctoral Dissertation
    Two Semesters of Graduate Level Statistics
    One Ethics Course


    Elective Courses:

    BKN 504         Neuromuscular Systems
    BKN 557         Functional Neuroanatomy with Lab Dissection
    BKN 559         Readings in Biokinesiology
    BKN 563         Biomechanics of Human Motion
    BKN 573 a/b  Advanced Dissection
    BKN 578         Classic Readings in Biokinesiology
    BKN 590         Directed Research
    BKN 593         Behavioral Basis of Motor Control and Learning
    BKN 599         Advanced Data Analysis for Movement Science
    BKN 617          Modeling the Motor System: An Introduction
    BKN 618L       Modeling the Motor System: Laboratory
    BKN621          Electromyography in Research and Practice
    BKN672          Advanced Independent Study in Biokinesiology
    BKN790          Research

  • Outcome Objectives

    Outcome objectives for the PhD program in Biokinesiology include the following:

    1. Proficient knowledge of the biological basis of healthy and disordered human movement.
    2. A deep understanding of the existing research in a specialized area of Biokinesiology.
    3. Attainment of strong technical and analytical skills to become an effective researcher in Biokinesiology.
    4. Demonstrated ability to identify contemporary research questions in Biokinesiology to extend existing knowledge through original research.
    5. Demonstrated ability to engage in a productive research career in a variety of employment settings.

The USC Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy is committed to PhD training that provides students with the skills necessary to function independently in a scientific setting by the time they graduate.

The curriculum strikes a balance between providing students with a broad exposure to the variety of disciplines within Biokinesiology and giving students the advanced skills necessary to excel in a specialized area.

Students achieve breadth of knowledge by taking a set of required core courses, and they develop depth by taking elective courses in their areas of concentration. Students complete a dissertation in which they plan and conduct a unique and significant research investigation under the guidance of a Biokinesiology faculty member as research advisor.

 

Required Courses:

BKN 550 Neurobehavioral Basis of Movement
BKN 551 Musculoskeletal and Biomechanical Basis of Movement
BKN 552 Physiological Basis of Voluntary Movement
BKN 553 Experimental Methods for the Analysis of Human Movement
BKN 790 Research
BKN 794 Doctoral Dissertation
Two Semesters of Graduate Level Statistics
One Ethics Course


Elective Courses:

BKN 504         Neuromuscular Systems
BKN 557         Functional Neuroanatomy with Lab Dissection
BKN 559         Readings in Biokinesiology
BKN 563         Biomechanics of Human Motion
BKN 573 a/b  Advanced Dissection
BKN 578         Classic Readings in Biokinesiology
BKN 590         Directed Research
BKN 593         Behavioral Basis of Motor Control and Learning
BKN 599         Advanced Data Analysis for Movement Science
BKN 617          Modeling the Motor System: An Introduction
BKN 618L       Modeling the Motor System: Laboratory
BKN621          Electromyography in Research and Practice
BKN672          Advanced Independent Study in Biokinesiology
BKN790          Research

Outcome objectives for the PhD program in Biokinesiology include the following:

  1. Proficient knowledge of the biological basis of healthy and disordered human movement.
  2. A deep understanding of the existing research in a specialized area of Biokinesiology.
  3. Attainment of strong technical and analytical skills to become an effective researcher in Biokinesiology.
  4. Demonstrated ability to identify contemporary research questions in Biokinesiology to extend existing knowledge through original research.
  5. Demonstrated ability to engage in a productive research career in a variety of employment settings.

Application Deadline: November 1

Admission will be considered for the fall semester only. Once completed, your application will enter the review process. You will be notified of our admission decision by the end of February.

Students only are admitted to the PhD program if there is a strong match between a potential faculty advisor and an applicant’s research interests. It is highly recommended you contact the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with prior to the submission of your application.

To apply for the PhD in Biokinesiology:

1. Complete the online USC Graduate Application.

The application requires you to submit:

  • Résumé or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals able to comment on your academic and research capabilities and potential
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
    Note: For the 2021-2022 admission cycle, the GRE requirement will be waived.
  • Statement of purpose, in an uploadable document, double-spaced

To assist in preparing your statement of purpose, consider the following questions:

  • Why have you chosen to apply for admission to the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy?
  • What is the area of your current research?
  • Which USC faculty member do you hope to conduct research with?
  • Why are you interested in the PhD in Biokinesiology?
  • What are your professional goals or objectives?
  • How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
  • How will this program facilitate the accomplishment of your professional goals?
  • How do you feel you will contribute to the field of physical therapy and/or science of movement?

2. Mail your official transcripts from all schools attended to:

USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915