Our curriculum is designed to prepare researchers, teachers and professional leaders to address critical issues in the field by developing research skills, engaging in reflective teaching and expanding knowledge.
Students complete research in the following areas
Adapted Physical Education/Activity
This area of focus addresses teaching and scholarship advancing the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in school-and community-based physical education/activity contexts. Our faculty and graduate students are members of a multi-institutional Adapted Physical Education Mentoring Consortium funded by a doctoral training grant from the U.S. Department of Education. As members, our doctoral scholars have opportunities to collaborate on high-quality research projects, multi-institutional seminars, and summer training with APE faculty at nine leading institutions of higher education across the nation. Our faculty are engaged in several multidisciplinary research and service projects related to adapted physical education/activity, teacher education, health disparities, motor development, and motor skill interventions.
Applied Sport Science
Our doctoral students studying applied sport sciences conduct research focused on
long-term athlete monitoring and performance assessment. This research better informs
coaches as to how their athletes are responding to the training and recovery
cycle. As a doctoral student in this area, you will engage in a variety of hands-on
learning opportunities with our many campus partners including the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Human Performance Innovation Center; an applied sport science
laboratory. You will have access to the innovative technologies and professionals
who are working on the cutting-edge of applied sport science.
This area of focus addresses research on the foundational scientific and sport-specific
knowledge structures that underlie effective coaching practice. Additional areas
of study include the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills needed for organizational
leadership in sport settings. As an emerging research concentration, coach development
and education affords doctoral students multiple pathways to pursue a focused and
impactful line of research. Our faculty engage in a wide range of international
and national service opportunities in coach development that many doctoral students
contribute to as well.
Physical Education Teacher Education
Physical education teacher education enjoys a long-standing tradition with doctoral
students completing research studies in educational policy development, comprehensive
school physical activity programming, curriculum and instruction, instructional
technology use, teacher preparation, and many other areas. Collectively, our research
in this area targets the improvement of learners in K-12 settings with an overarching
goal of facilitating the development of physically active lifestyles. Our faculty
are engaged with several large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects involving
healthy food and physical activity access in rural communities, state-wide surveillance
of cardiovascular risk in school-aged children, and policy and accountability systems
in school physical education.
During the first semester of coursework, all doctoral students will be required to
take and pass an oral qualifying exam based on assigned reading lists.
Prior to proposing their dissertation to their committee, students must take and
pass a Comprehensive Exam to assess their ability to synthesize and critically
reflect on the literature related to their research area of interest related to
physical education, physical activity, or athletic coaching education. The faculty
members on the students’ committees from the CATS faculty will adjudicate the quality
of a presentation, the written document and the student’s ability to respond to
Students enrolled in the PhD in Coaching and Teaching Studies program submit two research
papers as part of their doctoral benchmarking processes. Both PhD and EdD students
submit their final dissertation/thesis manuscript for publication.
Dissertation Proposal and Defense
The dissertation is the culmination of the research efforts of the student. The program coordinator will work with students during their first year of study to designate
an appropriate adviser to oversee and mentor their research. The advisor will chair
the dissertation committee and work with the student to select a committee based on expertise specific to the related line of inquiry. Once
the committee is in place, they will convene to discuss and approve the student’s
Plan of Study and designate each member’s role in mentoring the student in designing
and carrying out his/her dissertation research. Once proposed to and approved by
the committee, the student may complete his/her research study and prepare to defend
the findings to the committee. The final dissertation must be defended in a public
forum and approved by the committee.