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This research-intensive program will prepare you for careers in higher education, government ministries and other organizations.

You'll develop the technical, intellectual and conceptual skills to conduct original research and critically examine literature in the area of physical activity and health in the context of schools, work, community and sport. You’ll supplement your advanced knowledge with coursework and candidacy exams.

During your time in this program, you will conduct original research in the area of human movement and physical activity and its impact on the health, society and quality of life. This research will result in the creation of a dissertation that you’ll defend in an oral exam.

Expected length Project or thesis Course-based
4-5 years Yes No

Quick facts

Program options:
Study options:
Full-time study
Program delivery:
Dynamic learning:
Co-op optional


Students in this program will:

  • develop a comprehensive knowledge of previous and current research in a select field of kinesiology
  • develop a general knowledge of different methods, analyses and data presentation tools to best answer a research question and convey this information clearly
  • apply sound research methods to design research studies to answer problems in a select field of kinesiology and describe the methods effectively
  • perform collection and analyses of research data as well as interpret and present the results in a way that makes clear sense of the data and conclusions to be drawn
  • communicate information clearly and effectively in written and oral form according to professional research standards
  • broaden their professional foundations through activities such as teaching, fellowships and grant applications
  • demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills for the dissemination of research findings to a variety of audiences and for affecting evidence-based policy decisions
  • present research to local, regional, and national audiences through publications in professional (peer-reviewed) journals and conference posters/papers
  • participate in professional organizations, becoming members, attending meetings and taking leadership roles where appropriate
  • become independent, self-motivated, ethical researchers with the ability to recognize problems in their field of expertise and formulate solutions to the problems

Find a supervisor

PhD students must have a faculty member who serves as their academic supervisor. When you apply:

  • you must list a potential supervisor on your application
  • this faculty member must agree to be your supervisor and recommend your admission
  • include an email from your supervisor with your application

To find a supervisor, review the faculty contacts. When you’ve found a faculty member whose research complements your own, contact them by email.

Catherine Gaul

Emeritus Professor Exercise physiology; pediatric sport performance; women and exercise; health benefits of exercise in cancer patients; occupational physiology; fitness and testing

David Kennedy

Assistant Professor Neurophysiology; perception and how it affects movement and function; sensory feedback in neurological conditions (in particular stroke and multiple sclerosis) and in healthy populations; pain perception and its physiological and behavioural drivers.

E. Paul Zehr

Professor Neural control of rhythmic human movement; co-ordination of the arms and legs during locomotion; neuromuscular plasticity and motor recovery after stroke

Jean Buckler

Assistant Professor Gender inclusive physical activity, recreational physical activity, health promotion

John Meldrum

Assistant professor; Recreation and Health Education Program Leader Management, marketing, and service quality; understanding human relationships and the attachment to people, places and activities in a health, leisure, sport or community context

Kirstin Lane

Assistant Teaching Professor; Kinesiology program leader Effects of exercise on health and disease outcomes in cancer patients; exercise assessment and prescription; clinical exercise physiology

Kurt Smith

Associate Professor Exercise and environmental mechanisms that influence cerebral and cardiovascular health.

Lara Lauzon

Associate professor Teacher wellness; college and university student health and wellness; worklife balance; leadership

Lynneth Stuart-Hill

Associate Professor Exercise hematology and immunology; occupational physiology; development of pre-employment physical abilities tests; children and exercise; exercise prescription

Marc Klimstra

Associate professor Biomechanics and motor control of human movement in sport; exercise and rehabilitation

Nevin Harper

Professor Outdoor recreation, Adventure education, Experiential group facilitation, Eco-health & wellness initiatives, Leadership, Outdoor risky play

Olav Krigolson

Professor Neuroeconomics, learning, decision-making, motor learning and control

Patti-Jean (PJ) Naylor

Emeritus Professor and Scientist Socio-ecological and setting-based approaches to health promotion; obesity and chronic disease prevention; dissemination, knowledge translation/exchange; implementation and organizational capacity

Paul Whitinui

Professor Indigenous community health and development with a focus on the social and cultural determinants associated with resilience, sport, leisure, education, wellbeing and healing.

Ryan Rhodes

Professor; Graduate advisor Psychology of physical activity and sedentary behaviour; health promotion during life transitions (e.g., early-stage family development, retirement); application of technology to health behaviour change; bridging the intention-behaviour gap; the role of affect in health behaviour; self-regulation of behaviour; physical activity habit and identity formation.

Sam Liu

Associate Professor Chronic disease prevention and management; eHealth/mHealth; big data and health surveillance; physical activity; health promotion

Sandra Gibbons

Professor Girl-friendly physical education; team building in physical education; authentic assessment in physical educations

Sandra Hundza

Associate professor; Director Neural control of human movement and motor rehabilitation with aging and after injury and disease (e.g., stroke or Parkinson’s disease); neural control of balance during walking and coordination of limbs and trunk during rhythmic movement; assistive devices and technologies related to mobility and mobility measurement

Tim Hopper

Professor; Physical Education Teacher Education programs leader School integrated teaching education; teacher games for understanding and electronic portfolios; action research and qualitative research genres; social constructivism and complexity theories

Viviene Temple

Professor Physical activity among individuals with special needs and young children; motor skills

Show me program details

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Your program details

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Application deadlines

We accept applications for this program year-round. Domestic students should apply any time before their desired entry point. For funding consideration, you must accept an offer to join by July 31.

September – apply by December 15

January – apply by April 15

May – apply by October 15

Notes: For funding consideration, you must accept an offer to join by July 31.

Admission requirements

Program specific requirements

  • assessment reports from two academic referees who can speak to your ability to undertake advanced studies
  • a letter of intent (two pages or less) introducing yourself, describing your academic background, your specific area of research interest, as well as your career goals. You should also identify a faculty member as a possible supervisor.
  • CV

Program specific requirements

  • assessment reports from two academic referees who can speak to your ability to undertake advanced studies
  • a letter of intent (two pages or less) introducing yourself, describing your academic background, your specific area of research interest, as well as your career goals. You should also identify a faculty member as a possible supervisor.
  • CV

Completion requirements

View the minimum course requirements for this program.
View the minimum course requirements for this program.

Funding & aid

Tuition & fees

Estimated minimum program cost*

* Based on an average program length. For a per term fee breakdown view the tuition fee estimator.

Estimated values determined by the tuition fee estimator shall not be binding to the University of Victoria.

Ready to apply?

You can start your online application to UVic by creating a new profile or using an existing one.

Apply now    How to apply

Need help?

Contact Grace-Ann Wynter at or 250-721-6682.

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