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PhD in Exercise Physiology

The focus of the program is physical inactivity, exercise and nutrition strategies for weight management and the prevention of lifestyle related diseases. Our faculty continually develop new knowledge in exercise training, exercise metabolism and obesity.

The mission of the program is to train graduate students who will provide professional leadership and research developments in the areas of human health.

children doing push-ups on playground

The curriculum has a scientific basis with core courses in exercise physiology, nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology. Exercise physiology research emphasizes human studies, but other exercise models are available on campus, including the pig (Vet. Biomedical Sci.) and the rat (Medical School and VA).

Teaching and research assistantships are available on a competitive basis.


The PhD program requires 85 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. A committee of 4 faculty members must approve all graduate courses, including those hours those from other universities. The graduate coursework includes 15 hours in exercise physiology, plus coursework in physiology, nutrition, and biochemistry. Research requirements include NS 7500 (9 hours of research projects) and NS 9090 (12 hours dissertation). One semester of teaching experience is required, as is participation on a major external grant proposal.

Note: Specific Masters courses (30 h maximum) may be counted on the doctoral program at the discretion of the student's committee (3 members in dept., 1 member outside). (Target ~85 hours beyond B.S.)

Co-author two manuscripts required. One semester teaching required.


Course Title Hours
NEP 8850 Advanced Exercise Physiology* 3 hours
NEP 7001 Exercise Endocrinology* 3 hours
NEP 8001 Cardiovascular Disease and Exercise* 3 hours
NEP 7500 Research* (3 projects) 9 hours
NEP 9090 Dissertation* 12 hours (max)

*required course

Course Title Hours
V_BSCI 8420 Veterinary Physiology 6 hours
MPP 7310 Mammalian Cell Function 3 hours
MMP 9430 Cardiovascular Physiology 3 hours
NEP 8870 Exercise Metabolism* 3 hours
V_BSCI 9435 Skeletal Muscle 3 hours
MPP 9434 Microcirculation 3 hours

*required course

Course Title Hours
NEP 7970 Sports Nutrition 3 hours
NEP 7001 Etiology of Obesity 3 hours
NEP 7340 Human Nutrition II 3 hours
BIOCHM 7270 Biochemistry* 3 hours
BIOCHM 7272 Biochemistry* 3 hours
NEP 8310 Nutritional Biochemistry of Lipids 3 hours
NEP 8340 Nutrition in Human Health 3 hours
NEP 8085 Problems in Nutritional Sciences* 3-5 hours
Course Title Hours
ESC_PS 8850 Quantitative Foundations 3 hours
ESC_PS 9650 Application of Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research 3 hours
STAT 7510 Applied Statistical Models I 3 hours
STAT 7530 Analysis of Variance 3 hours
STAT 7540 Experimental Design 3 hours
STAT 8220 Applied Statistical Models II 3 hours
Course Title Hours
AN SCI 9442 Vitamins and Minerals 3 hours
AN SCI 8420 Endocrinology 3 hours
V-BSCI 9426 Transmembrane Signaling 3 hours
V-BSCI 8410 Neural Control 3 hours
NEP 7001 Preventative and Therapeutic Exercise Physiology 3 hours

Program & Affiliated Faculty

Affiliated Programs

Exercise Physiology research and graduate training take place in a number of departments and laboratories at MU. Faculty members in affiliated programs and department are listed below:

  • Vet Biomedical Sciences:
    M. Harold Laughlin, Frank Booth, Doug Bowles, Lane Clarke, Eileen Hasser, M. Harold Laughlin, Richard McAllister, Ron Terjung, Steve Yang. Contact Lane Clarke for information on the graduate program.
  • Physiology:
    Kerry McDonald. Contact Ronald Korthuis for information on the graduate program.
  • Physical Therapy:
    Marybeth Brown, Marian Minor, Stephen Sayles, Erin Dannecker. Contact Marion Minor for information about research programs.
  • Internal Medicine/Cardiology:
    Kevin Dellsperger, William Fay, Anand Chockalingham. Contact William Fay for information about research programs.