Univ of Southern California
University of Southern California
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Graduate Degrees

The Department of Kinesiology offers graduate curricula leading to the M.S., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. The program is designed to prepare students to conduct research in their chosen area of specialization. Specialization areas include exercise physiology or biomechanics.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation and the Graduate School section for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Master of Science in Kinesiology

The department does not accept applicants for a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in kinesiology. The M.A. and M.S. degrees are intended only as transitional degrees in the process of completing requirements for the Ph.D. in kinesiology.

Degree Requirements
A total of 32 units including eight units in directed research, in addition to EXSC 594ab Master’s Thesis (2-2), is required. An approved thesis on the results of an original investigation and a final oral defense of the thesis are also required. The final defense is made while the thesis is in final draft form. At least 20 units of graduate level study must be taken in residence at USC. No more than four units with superior grades may be transferred from graduate work taken elsewhere.

Master of Arts in Kinesiology

Students are required to pursue a designated area of specialization. Two options are offered.

Thesis Option
A total of 32 units including 14 units in a specialization area, 10 elective units and EXSC 591 Research Seminar, in addition to EXSC 594ab Master’s Thesis (2-2 units) is required. At least 20 units of graduate level study must be in residence at USC. No more than four units with superior grades may be transferred from graduate work taken elsewhere.

Non-Thesis Option
A total of 32 units is required with a comprehensive examination. The selection of the non-thesis option requires unanimous approval of the student’s guidance committee. Sixteen units in a specialization area and 16 elective units are required. At least 20 units of graduate level study must be in residence at USC. No more than four units with superior grades may be transferred from graduate work taken elsewhere.

Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology

Screening Examination
Examinations are administered during the spring semester by the departmental graduate degree commission, upon application to the student’s major academic advisor. A screening examination may be given during the summer only at the discretion of the department chair.

Students who have completed their master’s degree at USC must apply for selection procedures in the first semester following completion. Students completing a master’s degree elsewhere may not apply until they have completed one semester of study at USC. Courses taken in the semester at USC can be applied toward the 24 unit minimum required after admission to the doctoral program. Students entering the doctoral program directly from a bachelor’s degree must complete a minimum of 60 units for the Ph.D.

The decision to recommend or deny admission to the Ph.D. program is made by the graduate degree commission. If admission is denied, the student may, at the commission’s discretion, apply again not less than six months no more than 12 months following the first examination; however, the evidence of intellectual and professional growth during the elapsed period must be presented. After formal admission to the program, the student may apply for the appointment of a guidance committee via the appropriate form.

Course Requirements
In addition to approved graduate level work taken prior to admission, requirements include: groups of courses which support the student’s specialization and establish two sub-specializations; a minimum of one independent research project completed while registered in EXSC 790 Research; a minimum of two graduate level courses from two different doctoral specialization areas within the department; independent reading and directed research (EXSC 590, EXSC 690); two courses in statistical method; and one course in research design.

Foreign Language Requirement
The department has no formal foreign language requirement. However, an individual guidance committee may require competency in a foreign language if this is relevant to the student’s area of research.

Guidance Committee
The student’s entire program of studies is under the direction of the guidance committee; an area of specialization will be selected, along with two areas of sub-specialization or one sub-specialization and one supplemental area. The committee chair will outline the courses and experiences to be included in the doctoral program, indicating which courses should be completed before the student applies to take the qualifying examinations.

Qualifying Examinations
Admission to candidacy depends upon the results of the qualifying examinations, which must be taken prior to completion of the fifth semester of graduate standing or prior to completion of the fifteenth graduate course. The examinations will consist of a series of written and oral examinations through which the student’s comprehension of areas of specialization and sub-specialization will be assessed. The guidance committee will determine the specific nature of the exercises after the evaluation of the written portion of the examination and will administer the oral portion.

Doctoral Dissertation
The guidance committee will approve the dissertation proposal, after which its membership will be reduced to three members who will serve as the dissertation committee. One member must be from a department other than kinesiology. The committee has jurisdiction over the completion of the student’s program.

Defense of the Dissertation
Upon completion of the dissertation, the committee conducts an oral examination, in which the candidate will be asked specifically to defend the dissertation as a scholarly research project. The examination also will include, in general, discussion of the candidate’s areas of specialization and sub-specialization.