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Movement Science and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Degree Requirements > Doctor of Education (Applied Physiology)

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Doctor of Education (Applied Physiology)

The goal of the Doctor of Education with specialization in Applied Physiology is to prepare doctoral students to pursue scholarly and scientific work. Students are expected to contribute significantly to the completion of at least one comprehensive research project prior to initiation of their dissertation proposal. The skills developed during completion of this project will enable students to carry out their dissertation project independently. Students are encouraged to present the work leading up to the dissertation proposal at national meetings and to contribute to the publication of results in peer-reviewed journals. Research may be completed in the applied physiology laboratories at Teachers College or in another clinical/research setting. If the work is completed outside of Teachers College, students are expected to work closely with their advisor and demonstrate that they have contributed significantly to the completion of the required projects. All work (either at Teachers College or outside of the College) must be developed and completed in close conjunction with advisement of  Applied Physiology Program faculty. The preliminary work may be published prior to graduation, but the final study may only be published upon completion of the degree. All Ed.D. students are encouraged to write a grant to obtain pre-doctoral fellowship funding to support their research and to provide some training in grantsmanship.


Applicants are expected to satisfy the following requirements for admission:

  1. Prior completion of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree program (with a major in movement sciences or closely related field at either or both levels). Students who have deficiencies, but who are otherwise qualified are recommended to apply to the Masters of Education Program to complete deficiencies.
  2. A record of superior academic achievement as evidenced by the grades received in undergraduate and graduate course work.
  3. Letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the candidate’s academic and professional achievements should attest to the applicant’s capability for successful doctoral study.
  4. The applicant’s written personal statement (accompanying the application) should provide evidence of the ability to communicate effectively in writing, and should provide an initial indication that the program is compatible with his or her professional goals. A key part of the admissions process is a research interest compatible with a faculty member in the Movement Sciences.
  5. Each applicant should submit one additional writing sample, such as a term paper, thesis, or published article, so that academic writing skills can be assessed.  In cases where a thesis is in progress, a research proposal may be acceptable at the discretion of the faculty.
  6. In most cases, an interview will be required to clarify any unresolved issues related to the applicant’s qualifications and interests; and to make certain that the area of study is compatible with the applicant’s professional goals, and that the area of research interest can be supported by a faculty member in Movement Sciences.  In instances, where applicants are a long distance from campus, telephone interviews, videoconferences, or interviews at professional meetings may be scheduled.

Advisement and Program Planning

Prior to registration, newly admitted doctroal candidates meet individually with their faculty advisor to plan the initial phases of their programs.  A tentative plan for the first year or two of study is developed—subject to change as the need arises.  Part-time and full-time programs are arranged depending on the student’s circumstances.  At an early stage in the planning process, students develop a written “plan for meeting program objectives” that allows adequate time for graduate study during each semester of enrollment and provides for meeting all program requirements within a reasonable period of time. This plan, together with an official program plan, is filed with the Office of Doctoral Study. Individual advisement meetings are scheduled frequently throughout the student’s tenure in the program, and may be initiated by either the student or faculty member. These meetings may be used to plan programs, provide feedback, review past work, deal with school related problems, discuss research, career planning, or discuss other issues.


When students have completed approximately 60-65 of the total points required for the Ed.D. degree, they are evaluated for "certification," a stage of doctoral study which represents full candidacy for the degree.To achieve certification, the student must complete the certification examination which is a written comprehansive examination covering the scientific literature on three areas related to the student's selected research specialization area, a literature review, and submit a plan for meeting total program objectives.  A review committee assesses the student’s entire record.  The decision of the committee is then forwarded to the Teachers College Ed.D. Committee for final action on the candidate’s certification.  


Each student completes a dissertation that focuses on a research question in applied physiology.  Through course work, the research seminar, working as an apprentice in the research of faculty and more advanced students, and pilot studies, students develop the skills to complete the dissertation. Many types of questions and methodologies, appropriate to applied physiology research, may be employed in completing the dissertation.  The dissertation research is expected to address a complex research problem and to be of sufficient quality to result in at least 3 publications to be published in a top journal.  

Throughout the process, the student works closely with his or her advisor on the design and conduct of the doctoral dissertation. Thereafter the student works under the supervision of a dissertation committee until the dissertation is completed.  Once the dissertation is successfully defended, it is expected that students will share what they have learned by presenting at professional meetings and publishing one or more articles.

Degree Policies

Statement of satisfactory progress:  Students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements.  Program faculty will annually review each student’s progress. Please note that satisfactory performance in the applied physiology program is defined as no incomplete grades, and no BBSR or BBS courses in which the grade earned is lower than B+. Doctoral students generally are expected to have grades of B or better in coursework in research methods, statistics and cognate areas.

Where there are concerns about satisfactory progress, students will be informed by the program faculty.  If a student is performing below expectations he/she may be required to complete additional course work.  The program will provide a plan and timeline for remediation so students know the expectation for them to continue in the program. If satisfactory progress is not maintained a student may be dismissed from the program.