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Sports Medicine PhD Programs

Earning a Ph.D. in sports medicine can prepare you to research or teach about the diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries. Check your program options and the prerequisites for admission. Explore the coursework, read more about your career options in the sports medicine field, and get job outlook and salary info.

What is a Ph.D. in Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine combines the fields of medicine and science to examine the prevention, management and rehabilitation of injuries and illness as they relate to sports. Doctoral degrees in sports medicine are typically designed to prepare graduates for work in academic settings, performing research or teaching. These degrees are not available online.

Some programs are offered in kinesiology or a related field, and they allow you to specialize in sports medicine. Admission requirements generally include having completed a master's degree in kinesiology or a related field and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Some programs have minimum GRE score requirements, which vary among schools.

EducationDoctoral degree in kinesiology with specialty in sports medicine; no online programs available
Program OverviewComplete a research project or dissertation, work as a teaching assistant, take courses in biomechanics and public health
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 26% growth (for all postsecondary health specialties teachers)*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $97,370 (for all postsecondary health specialties teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Courses in a doctoral degree program in sports medicine cover a number of topics, such as physiology, athletic training, research practices and the technology and instrumentation used in the field. Some programs also offer elective courses in specialized areas, such as biomedical engineering, exercise physiology or nursing. In addition to completing coursework, you will also work with a faculty member on a research project and complete a dissertation. You may also have the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant. Some of the courses you can expect to find in this program include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Statistics
  • Kinesiology
  • Public health

What Can I Do With My Degree?

A Ph.D. in sports medicine can enable you to work with the medical and therapeutic aspects of sports, but it will not qualify you to practice medicine as a physician. In order to do so, you need to complete medical school and a residency, as well as fulfill other requirements.

With this degree, however, you may find a career in research or teaching at a physical therapy program, athletic training program, college or university. Job growth for health specialties postsecondary teachers is expected to grow 26% between 2016 and 2026 due to increased enrollment of college students, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported a median annual salary of $97,370 for these professions in May 2018. As of July 2019, salaries for postsecondary professors ranged from approximately $51,000 at the 10th percentile to $156,000 at the 90th percentile, according to PayScale.com.