Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 65.7 k / Year(s) Deadline: Nov 1, 2024
53 place StudyQA ranking:4761 Duration:6 years

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The Doctor of Philosophy in Biokinesiology program prepares graduates to be research scientists in the field of biokinesiology. Ph.D. graduates are academic faculty members and independent scientists who are prepared to establish and lead their own research programs. They are leading scholars and innovators in the field of biokinesiology. The philosophy of the Ph.D. in biokinesiology program is that graduates will be prepared to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research. This requires that they are conversant in all areas of biokinesiology and that they are able to conceptualize research questions across several levels of analysis. The curriculum strikes a balance between providing students with a broad exposure to the variety of disciplines within biokinesiology and giving students the advanced skills necessary to excel in a specialized area. Students achieve breadth of knowledge by taking a set of required core courses, and they develop depth by taking elective courses in their areas of concentration. Students complete a dissertation project in which they develop and conduct a unique and significant research investigation with the guidance of a biokinesiology faculty member as research advisor.

Years 1, 2 - Required Courses

  • PM 510L Principles of Biostatistics Units: 4
  • PM 511aL Data Analysis Units: 4
  • PT 507 Professional Practice: Therapist Perspective Units: 2
  • PT 509 Cellular and Systems Physiology Units: 3
  • PT 514L Musculoskeletal Anatomy Units: 4
  • PT 516 Principles of Disease Units: 2
  • PT 521L Basics of Patient Management Units: 4
  • PT 529 Life Span Motor Control Units: 3
  • PT 534L Neuroanatomy Units: 3
  • PT 536 Pathology of Cardiopulmonary Disease and General Medical Conditions Units: 3
  • PT 539 Clinical Pharmacology Units: 1
  • PT 546 Neuropathology Units: 3
  • PT 547 Professional Practice: System Perspective Units: 2
  • PT 549L Clinical Exercise Physiology Units: 4
  • PT 551L Therapeutic Application of Physical Agents Units: 2
  • PT 554L Analytical Anatomy Units: 3
  • PT 557 Professional Practice: Patient Perspective Units: 2
  • PT 566 Disorders of the Musculoskeletal System Units: 3
  • PT 569 Fundamentals of Neuroscience Units: 4
  • PT 571L Clinical Management of Cardiopulmonary Dysfunction Units: 4
  • PT 574 Clinical Biomechanics Units: 3
  • PT 581L Clinical Management of the Patient with Neurological Dysfunction Units: 5
  • PT 582 Mechanics of Human Gait Units: 2
  • PT 583L Clinical Electrophysiology Units: 3
  • PT 600a Clinical Clerkship Units: 1
  • PT 600b Clinical Clerkship Units: 3
  • PT 600c Clinical Clerkship Units: 1
  • PT 600d Clinical Clerkship Units: 1
  • PT 600e Clinical Clerkship Units: 3
  • PT 600z Clinical Clerkship Units: 0
  • PT 621L Clinical Management of the Patient with Musculoskeletal Dysfunction Units: 5

Years 3, 4, 5 - Required Courses

  • BKN 790 Research Units: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • BKN 794a Doctoral Dissertation Units: 2
  • BKN 794b Doctoral Dissertation Units: 2
  • BKN 794c Doctoral Dissertation Units: 2
  • BKN 794d Doctoral Dissertation Units: 2
  • BKN 794z Doctoral Dissertation Units: 0

Year 6 - Required Courses

  • PT 630 Integrated Management of the Upper and Lower Extremities Units: 3
  • PT 631 Integrated Patient Management of the Axial Skeletal System and Related Movement Disorders Units: 3
  • PT 632 Integrated Patient Management Seminar Units: 5
  • PT 660 Advanced Clerkship with Academic Integration Units: 5
  • PT 665 Advanced Clinical Clerkship Units: 8


A minimum of 116 units is required for completion of this program.

Estimated Calendar of Study

Basic and Clinical Science Foundation Courses (Years 1, 2)

The student will enroll in all required course work and clinical experiences excluding BKN 790, BKN 794a, BKN 794b, BKN 794c, BKN 794d, BKN 794z, PT 630, PT 631, PT 632, PT 660 and PT 665.

Qualifying Exam (Year 3)

The student will select a qualifying exam committee and begin preparing a research proposal (register for BKN 790). During this time, the student is encouraged to enroll in key elective courses, both inside and outside the division, which will enhance research proposal development. The expectation is that the student will sit for the qualifying exam and achieve doctoral candidacy at the end of year three.

Research and Dissertation Preparation (Years 4, 5)

The student will complete the research project and prepare a dissertation (register for BKN 790 and BKN 794a, BKN 794b, BKN 794c, BKN 794d, BKN 794z). The expectation is that the student will successfully defend the dissertation by the end of year five.

Completion of Internship Requirement (Year 6)

The student will complete the required internships to achieve clinical competency (register for PT 630, PT 631, PT 632, PT 660 and PT 665).

Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the university. Admission requirements include a superior grade point average in cumulative undergraduate and graduate course work (if applicable). In addition, applicants should score at least 160 on the verbal section and 150 on the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and have some research experience. Students admitted for the Master of Science degree are not automatically admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy program. The Master of Science is not required as a prerequisite to the Ph.D. is highly advised.

Ph.D. Applicants should contact the Faculty member with whom they want to work and discuss the program.  

The application process for the M.S. and Ph.D. Programs in Biokinesiology Program involves the following component

  3. TOEFL 


Financial assistance is available to USC students from many sources. Division scholarships totaled over $250,000 in the 2015-2016 academic year. In addition, some students are eligible for university-wide scholarships. Decisions about Divisional scholarships for incoming students are made in February and March each year (Please note:  There is no formal application required for Divisional scholarships.  All applicants are automatically considered for these competitive, merit-based awards). 

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