PhD Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Creating a healthier future

As the world's first Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, we continue to ignite an interdisciplinary approach to optimize health, prevent injury and illness, and extend the years of high-quality life.

Our nationally and internationally recognized and respected master's program provides the opportunity to understand cellular to societal implications of physical activity, nutrition and lifestyle - preparing you for careers in a wide range of health fields. 

researchers on either side of participant in harness investigating mobility

Program overview

In the Doctor of Philosophy program, you'll complete graduate courses including cross-disciplinary seminars and specialized graduate research seminars, complete comprehensive examinations, contribute to a growing body of knowledge through research and submit your work to peer-reviewed presentations and publications. Course work and research are focused in three fields: Biomechanics, Neuroscience or Physiology and Nutrition.


A minimum residency of 9 terms from honours bachelor's degree, or 6 terms from master's degree, registered as a full‑time student, is required.

  • Full-time from master’s level: 12 terms (4 years)
  • Part-time: 24 terms (8 years)

Degree requirements →

Comprehensive Exam | PhD thesis proposal | PhD thesis defence

  • The Comprehensive exam determines whether a student has a broad knowledge of their field.
  • The PhD thesis proposal tests the student's knowledge of issues directly related to their thesis topic.
  • The PhD thesis defence is required to demonstrate achievement in a program of research in their field of expertise.

Research fields

The study of kinesiology spans the breadth of cellular, biophysical and psycho-social parameters which affect and effect movement in the realm of sport, work, exercise and disease.

Applicants to the master or doctoral program apply to study in one of three areas: biomechanics, neuroscience or physiology and nutrition. Within these areas, there is a strong emphasis on aging, injury and disease prevention, health promotion and rehabilitation.

Given the multidisciplinary nature of kinesiology, undergraduates and graduates students with an interest in biology, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, anatomy, engineering, systems design, physics, health studies, sociology, social psychology or psychology are encouraged to apply.

Find out more about specialization areas →

Find a supervisor

Applicants are encouraged to review the research interests of each faculty member. Before you apply, it is recommended that you contact the individual faculty member to communicate your interest and confirm whether they are accepting new students to supervise. To learn more about our faculty members – including their research interests – visit our professor profiles.

Our students are known for achieving high levels of autonomy in design, conduct and interpretation of their research topics. As a graduate, you'll be well-positioned for a career in teaching, research or industry.

Collaborative Aeronautics Program: PhD Kinesiology and Health Sciences - Aeronautics

Full- or Part-time | On Campus | Thesis based

When you imagine a sustainable future for aeronautics, what do you see?

The big challenges facing the future of the aviation, aerospace, and space sectors will require collaborative solutions. No single institution or field of study can address these issues alone. We must equip future leaders, experts in their chosen academic disciplines, with the aeronautical training to apply their research towards impactful solutions.

Supported by academic units from all six faculties at the University of Waterloo, and the rich industry and government network of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics, the Collaborative Aeronautics Program (CAP) is an entirely new approach to Master’s and Doctoral studies in aeronautics.

Graduate students apply directly to the PhD Kinesiology and Health Sciences program and select the Aeronautics admission option. While completing their degree requirements in their home unit, they also complete aeronautical training alongside CAP students from other fields. The CAP will uniquely equip the next generation of leaders with the interdisciplinary skills needed to align innovation with impact.

Find out more about the Collaborative Aeronautics Program →

Admission requirements and degree requirements →

Application deadline: February 1

  • February 1 (for admission in September)
  • Contact department for admission in January and May

Considerations for international students before submitting an application:

  • While the Faculty of Health at the University of Waterloo values international students in our graduate programs, we can only accept a small proportion of these students. 
  • Guaranteed funding packages may not be able to cover all tuition and living expenses incurred during a graduate program and students are encouraged to understand more about the cost of completing their graduate program before applying.

Resources: Funding and awards