Program Description

The Program Course Sequence is structured to consist of 2-3 years of coursework and 1-2 years of dissertation research. During the first year, students will take a core of statistics and research methods courses designed to provide a strong multidisciplinary background in conducting exercise physiology and nutrition research. During the second and third years, under the guidance of their mentor, students will take emphasis area coursework and electives to provide research specialization. During both the first and second years, with consultation and/or guidance from their mentor, students will take directed research hours. For these research hours, students will be required to have collected data from an independently-led or collaborative research project resulting in manuscript submission to a peer-reviewed journal and presentation at a national/international conference before being allowed to take preliminary exams and progressing to doctoral candidacy. The fourth year is dedicated to dissertation research. Students must be registered for at least one semester hour of graduate credit during the semester of intended graduation. The maximum time limit for the doctoral degree is described in the Baylor University Graduate Catalog.

Program Requirements
A minimum of sixty (60) hours is required for the Ph.D. Students will be required to take 3 hours of professional development and ethics, and a minimum of 12 hours in research methods and statistics courses. To form their 12 hour EXNS core, students will be required to take two courses in each of two following areas: 1) exercise physiology and 2) nutrition. In addition to these 27 hours of coursework, students must complete 12 hours of directed research (generally 3 hours per semester) and 12 hours of dissertation. The remaining 9 hours of coursework will consist of electives.

Prerequisite Courses
Although most applicants will have backgrounds in appropriately-related fields, the possession of degrees in these fields is not required for admission. It should be recognized, however, that applicants with deficiencies in academic backgrounds will be determined by the student's mentor and remedial course work prescribed. In general, such remedial course work cannot be counted toward the credit hours required for the degree.

Transfer Course Credits
For those students with appropriate graduate level coursework from a prior degree or program may be eligible for up to 9 credit hours of transfer credits to be applied within their doctoral program course of study. Any transfer credits will be planned and discussed with the student’s program mentor/advisor and must be approved in writing by the Graduate Program Director and the Department Chair. Only those hours in which a student has achieved a grade of B or better will be considered for transfer. Any transfer credits into the EXNS doctoral program from prior coursework and must comply with the general Baylor University doctoral program transfer requirements as noted in the graduate catalog (related to graduate level, graduate transcript, completed within 5 years of matriculation, grade achievement, and course content).

Departmental Supervision
Potential students will need to identify a mentor upon application to the program. Students will not be admitted unless there is a faculty mentor willing to serve as their mentor. The mentor will serve as the student's academic advisor throughout the program and will serve as their dissertation chair. In rare cases, students may elect to change mentors, but only with the current mentor, prospective mentor, and graduate program director's approval.

Preliminary Examination
Students will take a preliminary examination upon completing all course work or within 6 hours of completing their course work. With the consultation of the student’s mentor, the student will form an advisory committee that will serve to administer the preliminary exam and consult on the dissertation research (see dissertation supervision section below). At least four faculty members will serve on the advisory committee, the composition of which will be approved by the Graduate Program Director and include at least three members within the HHPR Department graduate faculty and one graduate faculty member outside the department.

The preliminary examination consists of written and oral testing by the student’s advisory committee. The primary purpose of the preliminary examination is to assess the student’s understanding of the broad body of knowledge in a field of study. The examination also affords the advisory committee an opportunity to review the student’s understanding of research methods and literature in the chosen field. The student will schedule separate written examinations with each advisory committee member. Each written examination will be evaluated by the committee member who provided the questions and graded as pass with distinction, pass, pass with stipulation, or failure. Committee members will convey the student’s results to the mentor and, together with the mentor, determine if the student is prepared to take the oral portion of the preliminary exam.

The oral portion of the preliminary examination should be conducted within two to four weeks after the successful completion of the written examinations. Each member of the advisory committee will vote to determine if the student has passed the exam. This determination will be based on the overall performance on both the written and oral portions of the exam. The student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree on successful completion of the preliminary examination. If the preliminary examination reveals deficiencies in any of these areas, the advisory committee may recommend remedial work or re-examination. Two or more votes to “fail” a student will constitute failure of the exam. Students who fail this examination may re-take their examinations no sooner than four months after, and within one year of the initial written preliminary examinations. After two failures of the exam, either in its whole or part form, the student will not be allowed to continue in the doctoral program.