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College of Applied Human Sciences: School of Sport Sciences

Coaching and Teaching Studies, PhD

WVU is the only institution in West Virginia to offer a doctorate degree (PhD and EdD) majoring in Coaching and Teaching Studies.

Our doctoral programs provide a high-quality and meaningful educational experience that enables each learner to succeed in achieving their chosen academic and career goals. Furthermore, the related experiences promote the development of learners as analytical thinkers who are confident in the application of the scientific method and who can excel professionally as educators and researchers.

The PhD is a research doctorate, the purpose of which is to prepare program graduates for careers as researchers in university, government, not-for-profit and industry settings. As its primary learning outcome, program graduates develop the competencies needed to lead innovation in the field through their contributions as independent researchers. Our PhD students also acquire complementary experiences and skill sets that enhance their professional readiness in teaching, service, administration and clinical practice.

The EdD is a professional doctorate, the purpose of which is to prepare program graduates for careers as organizational leaders across a range of school, university and community-based settings. As its primary learning outcome, program graduates develop the competencies needed to facilitate organizational change using data-based approaches to problem solving and decision-making. Our EdD students also acquire complementary skill sets that enhance their professional readiness in teaching, service, administration and clinical practice.

Your Degree Plan


Aerial view of Martin and Woodburn Halls

The PhD in Coaching and Teaching Studies is a research doctorate, the purpose of which is to prepare program graduates for careers as researchers in university, government, not-for-profit and industry settings

Our curriculum is designed to prepare researchers, teachers and professional leaders to address critical issues in the field by developing research skills, engaging in reflective teaching and expanding knowledge.

Qualifying Exam
During the first semester of coursework, all doctoral students will be required to take and pass an oral qualifying exam based on assigned reading lists.

Comprehensive Exam
Prior to proposing their dissertation to their committee, students must take and pass a Comprehensive Exam to assess their ability to synthesize and critically reflect on the literature related to their research area of interest related to physical education, physical activity or athletic coaching education. The faculty members on the students’ committees from the CATS faculty will adjudicate the quality of a presentation, the written document and the student’s ability to respond to questioning.

Students enrolled in the PhD in Coaching and Teaching Studies program submit two research papers as part of their doctoral benchmarking processes. Both PhD and EdD students submit their final dissertation/thesis manuscript for publication.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense
The dissertation is the culmination of the research efforts of the student. The program coordinator will work with students during their first year of study to designate an appropriate adviser to oversee and mentor their research. The advisor will chair the dissertation committee and work with the student to select a committee based on expertise specific to the related line of inquiry. Once the committee is in place, they will convene to discuss and approve the student’s plan of study and designate each member’s role in mentoring the student in designing and carrying out his/her dissertation research. Once proposed to and approved by the committee, the student may complete his/her research study and prepare to defend the findings to the committee. The final dissertation must be defended in a public forum and approved by the committee.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • PhD and EdD degree pathways are customizable based on academic and career goals.
  • Research, teaching and service assistantships are available and include a stipend and full graduate tuition waiver.
  • Students develop focused lines of research, while also gaining valuable experience in teaching and supervision.
  • Faculty are international and national experts in the fields of physical education, coaching education and kinesiology.
  • Graduates serve as leaders in K-12 schools, higher education, nonprofits and specialized areas of the sport industry.
  • 100% job placement rate in diverse fields throughout the nation and beyond.
  • The WVU School of Sport Sciences was recently recognized as one of the best in the country by Newsweek.

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

In addition to a student’s own dissertation research, opportunities are provided for graduate students to engage with faculty on various projects, for experiences in data collection, writing empirical or practitioner-focused research papers or being part of program assessment and/or evaluation.

Students complete research in the following areas:

Adapted Physical Education/Activity
This area of focus addresses teaching and scholarship advancing the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in school-and community-based physical education/activity contexts. Our faculty and graduate students are members of a multi-institutional Adapted Physical Education Mentoring Consortium funded by a doctoral training grant from the U.S. Department of Education. As members, our doctoral scholars have opportunities to collaborate on high-quality research projects, multi-institutional seminars and summer training with APE faculty at nine leading institutions of higher education across the nation. Our faculty are engaged in several multidisciplinary research and service projects related to adapted physical education/activity, teacher education, health disparities, motor development and motor skill interventions.

Applied Sport Science
Our doctoral students studying applied sport sciences conduct research focused on long-term athlete monitoring and performance assessment. This research better informs coaches as to how their athletes are responding to the training and recovery cycle. As a doctoral student in this area, you will engage in a variety of hands-on learning opportunities with our many campus partners, including the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Human Performance Innovation Center, an applied sport science laboratory. You will have access to the innovative technologies and professionals who are working on the cutting-edge of applied sport science.

Coaching Leadership
This area of focus addresses research on the foundational scientific and sport-specific knowledge structures that underlie effective coaching practice. Additional areas of study include the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills needed for organizational leadership in sport settings. As an emerging research concentration, coach development and education affords doctoral students multiple pathways to pursue a focused and impactful line of research. Our faculty engage in a wide range of international and national service opportunities in coach development that many doctoral students contribute to as well.

Physical Education Teacher Education
Physical education teacher education enjoys a long-standing tradition with doctoral students completing research studies in educational policy development, comprehensive school physical activity programming, curriculum and instruction, instructional technology use, teacher preparation and many other areas. Collectively, our research in this area targets the improvement of learners in K-12 settings with an overarching goal of facilitating the development of physically active lifestyles. Our faculty are engaged with several large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects involving healthy food and physical activity access in rural communities, state-wide surveillance of cardiovascular risk in school-aged children and policy and accountability systems in school physical education.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

  • Basic Instruction Program (BIP)
  • Physical Education Teacher Education Program
  • Coaching Education Program
  • Adapted Physical Education Clinic

Graduate Research Assistantships

  • Center for ActiveWV (grant funded)
  • WV CARDIAC Project (grant funded)
  • CDC High Obesity Program (grant funded)
  • Monongalia County Strength and Conditioning
  • USDE Adapted Physical Education (grant funded)

Graduate Service Assistantships

  • WVU Athletics
  • WVU Student Recreation Center
  • Graduate Service/Teaching Assistantship
  • University Advising Center

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Coaching and Teaching Studies major will give you the following skills:

  • Analytical Skills: develop skills that help identify and solve complex problems, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, data analysis, organization and communication.
  • Research Skills: find and consume research, formulate research questions, data collection, statistical skills, writing, publishing
  • Communication Skills: share and understand information presented, respect others’ points of view, listen to others
  • Leadership Skills: lead with confidence, display a positive and optimistic attitude, open to new and different experiences with a global mindset
  • Strategic Vision: identify outcomes and long-term goals, and strategize how to prioritize and accomplish them accordingly
Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Education Administrators, Kindergarten through Secondary School

Plan, direct or coordinate the academic, administrative or auxiliary activities of public or private elementary or secondary level schools.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $101,320

Possible job titles include: Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, Principal, Superintendent.

Explore Career

Education Administrators, Postsecondary

Plan, direct or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges and junior and community colleges.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $99,940

Possible job titles include: Academic Dean, Dean, Provost, Registrar.

Explore Career

Fitness and Wellness Coordinators

Manage or coordinate fitness and wellness programs and services. Manage and train staff of wellness specialists, health educators or fitness instructors.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $56,090

Possible job titles include: Fitness and Wellness Director, Fitness Coordinator, Fitness/Wellness Director, Wellness Director.

Explore Career

Community Health Workers

Assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Conduct outreach for medical personnel or health organizations to implement programs in the community that promote, maintain and improve individual and community health. May provide information on available resources, provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and community health needs and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. May collect data to help identify community health needs.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $46,190

Possible job titles include: Community Health Outreach Worker, Community Health Program Coordinator, Community Health Promoter, Community Nutrition Educator.

Explore Career

Education Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to education, such as counseling, curriculum, guidance, instruction, teacher education and teaching English as a second language. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $66,930

Possible job titles include: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Education Professor, Professor.

Explore Career

Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to recreation, leisure and fitness studies, including exercise physiology and facilities management. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $72,650

Possible job titles include: Coach, Professor, Health and Physical Education Professor (HPE Professor), Physical Education Professor (PE Professor).

Explore Career

Instructional Coordinators

Develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate current technology in specialized fields that provide guidelines to educators and instructors for developing curricula and conducting courses. Includes educational consultants and specialists, and instructional material directors.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $66,940

Possible job titles include: Curriculum Coordinator, Curriculum Director, Curriculum Specialist, Instructional Systems Specialist.

Explore Career

Where our PhD grads are working

  • Adam Katchmarchi, Executive Director at National Drowning Prevention Alliance, Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, PA
  • Brooke Towner, Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University, NC
  • Kiel Illig, Superintendent, Attica Central School District, Attica, NY
  • Renee Brown, Assissant Women's Basketball Coach and International Services Director, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA
  • Tyler Goad, Assistant Professor, Emporia State University, KS
  • Hannah Kipfer, Assistant Professor, Emporia State University, KS
  • Adam Keath, Assistant Professor, Winthrop University, SC
  • Cory Breithoff Moskovich, Secondary Physical Education Teacher, MD
  • Junhyung Baek, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea
  • Lindsay Hammond, California University of Pennsylvania, PA
  • Meghan Phillips, Business Owner, Kinematics, Morgantown WV

Meet Your Community

The Coaching and Teaching Studies family will inspire and support you.


Common questions and answers about Coaching and Teaching Studies.

  1. WVU graduate students have access to a range of financial supports including fellowships, scholarships, tuition waivers, graduate assistantships, financial aid and loans which are available at the university and college levels. Most all our CATS doctoral students are ensured a graduate teaching, research or service assistantship in our academic majors, or collaboratively with other University and community partners.

    After being admitted to the program, in order to be considered for an assistantship, you will need to complete an application form through the CAHS Graduate Student Funding Portal.

  2. Both our PhD and EdD programs are currently offered “in person” with some online course offerings throughout your plan of study.

  3. At this time, GRE scores are required for the PhD program application; however, GRE scores are not required for the EdD program application.

  4. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however each year’s new cohort begins at the beginning of the Fall semester with the deadline for application submission by December 1.

Places and Spaces

Learn about all of the places and spaces you'll learn in.

Student Recreation Center

Student Recreation Center

Our undergraduate majors take several courses that focus on learning to teach a wide range of individual and team sports and activities. The WVU Campus Rec Center provides the backdrop for these important courses, with its state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor activity spaces (e.g., fitness center and weight room, gymnasiums, aquatics facility, climbing wall, disc golf course, playing fields). Learning in these spaces affords our majors an opportunity to learn to teach a wide variety of content areas that are commonly included in the K-12 school physical education curriculum. Our doctoral students assist faculty members in overseeing the Adapted Physical Education Clinic at the Campus Recreation Center. They gain experience working with our undergraduate students as well as students with disabilities from the Monongalia County school system on Fridays throughout a semester.

Explore the Student Recreation Center
Featurette Thumbnail - Active Learning Center

Steelcase Active Learning Center

The Steelcase Active Learning Center features flexible workspaces designed for collaborative learning and problem-solving. The physical space supports the use of mobile devices, distance learning technologies and other interactive features to facilitate a more fluid teaching and learning environment for both students and instructors. This unique classroom space serves as an ideal setting for the types of collaborative learning activities that our majors engage in across their plans of study.

Explore the Steelcase Active Learning Center
Coaching Kids on the Rec Fields

Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences

  • Undergraduate and graduate independent study opportunities are available with the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences project. (Honors projects encouraged)
  • Students have an opportunity to get involved in Center research projects with faculty and fellow students
  • Students have an opportunity to get involved in Center organized community-based sport activities.
  • Interested students can support sport coaching resource development (infographics, educational video creation).
  • Students can attend Center supported invited guest lectures and learning opportunities.
Explore the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences
Family at Rail Trail Bike Racks

Center for Active WV

Our goal is to generate original research and materials that will fill the gap between cutting edge sport science knowledge and technology, best teaching practices and applied coaching across all levels of sport.

Explore the Center for Active WV
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Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission into a graduate program at WVU an applicant must submit official, bachelor's degree transcripts from a regionally accredited institution and hold a GPA of at least 2.75. WVU operates decentralized admissions. Decentralized admissions allows each graduate program to set its own application requirements in addition to the University requirements.

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