Health and Kinesiology Doctoral Program Soars to Elite Ranking

Ph.D. program recognized among Top 10 by National Academy of Kinesiology

Jeremy Loenneke (left), UM associate professor of exercise science, leads a team of undergraduate and graduate students in the Applied Physiology Lab, one of the labs that health and kinesiology doctoral students routinely use for research. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Faculty members and staff in the University of Mississippi‘s Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management are celebrating their recent recognition by the National Academy of Kinesiology as the nation’s No. 5 kinesiology program among public universities, and No. 6 overall.

Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of human movement and how it affects our health and well-being. The Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology program prepares students for university teaching and research positions.

The degree also prepares students for research careers in industry and medicine that include the study of health, exercise, sports and recreation, and analytics. The program has three emphasis areas: exercise science, health behavior, and sports and recreation. Besides their emphasis areas, students can choose an analytics specialty.

“It is a wonderful reflection of the work of our entire department – staff, students, faculty and alumni,” said Minsoo Kang, department chair and professor. “We’ve been working hard and we’ve improved on things since the last rankings.

“We made efforts to specifically improve in research publications, student supports and their publications. The data from NAK will help us evaluate ourselves to become better in comparison to other highly successful programs.”

Since the doctoral program was evaluated five years ago, it jumped from the bottom quartile of institutions to the top quartile in the nation. The NAK review and rankings are based on faculty performance indicators related to productivity, funding and visibility, along with program’s student performance indicators related to admissions, support, publications and employment.

Forty-three academic programs participated in the review, representing 58 percent of the kinesiology-related doctoral programs at colleges and universities.

“Several changes have been made since the last 2015 review, which including great faculty hires and an increase in number of publications,” Kang said. “Notably, our faculty members published 702 research manuscripts during the review period – that is 12.8 publications per faculty per year, which is the highest among all programs.

“We also used department resources to support more graduate assistants. We also saw an increase in graduate students’ productivity and employment rate and internal grant supports from the School of Applied Sciences.”

Jeremy Loenneke, an associate professor of exercise science, is thrilled for the program to be recognized for the positive changes the department has been working toward since the last review.

“I was excited and pleased to see our ranking at No. 6 in the country for doctoral programs in kinesiology,” Loenneke said. “Most of all, I am proud that we achieved this ranking while still maintaining our focus on the development of the student.

“I think there are three major factors that contributed to the improvement in that ranking. First, our department has been fortunate to hire and retain high-caliber faculty. Second, our faculty have been able to recruit and develop outstanding students. Third, the School of Applied Sciences has provided and continues to provide tremendous support for both our faculty and our students.”

For more information about the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, visit or call 662-915-5521. Follow the department on Twitter @UMHESRM.