In the Department of Sport Management (SPM), students and faculty study the role and impact of sports on individuals, society and the environment. SPM improves the understanding of factors that lead individuals, families and industry to value and benefit from sport, and thus improves the quality of life.

The Sport Management concentration is available to our Ph.D. students:

Areas of Research Interests

SPM houses internationally recognized experts in the areas of athlete development, social and economic impacts of sports, and sport consumer perceptions.

The following faculty serve as primary mentors for PhD students. Click on their name to learn more about their individual research interests. 

Admission Requirements

Applications are evaluated individually by the department faculty. Admission to the program will be based upon the following criteria:

  • A recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution. 
  • A minimum grade point average of B (3.0), calculated from all grades and credits after the semester where the applicant reached 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours.
  • Competitive TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • At least three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Compatibility of applicant’s education, experience and research interest with the mission of the program
  • Compatibility of the applicant’s background and interests with those of an available advisor
  • Teaching, research and other departmental needs in cases where departmental financial support is requested
  • Résumé - Pursuant to Florida Statute, your application requires inclusion of all post-high school education and employment, as well as information about ongoing international affiliations and research funding. Please ensure this information is included on your curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé

During the application process, please look through the research interests of individual faculty members and directly contact those who you would be interested in working with. An individual faculty member MUST accept Ph.D. applicants prior to admission.

The PhD application review process and procedures can be found here: SPM PhD Application Policy Document.

>> Application instructions can be found here.


SPM PhD Program Plan (applies to students who began in Fall 2022 & earlier)

SPM PhD Program Plan - Effective Fall 2023 (applies to students who began in Fall 2023 & beyond)

  • Core: 15 credits
  • Research: 27 credits
  • Statistics: 9 credits
  • Outside Concentration: 9 credits

Course Planning

Students will work closely with their mentor to determine course selection, an individual development plan (IDP), and timeline for academic milestones. Curriculum includes core Departmental, College, and University course requirements and recommended courses. In summary, doctoral students must pass a comprehensive written and oral qualifying examination upon completion of all coursework, maintain a satisfactory academic record, submit an approved dissertation topic, and receive the supervisory committee’s opinion of ability for advancement to candidacy.  Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must successfully complete an oral examination pertaining to the dissertation research.

Course requirements for doctoral degrees vary from field to field and from student to student. In all fields, the Ph.D. degree requires at least 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree.  All master degree credits that are counted towards the PhD must have been earned in the last 7 years.  The supervisory committee is responsible for using established criteria to ensure the academic integrity of coursework before accepting graduate transfer credits.  Acceptance of transfer of credit requires approval of the student’s supervisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

PhD Program Roadmap

  • Year 1: Admission, coursework selection, committee selection, research
  • Year 2: Coursework, committee selection (if not completed), research
  • Year 3: Qualifying examination, dissertation proposal, admission to candidacy, research
  • Year 4: Research Dissertation completion and graduation

Transfer of Credit

No more than 30 credits of a master’s degree from another institution will be transferred to a doctoral program. If a student holds a master’s degree in a discipline different from the doctoral program, the master’s work will not be counted in the program unless the academic unit petitions the Dean of the Graduate School.  All courses beyond the master’s degree taken at another university to be applied to the Ph.D. degree must be taken at an institution offering the doctoral degree and must be approved for graduate credit by the Graduate School of the University of Florida.  All courses to be transferred must be graduate-level, letter-graded with a grade of “B” or better and must be demonstrated to relate directly to the degree being sought. 

All such transfer requests must be made by petition of the supervisory committee no later than the third term of Ph.D. study.  The total number of credits (including 30 for a prior master’s degree) that may be transferred cannot exceed 45, and in all cases, the student must complete the qualifying examination at the University of Florida. In addition, any prior graduate credits earned at UF (e.g., a master’s degree in the same or a different discipline) may be transferred into the doctoral program at the discretion of the supervisory committee and by petition to the Graduate School.  The petition must show how the prior coursework is relevant to the current degree.

Research Courses

Advanced Research (HLP 7979) is open to doctoral students not yet admitted to candidacy.  Students enrolled in HLP 7979 during the term they qualify for candidacy will stay in this registration unless the academic unit elects to change their enrollment to Research for Doctoral Dissertation (HLP 7980), which is reserved for doctoral students admitted to candidacy.  This requires a letter of petition from the major department.  This change of registration is not required for a student, as both courses count towards the students’ research credit requirement.

Qualifying Examinations

All Ph.D. candidates must pass a qualifying examination. Qualifying exams usually take place in the semester following the completion of PhD coursework, but before formal work on the dissertation proposal or data collection begins. The student must be registered during the term the qualifying examination is given.

The examination is prepared, evaluated and graded by the student’s full supervisory committee and covers major and minor subjects. Except for allowed substitutions, all members of the supervisory committee must be present with the student during the oral portion of the exam. At the completion of the exam, the supervisory committee is responsible for deciding whether the student is qualified to continue progress toward completing a Ph.D. degree by initiating the dissertation process.

If a student fails the qualifying examination, the Graduate School must be notified. A re-examination may be requested, but it must be recommended by the supervisory committee and approved by the Graduate School. At least one semester of additional preparation is needed before the re-examination.

Time Lapse: There must be at least two terms between the oral part of the qualifying examination and the date of the degree. The term the qualifying examination is passed is counted, if the examination occurs before the midpoint of the term.

Admission to Candidacy

A doctoral student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree when the student is granted formal admission to candidacy. Such admission requires the approval of the student’s supervisory committee, the department chair, the college dean, and the dean of the Graduate School. The approval must be based on:

1. The academic record of the student (all grades B- or higher with a minimum 3.0 GPA)
2. Passing a qualifying examination
3. A supervisory committee approved dissertation topic
4. The supervisory committee’s opinion on overall readiness of the candidacy

The student should apply for admission to candidacy as soon as the qualifying examination is passed and a dissertation topic is approved by the student’s supervisory committee. An “Admission to Candidacy” form (located in GIMS) should be signed by all committee members after passing the oral examination. A student may not register for HLP 7980 (Research for Dissertation) until he or she is admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree.

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is not a formal University of Florida requirement, but is a requirement of the Applied Physiology Graduate Programs. The format of the proposal is determined by the student’s supervisory committee but generally takes the form of a presentation of the proposed content of the dissertation and the data collected thus far, at either a private meeting of the committee or more commonly at a formal public presentation. The proposal should be completed sometime between the admission to candidacy and the dissertation defense. A document summarizing the content of the proposed work is submitted to the graduate program administrator along with the appropriate form, approved and signed by the committee members.

Final Semester Registration

Students are required to be registered for a minimum of 3 credits (Fall/Spring) or 2 credits (Summer) during their final semester (more if on assistantship/fellowship). PhD students MUST register for HLP 7980: Advanced Doctoral Research during their final term regardless if the required credits have been met. This request is only necessary if a student registers for HLP 7979, and then is admitted to candidacy prior to the mid-point of the semester, and intends to graduate the following semester consecutively. Changes to registration are not automatically processed. Students must request a petition from the department in order to change course registration after the add/drop period.

Dissertation and Final Examination

Every candidate for a doctoral degree is required to prepare and present a dissertation that shows independent investigation and is acceptable in form and content to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. Dissertations must be written in English and must be acceptable in form and content to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. The work must be of publishable quality and must be in a form suitable for publication, using the Graduate Schools’ format requirements.

Dissertation First Submission: When first presented to the Graduate School Editorial Office, the dissertation should be near-final (not a draft), completely formatted, and printed on plain paper (do not print double-sided). The Graduate School Editorial Office reviews dissertations for acceptable format and to make recommendations as needed. Students should be completely familiar with the format requirements and should work with the ETD lab to troubleshoot their files before printing out their submission for the Graduate School Editorial Office.

After the submission of the dissertation and the completion of all other prescribed work for the degree, but in no case earlier than six months before the conferring of the degree, the candidate will be given a final oral examination by the supervisory committee through a meeting on campus. All supervisory committee members must be present with the candidate at the oral examination. The candidate and the entire supervisory committee must be present at the defense. The defense should be no more than six months before the degree is awarded.

All required forms should be signed at the dissertation defense. The candidate and the supervisory committee chair will sign the ETD Rights and Permission form; and the entire supervisory committee should sign the ETD Signature Page and the Final Examination Report (all forms accessible through GIMS). If dissertation changes are requested, the supervisory committee chair may hold the Final Examination Report until satisfied with the dissertation. Satisfactory performance on this examination and adherence to all Graduate School regulations outlined above complete the degree requirements for the doctoral degree. All work for the doctoral degree must be completed within five calendar years after successful completion of the qualifying examination or the qualifying examination must be repeated

Graduation Requirements

It is the student's responsibility to make sure they have met the requirements below for graduation.

  • Submit a degree application in the term you plan to graduate, before the mid-point of the semester. Failure to submit this application may result in graduation being delayed.
  • Obtain a 3.0 GPA overall and in major courses.
  • Register for the minimum requirements.
  • Resolve any financial or academic holds.
  • Check transcript for any I, C-, D+, D, D-, E or U grades. These grades must be resolved prior to the midpoint of your final semester and may require a petition from the department.
  • Verify that the Final Exam Form has been submitted in GIMS. (This is the final paperwork signed by your committee at your defense.)
  • Verify degree and committee information in GIMS prior to the midpoint of your final semester in which you plan to graduate
  • Graduation Checklist

Clear Prior

Clear Prior status is only possible for thesis and dissertation students who have met all published deadlines for the current term except Final Submission and/or Final Clearance from the Graduate Editorial Office. No other students are eligible.  Clear Prior permits students to be exempt from registration for the term in which the degree will be awarded. To find out if you qualify for Clear Prior status, please contact the Graduate School Editorial Office.

Leave of Absence

Any student who does not register at UF for a period of more than 1 semester needs prior written approval from the supervisory committee chair for a leave of absence for a specified period. This approval remains in the student’s departmental file. The student must reapply for admission on return.

SPM PhD Program Forms

Contact Information

Kyriaki Kaplanidou, Ph.D.
Professor, Graduate Coordinator

For a complete overview of our HHP doctoral program, download the HHP Ph.D. Student Handbook.