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A student working in the EMG LabThe National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) has ranked the UNC Human Movement Science PhD program as one of the top five U.S. doctoral programs in kinesiology based upon an analysis of five years of data. The program is offered through the cooperative effort of the Division of Physical Therapy within the Department of Allied Health Sciences (School of Medicine) and the Department of Exercise and Sport Science (College of Arts and Sciences).

“The Human Movement Science Curriculum is successful because of the dedication and hard work of our outstanding faculty and students, and the support of leadership at all levels within the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the program and the wide range of faculty research interests attract top-notch PhD students from around the country. We are thrilled to see the rise in our rankings in recognition of the growth of the program and the quality of the research we are conducting on topics such as prevention and treatment of knee arthritis, shoulder injury, concussion, and stroke,” said Vicki Mercer, director of the Human Movement Science Curriculum.

The NAK rankings reflect five years of data collected on program faculty (productivity, funding, and visibility), and program students (admissions, support, publications, and employment). UNC’s program is ranked #2 in the unadjusted rankings and #5 in the adjusted rankings.* Other programs ranking in the top five are listed below:

Unadjusted Rankings

  1. University of Michigan
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. Pennsylvania State University
  4. University of South Carolina
  5. University of Delaware

Adjusted Rankings*

  1. University of South Carolina
  2. University of Michigan
  3. University of Connecticut
  4. Columbia University
  5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Human Movement Science PhD program is designed to develop research and train scholars to produce and disseminate new knowledge in the field of human movement science. Through interdisciplinary training, students study and develop theory and methods for maintaining health, preventing disability, and improving movement ability.

Stephen Hooper, Associate Dean of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Allied Health Sciences, shared, “We couldn’t be more proud of this program with respect to its accomplishments, and very excited for all of its faculty and students. This program should serve as an exemplar for interprofessional education, departmental collaborations, and innovative thinking with respect to preparing our next generation of leaders in human movement science. It is truly a beacon of excellence!”

*Scores adjusted to account for the number of faculty members in each program.

Vicki S. Mercer, PT, PhD, is an associate professor in the Division of Physical Therapy within the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

Stephen Hooper, PhD, has served as associate dean and chair of the department since 2013.