South Carolina’s exercise science doctoral program ranks No. 1 i - DatelineCarolina

South Carolina’s exercise science doctoral program ranks No. 1 in the nation

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PhD student Adam Harrison shows his robotic machine, used to test the cognitive ability of head trauma patients. PhD student Adam Harrison shows his robotic machine, used to test the cognitive ability of head trauma patients.

By Janelle Buniel
CAROLINA NEWS & REPORTER

    The National Association of Kinesiology ranked University of South Carolina’s exercise science doctoral program as No. 1 in the nation, and the Shanghai Index of Universities ranked South Carolina third in the world and first in the United States for sports science.

     Adam Harrison is one of many doctoral students benefiting from and contributing to the top-ranked program. His research focuses on head trauma – such as strokes and concussions – and uses a robotic machine to test the cognitive abilities of patients with previous head injuries.

     “It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. It was a really good move on my part," Harrison said. 

Department chairman James Carson believes the program's success has to do with its multidisciplinary program.

“I think there’s a lot of different programs where you can find little niches of what we do and be very good at it, but what makes us different is how well we do so many different things," Carson said. "That’s really what makes us unique. We offer such a range that we can attract a wide range of students.”

The program’s ranking takes into account grants awarded to the department, publications, citations and qualifications of the students. Doctoral students like Dennis Fix believe they will be well prepared for their post-doctoral steps.

“It’s the best preparation you could probably have. Dr. Carson teaches us essentially how to run a lab so when you come out of Dr. Carson’s laboratory, you already know what to do," Fix said.

Carson said he does not worry about the professional prospects of the doctoral candidates once they earn the degree.

“Our graduate students are sought after through the United States and internationally for faculty positions," he said.

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