A vast majority of Japan’s higher education institutions offer physical education as either
required or elective courses within their liberal arts education programmes. At present, however, the curricular focus of graduate programmes in physical education that train educators in charge of these courses is organised around developing theoretical research capabilities in a number of specialised fields within the subjects of physical education and sport science. This has hindered the training of physical education instructors who are adequately equipped with pragmatic skills in both teaching and research; in other words, personnel who could play a leading role in assuring the quality of physical education in higher education.
 We organised a coursework-centred doctoral curriculum comprising the following subject groups: (1) practical teaching skills, (2) practical research skills, (3) advanced instructor training, and (4) doctoral dissertation research skills. In the 2016 academic year, the University of Tsukuba and the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya (NIFS) have launched a joint doctoral program to train high-calibre instructors in the physical education and sport science at higher educations.