Last Updated on September 25, 2021
Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree Programs
This guide looks at some of the key considerations for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, and how this degree can set graduates up for a successful career in the sports industry and beyond.
A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology is composed of courses in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, fitness, exercise science, and more. Like similar majors, this knowledge base prepares graduates for a career of helping people live active, healthy lives.
Kinesiology can also help athletes reach their peak performance, recover and adapt after significant injuries, making this foundation ideal for individuals who will be working in the sports industry. Kinesiologists also help to innovate new technologies that can help those who are disabled or injured live happier, more complete lives.
There are also opportunities to specialize narrowly in the science of kinesiology, and we have a dedicated page to Masters in Kinesiology programs in our masters section.
Why Study Kinesiology?
Kinesiology is an emerging field of study, and there are a number of reasons why it is becoming a more popular major and a more important part of every sport all the time. Kinesiology is the study of the movement, and of the intricate balance that exists between muscle groups and systems within the body.
Since it takes such a holistic approach, kinesiology has become a fundamental field of study in the medical industry and a growing part of the curriculum base in related fields beyond the sports industry.
While looking for kinesiology programs, it is important to consider that many universities offer similar courses as a part of other majors/concentrations (including exercise science, health science, sport science) which still have a focus in kinesiology, so be sure to keep this in mind as you continue to research your options.
What Kinds of Courses are Required to Get a Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree?
Both campus-based programs and online kinesiology bachelor degrees usually require 120 credit hours. These credit hours are broken down into general education requirements, electives, and then courses specific to the kinesiology degree requirements.
Some high-level kinesiology courses that are commonly offered as part of the undergraduate curriculum include, but are not limited to:
- physiology of exercise
- exercise physiology
- motor development and control
- anatomy & physiology
- health & wellness
- human behavior
Advantages of Studying Kinesiology Online or Partially Online
One of the biggest advantages is that most institutions that offer online degree programs and on-campus degree programs grant the same degree to both types of degree offerings. In other words, there is no difference in the final diploma that students receive. This fact is especially true in the COVID-19 world, as many institutions have shifted their programs to be partially or completely online for the foreseeable future.
A big advantage of online learning and online kinesiology bachelor’s degree offerings is that they give students a significant amount of flexibility.
Whether trying to learn remotely or juggle undergraduate studies with other family or work commitments, online learning requires a different level of commitment than what is required to be physically present somewhere. Not to mention, some students prefer learning online because it suits their learning style better — often lectures are delivered via video, and exercises and assignments are modified for online learning. The ability to speed-up or slow-down lectures, or review material multiple times works better for some learners.
Another trend–especially in the post COVID-19 world–is that remote study and remote work are becoming more popular and widely accepted across a number of industries. As a result, digital and social networking in a professional context is becoming more common and more acceptable. So there are plenty of opportunities to make up for the lack of personal connection or face-to-face time with peers and professionals in the field of kinesiology.
On top of all of the above, pursuing a kinesiology bachelor’s degree online might well be more cost-effective than attending a traditional campus-based degree program.
Advantages of Studying Your Kinesiology Degree On Campus
One of the biggest advantages of attending a campus-based degree program is that developing in-person relationships with both peers and professors fosters the beginnings of a professional network. Having a professional network becomes invaluable later in a career, not only in the years right after college while looking for that first position within the kinesiology industry, but also down the road.
As colleagues move through their own careers, they become good resources for job leads and opportunities — and they might someday become hiring managers too. That’s not to say that in-person relationships are the only way to develop a professional network. Today, more and more options exist for creating a robust network outside of traditional activities.
The career opportunities available to kinesiology majors are wide-ranging, But choosing to pursue a degree in kinesiology should not just be about job security alone. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in related fields can always feel good about the fact that they will be spending considerable professional time helping others recover from injuries or live healthier, happier lives.
Five Steps for Picking the Best Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree Program For You
New kinesiology bachelor’s degree programs are launching all the time (check out the school listings below for more details) and in the post COVID-19 world the shift toward robust online program offerings has only sped up. The increasinging abundant options give students more choices and flexibility, but it also requires more diligence to research the many options currently available. Be sure to remember that other majors like exercise Science, sports and health sciences, and health and wellness have similar undergraduate offerings to some kinesiology programs in case you are having a tough time finding programs that are a good match for your needs.
- Admissions Requirements — In order to make the process a bit less daunting, a wise place to start is to construct a list of constraints such as entrance requirements, pre-requisite courses, and budget. Using these parameters, you will still have a considerable number of programs to choose from that will help you discover other differentiating factors.
Like most any standard degree program, admissions requirements for online kinesiology programs have similar general guidelines. Students will need to submit standardized test scores (like the SAT or ACT), high school or community college transcripts, entrance essays, and relevant letters of recommendation.
Understanding these requirements and paying close attention to key deadlines during the application process is one of the most basic yet important things that you can do early in the process. Staying ahead in this area will help limit stress throughout the process, and it will ensure that you don’t find yourself ineligible for programs due to a missed deadline that would otherwise have been a great fit.
- Scheduling Standardized Tests — Any tests which are required for college admission should be planned and taken well prior to the application season. Equally important is dedicating time and resources to test practice and preparation to ensure that you are prepared for the exam.
Since test scores are often used for both admissions decisions AND awarding merit scholarships, there can be some serious incentive for those who put work into these tests. Both the SAT and the ACT can be taken multiple times, and it should be noted that scores often improve with practice
- Networking Resources –– Another key factor to consider when researching programs is their internship/career and networking services–institutions that specialize in these areas place a strong emphasis on career preparation, and they take pride in linking their academic programs with real-world opportunities.
- Financial Aid and Budget Considerations — Always a key factor for students when considering which college program to attend are the financial issues. Understanding which financial aid and scholarships options might be available to students majoring in kinesiology will go a long way toward helping you make the most informed decisions.
- Credit Transfer Policies –– One key factor to understand about each program is the transfer credit requirements. Transferring credits to complete an online degree is very common, but the transfer process will vary from program to program. Take time to investigate how credits reciprocate with other academic institutions to make sure you will have some flexibility farther down the road should you need it.
- Reputation of the School –– If all other considerations are equal, you will want to determine which school of your final choices has the best reputation. The more rigorous the program, the better the faculty, the more resources they have to leverage while delivering your education – all of these factors help determine the reputation of a school. The better the institution, the more respected your degree will be once you are out in the workforce competing for the most desirable positions.
Kinesiology Career Outlook
In terms of evaluating career prospects in the kinesiology field, it can not be stressed enough how fast the kinesiology field is growing and how in-demand kinesiology professionals will become throughout the sports industry and well beyond as well.
More and more studies have shown the detrimental effects that stress and imbalance can have on the body and the mind, and how kinesiology can remedy a wide variety of situations, leading to healthier lives and shorter recovery times from a wide variety of ailments.
Likewise, kinesiology can help athletes and professionals find the elusive “zone” that can only happen when balance is achieved, enabling top-level performance.
Individuals with a background in kinesiology should expect to be in demand for a long time to come, both inside and outside the sports industry. The population in the US is getting older all of the time, and the healthcare industry continues to grow each and every year.
Further, more and more research is coming out all the time exposing the immense gap in care that exists between taking medicine and surgery for patients with chronic ailments.
Graduates with an expertise in kinesiology are well prepared to help both athletes and the public at large achieve the elusive balance in their bodies with a holistic approach that can often prove very effective in a short amount of time. When that balance is achieved, it can alleviate pain and help patients live longer, more enjoyable lives.
A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology is a common path chosen for those interested in sports related careers in fields like physical therapy, athletic training, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, and a wide variety of other professions related to sports medicine.
It should be noted, however, that a crucial aspect to consider with regard to pursuing a career path in kinesiology is acknowledging that further professional certifications or graduate studies may be required to get to your professional career goals. Once you have your kinesiology degree in hand, there are many certifications and paths of onward study available to you.
A foundation in kinesiology opens a wide variety of graduate degree or advanced certification options to those with the time and resources to pursue them. Be sure to check out our kinesiology careers page for more information.
The following is a comprehensive list of bachelor’s degree programs in kinesiology which are currently being offered in the United States.