Last Updated on January 17, 2023
Find the Best Kinesiology Degree Programs in 2023
This guide looks at some of the key considerations for students who are pursuing a kinesiology degree, and how a degree in kinesiology can set graduates up for a successful career in the sports industry and beyond.
In This Guide…
What Can You Do With A Kinesiology Degree?
What Courses Are Required to Earn a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology?
Online Kinesiology Degree Programs – The Advantages
On Campus Kinesiology Degree Programs – Advantages
Five Steps for Choosing the Best Kinesiology Degree For You
Kinesiology Career Outlook
Kinesiology Degree Listings
A kinesiology degree 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.
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. Kinesiology graduates often pursue careers in athletic training, strength and conditioning, fitness, and research. Dep
While looking for kinesiology degree 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 Courses are Required to Get a Kinesiology Degree?
Both campus-based programs and online kinesiology 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
Online Kinesiology Degree Programs – The Advantages
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 with lay of the land in 2023 – is that remote study programs are now accepted on par with on campus programs. Universities and faculty have now had years to refine their practices and delivery of complex content remotely, and the results speak for themselves. What’s more is that mentorships, networking, and internships – which not long ago ONLY existed in person – are now happening remotely across the country.
For students pursuing online degrees, the importance of these developments can’t be overstated. Now, students studying online kinesiology degrees have access to the same game-changing resources that on campus students do. Mentorships and networking opportunities are no longer limited to which geographical area you happen to be in. Instead, students can now find opportunities with mentors and alumni with similar interests anywhere in the country who are willing to check-in with them at regular intervals and provide invaluable advice and guidance. These opportunities help students get the important real-world guidance that helps students know what to expect in the real world during their course of study in the field of kinesiology.
Another important factor with online kinesiology degrees is internships. Although you may be studying your coursework online, it is still possible to do internships in person near your home. Faculty who deliver online kinesiology degrees understand that part of their job is to help ensure that any internships you do will be worth your time and help you gain skills that will make you more marketable. Students should expect to put some work in to identify prospective internship opportunities, but your professors will help you set expectations and goals so that all parties are on the same page. The ability to complement your online kinesiology degree with experiential learning opportunities – whether they be internships or even structured volunteering – brings a powerful new dimension to online kinesiology programs.
Check out or Guide for Internships in Sports for more about how to find great internships.
Last but not least, online kinesiology degree programs are likely more cost-effective than attending a traditional campus-based degree program,possibly even by a wide-margin. If cost is a concern, you should consider pursuing your kinesiology degree online, especially if you know that you will soon be considering Master’s in Kinesiology Degrees in the near future as well.
On Campus Kinesiology Degree Programs – Advantages
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, but it is helpful.
As noted above, online kinesiology programs have narrowed any perceived gaps in recent years in many areas. Despite this progress, the on-campus learning environment will always be tough to compete with for a number of reasons.
Five Steps for Picking the Best Kinesiology Degree 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 increasingly 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
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.
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.
At the bottom of this page, you will find a comprehensive list of bachelor’s degree programs in kinesiology which are currently being offered in the United States.
Kinesiology Degree FAQs
What is a B.S. in Kinesiology?
A bachelor of science in Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Students should expect course ranging including anatomy and physiology, to biomechanics, human performance, injuries and recovery, and the psychology of exercise and fitness. Since a B.S. in Kinesiology includes many “pre-requisite” courses for advanced sports medicine and health degrees, it is a common field of study at the bachelor level.
What can I expect a Kinesiology Degree salary to be?
The expected kinesiology salary completely depends on how they choose to apply their degree. Kinesiology is an excellent field for former athletes and those who enjoy living an active lifestyle, and as such some of the most desirable positions in terms of work-life balance will not have the highest salaries. Many kinesiology graduates find themselves in jobs that they enjoy every day, and for those who choose to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology as a professional development opportunity, the pay scale rises significantly to over $50,000 a year in many locations.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get With a Kinesiology Degree?
Kinesiology graduates are prepared for a wide variety of positions upon graduation. These jobs include fitness consultant, exercise physiologist, kinesiologist, and strength and conditioning coach. Many students who earn an undergraduate degree in kinesiology who wish to work with teams and athletes choose to get a master’s degree in sport psychology, while others go into physical education or continue into research at the master’s level and beyond.
Kinesiology Degree Listings:
Grambling State University | Grambling, LA
Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies
Total Tuition: In-State: $2433 per semester/Out-of-State: $2433 per semester
There are three concentratiosn available for students who join Grambling State University’s Kinesiology programÐ Health Promotion, Pedagogy, and Sport Management. All require 120 credit hours and an internship that must be completed. The Health Promotion and Pedagogy programs are focused towards students who are persuing a career in education, while the Sport Management program is a great option for people to advance in the sports industry.
McMurry University | Abilene, TX
Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and Human Performance
Delivery Method: On Campus
Credits Required: 33
Total Tuition: $16,517 tuition and fees annually
GRE (or GMAT) Required: Yes
Michigan State University | Lansing, MI
Kinesiology Undergraduate Degree
Total Tuition: In-State: $14524 per semester/Out-of-State: $39830 per semester
Students not only learn in-depth the study of human movement and its impact on health, but students also have the opportunity to expedite the process to be a certified Doctor of Physical Therapy thanks to a collaboration with Central Michigan University. Students will gain the tools and knowledge to either jump into the field as a health administrator, coach, sport psychologist, or pursue further research at the graduate level.
The University of Louisiana Monroe | Monroe, LA
Total Tuition: In-State: $3092 per semester/Out-of-State: $9142 per semester
The University of Louisiana Monroe works to prepare students to enter a number of different jobs or academic pursuits upon graduation. Students will be prepared to enter physical therapy training programs, athletic training graduate programs, graduate programs focusing on scientific advancement within the field, or jump right into a full-time job in the business side of a multitude of organizations within the sports and recreation industry.
University of San Bernardino | San Bernardino, CA
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
Delivery Method: On Campus
Concentrations: Allied Health Professions, Exercise Science, Physical Education and Adapted Physical Education
Total Tuition: Average undergraduate tuition, fees, and expenses before financial aid: $22,542
Whittier College | Whittier, CA
Department of Kinesiology
Total Tuition: In-State: $24462 per semester
Whittier College’s Kinesiology degree is offered in three different versions – no emphasis, Pre-Physical Therapy emphasis, or Sport Management emphasis. This versatility allows students to choose the track that best aligns with their current career goals. Based in California, the program includes immersive internships across the country that plug students in to leading research, programs, and organizations.