15 Best Kinesiology Programs in 2023 | Full Student Guide

Kinesiology is the study of body movement and how it impacts health and human well-being.

Undergraduates and graduates who wish to work in a career path relating to physical therapy and education, athletic coaching, or even sports medicine should explore kinesiology.

Your success or failure in this field depends on the quality of education, which is a direct function of the school you attend.

In this article, we have listed the 15 best kinesiology programs you can enrol in. You can be assured of the best education possible in the field of kinesiology studying in these schools.

What is Kinesiology Program Structure?

Kinesiology is the study of body movements and how it impacts health and well-being.

Kinesiology can be studied as an associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree, including master’s, doctorate, and research.

Students can complete a BSC between three to four years. The master’s takes one to two years to complete, while the PhD takes five years.

The courses to be taught are dependent on the university you enrol in. But, most schools cover courses and core topics that include;

  • Biomechanics
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Principles of rehabilitation
  • Athletic injuries
  • Motor skills development and control
  • Assessment methods for kinesiology

See Also: 10 Best Universities for Sports Science in the World in 2022

What Can I do with a Kinesiology Programs Degree?

Wondering what you can do with a kinesiology degree? Graduates from the best kinesiology programs can work in these career paths.

Note that some of them may require more than bachelors in Kinesiology. You may need to obtain either a master’s or a Ph.D. to climb the radar in these career paths.

They include;

  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Scout
  • An Athletic Trainer
  • Camp Owner/Director
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Certified Orthotist
  • Certified Prosthetist
  • Chiropractor
  • Clinical Exercise Specialist
  • Coach
  • Corporate Wellness Manager
  • Epidemiologist
  • Ergonomic Researcher/Designer
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • ExercisePhysiology Nurse
  • Exercise Program Director
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Fitness Specialist
  • Health Educator
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Performance Enhancement Specialist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Consultant
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Pro Sports Fundraiser
  • Professor
  • Recreation and Fitness Manager
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Researcher
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Sporting Attire Manufacturer’s Consultant
  • Sports & Fitness Equipment Designer
  • Sports Administration
  • Massage Therapist Sports
  • Sport Psychologist
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Umpire/Referee

What Are the Requirements to Get Into a Kinesiology Program?

For the undergraduate program, these are the general admission requirements. Bear in mind that there are requirements for specific schools. Do well to check the prospectus for your school of choice.

  • Minimum of 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA (4 years) or a 3.2 overall GPA for the last two years of undergraduate study.
  • International students whose native language is not English must have an overall TOEFL score of at least 90 (internet-based).
  • Submit appropriate admissions materials
  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 to 2.99 for probationary admission

These are the general admission requirements for graduate programs in kinesiology;

  •  B.A. or B.S. in exercise science/kinesiology or a related field
  • minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • minimum 297 GRE score
  • 4.0 Analytical Writing score
  • GRE or a waiver
  • Recommendation letter
  • Complete prerequisite coursework 

15 Best Kinesiology Programs in 2023 | Full Student Guide

These are the 15 best kinesiology programs in 2023 for students to enrol in. These schools offer both undergraduate and graduate programs. Check them out below;

#1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan Ann Arbour is a large public university. It offers four-year courses. There are 3 kinesiology and Exercise degree programs.

It has an acceptance rate of 26%, with an SAT of 1340 -1520.

University of Michigan School of Kinesiology has 3 undergraduate programs, 5 graduate programs, and 25 research lab & centers.

The school of kinesiology is the fourth largest school at the University of Michigan.

The school of kinesiology is with the mission statement, “striving to b n international leader and research related to physical activity, health and wellness, and sports management.”

Program Link

#2 Rice Unversity

Rice University’s school of kinesiology is among the best programs in USA. Do you want to learn a fun fact?

Did you know that 75% of Kinesiology Faculty are Women? Now you do.

There are 2 undergraduate degrees in kinesiology from rice university namely;

  • Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology

They require a minimum of 120 semester hours.

For the course requirements, major students must complete 43 hours of coursework in Sports Medicine & Exercise Physiology and Health Sciences.

The health science major gives students a background in health promotion and disease prevention.

Likewise, medicine and exercise physiology teaches basic science and the study of the human body and its application.

There is currently no graduate program in kinesiology.

Program Link

#3 University of Florida

The department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology has a flexible curriculum. It teaches students to apply knowledge and skills in exercise to different careers.

These can be careers in wellness, research, and health professions. It can be applied to health professions like Medicine, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, and Physician Assistant.

Basically, the bachelor of science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology has 120-degree credits.

All students must complete a one-semester internship.

To get enrolled in this four-year course, you need;

  • IELTS: 6.0
  • TOEFL IBT:80

There is also research, ie master’s, Ph.D., and online programs for kinesiology at the University of Florida.

Program Link

#4 University of Virginia

If you wish to design programs for physical activities, sports and exercise, rehabilitation, and generally enhance people’s quality of life, a kinesiology degree is your best option.

At the School of Education and Human Development of the University of Virginia, you will learn about human movement and physical activity.

There are undergraduate and graduate degrees from kinesiology programs.

The undergraduate program has a major in kinesiology and a minor in health and well-being.

There is a Program in athletic training and sports medicine. This program has an M.S in athletic training and a Ph.D. in education-kinesiology and sports medicine.

For Exercise physiology programs, there is an M.ED in kinesiology- exercise physiology, and a Ph.D. in education- kinesiology, and exercise physiology.

Lastly, is the Kinesiology for individuals with disabilities. It has M.ED in kinesiology for individuals and disabilities and Ph.D. in education- kinesiology, and kinesiology for individuals with disabilities.

Program Link

#5 Wake Forest University

The kinesiology and health science department have both undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science is designed for students who wish to have a career in medicine and allied health. And also for those who wish to further their education in health sciences.

They can further their education in dentistry, public health, exercise physiology, health psychology, and biomechanics.

Secondly, there is a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Health and Exercise Science.

The graduate program is a Master of Science in Health and Exercise Science. This is a 2-year program. The first-year students go for an internship.

Program Link

#6 University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private research university in Florida. There are 19,096 students as of 2021 in its 12 colleges across 350 academic programs.

The Kinesiology and Sports Science programs at the University of Miami offers 2 bachelor’s degree.

They are Bachelor of Science in Education, Sport Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology.

Asides from the majors in kinesiology, the University of Miami students also learn advanced writing and communication. The university believes its students should not just be grounded in their fields of study but also have a strong grasp of communication. This factor distinguishes them from other schools on this list.

Both programs have 120 credit hours of coursework.

Program Link

#7 University of Illinois

The kinesiology program in the college of applied health sciences leads students to a bachelor of science degree.

This prepares students for a career in human movement and its related fields. Students also have the opportunity to take professional and graduate studies.

Students also learn about pressing matters in society, like childhood obesity, prevention of chronic diseases, and lifetime health and fitness.

Some of the courses undergraduate students of this best kinesiology program take are medical terminology (3 credit hours), stress management (2 credit hours), contemporary issues in sport (3 credit hours), and introduction to kinesiology (3 credit hours) to mention a few.

Program Link

See Also: How Can I Study Sports Management Masters Degree Online? Schools, Salaries, Career

#8 University of Texas- Austin

Kinesiology and health education at the UT at Austin is ranked 9th by the national academy of kinesiology in the USA.

The department is dedicated to innovation and the promotion of health science. Students get to study human movement, health behaviour, and sports culture.

There are undergraduate, graduate, research, and affiliated programs in the kinesiology and health education department.

Undergraduate programs prepare students to learn majors and minors in health science promotion, sports management, and culture. They aim to become teachers, therapists, coaches, and doctors.

Masters and doctorate programs engage students in research and work experiences. This prepares them for careers in health and sports and their related fields.

The research program encourages students to research and makes discoveries that can better the well-being of local and global communities. They have careers in physical culture and sport, health promotion, and exercise science.

Affiliate programs collaborate with the Fitness Institute of Texas (FIT), Health and Integrative Physiology (HIP) Lab, and Stark Center.

They offer one of the best kinesiology programs in the USA.

Program Link

#9 Purdue University

The department of Health and Kinesiology is on a mission to keep people healthy and moving irrespective of age.

Students can enrol in undergraduate, graduate, and online certificate programs.

The undergraduate program is for students who want to study and research n human movement and sports. The major is Kinesiology. There is an optional concentration in clinical exercise physiology and sports medicine.

This undergraduate program is basically for students who want to undertake graduate degrees in kinesiology, athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other health courses.

Graduate Programs

This is for graduate students who want to pursue a Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

  • Master of Science in Athletic Training Graduate Program
  • Biomechanics, Motor Control and Motor Development Graduate Program
  • Exercise Physiology Graduate Program
  • Exercise Psychology Graduate Program
  • Recreation and Sport Management Graduate Program

Online Certificates

The Department of Health and Kinesiology is committed to fostering lifetime learning opportunities. Take your career skills to the next level with any of our online certificate programs.

  • Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS) Certification
  • Integrative Behavioral Health Certification for Rehab Providers
  • Certification in Lifestyle Medicine

Program Link

#10 University of Wisconsin Madison

The mission of the University of Wisconsin Madison’s department of kinesiology is to “create, interpret, transmit, and apply knowledge related to movement, exercise, and human occupation with the ultimate goal of enhancing human health, productivity, and quality of life.”

They offer one of the best kinesiology programs in the USA.

There are undergraduate, graduate, and certificate/special programs from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

These are the breakdown of the best kinesiology programs available;

Undergraduate Programs

Their focus is on health, movement, and physical activity.

  • BS in Health Promotion and Health Equity
  • BS in Kinesiology
  • B.S in Physical Education Teacher Education
  • Adapted Physical Education Concentration
  • Health Education, Minor

Graduate Programs

The Department of Kinesiology offers a variety of graduate programs.

  • MS in Athletic Training
  • MS in Kinesiology
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology
  • Doctorate in Occupational Therapy
  • Kinesiology Doctoral Minor

Certificates and Special Programs

  • Promoting Activities for Diverse Abilities Certificate
  • Athletic Healthcare Certificate
  • Adapted Fitness Program
  • Early Morning Fitness Program

Program Link

#11 Penn State University

The Kinesiology department has built a reputation of excellence in studying human movement and physical activity.

Its undergraduate program has Kinesiology and Athletic Training Majors.

A Master of Science (M.S.) in Kinesiology is a research degree. Students enrolled in this program work with field leaders and gain skills and knowledge from the frontiers in kinesiology.

MS students undertake studies in areas of:

  • Athletic Training and Sports Medicine
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • History and Philosophy of Sport
  • Motor Control
  • Psychology of Physical Activity

Additionally, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Kinesiology prepares students for careers in teaching and research.

Program Link

See Also: How can I become a certified sports Agent in 2021?

#12 University of South Carolina

This school offers one of the best kinesiology programs.

The department of Exercise Science teaches traditional biology, neuroscience, genetics, nutrition, and sociology to aid an understanding of the physical activity, exercise, fitness, diet, and health.

The department’s mission is to “promote an environment of excellence and achievement in human health and performance.”

National Academy of Kinesiology named the Department of Kinesiology’s Ph.D. program the best #1 in the United States.

Alongside the bachelor’s degree in exercise science, this department has the following graduate degrees;

  • Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science (BS)
  • Master of Science in Exercise Science (MS)
  • Master of Science in Advanced Athletic Training (MS)
  • MSC of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health (MPH)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Exercise Science (PhD)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Program Link

#13 University of Minnesota

Department of Kinesiology of this university offers one of the best programs in USA.

NAK, in 2020, ranked the department 11th among the best PHD programs in kinesiology.

The number of classes for the 2021 academic session is 312. With this, students can have a direct relationship with their tutors.

This department offers three undergraduate majors, three undergraduate minors, six graduate programs, and two non-degree programs and certificates. 


  • Kinesiology BS
  • Physical activity and Health Promotion BS
  • Sport Management BS
  • Sports Coaching Minor
  • Physical Activity and Health Promotion Minor
  • Sport Management Minor


  • Kinesiology PhD
  • Kinesiology MS
  • Sport Management MA
  • Physical Activity and Health MEd
  • Sport and Exercise Science MEd
  • Sport Management MEd

Non-Degree Programs

  • Physical Activity Program
  • Coaching Certificate
  • Study Abroad

Program Link

#14 Texas A&M University

The department of kinesiology at this university focuses on the role of physical activity in our health and well-being.

Students enrolled in this school with one of the best kinesiology programs in USA earn degree programs in Kinesiology BS, Physical Activity MPH, kinesiology MA, Kinesiology PhD, and Certificate, Physical Education (Masters).

Program Link

#15 University of Georgia

The University of Georgia, Department of Kinesiology created knowledge about physical activity, sports, and physical education.

They prepare students to work in all sectors of physical and health sciences. This includes children, athletes, aged people, and those with disabilities and diseases.

The Department is a member of the American Kinesiology Association.

There are programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels with concentrations mainly in sports management, physical education, exercise science, and athletic training.

This university offers one of the best kinesiology programs in the USA.

Below is a full list of the undergraduate and graduate programs.

Degree Programs:



  • BSEd in Exercise and Sport Science
  • BS.Ed in Health and Physical Education
  • BSEd in Sport Management




  • PhD in Kinesiology (Athletic Training)
  • PhD in Kinesiology (Biomechanics)
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology)
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology (Exercise Psychology)
  • PhD in Kinesiology (Motor Control and Learning)
  • PhD in Kinesiology (Sport Management and Policy)
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology (Sport Pedagogy)

Program Link

FAQ on15 Best Kinesiology Programs in 2023 | Full Student Guide

What are the 15 Best Kinesiology Programs in 2023 | Full Student Guide?

1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
2 Rice Unversity
3 University of Florida
4 University of Virginia
5 Wake Forest University
6 University of Miami
7 University of Illinois
8 University of Texas- Austin
9 Purdue University
10 University of Wisconsin Madison
11 Penn State University
12 University of South Carolina
12 University of Western States
13 University of Minnesota
14 Texas A&M University
15 University of Georgia

What Can I do with a Kinesiology Programs Degree?

Athletic Director
Athletic Scout
Athletic Trainer
Camp Owner/Director
Cardiac Rehabilitation Therapist
Certified Orthotist
Certified Prosthetist
Clinical Exercise Specialist
Corporate Wellness Manager
Ergonomic Researcher/Designer
Exercise Physiologist

Kinesiology Program Structure

Human anatomy and physiology
Principles of rehabilitation
Athletic injuries
Motor skills development and control
Assessment methods for kinesiology



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