Top Schools for Kinesiology and Exercise Science

Learn about kinesiology and exercise science programs, which focus on the effects of movement and physical activity on the body. Review degree and specialization options at four top-notch universities, and see highlights of other schools in the U.S. that provide training for kinesiologists and exercise science specialists. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Information
  • 0:45 Texas A&M University
  • 2:05 University of North Carolina
  • 2:49 University of Georgia
  • 3:37 Iowa State University
  • 4:42 Other Top Programs

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Video Transcript

School Information

Kinesiology and exercise science programs typically include core coursework in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. In general, they can help students prepare for further study in chiropractic care or medicine, as well as careers as physical and occupational therapists, personal trainers, athletic instructors, and researchers. The four universities profiled here were highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report or The Princeton Review for 2017. All four schools offer bachelor's, master's or doctoral programs in kinesiology or a closely related field of study.

Texas A&M University in College Station

At Texas A&M University, doctoral students can participate in the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Training Program in Space Life Sciences, where they study the physiology of astronauts. According to U.S. News & World Report in 2017, Texas A&M University ranked as the 21st best value school. Texas A&M University is affiliated with the American Kinesiology Association. It provides students with access to 22 laboratories and centers, through which they can research the effects of exercise and movement on the body and its development.

The Department of Health and Kinesiology offers 14 Bachelor of Science degrees including specializations in exercise science, physical education, or dance science. Students enrolled in the exercise science track pursue concentrated studies in applied exercise physiology, basic exercise physiology, or motor behavior. There are 10 graduate options, including specializations in clinical and non-clinical exercise physiology, sports pedagogy and physiology, and motor neuroscience. Students pursuing a Ph.D. can specialize in health education or sport management.

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

At the University of North Carolina, students conduct research in the Applied Physiology, Exercise Science Teaching, and Exercise Oncology labs.

In 2017, the University of North Carolina ranked 12th on the list of best value colleges and among the top 30 colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The Department of Exercise and Sport Science offers a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sports Science. Along with the general major, students can focus on fitness, athletic training, or sports administration. More advanced levels of study are available through the Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology and Ph.D. in Human Movement Science programs.

The University of Georgia in Athens

The University of Georgia is home to the Center for Physical Activity and Health. The University of Georgia was named among the best colleges in the southeast by The Princeton Review in 2017. The university's Department of Kinesiology offers a Bachelor of Science in Education in Exercise and Sports Science program, which prepares students for graduate-level studies in physical and occupational therapy, exercise physiology and psychology, biomechanics, and measurement. Students can acquire their M.S. or Ph.D. in Exercise Science with a specialization in clinical or non-clinical exercise physiology. Graduate programs in athletic training, exercise psychology, and biomechanics are also available.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
  • Sports Medicine

Iowa State University in Ames

At Iowa State University, students can intern at health clubs and spas, hospitals, corporate programs, and cardiac rehabilitation centers. The Kinesiology Department at Iowa State University offers two undergraduate majors: athletic training and kinesiology and health. Students who major in kinesiology and health can choose from five different concentration options including exercise science. The exercise science program includes studies in subjects such as physiology of exercise, exercise psychology, and exercise leadership, and students must also complete a 10-week internship.

At the graduate level, students can earn an M.S. or Ph.D. in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology, exercise psychology, motor control, pedagogy, or physical activity/health promotion. These programs are research-focused.

Iowa State was tied at #51 among all public schools in the country per U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

Top Kinesiology and Exercise Science Program

School Location Distinction
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas The Human Performance Laboratory allows students to study health and exercise science in women, children, and geriatric populations.
University of Hawaii Hilo, Hawaii Students can research the effects of exercise on aging muscles.
University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky Research opportunities include the 'Healthy Firefighters Project', which is designed to improve the health and wellness of firefighters.
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Doctoral students can study the impact of physical activity on chronic disease.
University of Texas - San Antonio San Antonio, Texas Offers an M.S. degree program that includes specializations in kinesiology and exercise science or health promotion.
University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia Master of Education in Kinesiology program offers four concentrations.

For students who are interested in kinesiology or exercise science, relevant programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students are often able to focus their studies in particular aspects of these broad topics.

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