Kinesiology Colleges, Universities and Schools in the U.S.

Kinesiology, or exercise science, focuses on the mechanics, movement and physical development of the human body. Read on to learn more about how to choose the kinesiology program that's right for you.

How to Choose a Kinesiology School

Kinesiology programs can be found at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Degree levels and career goals
  • Accreditation
  • School facilities

Degree levels and career goals

Schools may offer kinesiology programs at the associate's, bachelor's and/or postgraduate degree levels. Students of kinesiology will want to assess their own career paths and choose a school that offers the type of program best suited to that path. Some schools offer clinical experience to kinesiology students, which can be valuable and incorporated into the school's own sports activities. In addition, students can inquire about the school's job placement rate for its kinesiology graduates.


A number of accrediting bodies related to fitness and exercise science exist. Students can research the school's accreditation status among these organizations and how the offered programs reflect the accrediting organizations' purposes.

School Facilities

Another consideration when choosing a kinesiology program may be the facilities available to students. Some schools make recreational facilities and laboratories for biomechanics and human physiology research available to kinesiology and exercise science students. Students may have the opportunity to work with athletes in training or with individuals undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Kinesiology Program Overviews

Associate's Degree Programs

A 2-year program may be appropriate preparation for an entry-level fitness or wellness job. Some or all of these credits may be applied toward a bachelor's program. About half the course load covers general-education courses, and the other half is major-related, including courses such as:

  • Kinesiology foundations
  • Human physiology
  • Personal training
  • Exercise physiology

Students may have the opportunity to participate in an internship.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Schools vary widely in their kinesiology programs depending upon the intent of the program; some tracks are appropriate for aspiring secondary school fitness instructors, while others are geared toward aspiring research scientists. Courses include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Human movement
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise physiology

Teaching and internship opportunities may be available.

Graduate Programs

Advanced studies in kinesiology are appropriate for aspiring scientists, therapists and sports professionals. Studies move past the mechanical and into the neurological, biochemical and physiological sciences of the body. Psychological factors and behavior related to sports and exercise are also explored. Master's degree students may choose from thesis and non-thesis program options, while Ph.D. students typically need to participate in research projects and complete a dissertation. Graduate-level courses might include topics such as:

  • Statistics
  • Research methods in kinesiology
  • Pedagogy

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