Illinois Kinesiology Grad School Programs

Feb 20, 2019

Several universities throughout Illinois provide students with master's and doctoral programs in kinesiology, and some master's programs can be completed in as little as one year. Explore some of the schools and their degree options here.

The state of Illinois most commonly offers study in kinesiology at the master's level, but students may also pursue study at the doctoral level. These degree programs typically provide students with various areas of concentration and unique learning opportunities, such as study abroad or participation in conferences. Learn about some of the degree options and their requirements at each school.

Illinois Schools with Graduate Programs in Kinesiology

The University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Master of Science (MS) in Kinesiology or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Kinesiology and Nutrition. For the MS, students can choose from a coursework-only option that requires 40 credits or a thesis or project option that requires 32 coursework credits, and five credits for the thesis/project. Students in the MS program take a required evidence-based practice course in the field, followed by concentration courses in biomechanics, exercise physiology and psychology of sport behavior, exercise and health. Students in the PhD program must complete 96 credits beyond a bachelor's degree, pass comprehensive examinations and complete a dissertation.

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University in Macomb has a full-time, 2-year MS in Kinesiology program. Students in the program choose two concentration areas from study areas like wellness and fitness management, ability diversity, strength and conditioning, exercise physiology, sport and exercise psychology and human movement performance. The program provides students various research opportunities with faculty members that may result in the participation of academic conferences. Students must also choose between a thesis track or a non-thesis option, and it is recommended that students interested in pursuing a PhD in the future complete the thesis track program.

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston's Eastern Illinois University provides an MS in Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation. The program has an accelerated, 3-semester degree option that allows students to finish in one year. Students are able to choose from concentrations in sport administration or exercise science and must complete several prerequisite courses prior to acceptance in the concentration or during their first semester. Capstone experiences are also offered for practical, hands-on learning. Students in the program may also study abroad in England for a 2-week kinesiology study program.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville offers a unique Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Kinesiology with a focus in physical education and coaching pedagogy. The program is completely online, requires 30 credits and does not result in teacher certification. The school also has an MS in Kinesiology with a concentration in exercise physiology or exercise and sport psychology. The program with a concentration in exercise physiology can be completed in 12 to 22 months, is offered in the evenings as an adult education program and prepares students for certification as clinical exercise physiologists. The MS with a focus in exercise and sports psychology can also be completed in 12 to 22 months, provides evening and online courses and allows students to work closely with the school's athletic teams.

The University of Illinois

Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can choose from an MS or PhD in Kinesiology. At either degree level, students can further specialize in biobehavioral kinesiology, exercise physiology or cultural, pedagogical and interpretive kinesiology. The MS program requires 32 credits and offers a thesis and non-thesis option, while the PhD program totals 64 credits for those already holding a master's or 96 credits for those with a bachelor's. Students in the PhD program must complete a dissertation, and may also choose to earn a joint Master of Public Health (MPH) degree that includes an applied practice experience.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students applying to kinesiology graduate programs in Illinois generally need to hold at least a bachelor's degree. Several of these programs require students to take the GRE and/or meet a minimum GPA requirement that may range from a 3.0 to 3.5, depending on the program and education level. Applicants can usually expect to apply to the institution's graduate school and degree program and include their transcripts, letters of recommendation and personal statement or statement of interest with their application. Some programs may also offer a separate application for teaching assistantship opportunities.

Students in Illinois can most commonly pursue an MS or PhD in Kinesiology and further focus their studies in areas such as exercise physiology, exercise and sports psychology and more. PhD students must usually complete a dissertation, but master's students typically have the option to complete a thesis or not.


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