Kinesiology Graduate Programs with Career Options

Graduate programs in kinesiology focus on the science of human movement. In these programs, students typically gain hands-on experience and develop scholarly research in the field in preparation for various careers.

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Essential Information

Graduate programs in kinesiology are available in the form of Master of Arts or Master of Science programs. Non-thesis and thesis options are available, and those who do not submit a thesis generally complete a comprehensive final exam. Students learn through practicum and internship opportunities. In general, these programs take 2 years to complete. Higher education programs are also available at the doctoral level in the form of a Ph.D. in Kinesiology. These programs generally take 3-5 years to complete. Doctorate students will complete a dissertation.

In these programs, students may specialize in physical education, athletic administration, physiology, nutritional therapy, sports psychology, and exercise processes, among others.

A bachelor's degree in a related field or with related coursework, GRE or GMAT scores, and a written or oral entrance exam are required for these programs. Also, students must have a minimum GPA of a 2.5 for most master's programs, and 3.0 for most doctoral programs.

Master's Degree in Kinesiology

In kinesiology master's degree programs, students learn about human movement and fitness. They also gain skills in research. General topics of study consist of:

  • Instruction methods
  • Training for strength and stamina
  • Exercise techniques
  • Bodily movement development and manipulation
  • Legalities and ethics in athletics
  • Sports psychology

Ph.D. in Kinesiology

The doctoral program in kinesiology is research- and science-intensive. Students delve deeper into the scientific study of body movements. Once admitted into a doctoral program, students work closely with program faculty to review dissertation issues and concerns and prepare for the final dissertation defense.

A final skills evaluation is a general requirement. Students also earn credit for independent research. Doctoral-level kinesiology topics may include:

  • Mobility control
  • Scientific aspects of human movement
  • Human wellness and nutrition
  • Therapy techniques
  • Heart and lung function related to physical activities

Popular Career Options

Graduates with a Ph.D. in Kinesiology oftentimes work in colleges and universities. They are also qualified to hold sports-related administrative positions. Opportunities include:

  • Researcher
  • Professor
  • Journal scholar
  • Athletic director
  • Practitioner

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Employment of coaches and scouts is expected to increase 6%, or as fast as the average, over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( During the same decade, athletic trainers are predicted to have 21% job growth. In May 2015, the average annual salary for coaches and scouts was $40,050, and for athletic trainers was $46,940.

A master's degree program in kinesiology teaches students about human movement and fitness through coursework and field experience. Doctoral students are involved in research of movement of the body to help them complete a dissertation.

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