Salt Lake City Graduate Kinesiology Programs & Exercise Science Graduate Programs

Kinesiology graduate programs could develop students’ ability to treat movement related health issues. Classes may first cover advanced topics in anatomy and physiology to illustrate how the human body handles stress, such as trauma from sports, aging, and more.

Then, students could practice diagnosing mock and actual patients. In these exercise science classes, you may have the opportunity to create fitness and rehabilitation plans to address people’s unique health issues. Depending on your chosen degree level, you might also conduct kinesiology research and contribute new ideas to the field.

Exercise Science Graduate Programs

What Are Kinesiology Graduate Programs?

Graduate-level kinesiology programs may be found under a variety of names, such as exercise science graduate programs or exercise physiology graduate programs. While curriculum will vary, most explore ways to enhance a person’s general movement to reduce injuries and maintain their health. Coursework often expands upon exercise topics covered in related bachelors degree programs.

Kinesiology graduate programs also act as a foundation for other fields of exercise science. The study of human movement could feed into several types of therapy or conditioning methods. For example, kinesiology knowledge is fundamental in some of the following fields.  

  • Biomechanics
  • Orthopedics
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports Related Physical Therapy

EXPERT INSIGHT
We asked Dr. Samuel Hetz how kinesiology graduate programs gives you a number of ways to advance your career:

“Earning both an undergraduate and masters degree in kinesiology does not only prepare you for a number of careers, but is also an amazing stepping stone into other programs such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and medicine. I applied much of what I learned during my kinesiology programs during my medical school training, and continue to use my training on a daily basis as a physician and medical director kinesiology graduate programsat Concept Medical, an advanced cosmetic medicine and medical skin clinic in Ottawa, Canada.”

~Dr. Samuel Hetz MSc, MD, CCFP  Click to Tweet

Graduate Kinesiology Programs Curriculum

Kinesiology graduate programs aim to deepen a student's understanding of human movement. As part of this, classes may explore things like stress-free muscle interactions, proper posture, and training techniques. These concepts then may be applied to helping specific populations, like children, adults, and aging patients.

In exercise science graduate programs, you could have the chance to take some of the following courses.

  • Youth Fitness
  • Adult Fitness Programs
  • Biomechanics
  • Motor Learning
  • Aerobic and Anaerobic Training
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology

These are only a few examples. Curriculum may vary between degree programs and schools. While similar courses may be offered at each degree level, their material may differ. For instance, an exercise science masters program may take a more in-depth look at biomechanic concepts that a certificate program. Speak with potential department faculty for more details.

Exercise Science Masters Programs

Masters programs in kinesiology encourage students to practically apply their exercise science abilities. This could mean conducting stress tests, performing motion captures, or creating mock fitness plans. Whereas a bachelors program may have provided necessary academic groundwork, a masters program is where that knowledge turns into action.

Exercise science masters programs are also an opportunity for students to study a particular aspect of the field. Instead of general topics, students could study some of its unique challenges. This could include working with aging patients, sports related trauma, or more.

As part of exercise physiology masters programs, you could choose to concentrate your studies in some of the following areas.

  • Exercise and Sports Psychology
  • Geriatric Exercise Science
  • Sports Conditioning
  • Corrective Exercise and Rehabilitation
  • Adaptive Sports

Available concentrations may differ from school to school.

Exercise Physiology Masters Program Requirements

Exercise science masters programs may ask applicants to submit a 3.0 or higher GPA, in addition to GRE or GMAT scores. They may also require students to have previously earned a bachelors in a related field. This could allow classes to move directly to advanced kinesiology topics without having to dedicate time to the basics.

To graduate, students may be tasked with completing 36 to 42 credit hours. Twelve of these credit hours are usually devoted solely to concentration specific courses. Given these requirements, students could earn a masters degree in kinesiology in 1 to 2 years, depending on enrollment. Program length however may vary by school.

Kinesiology Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate kinesiology programs tend to be highly focused on one part of exercise science. They’re intended to flesh out a previously earned bachelors degree in a related field. Graduate certificate coursework could expand upon your basic knowledge in a specific kinesiology concentration that you might not have encountered previously.

For example, the following are a few types of graduate certificates you could pursue.

  • Sports Coaching
  • Yoga
  • Injury Management
  • Disabilities
  • Fitness Instruction

Available graduate certificate programs differ by school.

Certificate programs are intended to be more accessible. This usually means that there are less admissions requirements. For example, certificate programs rarely require students to submit GRE scores or additional essays.

Graduate certificate programs are also shorter and usually designed to include 9 credit hours’ worth of classes. This means that students could earn a kinesiology graduate certificate in less than a year, depending on enrollment. Program lengths and admission requirements may vary, so contact schools directly for details.

PhD in Kinesiology Programs

Kinesiology doctoral programs are typically based on health promotion research. Students may have the chance to perform their own interdisciplinary experiments to test the effectiveness of fitness methods. The research emphasis could also be clearly seen in the PhD program’s curriculum. In addition to general kinesiology course topics, you may be required to complete the following research classes.

  • Analysis of Exercise and Wellness
  • Correlation and Regression Statistics
  • Research Methods

In addition, students may be responsible for researching and writing a dissertation. This project may act as the capstone to your PhD program.

Doctorate Admissions, Graduation, and Beyond

Doctoral kinesiology programs are often known for have rigorous admissions processes. As part of your application, you may be requested to submit the following.

  • 3.0 or higher GPA
  • Masters degree in related field
  • Writing samples
  • Research outline

Also, students may be asked to take part in an in-person interview with department faculty. Doctoral admissions are this intensive to help ensure programs align with student goals. By outlining your research ambitions and speaking with faculty, the department could better choose an appropriate academic advisor. Also, this may help you gauge whether a program could support your educational goals.

PhD program length varies depending on how long it takes you to write your dissertation. Schools usually dedicate 36 to 60 credit hours to core curriculum. Then, students could schedule up to 30 additional credit hours to research, write, and present their dissertation. With this in mind, students might earn a PhD in Kinesiology in 3 to 5 years depending on enrollment. Program length and admission requirements differ between schools. Speak with an advisor for more information.

Kinesiology Program Accreditation

One important consideration when choosing among graduate kinesiology programs might be accredition. Accredition may speak to the quality of the curriculum, facility and more. In addition to regional accreditation, some schools may be accredited at the program level. The Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES) commonly accredits kinesiology graduate programs.

CoAES creates standards to assess exercise science degree programs and potentially judge whether programs are keeping up with related technology and information. To do this, CoAES performs a two-step process. First, schools are subject to a yearly document audit. Here, they submit course materials and syllabi for evaluation. Auditors then ensure that the kinesiology topics are current and not outdated. Secondly, CoAES sends out a member to the physical campus. While there, they may sit in on classes or speak with department faculty. This may allow them to see how concepts are being implemented in the classroom. The goal of the process is to push programs to strive for innovative coursework.

Not all kinesiology graduate programs are accredited. But, accredited coursework could benefit students looking to study the latest in kinesiology. Contact programs directly or visit the CoAES site if this is of interest to you.

Types of Graduate Programs in Kinesiology

Depending on your schedule, a certain type of exercise science graduate degree might be better suited for you. Please be aware that certain degrees may not offer some of these program types. Speak with an admissions advisor from intended programs for more information.

On-Campus Kinesiology Graduate Programs

On campus kinesiology graduate programs are a hands-on way to work with your exercise science curriculum. Besides general academics, courses may offer real-world scenarios for you to study. In some cases, volunteer patients may be brought into class to demonstrate movement issues. Or, you could travel as a class to clinical facilities to see stress test demonstrations. You might even have the chance to design training or physical therapy plans for these same patients.  

In addition, campus programs might offer networking opportunities. Kinesiology professors may be professionals in their field. They may be able to offer industry insights that a textbook cannot provide. Many schools require professors to offer weekly office hours. During this time, you could speak with professors to find out more about your academic field of study. Or, you could ask questions to clarifying course material. Doing both could help personalize your kinesiology education and tailor it towards your unique goals.

Online Kinesiology Graduate Programs

Online kinesiology graduate programs bring exercise physiology into the digital classroom. In many programs students may log into courses as their schedule allows. The flexible scheduling could be a great asset for students who are currently practicing kinesiologists. Besides convenient class times, students may also cut down on their commute. This could save them valuable time outside of work and academics.

Plus, many online programs try to emulate their campus counterparts as much as possible. Some schools stream lectures or provide recorded ones to their online students. This might allow you to still take part in a traditional classroom experience. Also, schools may provide access to classroom forums where you could discuss your work with fellow students in your class. Finally, students may have access to schools’ online databases and libraries. Using both tools could help enrich your studies or offer new insights to your research. Every program formats its programs differently, so reach out to see what resources might be available for you.

Hybrid Kinesiology Graduate Programs

Hybrid kinesiology graduate programs combine the convenience of online programs with the hands-on learning opportunities of campus ones. These programs still base a large portion of their coursework inside the digital classroom. The majority of your actual classes may still be conducted online like they would in the above-mentioned program.

But, some classes during the winter or summer semesters might have students come onto campus. These semesters are often shorter and more condensed, which could make the perfect for busy students.

Campus based classes usually have students interacting with technology they may not have available at home. For example, students may have the chance to work with advanced motion capture, stress test, and rehabilitation software. Work with this technology could help students familiarize themselves with what’s routinely used in the industry. Additionally, campus coursework may provide students the opportunity to practically apply new knowledge. A potentially important feature in such a hands on field.

Possible Kinesiology Career Paths

Many students who complete kinesiology graduate programs go on to pursue exercise physiologist careers. These positions might also be called kinesiotherapists. These professionals design physical activity programs to potentially enhance patient health. This could include completing the following tasks.

  • Treating Chronic Muscle Pain
  • Performing Fitness & Stress Tests
  • Measuring Vitals (Blood Pressure, Oxygen Use, etc.)i

Entry-level roles in this field typically require students to have earned a bachelors degree. But, many employers may ask for a masters degree or higher for more advanced roles. These degrees may demonstrate more in-depth knowledge of necessary topics in anatomy, biology, and clinical study.

Some exercise physiologist roles might also request that you complete a related internship. This experience could offer on-the-job training unavailable in the classroom. ii

While many states currently do not require EPs to become licensed to practice, some are beginning to. As of now, the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) both offer certification exams. For more information about state license requirements, speak with your school’s career center.

Available roles in this field are currently projected to grow by 11% from 2014 to 2024. This rate is faster than the national average predicted job growth. Exercise physiologists earned a median annual salary of $47,340 in 2016.iii

Find Perfect Graduate Kinesiology Programs!

Using this information as an outline, you might have a better idea of how to start searching for kinesiology graduate programs! To continue, you have two options. First, you could browse the program links on this page. Or, you could refine your search by choosing your preferred degree level and program type using the menu bar. 

When you find a program that interests you, click its link. Doing so provides you with a short description about the program. And, while you’re there, you could also request more information. This could provide you with details like admissions deadlines, potential curriculum, and more. It might also be a great way to begin contact with a school’s admissions team.

Good luck as you begin to look for perfect kinesiology graduate programs!


[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/exercise-physiologists.htm#tab-2 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/exercise-physiologists.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/exercise-physiologists.htm

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