2021 Best Online Masters in Kinesiology Degrees

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Earning a masters in kinesiology online can enable you to develop expert knowledge of human movement and biomechanics.

Best Online Masters in Kinesiology Degrees

The knowledge and skills you can gain from a Master of Science in Kinesiology are widely applicable in the health, fitness, and athletic training industries.

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Studying kinesiology could lead to rewarding careers that help others improve their lives through exercise and physical activity. Read on to learn more about online kinesiology master’s degree programs.

Masters in Kinesiology Online Programs

Masters in Kinesiology Online Programs

Kinesiology degree programs usually cover a wide array of topics related to human physiology and movement, including how exercises can help people improve their strength and mobility.

You can also study athletic training, issues that athletes encounter with training, and techniques for avoiding injuries in athletic training.

Here are some subjects that are commonly included in masters degrees in kinesiology:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Biomechanics
  • Motor skills
  • Exercise science
  • Athletic training
  • Sports medicine

Many professionals with a masters degree in kinesiology work as certified athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, and fitness trainers and instructors. All of these careers involve applying kinesiology knowledge to help people with their physical health and fitness.

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Coaches in the professional sports industry also tend to hold a fitness-related degree, such as kinesiology. If you plan to continue your education further, earning a masters in kinesiology could act as preparation for entering a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program.

Another option could be to pursue licensure as a teacher in order to qualify as a physical education instructor at a school. PE teachers help grade school students to stay fit and active. Kinesiology expertise can be utilized in almost any career that relates to helping people exercise and stay active.

Common Online Masters in Kinesiology Concentrations

Masters in Kinesiology Concentrations

When you enroll in a kinesiology master’s degree program, you will often have the opportunity to choose a concentration. This allows you to tailor your education to best suit your personal interests and career goals.

Here are some examples of concentrations that are commonly available within kinesiology graduate programs:

  • Sports management. A concentration in sports management can help you learn about how to organize and direct athletic programs for schools and community centers.
  • Exercise physiology. A concentration in exercise physiology can help you learn about the effects of exercise on the human body.
  • Sports medicine. A concentration in sports medicine can help you learn about common injuries experienced by athletes, how to prevent injuries when planning training programs, and how to work with athletes who may be recovering from injuries.

Any of these concentrations could provide useful knowledge for a career in sports, health, or fitness. Prior to enrolling in a kinesiology degree program, you may want to consider your exact career goals so you can choose the courses that are most relevant to you.

Kinesiology Careers & Salaries

Kinesiology Careers & Salaries

Some possible occupations for professionals with a masters in kinesiology include exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, fitness trainer or instructor, and coach or scout. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some kinesiology-related careers along with their median annual salaries.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Exercise Physiologists, Government $75,740
Athletic Trainers, Educational Services $54,140
Exercise Physiologists, Hospitals $50,390
Exercise Physiologists, Offices of Physicians $49,560
Athletic Trainers, Hospitals $49,030
Athletic Trainers, Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers $46,970
Athletic Trainers, Offices of Therapists and Audiologists $46,410
Exercise Physiologists, Offices of Therapists and Audiologists $46,030
Fitness Trainers and Instructors $40,510
Coaches and Scouts $36,330

Exercise physiologists are most commonly self-employed. A large majority also work in hospitals. Exercise physiologists can also be found in offices of audiologists and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, in offices of physicians, and in government.

Athletic trainers are most commonly employed in educational services. Many are also employed in hospitals and offices of audiologists and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Some find work in fitness and recreational sports centers.

Fitness trainers and instructors are most commonly employed in fitness and recreational sports centers. They can also be self-employed or work in government, educational services, or civic and social organizations.

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Coaches and scouts are most commonly employed in colleges, universities, and professional schools, arts. Many coaches are also employed in elementary and secondary schools. Some work in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industries, while others are self-employed.

MS in Kinesiology Curriculum & Courses

Here are examples of courses you might take while earning your MS in Kinesiology:

  • Kinesiology I: You’ll study human musculoskeletal anatomy and learn how to analyze human movements.
  • Kinesiology II: This course will build on the principles of Kinesiology I, expanding your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics.
  • Data Analysis in Kinesiology: You’ll learn how to interpret statistics and other information collected from kinesiology research.
  • Research Design and Methods in Exercise Science: You’ll study correct methodology for conducting scientific research on human movement.
  • Advanced Exercise Physiology: You’ll study how exercise affects the different systems of the human body.
  • Applied Exercise Physiology: You’ll study how to optimize people’s performance in exercise programs.
  • Exercise and Sport Nutrition: You’ll learn about healthy eating habits for athletes and those who lead an active lifestyle.
  • Principles of Human Movement Science: You’ll learn about how to identify neurological, skeletal, or muscular dysfunctions that may be affecting someone’s movements.
  • Human Movement Science Practicum: You’ll gain practical experience planning and applying corrective exercise programs.
  • Capstone Experience: This course provides you an opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned by completing a research project or a professional internship.

Exact course titles and requirements will vary from one university to another.

Online Kinesiology Masters Admissions Requirements

Online Kinesiology Masters Admissions

Here are some common admissions requirements you may need to meet in order to get accepted into a masters degree program in kinesiology:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably related to kinesiology
  • Minimum grade point average, typically around 3.0
  • CV or resume listing your relevant work history
  • Personal statement describing your career goals

Admissions requirements can vary widely from one university to another.

Accreditation

Masters in Kinesiology Degrees accreditation

Before enrolling in a graduate degree program in kinesiology, it’s strategic to ensure that the school you’re interested in is regionally accredited.

Regional accreditation demonstrates that a school has been examined by an outside agency and found to meet predetermined quality standards. You can usually find out what type of accreditation a school has by visiting their website.

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If you decide to change schools mid-program, it’s often easier to transfer your credits to a new school if your original school is accredited. If you would like more information about regional accreditation, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Kinesiology Degrees financial aid

If you want to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology, you might be concerned about how you will pay for your education. There are many possible sources of financial aid open to students who qualify.

Common financial aid options include state and federal aid, employer programs, grants, and scholarships. Some colleges also have financial aid available for students based on financial need or academic merit. You may be able to apply for financial aid from a university at the same time you apply for admission.

You can apply for federal financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Can You Teach with a Masters in Kinesiology?

Masters in Kinesiology teaching opportunities

There are teaching opportunities open to those with a masters in kinesiology. If you specifically want to teach physical education in a K-12 public school setting, it’s necessary to meet your state’s licensing requirements for teachers.

If you do not wish to pursue teaching licensure, you might qualify to teach fitness and exercise classes at recreation centers or health clubs. You may also be able to teach at community colleges. Teaching at universities usually requires earning a doctoral degree.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Kinesiology?

Masters in Kinesiology jobs

There are a range of job opportunities for professionals who hold a masters degree in kinesiology.

Some professionals in this field teach physical education in schools or teach fitness classes in recreation centers. Kinesiology majors often work in industries like exercise and fitness, sports and coaching, and health and wellness. Common kinesiology careers include athletic trainer, fitness instructor, and exercise physiologist.

If you are interested in pursuing further education in a complementary field, you could choose to go on to study physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, or sports medicine.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s in Kinesiology Online?

Master's in Kinesiology Online

A masters degree program that is 36 credit hours long can usually be completed in 1 year if you’re enrolled in classes full-time, including taking classes during the summer. If the degree program requires the completion of a thesis, it may take longer.

Taking classes part-time will often extend how long it takes you to complete your degree as well. The flexibility of an online program can enable you to set up a schedule and pace that work for you.

What’s the Difference Between Exercise Science vs. Kinesiology Masters Programs?

Kinesiology vs. Physical Therapy

Here are some differences between kinesiology and exercise science.

  • Kinesiology: Kinesiology is the study of human movement in general, including but not limited to formal exercise programs. In kinesiology, you may also study the physiology of normal movements that people use in their daily lives.
  • Exercise science: Exercise science is a subfield within kinesiology that focuses on how exercise affects the human body. While studying exercise science, you will specifically learn about physical training and exercise programs.

You will study exercise science as part of a kinesiology degree program.

What’s the Difference Between Kinesiology vs. Physical Therapy?

Here are some differences between kinesiology and physical therapy:

Physical Therapy Kinesiology
  • Used to treat specific injuries that are diagnosed by a doctor
  • Makes use of exercises, medical imaging, special equipment, massage, and other techniques
  • Requires a doctoral degree for licensure
  • Promotes general well-being through exercise and physical activity
  • Doesn’t usually require a doctorate

Physical therapists often use knowledge of kinesiology, so studying kinesiology could help prepare you to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Is Getting a Masters in Kinesiology Worth It?

Getting a Masters in Kinesiology

Yes, a masters in kinesiology is worth it for many students. This field is seeing tremendous growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of exercise physiologists will increase by 13%, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations.

In addition, athletic trainers are expected to experience 23% job growth, and employment for fitness trainers and instructors is projected to increase by 39% (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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Careers related to kinesiology can also be very rewarding. They can provide opportunities for you to help others improve their health and feel good both physically and mentally.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Kinesiology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

A.T. Still University

AT Still University campus

A.T. Still University offers an online Master of Kinesiology program. It is designed for working health and fitness professionals. The program covers functional anatomy, physiology, human movement, behavior change, and fitness and exercise program design. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

California Baptist University offers an online Master of Science in Kinesiology program. Courses include virtual lectures and tutorials.

To graduate, students are required to complete a culminating experience, such as a thesis, comprehensive exam, or project. Academics at CBU are both rigorous and grounded in Biblical principles. CBU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

California State University – Bakersfield

California State University Bakersfield

California State University—Bakersfield offers an online M.S. in Kinesiology. Coursework is 100% online, and the program can typically be completed in 2 years.

Courses include Research Methods in Kinesiology, Advanced Exercise Physiology, and Advanced Movement Science. Students have the option to complete either a culminating experience or a thesis to graduate.

California State University – Bakersfield is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University campus

Fresno Pacific University offers a Master of Arts with a Physical Education emphasis. Courses are offered fully online to accommodate students who want to work and earn their degrees simultaneously. Courses include Technology and Kinesiology, Psychology of Sport, Program Design in Physical Education, and History and Philosophy in Kinesiology.

Fresno Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University campus

Georgia Southern University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Coaching.

It is a 4 semester program intended for both experienced coaches and those preparing to enter the coaching field. Students in the program are given opportunities to study performance enhancement, coaching administration, athletic training, and coaching effectiveness.

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University campus

Louisiana State University offers an online Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Health Promotion and Sport Performance. It requires the completion of 36 credit hours and uses a flexible format. Courses include Social Issues in Sport, Sport Psychology, Community Health Issues, and Changing Health Behavior.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University campus

Southern Arkansas University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Kinesiology with a focus in Coaching.

It requires the completion of 33 credit hours and usually takes 2 years to complete. The program covers philosophy and ethics, safety and injury prevention, physical conditioning, growth and development, and teaching and communication.

Southern Arkansas University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Tarleton University

Tarleton State University campus

The Master of Science in Kinesiology program from Tarleton State University is designed to prepare students for careers in fitness and sports.

Students can choose a concentration in either Exercise Science or Sport Administration. Students in the program can also choose between a thesis or non-thesis track. Either track can typically be completed in 12 months.

Tarleton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Woman’s University

Texas Womans University campus

Texas Woman’s University offers an online MS in Kinesiology program designed to help those who want to work as coaches or athletic directors or in similar occupations. The program requires 36 credit hours of coursework, and full-time students can usually finish in 12 to 18 months. A thesis is not required.

Texas Woman’s University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University offers a Master of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science. This is a blended program that includes both online and face-to-face courses.

Students in the program have the option to complete a research project or capstone internship. Courses include Exercise Physiology, Sport Psychology, and Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

The University of Florida offers an online program for a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology.

No thesis is required, and full-time students often complete the program in as little as one year. Those interested in the program can apply without GRE scores. The program gives students opportunities to study exercise physiology, athletic injury prevention, and biomechanics.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota offers a Master’s in Kinesiology online program. Students are never required to come to campus.

The online courses require students to stream lectures and other video content and participate in discussion boards. They are taught by the same faculty as the program’s on-campus classes. This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota campus

The University of South Dakota offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Kinesiology and Sport Management.

The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours and is designed to accommodate adult learners and working professionals. Students can take classes either full-time or part-time and typically finish the program in 1 to 2 years.

The University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Texas – Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler campus

The University of Texas at Tyler offers a Master of Science in Kinesiology that can be earned on campus, online, or in a hybrid format. Class sizes are small in order to help students receive personal attention from faculty. Students can choose to complete either a thesis or a comprehensive exam to graduate.

The University of Texas – Tyler is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

William Jessup University

William Jessup University campus

William Jessup University offers an online MS in Kinesiology program. It requires the completion of 36 credit hours and typically takes 2 years to complete.

The program is designed to teach students how to apply scientific principles to create exercise programs. There are thesis and non-thesis options. Programs at WJU are based on Christian principles.

William Jessup University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Getting Your Masters Degree in Kinesiology Online

Masters Degree in Kinesiology Online

If you love helping others with their health and fitness, then you might be considering getting your masters in kinesiology.

Studying kinesiology could help you to launch your career in this field. If you’re already working in a profession related to health or fitness, then a masters could help you advance your expertise and qualifications.

There are many options for earning a masters degree in kinesiology online. Online degree programs are known for their convenience, and they can often save students a lot of time by eliminating the need to commute to campus.

You can start your journey to grad school today by exploring online kinesiology degree programs from accredited universities.

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Amy Wilson
WRITTEN BY
Amy Wilson
While attending the University of Georgia, Amy enrolled in both on-campus and online courses giving her the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of each course delivery system. Amy's research is focused on making education more accessible to everyone and how different education methodologies can affect student outcomes.