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MS in Kinesiology

From the Department of Kinesiology


MS thesis program

This program provides an opportunity to pursue research and advanced scholarly study in specialized areas. These programs prepare students to pursue a PhD or a career that involves research activities.

MS non-thesis program

This is a professional program designed to provide advanced training in specialized areas of kinesiology for students who do not plan to conduct research as part of their career and do not plan to pursue a PhD.

Some of our emphases are offered in both thesis and non-thesis formats.

Compare Concentrations

Exercise Science


Exercise science prepares individuals for doctoral-level graduate work and may lead to careers in allied health professions such as athletic training and physical therapy, adult fitness/health promotion, teaching, coaching, and research.

Research (thesis) degree students are organized into specializations:

  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise psychology

Research topics are highly variable focusing on the acute and chronic effects of sedentary behavior, physical activity, and exercise on health, disability and physical performance.

The professional (non-thesis) degree is offered in:

  • Athletic training
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Strength, conditioning, and fitness.

In addition to coursework, professional tracks involve practicum, internship, or assistantship opportunities that provide valuable work experience and position students for national certifications.

Sport Management and Policy


The MS thesis and non-thesis sport management specializations in sport management and policy prepare graduates for a variety of positions in the sports industry and academia. The graduate curriculum addresses the economic, legal, social, and ethical issues affecting the sport industry. In addition to the application of business and management principles, our programs study the place of sport in society, and examine the historical, sociological, and philosophical dimensions of sport. Examination of governmental and industry policies as they apply to sports is critical to each degree program.

Physical Education


The physical education emphasis offers specializations in sport pedagogy and motor behavior.

Sport pedagogy

The MS thesis and non-thesis specializations in sport pedagogy are designed for students interested in the study and practice of teaching/coaching physical education, sport, and physical activity.

Both the thesis and non-thesis programs are structured to serve the needs of future and practicing teachers and coaches.

These degrees are designed to improve teachers’ knowledge of curriculum and instruction in physical education and permit them to gain an understanding of the research process and its application to teaching.

Completion of the non-thesis program qualifies the recipient to apply to the state Professional Standards Commission for an increase in the level of teaching license already possessed if in Health & Physical Education.

Motor behavior

The MS with a specialization in motor behavior is a research-oriented program for students interested in the study of motor development, motor learning, and movement control. Foci include the developmental aspects of movement and function across the lifespan and the underlying mechanisms related to physical and motor functioning that occur in conjunction with motor skill acquisition and sports-related movements.

Academics / Curriculum

Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise in exercise science, physical education, and sport management and policy. Five faculty members are current members of the prestigious National Academy of Kinesiology.

Our curriculum incorporates real-world issues, blends face-to-face instruction with practical experience, and promotes a dynamic learning experience. Students work closely with their designated major professor to determine a program of study based on the student’s background, interests, and career goals. A minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework is required for the MS thesis program, with 36 semester hours required for the MS non-thesis program.

Students entering the program will typically finish their degree after two years of full-time study.

Compare Concentrations

Exercise science

Thesis (research) track

  • All masters research students are assigned a primary mentor within a research laboratory prior to acceptance into the program.
  • Requirements for the degree include completion of 30 semester hours of course work and a thesis with specific courses and research project being determined collaboratively with the mentor and advisory committee with the time for degree completion typically being 2 years of full-time study.
  • In addition to coursework, participation in research and professional development seminars is expected throughout the program.

Non-thesis (professional) track

Requirements for the degree include completion of 36 semester hours of course work including a practicum/internship with the time for degree completion typically being 1.5-2 years of full-time study.

  • Athletic training All applicants should have BOC certification prior to enrollment and be eligible to be licensed as an Athletic Trainer in Georgia.
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Strength, conditioning, and fitness

Physical education

Sport pedagogy

Coursework in instructional strategies, curriculum theory and design, issues and trends in sport pedagogical research, and analysis of teaching provide students with the latest information on teaching physical education, sport, and physical activity. The program also offers ample opportunities for field work and research experience.

Those only seeking to obtain a traditional MS (non-thesis) must complete 36 hours of coursework. It does not guarantee teacher certification.

Motor behavior

Coursework in instructional strategies, curriculum theory and design, issues and trends in sport pedagogical research, and analysis of teaching provide students with the latest information on teaching physical education, sport, and physical activity. The program also offers ample opportunities for field work and research experience.

Sport Management and Policy

Thesis (research) track

The thesis option is designed to prepare students for a research career in the sport industry or academia, including preparation for PhD studies. The 30-hour program of study includes 9 hours of required courses in SMP, 12 hours of research-related courses including a 6 credit hour thesis, and 9 hours of electives.

Non-thesis (professional) track

The MS non-thesis track is designed to prepare students for careers in sport management. The program of study consists of 36 credit hours including a practicum or internship experience.

MS-JD joint degree program

The MS emphasis in law and sport management joint degree provides students with a thorough understanding of the law for those looking to work in a leadership role in the expanding sports area. Students wishing to pursue this joint degree must apply and be admitted to each program.

The Student Experience

Over 150 graduate students from across the globe are enrolled in department programs each year. Our size and diversity provides students with diverse ideas and perspectives and ample networking opportunities both within and outside the department.

The Department of Kinesiology is located in the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities which is the nation’s largest on-campus facility for recreation and fitness.

Our department's facilities include 10 laboratories, the Center for Physical Activity and Health, offices, conference rooms, and classrooms.

Assistantship opportunities are available to highly qualified MS program applicants, providing financial support and professional, teaching, or research experience. Graduate assistants work between 13-20 hours/week while completing their academic programs and receive a monthly stipend, full tuition waiver, and one-third remission of health insurance if enrolled on the university plan.

Departmental research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, American Heart Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Veterans Administration, American College of Sports Medicine, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Collegiate Athletic Association, United States Olympic Committee and corporations such as Procter & Gamble, McCormick, Kellogg, Coca Cola, and Merck.

Career Outlook

Graduate Placements

Data reflects graduates of the degree program as a whole, not any one specialization.

Year Continuing School Employed Full-Time Employed Part-Time Unemployed Other
20131 75% 25% 0% 0% 0%
20121 50% 0% 0% 50% 0%

Career Fields2

  • Public/private school teaching and coaching
  • Intercollegiate or club coaching
  • Small university/community college teaching/coaching

Admissions Information

Deadline to apply: Fall (all programs): January 10 for thesis, June 1 for non-thesis; Spring (sport management only): November 15

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