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Top Schools for Kinesiology and Exercise Science

Learn about kinesiology and exercise science programs, which focus on the effects of movement and physical activity on the body. Read about degree and specialization options at three top-notch universities, and find a useful table that lists other schools in the U.S. that provide training for kinesiologists and exercise science specialists.

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School Information

Kinesiology and exercise science programs typically include core coursework in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. In general, they can help students prepare for further study in chiropractic care or medicine, as well as careers as physical and occupational therapists, personal trainers, athletic instructors and researchers. The three universities discussed below have received past high rankings from U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review or Washington Monthly. All three schools offer bachelor's, master's or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in kinesiology or a closely related field of study.

Top U.S. Schools with Kinesiology and Exercise Science Programs

1. Texas A&M University in College Station

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2012, Texas A&M University ranked among the top 20 best value schools. In 2011, Washington Monthly ranked the university 15th in the nation. Texas A&M University is affiliated with the American Kinesiology Association. It provides students with access to 18 laboratories and centers, through which they can research the effects of exercise and movement on the body and its development.

The Department of Health and Kinesiology offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with specializations in exercise science, physical education or dance science. Students enrolled in the exercise science track pursue concentrated studies in applied exercise physiology, basic exercise physiology or motor behavior. The Master of Science (M.S.) in Kinesiology offers specializations in clinical and non-clinical exercise physiology, sports pedagogy and physiology or motor neuroscience. Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Kinesiology can specialize in exercise physiology, sports pedagogy or motor neuroscience.

2. University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

In 2012, the University of North Carolina ranked 12th on the list of best value colleges and among the top 30 colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The Department of Exercise and Sport Science offers a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sports Science. Along with the general major, students can focus on fitness, athletic training or sports administration. More advanced levels of study are available through the Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology and Ph.D. in Human Movement Science programs.

3. The University of Georgia in Athens

The University of Georgia was named among the best colleges in the southeast by The Princeton Review in 2012. The university's Department of Kinesiology offers a Bachelor of Science in Education in Exercise and Sports Science program, which prepares students for graduate-level studies in physical and occupational therapy, exercise physiology and psychology, biomechanics and measurement. Students can acquire their M.S. or Ph.D. in Exercise Science with a specialization in clinical or non-clinical exercise physiology. Graduate programs in athletic training, exercise psychology and biomechanics are also available.

List of Ten Good Schools for Kinesiology and Exercise Science

SchoolDistinctionLocation
Iowa State University Students can intern at health clubs and spas, hospitals, corporate programs and cardiac rehabilitation centersAmes, Iowa
Texas A&M University Doctoral students can participate in the Ph.D. Training Program in Space Life Sciences, where they study the physiology of astronautsCollege Station, Texas
University of ArkansasHuman Performance Laboratory allows students to study health and exercise science in women, children and geriatric populationsFayetteville, Arkansas
University of GeorgiaAt the Cognition and Skills Acquisition Laboratory, students can research the impact of exercise on learningAthens, Georgia
University of HawaiiStudents can research the effects of exercise on aging musclesHilo, Hawaii
University of Kentucky Research opportunities include the 'Healthy Firefighters Project', which is designed to improve the health and wellness of firefightersLexington, Kentucky
University of North Carolina Students conduct research in the Applied Physiology, Exercise Science Teaching and Exercise Oncology labsChapel Hill, North Carolina
University of TennesseeDoctoral students can study the impact of physical activity on chronic diseaseKnoxville, Tennessee
University of TexasM.S. degree program includes specializations in kinesiology and exercise science or health promotionSan Antonio, Texas
University of VirginiaMaster of Education in Kinesiology program is designed for aspiring U.S. Military Academy physical education teachers.Charlottesville, Virginia
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