What is Kinesiology
Kinesiology is the comprehensive study of human movement. It focuses on optimizing human performance and the fundamental role that physical activity has in improving health and quality of life. Kinesiology involves the interaction of several unique disciplines including physiology, anatomy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, chemistry, physics, physical education, cultural studies, and psychology.
Kinesiology is a broad field based on promoting physical activity and exercise for people of all ages – children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Some exercise professionals concentrate on improving performance in athletes, while others may work in cardiac rehabilitation (e.g., to help people who have had a heart attack improve their health through exercise and lifestyle changes). Some exercise professionals concentrate on working with children by becoming physical educators, coaches, or working at a YMCA. Heath fitness specialists and personal trainers prescribe exercise for people who are active, as well as those who have never exercised before. The opportunities are endless.
With undergraduate programs in Exercise Science, Health Fitness, Physical Education Teacher Education, and Early Contingent Physical Therapy, the URI Department of Kinesiology offers a variety of career paths for students to apply the principles of kinesiology and improve the health and well-being of others.
What are my career options in this field?
A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology prepares students for careers in: physical education; fitness and wellness programs found in corporate, commercial, and community settings; clinical and hospital-based fitness and wellness centers; and cardiac rehabilitation. For undergraduate students specializing in exercise science, the bachelor’s degree can serve as the foundation for pursuit of graduate programs in exercise science, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and as a physician assistant. The Department of Kinesiology also offers graduate degree programs in Exercise Science, Cultural Studies of Sport and Physical Culture, and Psychosocial/Behavioral Aspects of Physical Activity.
For detailed information on careers in this field, go to the Careers Tab.
Is this field for me?
In order to become successful in kinesiology, students should excel in the science-based courses outlined in the curriculum. Practically, students should develop a strong understanding of the fundamental components of physical fitness, biomechanics, physiological adaptations that occur in response to exercise, basic principles underlying exercise testing and prescription, and the role society has in shaping our perceptions of physical activity.
In addition to academic strengths, there are a number of personal qualities that can help students excel in kinesiology. Students that are hard working, self-starting, enthusiastic, passionate about advancing their careers, and eager to develop their skill set will build a strong foundation in the field. Successful students also demonstrate a passion for helping others.
Undergraduate students that earn a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology have an opportunity to work in a variety of settings. For example, undergraduate students can develop the knowledge and skills to work in the areas of work in strength and conditioning, cardiac rehabilitation, physical and health education, clinical exercise science, personal training, wellness/health promotion, and various clinical and research environments. For more information about job opportunities in Kinesiology, go to the Careers Tab.
For more information about job opportunities, go to the Careers Tab.
How do I prepare for a career in Kinesiology?
A student entering an undergraduate program in kinesiology should have a strong high school background in science-based courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy. Familiarity with physical activity and some of the general benefits associated with regular exercise are also good preparation. In addition, a high school student would benefit from knowledge of different types of exercise (e.g., aerobic or resistance training) and some general training techniques.
In college, an undergraduate student will be required to enroll in courses like anatomy, physiology, chemistry, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and courses that focus on the principles of exercise testing and prescription. In addition, the Department of Kinesiology provides undergraduate students with opportunities to accumulate practical field experiences. For more detailed information about the courses available in kinesiology, go to the Curriculum Tab. For more detailed information about experiential learning in kinesiology, go to the Experiential Learning Tab.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, many undergraduate students pursue advanced degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate, in various health-related fields. As an undergraduate, it is very important to become familiar with the application requirements of different graduate programs. For more information about graduate programs in kinesiology, go to the Graduate Studies Tab.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, many undergraduate students pursue advanced degrees in various health-related fields. As an undergraduate student, it is very important to become familiar with the application requirements of different graduate programs.
For more information about graduate programs in Kinesiology, go to the Graduate Studies Tab.
What will I know and be able to do when I graduate?
The Department of Kinesiology is committed to ensuring that each undergraduate student develops a comprehensive understanding of fundamental and advanced concepts related to their area of specialization (exercise science, health fitness, or physical and health teacher education). In particular, students will develop a strong foundation in exercise science and the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work effectively in the field. Students will be able to measure different facets of human performance including cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle function, body composition, and flexibility. Students will have the capacity to design and implement effective exercise programs for apparently healthy individuals as well as those with diagnosed chronic diseases. In general, students will be able to practically apply classroom knowledge while integrating ethical standards and recognizing the diverse backgrounds of potential clients, subjects, and athletes.
Students in the Physical and Health Education Teacher Education program will also develop a strong foundation in teaching methods for elementary and secondary school students. Students will learn how motor skills develop as a child matures and how to effectively manage a classroom.
All students will be required to enroll in anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, kinesiology/biomechanics, and cultural studies of physical activity and sport. The remaining coursework is built on your particular specialization. For more detailed information regarding coursework, go to theCurriculum Tab.
Where can I find more information?
- American College of Sports Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. ACSM promotes and integrates scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) supports and disseminates research-based knowledge and its practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness.
- Clinical Exercise Physiology Association
The Clinical Exercise Physiology Association (CEPA) is an affiliate society of the American College of Sports Medicine and is dedicated to the scientific and practical application of clinical exercise physiology to improve health, fitness, and quality of life for individuals with chronic disease.
- American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is an organization that promotes healthy lifestyle choices to reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
- American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) is a non-profit, educational organization whose mission is to promote and support creative and healthy lifestyles through high quality programs in health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport, and to provide members with professional development opportunities that increase knowledge, improve skills, and encourage sound professional practices.
- American College of Sports Medicine