Best Kinesiology and Exercise Science colleges in the U.S. 2023

As research continues to demonstrate the benefits that physical activity has on one's health, the number of individuals interested in health and wellness steadily increases. Therefore, attaining proper knowledge and skills related to fitness, by earning a degree in kinesiology and exercise science, will lead individuals to a promising career instructing others on how to enhance their health, wellness, and physical performance. The science-based field of kinesiology and exercise science centers on the effects that exercise and movement have on the body.

Academic studies focus primarily on anatomy, biophysics, physiology, therapeutic rehabilitation, and biomechanics. Other instruction includes motor development and coordination, performance research, and the development of rehabilitative methods. Once coursework is complete, students will have an in-depth understanding of how to educate and guide individuals in the proper methods for exercising one's muscles, avoiding strain, improving training habits, and increasing strength evenly throughout the body's muscle mass.

Careers in this program are as follows: personal trainer, rehabilitation specialist, emergency medical technician, athletic coach, and physical therapist. Continuing education can prepare students for further study in medicine or chiropractic care. There are also certificate programs available in related fields such as sports nutrition or kinesiotherapy.

Click Here to See the Best Colleges in the US

Best Kinesiology and Exercise Science colleges in the U.S. for 2023

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is home to its state-of-the-art School of Kinesiology, featuring 26 labs and centers where world-class faculty engage in high-impact research. Ranked by the National Academy of Kinesiology as having the “#1 Doctoral Program in the Country,” the school also offers three undergrad and five graduate programs.

Image by Blueag9

Texas A&M’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management is BIG! As one of the largest departments on campus, KNSM is home to ~3,000 undergraduate students and ~316 grad students. There’s a wide array of academic options including a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology with concentrations in Applied Exercise Physiology or Basic Exercise Physiology. There’s also a dual BS/MS in Athletic Training Program option.

Find Online Schools

University of Maryland-College Park’s Department of Kinesiology has an esteemed faculty filled with National Academy of Kinesiology fellows and affiliate appointments with several interdisciplinary programs. The department receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and features several undergrad and graduate programs including online options.

Another exciting choice to consider in Texas is UT Austin’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. At UT, students have access to “modern research labs, vast historical archives, caring advisors, and field-leading, innovative faculty.” In addition to several specializations and minors, undergraduate majors include: 

  • Applied Movement Science
  • Exercise Science
  • Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
  • Physical Culture and Sports
  • Sport Management

Located in Athens, the University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology is a member of the American Kinesiology Association. The school features a massive range of academic options such as:

  • BSEd programs in Exercise and Sport Science, Health and Physical Education, or Sport Management
  • MS in Kinesiology with concentrations in:
    • Adapted Physical Education
    • Biomechanics
    • Exercise Physiology
    • Motor Control and Learning
    • Sport Management and Policy
    • and more…
  • MS in Athletic Training 
  • Several PhD and dual degree options!
Image by @killi_s

Under the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Applied Health Sciences, its Department of Kinesiology and Community Health offers a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology, MS in Kinesiology, and Kinesiology PhD. There’s also a Disability Studies minor, an interdisciplinary minor in Aging, and a Physical Education Teacher Licensure program. Interested students can join the active Pre-Occupational Therapy Club to learn, make friends, and access volunteer opportunities.

Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology programs include undergrad options in exercise science plus graduate degrees related to kinesiology. Students benefit from the school’s state-of-the-art research facilities—the Center on Education and Training for Employment, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research, Schoenbaum Family Center, and Walter Dennis Learning Center. Major options include Health and Exercise Science, Sports Coaching, Physical Education, and Sports Management. 

Located in scenic Bloomington, Indiana University is home to a kinesiology department within the School of Public Health. Its degree program offerings include majors in exercise science, sport marketing and management, and human behavior, all taught by distinguished faculty who include students in vital research projects such as intervention and community-based physical activity. There are also exciting internship opportunities to gain firsthand experience!

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City’s University of Utah is a treasure trove of kinesiology degree programs. The Department of Health & Kinesiology features bachelor’s options with the following emphases:

  • Kinesiology (with pre-allied health and fitness specialists tracks)
  • Community Health Education (with community health and workplace wellness tracks) 
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology

MS degrees include Health Education Specialist and Wellness Coaching, Physical Activity & Well-Being, Cognitive & Motor Neuroscience, and Exercise & Disease. There are also PhD options and certificates available. 

University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA

Often ranked as one of the nation’s best college towns, Cedar Falls has the University of Northern Iowa to thank for that honor. UNI’s Department of Kinesiology prepares students to work with “young children, elite athletes, and mature adults,” with courses that put science into practice in classrooms, labs, clinics, and on the field. The undergrad program majors are Movement & Exercise Science or Physical Education Teaching, while the grad degree options are Kinesiology & Sport Performance or Physical Education Pedagogy.

List of all Kinesiology and Exercise Science colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Logo University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
12 : 1 47,907
Texas A & M University-College Station Logo Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
24 : 1 70,418
University of Maryland-College Park Logo University of Maryland-College Park College Park, MD
22 : 1 40,709
The University of Texas at Austin Logo The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
19 : 1 50,476
University of Georgia Logo University of Georgia Athens, GA
18 : 1 39,147