What Are the Top Schools for Kinesiology & Exercise Science Studies?

Keep reading to learn about highly-ranked programs in kinesiology and exercise science. See what makes a good school. Learn about lab and training facilities, areas of specialization, research opportunities and program options. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Select a Top School for Kinesiology

If you want to study kinesiology and exercise science, you might look for a program that's highly ranked by the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK), which issues a report on the top doctoral programs in kinesiology every five years. You also might seek schools that offer programs and research institutes that address sports or movement issues throughout the life cycle.

What Are Three Top Schools for Kinesiology and Exercise Science?

University of Connecticut (UConn) in Storrs

Located in the Neag School of Education, UConn's Department of Kinesiology hosted NAK's ninth-ranked doctoral program in 2015 (www.nationalacademyof kinesiology). There are many facilities available to kinesiology students, including laboratories for athletic training and the Korey Stringer Institute, which works to eliminate sports-related deaths. The 7,800-square-foot Human Performance Laboratory facilitates research in environmental and muscle physiology, weight loss and strength training, nutrition, and cardiovascular physiology.

UConn's kinesiology program offers an undergraduate concentration in strength and conditioning, which admits a maximum of 15 students each year and can prepare you for National Strength and Conditioning Association certification. The graduate program is laboratory-based, and you'll help run research projects. UConn reports a nearly 100% placement rate for its master's and doctoral graduates. UConn ranked 63rd in US News & World Report's ranking of national universities for 2019. You could earn these degrees:

  • B.S. in Athletic Training
  • B.S. in Strength and Conditioning
  • B.S. in Exercise Science
  • M.A. in Exercise Science
  • Ph.D. in Exercise Science

University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville

UF was ranked 35th for best national universities by U.S. News & World Report's in 2019. UF's College of Health and Human Performance was home to NAK's 4th-ranked doctoral program in 2015. The 13 laboratories of the Center for Exercise Science foster study of physical activity and neuromuscular adaptations, as well as pharmacology and nutrition treatment. Additionally, the outdoor Florida Pool offers one of the largest U.S. academic diving programs and conditioning classes.

At UF, you could major in athletic training or applied physiology and kinesiology. In the kinesiology major, you can specialize in fitness and wellness if you want to work as an exercise technician or exercise physiology if you want to prepare for a health profession or graduate study. In either program, you'll complete a 600-hour internship and Academic Learning Compact requirements. Graduate programs focus on work in progress at the Center for Exercise Science. You might benefit from the program's relationship with other UF schools and programs, like the colleges of medicine, engineering, and veterinary science and the Center for Gerontological Science. UF offers these degrees:

  • B.S. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
  • B.S. in Athletic Training
  • M.S. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
  • Ph.D. in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

U.S. News & World Reports ranked UI the nation's 46th best university in 2019. The Department of Kinesiology and Community Health (KCH) in UI's College of Applied Health Sciences hosts NAK's 2015 third-ranked doctoral program. KCH's Center on Health, Aging and Disability offers quality of life research and outreach programs, like the International Disability Sports Outreach Program. Research groups explore women's health, disabilities, and therapeutic recreation for older people. Motor control and neurocognitive kinesiology are studied in two of 11 research labs.

As an undergraduate kinesiology student, you might specialize in biobehavioral studies of physical activity and sport, community health and rehabilitation, cultural kinesiology, or exercise physiology and athletic training. You also can participate in research activities. They have these degrees:

  • B.S. in Kinesiology
  • M.S. in Kinesiology
  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology

10 More Schools for Kinesiology & Exercise Science

College/University Institution Type Location Estimated Graduate In-State Tuition
Rice University 4-year, Private Houston, TX $38,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private New York, NY $46,000
University of Virginia 4-year, Public Charlottesville, VA $16,000
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 4-year, Public Chapel Hill, NC $10,000
University of Michigan 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI $23,000
University of Maryland 4-year, Public College Park, MD $13,000
University of Southern California 4-year, Private Los Angeles, CA $45,000
Purdue University 4-year, Public West Lafayette, IN $9,000
University of Wisconsin-Madison 4-year, Public Madison, WI $11,000
Florida State University 4-year, Public Tallahassee, FL $10,000

'*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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