“Kinesiology is an academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life.” — American Kinesiology Association

The Master of Science degree in Kinesiology provides students with an understanding of how physical activity (including sport and exercise) impact and are affected by various physiological, mechanical, and psychosocial aspects of human health and performance.

The degree prepares students for careers in higher-education, research, and practice through didactic coursework in the areas of Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Motor Behavior, Rehabilitation, Sport& Exercise Psychology, and Psychosocial Aspects of Health Behavior.

Knowledge and skills in research-related and discipline-specific coursework helps prepare students to address complex real-world health and performance issues and utilize critical thinking skills to generate knowledge and make sound decisions to support continued personal and professional development.

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, biology, nursing, occupational therapy, physical education, psychology, sociology, physical therapy, zoology or equivalent preparation.
  2. Students must have successfully (B or better) completed undergraduate coursework (or equivalent) in statistics, human anatomy (with lab), and human physiology (with lab), as well as the coursework below corresponding to the student’s chosen area of study.
    • Exercise and Nutrition in Health and Disease
      • Exercise physiology or medical physiology
      • Exercise testing and prescription or performance assessment
      • Psychological or sociological aspects of human behavior (or equivalent)
      • Introduction to nutrition or eating behavior
    • Integrative Human Performance
      • Exercise physiology or medical physiology
      • Exercise testing and prescription or performance assessment
      • Sport & exercise psychology
    • Neuromechanics
      • Biomechanics or physics
      • Motor behavior or a psychology course including human movement
  3. Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination.
  4. Two letters of recommendation to the Department’s Kinesiology Graduate Program Director from persons familiar with applicant’s academic ability and achievement.

For more specific information about departmental requirements for admission, please visit the Kinesiology Department website.

Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters.

The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree. Applicants with undergraduate majors in areas other than those noted in this section may be admitted on a similar basis.

Applicants should visit the UWM MS Kinesiology website for additional information and deadlines.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 33 graduate credits for Option A and B. Option A and B students must take 6 credits of core courses and 9 credits from their primary focus area:

Core Courses6
Statistical Analysis in the Health Sciences
Research Methods in Kinesiology
or PRPP 705
Primary Focus Area9
Total Credits15

Students will also be required to take a minimum of 12 credits (thesis) or 15 credits (capstone project) of electives that will serve as specialization courses. Elective courses may be selected from inside and outside the Department of Kinesiology.

Option A: Thesis Option

Core and Primary Focus Area courses (see table above)15
Specialization Coursework12
KIN 895Research and Thesis6
Total Credits33

Students prepare a research thesis, which will earn 6 credits within the required 33 graduate credit minimum. Each student is responsible for identifying a major professor and a thesis committee before completing 12 graduate credits. The thesis committee should consist of a minimum of three graduates Faculty: the major professor from the student’s primary area of study, a departmental faculty member from the primary area of study, and one other departmental or other UWM graduate faculty member. The thesis committee approves a program of studies designed to lead the student into the thesis research area. To make subsequent changes, the student must petition the departmental Graduate Faculty Committee prior to any intended change.

Option B: Non-Thesis Option

Core and Primary Focus Area courses (see table above)15
Specialization Coursework15
KIN 890Capstone Project3
Total Credits33

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Graduate School requires that each student have a major professor to advise, supervise and approve the program of study before registering for courses. Each student will be assigned an advisor upon admission based on the declared area of concentration.

Comprehensive Examination

The student must pass comprehensive oral examination in defense of the completed project.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment.