kinesiology

The Department of Kinesiology's mission is to create, interpret, transmit, and apply knowledge related to movement, exercise, and human occupation with the ultimate goal of enhancing human health, productivity, and quality of life.

The M.S. in Kinesiology is available with research specialization in biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise psychology, motor control and behavior, physical activity epidemiology, and occupational science. The M.S. in Kinesiology with the nonthesis option provides courses that cover the breadth of the kinesiology field and electives, and it may include a final project. This degree supports an interest in coaching/teaching (team or individual), personal training or fitness instruction, or it may supplement the practice of physical therapy, athletic training, or other allied health professions, or any individual purpose a student may have.

The M.S. in Kinesiology combines advanced courses with the option of an intensive research experience. Department research facilities are well equipped, and faculty and graduate students have access to other specialized research facilities across campus. Faculty and graduate student research is currently supported by funding from the state and federal government, research foundations, and private industry. Faculty are affiliated with the Institute on Aging; Cardiovascular Research Center; Center for Neuroscience/Neuroscience Training Program; departments of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Neurology, Population Health Science, and Psychology; McPherson Eye Research Institute; Harlow Center for Biological Psychology; interdepartmental graduate program in Nutritional Sciences; Trace Research and Development Center; VA Geriatric Research and Education Center; Waisman Center; and Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute.

The application deadline is February 15, applications may be considered after this date.

For admission, the Graduate School requires, as does the Kinesiology department, a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0=A scale) on the last 60 semester hours (or equivalent) of undergraduate coursework. An applicant must submit official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, academic transcripts from each institution attended, a minimum of three letters of recommendation, and a statement of reasons for graduate study. The statement should name the applicant's intended area(s) of specialization and provide specific details on why the applicant names the area(s).  If a professor in the area of specialization agrees to serve as the prospective student's advisor, then the department's graduate office recommends the applicant for admission to the Graduate School. A committee reviews, and an individual advisor is not required for, nonthesis admissions. Please consult the kinesiology website for further details of these requirements and procedures.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement Non-thesis track: 32 credits
Occupational Science track: 31 credits
All other thesis-based tracks: 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement At least half of the required degree coursework must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Course numbered 300 and above with a grade of A, AB, B, or S count toward minimum credit requirement; grades of BC or C count only if equal credits of AB and A offset the lower grades to average B (3.00).
Assessments and Examinations No formal examination specific to the M.S. is required. Curricular requirements vary among tracks within the program, and in all tracks all didactic courses must be passed, in conformity with GPA and grad requirements, above. For tracks requiring a thesis, the thesis defense committee has discretion to accept or reject the thesis at the student’s defense. Repeat defense, if required, is at the discretion of the advisor.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Biomechanics Track1

Required Courses
KINES 618 Biomechanics2-3
STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  571 Statistical Methods for Bioscience I4
KINES 951 Seminar-Biomechanics2
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
KINES 990 Research or Thesis2-12
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 21
Suggested Elective Courses (chosen in consultation with advisor)
KINES 614 Biological Factors Influencing Exercise Performance3
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise3
KINES 861 Principles of Motor Control and Learning3
KINES 961 Seminar in Motor Control and Learning2

Exercise Physiology Track1

Required Courses
ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 25
STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  571 Statistical Methods for Bioscience I4
KINES 615 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Physiology2
KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise3
KINES 774 Metabolic Responses to Exercise and Environmental Stress2
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
KINES 990 Research or Thesis2-12
KINES 953 Human Biodynamics Seminar1
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 31
Electives (courses selected in consultation with advisor)minimum of 3
Total minimum credits required for graduation (beyond baccalaureate degree)30

Exercise Psychology Track1

Required Courses
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
KINES 990 Research or Thesis 22-12
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 31
Electives
There are no specific courses required of candidates for the M.S. with specialization in Exercise Psychology. In accordance with Graduate school policy, a minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.S. degree. Electives courses to meet the degree requirements are chosen in consultation with the advisor. Each candidate’ program of formal course work and independent study is tailored in a personalized manner to accommodate the individual’s research and career goals.

Motor Control and Behavior Track1

Required Courses
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
KINES 990 Research or Thesis2-12
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 21
Statistics courses (chosen in consultation with advisor) 34-6
Electives (chosen in consultation with advisor) 4
Suggested Courses
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
KINES 861 Principles of Motor Control and Learning3
KINES 951 Seminar-Biomechanics2
KINES 961 Seminar in Motor Control and Learning2
KINES 713 Neural Basis of Normal and Pathological Movement3

Physical Activity Epidemiology Track1

Required Courses
KINES/​POP HLTH  791 Physical Activity Epidemiology3
KINES/​POP HLTH  955 Seminar - Physical Activity Epidemiology1
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
KINES 990 Research or Thesis2-12
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 21
Electives (chosen from list below or others in consultation with advisor)
ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology5
KINES 521 Physical Activity and Health3
KINES 600 Advanced Exercise Psychology3
KINES 614 Biological Factors Influencing Exercise Performance3
KINES 700 Psychological Effects of Exercise3
KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise3
KINES 774 Metabolic Responses to Exercise and Environmental Stress2
KINES 779 Human Muscle Function in Health and Disease2
CHEM 341 Elementary Organic Chemistry3
BMOLCHEM 503 Human Biochemistry3
STAT/​B M I  541 Introduction to Biostatistics3
STAT/​B M I  642 Statistical Methods for Epidemiology3
POP HLTH/​NUTR SCI  621 Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology1
POP HLTH 750 Cancer Epidemiology2-3
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3
POP HLTH 798 Epidemiologic Methods3
POP HLTH 802 Advanced Epidemiology: Etiology and Prevention3
Students will take advanced coursework in various areas as described in the program area synopsis. In accordance with Graduate School policy, a minimum of 30 credits is required for the M.S. degree, and a minimum of 51 credits for the Ph.D. Completion of a thesis will be required for the M.S. degree. The curriculum is intended to provide the student with a sound basis in the adaptations to physical activity and exercise as well as the statistical and methodological tools needed to evaluate relationships between physical activity and health outcomes at the population level. There are three required courses in addition to the thesis or dissertation requirement, and the remaining credits can be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor to meet the dree objectives.

Occupational Science Track1

Subject/Field Content
OCC THER 612 Professional Skills III: Organization and Management in OT Practice3
OCC THER 613 Professional Skills IV: Community-based OT Practice2
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology 21
KINES 885 Seminar in Occupation and Health1
OCC THER 671 Scientific Inquiry in OT I: Evidence-Based Practice.2
OCC THER 672 Scientific Inquiry in Occupational Therapy II: Research Design and Methods2
OCC THER 673 Scientific Inquiry in OT III: Data Collection and Analysis.3
OCC THER 674 Scientific Inquiry in OT IV: Scientific Writing for Publication2
Depth & Breadth Electives8
Students are strongly encouraged to select 2-3 courses in a concentration area (Examples: Child & Family Studies, Global Health, Disability Studies, Public Health, Patient Advocacy)
Research
KINES 990 Research or Thesis3

Non-Thesis Track1

Synopsis: All other tracks within the M.S. in Kinesiology degree are essentially a precursor to Ph.D.-level training, and thus require extensive research experience as part of the degree. The Non-Thesis M.S. track is designed for students who are interested in graduate-level training in Kinesiology, but who are not necessarily interested in a career doing research in the field. Non-Thesis M.S. students:  will take graduate-level courses that cover the breadth of the field of Kinesiology;  will take additional electives from Kinesiology or from any departments across campus that the students see as fitting their personal educational goals;  and may complete a final project of their own design as mentored by consenting faculty.

Purpose of MS: The M.S. in Kinesiology Non-Thesis track is designed to provide broad, graduate-level training in Kinesiology.  Students will take advanced coursework in each of the traditional disciplines within the field and also focus on their individual interests by selecting courses as electives.  A thesis is NOT required in this track.  Students in the Non-Thesis track often express interest in obtaining graduate-level training to support their goal of coaching/teaching in team or individual settings, personal training or fitness instruction, or as a supplement to a practice in physical therapy, athletic training, or some other allied health profession, or for other purposes.  We emphasize here that we don’t intend the non-thesis track to prepare students for eventual Ph.D. study (although it could, depending on the student and the Ph.D.). Students who want a laboratory-based research experience as part of their M.S. degree, along with experience in academic writing (M.S. thesis as a  traditional precursor to a Ph.D. dissertation), may wish to consider pursuing their M.S. degree through one of the other tracks within Kinesiology.

First Fall Term
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise3
KINES 991 Research in Physical Activity- Theory and Design3
First Spring Term
KINES 700 Psychological Effects of Exercise3
KINES/​POP HLTH  791 Physical Activity Epidemiology3
Elective chosen from list below2
Second Fall Term
KINES 618 Biomechanics2-3
KINES 713 Neural Basis of Normal and Pathological Movement3
Elective chosen from list below3
Second Spring Term
KINES 774 Metabolic Responses to Exercise and Environmental Stress2
KINES 861 Principles of Motor Control and Learning3
Elective chosen from list below3
Electives 2
KINES 521 Physical Activity and Health3
KINES/​MEDICINE/​NURSING  523 Clinical Exercise Testing & Training3
KINES 614 Biological Factors Influencing Exercise Performance3
KINES 779 Human Muscle Function in Health and Disease2
KINES 785 Human Occupation and Health2-3
KINES 900 Seminar in Kinesiology1
CURRIC 744 Perspectives in Multicultural Education3
CURRIC/​ELPA  746 The Adult Learner: Implications for Curriculum and Instruction3
NUTR SCI 625 Advanced Nutrition: Obesity and Diabetes1
GEN BUS 310 Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors3
GEN BUS 311 Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors3

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken in UW–Madison University Special student status. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

ProbatioN

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

An overall GPA below 3.0 will place the student on academic probation. If a 3.0 GPA is not regained in the subsequent semester the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue provisionally for 1 semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

The department assigns an advisor to each student.  For M.S.–non-thesis track, the advisor is the Graduate Studies chair.  For all other thesis-based tracks, the advisor is the research mentor.

A thesis committee, for those tracks requiring a thesis, is gathered prior to the thesis proposal in consultation with the faculty advisor and consistent with the department and Graduate School policy. Normally the proposal committee would continue as the thesis defense committee.  The proposal and defense committees consist of 3 members.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Within the Department, completion of required courses and proposal of the thesis, when applicable, within two years of matriculation is considered satisfactory progress. See the program handbook for more information.

Other

Students pursuing research degree generally supported with tuition remission throughout study career. Students pursuing classroom-based (Non-thesis) M.S. occasionally supported, generally without tuition remission (unless they personally locate same via separate department, e.g., Athletics).

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Master fundamental knowledge in at least one of the broad areas of specialization represented in the Department of Kinesiology. (Thesis-based tracks)

2. Demonstrate understanding of major current and past theories, research findings, methodologies, and techniques in their areas of specialization.

3. Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in their area of specialization.

4. Complete an original research project in one of the broad areas of specialization represented in the Department of Kinesiology. (Thesis-based tracks)

5. Select and utilize appropriate methodologies to conduct research, analyze, and interpret resulting data.

6. Prepare a thesis or research report describing their research project.

7. Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to their area of specialization.

8. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge in the broad areas of specialization represented in the Department of Kinesiology. (Non-Thesis based track)

9. Demonstrate an understanding of the major current and past theories, research findings, methodologies and techniques in each of the broad areas of inquiry represented within the Department of Kinesiology.

10. Retrieve and examine scientific literature, evaluate evidence for and against hypotheses, and be able to discuss strengths and weaknesses in existing literature.

11. Recognize and apply principles of professional and ethical conduct. (Thesis-based tracks)

12. Use scientific rigor when designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting and reporting results.

13. Recognize and apply principles of professional and ethical conduct. (Non-Thesis based track)

Kinesiology

Faculty: Ausderau, Barnes, Bell, Benedict, Cook, Diffee (Chair), Eldridge, Gruben, Hornberger, Koltyn, Larson, Mason, Pickett, Schrage, Travers, van Kan.