The Kinesiology master’s program allows students to choose from several areas of focus, including cognitive motor neuroscience, exercise physiology or physical culture studies. Students with backgrounds ranging from physiology to communications to engineering come together to work on complex problems related to physical activity and its role in human health. Students gain valuable experience through involvement in the department’s groundbreaking research studies and outreach work.

Find out more about the admissions process and deadlines.

View our Department of Kinesiology Flyer.

Explore Program Details


The goal of the Master of Arts degree program at the University of Maryland is to prepare students in the core specializations within the field of Kinesiology. Students meet this goal not only through formal coursework, but also through active engagement in research, departmental activities, current research seminars, and through attendance at professional meetings at the state, regional, national, and international levels. Students may select the thesis (T) or non- thesis (NT) option within the Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree. Both degree options require a minimum of 30 credit hours. The Thesis option requires a minimum of 24 hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of thesis. The Non-Thesis option requires a minimum of 27 credits of coursework, a written comprehensive examination, and a 3-credit project. 


  1. Students will be expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the interdisciplinary field of Kinesiology, and be able to analyze their own research and locate it in relation to the broader field of kinesiology, and the aims and objectives of the School of Public Health.
  2. Students will be expected to identify, apply, and critique the range of empirical foci, concepts and theories, and research methodologies, appropriate to their specialized area of kinesiological inquiry.
  3. Students will be expected to originate, develop, and complete individually generated, high quality, and prescient scholarly research appropriate to their specialized area of kinesiological inquiry.


Core Courses
KNES 600, Kinesiology in Public Health (3 credits)
KNES 601, Epidemiology and Kinesiology (3 credits)

Research Skills and Methods course (3 credits)
KNES 610 or its equivalent will meet this requirement

Research Tools/Processes course (3 credits)
Research tool course is required. (e.g., analytical techniques)
KNES 610 or EDMS 645 or equivalent may NOT be taken to meet this requirement

Professional Ethics course (1 credit)
Numerous ethics courses will meet this requirement

Specialization courses (6 credits)
A minimum of 6 credits of formal coursework, typically KNES

Outside Specialization (3 credits)
A minimum of 3 credits of formal coursework outside Kinesiology

Elective Courses (3-6 credits)
Either inside or outside specialization; may include KNES 689

Comprehensive Examination (0 credit; required for Non-Thesis option)

KNES 798 (3 credits; required for Non-Thesis option):
Required “Research Project” credits

KNES 799 (6 credits; required for Thesis option):
Required “Thesis” credits


Thesis Option: The thesis is the culminating experience in the MA-Thesis program and reflects the student’s ability to conduct original, independent research that will expand the body of knowledge in the specialization. The Thesis Proposal and Oral Defense represent Milestones 2 and 3, respectively, in the masters degree. The thesis topic must be within the advisor’s and student’s specialization and consistent with the student’s proposed Program of Study (Milestone 1). Research skills necessary to complete the thesis are developed gradually through the “research methods and tools” course requirements.

Non-Thesis Option: Includes coursework, a culminating research project, and a comprehensive examination leading to the Master of Arts degree. Students complete a comprehensive examination with a committee of faculty in order for the student to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge within the chosen specialization. In addition, students complete a research project, approved by a faculty committee, related to the specialization that requires independent scholarly engagement culminating in a final paper.