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Department of Kinesiology

Our Department's Mission

Kinesiology focuses on the complex role of physical activity in our health and well-being throughout life. Yet, physical activity and sport are more than essential components of maintaining health. Our department explores the historical, cultural, economic, developmental, cognitive, neuromotor and physiological aspects of our engagement in physical activity. 

We partner with experts in diverse disciplines to enhance human performance and improve public health. Our department was one of the first in the nation dedicated to the study of physical culture, and we launched the first undergraduate degree program in kinesiology in the nation in1974. 

Our research clusters include:

Cognitive Motor Neuroscience

Research in the Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Laboratory investigates the neural mechanisms underlying the selection, planning, learning, initiation and execution of movement. Using an interdisciplinary approach, these processes are studied from infancy to old age. Research programs include adaptive sensorimotor control and integration, exercise psychophysiology, neuromechanics, perceptual motor development, movement disorders and computational motor neuroscience.


Exercise Physiology

The Exercise Physiology group studies everything from the genetic aspects of exercise to the molecular and cellular aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiovascular biology. Faculty and students address important research questions related to skeletal muscle, cardiovascular physiology and metabolism. Studies also examine the influence of exercise interventions on preventing and treating disease and related risk factors.


Physical Cultural Studies 

The Physical Cultural Studies (PCS) group advances the critical and theoretical analysis of physical culture, in its myriad forms. These include sport, exercise, health, dance and movement-related practices.  PCS research seeks to locate and understand the expressions and experiences of physical culture in the broader contexts (social, political, economic, and technological) within which they are situated, and which they simultaneously help to (re)produce.

Our Degree Programs 

Kinesiology student Patrick Mullins '13 gets tested for VO2 max on treadmill

BS, Kinesiology

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Group of people doing stretching exercises

MPH, Physical Activity

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Feet running in a sunny day

MA, Kinesiology

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Feet running in a rainy day

PhD, Kinesiology

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Physical education teacher with children

Certificate, Physical Education (Masters)

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Recent KNES News

Miniature tree sits inside of a clear light blub. Light bulb has a black graduation cap with a gold tassel on top.
Department of Kinesiology Announces Whitlark Scholars
View Article Department of Kinesiology Announces Whitlark Scholars
School of Public Health Building, Front Entrance
Welcome New SPH Faculty and Staff, Fall 2022
View Article Welcome New SPH Faculty and Staff, Fall 2022
A group of African American, Latino and white UMD college students sit outside at a picnic table with pizza on paper plates.
​​​​​​​Summer Research Programs Boost Underrepresented Students' Success
View Article ​​​​​​​Summer Research Programs Boost Underrepresented Students' Success

KNES in Maryland Today

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Structural Racism Drives Higher COVID-19 Death Rates in Louisiana, UMD Study Finds

Black Families More Likely to Face ‘Stressors’ That Increased Vulnerability to Disease
View Article Structural Racism Drives Higher COVID-19 Death Rates in Louisiana, UMD Study Finds
Group sits in a circle in the woods

‘Forest Bathing’ as Stress Reliever

Participants Pause in the Woods for ‘Nature-Informed Therapy’ Hosted by Kinesiology Grad Program
View Article ‘Forest Bathing’ as Stress Reliever
Karen Shih walks covered in sensors for a study on gait changes in pregnancy

Ready, Set, Walk—or Waddle?

Behind the Scenes of a Kinesiology Study on Gait Changes in Pregnancy
View Article Ready, Set, Walk—or Waddle?