The Department of Kinesiology Honors Program provides an opportunity for students to engage in challenging educational experiences related to the study of human movement, sport, and exercise. Students with strong intellectual interests and the ability to pursue those interests at a high level are eligible for this program. It is the goal of the Honors Program to nurture these students and encourage them to pursue their interests in a range of intellectual topics. The Honors Program in the Department of Kinesiology is primarily designed for junior and senior level students to encourage them to engage in scholarly independent study and discussions.

The goal of the Honors Program is to set high, but reasonable standards for admission and graduation. The program will consist of at least 21 credits of Honors course work and thesis writing. Interested students should contact Dr. Tim Kiemel, Honors Program Director for additional information.

Forms and Resources are here (for current KNES Honors Students)

Honors Program Objectives

  1. To recognize and encourage excellence among the Department of Kinesiology's undergraduate student population.
  2. To identify student leaders committed to the advancement of the Department of Kinesiology both on campus and beyond.
  3. To provide academically and professionally motivated students with comprehensive exposure to the breadth and depth of research being carried out with the Department of Kinesiology.
  4. To encourage, through intensive engagement with a faculty advisor, student to develop practical experience with a chosen area of Kinesiological research.
  5. To provide students with a variety of challenging and stimulating experience that will, in combination, assist them in realizing their future academic and professional goals.


Admission to the Honors Program is based on a multifaceted set of criteria and administered through the Departmental Honors Committee. Students interested in entering the Honors Program should submit a written request to the Chair of the Honors Program, described below in detail. Each application will be treated on an individual basis; therefore the Honors Committee may take work experience, leadership, motivation and maturity into consideration. Contact the Director for more information. The applicant must meet the following minimum requirements and is expected to participate in the Honors Program for a minimum of 3 semesters:

  1. An overall GPA of 3.50 on a minimum of 45 credits. (Exception: Students who are close to achieving a 3.50 GPA may submit additional materials to the Honors Committee for consideration.)
  2. Have a 3.50 GPA in courses taken within the Department of Kinesiology, to include at least 9 credits from the following courses: KNES 287, 293, 300, 350, 360, 370, 385.

Admission Process

Students interested in entering the Honors Program should submit a formal letter of application to the Director of the Honors Program at least 1 month prior to the beginning of either the Fall or Spring semester (applications due Aug. 1 and Jan. 1, respectively). Students typically apply at the end of their Sophomore year. Applicants should submit a single pdf document that contains the following information for review by the honors committee:

  1. On Page 1, please state your name, year, number of hours taken, overall GPA, GPA in the KNES core, and planned graduation semester.
  2. On page 2, please include an unofficial copy of your most current transcript.
  3. The remaining pages should include a letter directed to the honors committee in which you address the following points of information.
    1. Why you want to be in the Honors Program (in what ways you see it adding to your educational and personal development).
    2. The area of kinesiology in which you would be interested in developing a research focus for your Honors thesis.
    3. Describe your future career goals and how becoming an honors student will assist in achieving these goals.
    4. What, apart from your academics, have you done that makes you an outstanding student?

Students should include a copy of their unofficial transcript(s) to this letter and send it via e-mail to the Dr. Kiemel, Director of the Honors Program.

Once submitted, each application will be circulated to the Departmental Honors Committee, whose members will vote on whether to accept the applicant into the program. The letter is a critical part of the review process and applicants should thoughtfully consider their responses to the items listed above. In addition, following the stated directions appropriately is also deemed an important part of the process.Admission is based on both the application materials and space in this limited-availability program. Once decisions are made, the Director of the Honors Program will communicate the decision to the applicant.

Program Requirements

Participation in the Department of Kinesiology Honors Program requires completion of the following coursework requirements. Students are encouraged to apply near the end of their sophomore year, allowing 4 regular semesters in the Honors Program to complete all requirements (3 semester programs are feasible, but more difficult):

  1. At least 12 credits of course work must be completed in Honors or Honors equivalent courses. This requirement may be met in the following ways:
    1. 6-12 credits in 300 or 400-level H-section courses in the Department of Kinesiology* and/or
    2. 3-6 credits in 300-level or above University or College Honors courses and/or
    3. 3-6 credits of graduate courses ( In KNES; 600-level and above)

      *In special circumstances (e.g., studying abroad), 3 credits of other coursework can be applied toward the honors requirement. The "honors requirement" for this coursework will be negotiated with the Director. In the case of students studying abroad, upon their return the next semester, students will submit a written evaluation of their abroad experience and present a 20-25 min. seminar of their experiences during the Honors Seminar for the honors credit.

  2. In addition to taking the Honors Seminar throughout the program, students will take at least 6 credits of research/scholarship and thesis writing under the direction of a faculty member, culminating in a written thesis approved by the faculty member and the Honors Director. The student is also required to attend the KNES 478 Honors Seminar throughout their program and formally present an oral defense of the thesis. The thesis requirement involves the following:
    1. KNES 478- Honors Seminar (3-4 credits depending on number of semesters in program; 1 credit per semester).
    2. KNES 476- Honors Thesis Proposal (3 credits). A formal thesis proposal must be approved by the student's advisor and the Honors Director at least 1 semester prior to graduateion. This course may be used as one of the "option" courses required for Kinesiology majors.**
    3. KNES 477- Honors Thesis (3 credits). KNES 476 and KNES 477 replace KNES 497 for Honors students in the Kinesiology Major.**

      **A special note for students with an expected Fall semester graduation: KNES 476 and 477 are offered sequentially in the Fall and Spring semesters, respectively. Thus, students with a Fall graduation will be required to complete their thesis ONE SEMESTER EARLY. In their final, Fall, semester, they would take KNES 478 and any remaining courses required for the Honors Program requirements.

​​Continuation in the Program

Students must maintain an overall 3.50 GPA to remain in the program and to graduate with Honors. If a student's GPA falls below 3.50, he or she has one semester to meet the 3.50 standard or be dropped from the program. Students who have been dropped because of a low GPA may reapply to the Honors Committee when their GPA again meets the minimum criterion. Students must submit unofficial transcripts at the end of each semester (or beginning of the next semester) to demonstrate the GPA requirement.

Graduation Requirements

Students previously admitted to the Honors Program may graduate with "Honors" or "High Honors" from the Department of Kinesiology by meeting the following requirements:

The following are the requirements for graduation with Honors:

  1. Satisfactory completion of each of the honors coursework requirements, including the Honors Thesis.
  2. Completion of the Bachelor of Science Degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.50, with at least 60 credits completed at UMCP.

The following are the requirements for graduation with High Honors:

  1. Completion of each of the honors coursework requirements with grades A or B.
  2. Completion of an Honors Thesis rated as "Outstanding" by members of the student's Honors Thesis Committee.
  3. Completion of the Bachelor of Science Degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.70, with at least 60 credits completed at UMCP.