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BS, Kinesiology

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

Study the complex role of physical activity in human health and performance across the lifespan

The Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology provides a well-rounded, scholarly understanding of human movement and physical activity. The program addresses historical, cultural, developmental and biophysical bases for participation in movement activities for people of all ages. Students gain an understanding of how human movement works, the factors that directly influence movement and the benefits of an active, movement-oriented lifestyle.

Perfect for those interested in

  • Enhancing sport and human performance
  • Promoting active lifestyles across populations
  • Reducing risk of preventable disease associated with physical inactivity
  • Improving quality of life via rehabilitative practices
  • Adapting skills for those with different motor abilities
  • Advocating access to safe and high quality physical activity spaces for all


Career Paths

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Doctor, Physician Assistant, and Nursing 
  • Chiropractic 
  • Prosthetics
  • Athletic Training
  • Sport Management
  • Coaching
  • Fitness & Personal Training
  • Physical Education
  • Health promotion and wellness
  • Parks & Recreation programming

Program Overview

The Kinesiology major is one of the 10 largest at UMD, with 774 current undergraduate students. While there are many benefits to joining our program as a freshman, the majority of our students join our major as transfer students from other institutions and from other majors on campus. Our interdisciplinary program examines innovative ways to improve human health and performance by introducing our students to the breadth of Kinesiology. Our students explore human physiology, biomechanics, cognitive motor behavior, and environmental, socio-cultural factors and their affect on human health, motor performance, and sport organizations. 


UMD created the first Kinesiology  ‎
‏‏‎  degree in the United States

At the completion of the B.S. degree in Kinesiology, students should demonstrate the following competencies: 

  1. Students will interpret, synthesize, and critically analyze research underlying the kinesiological dimensions of physical activity and health.
  2. Students will develop principled reasoning skills necessary to apply and extend Kinesiological knowledge to address problems that are relevant to physical activity and the health of diverse populations.
  3. Students will integrate, interrogate, and communicate the connection between the scholarship of Kinesiology and the goals of Public Health. 
  4. Students will engage in a diversity of physical activities both within and outside their formal curriculum.
  5. Students will integrate their physical activity experiences with kinesiology sub-disciplinary knowledge.

To earn a B.S. in Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, students need to complete 120 credits.

  • 46 credits of Kinesiology major requirements
  • 18 credits of supporting major requirements
  • 24 credits of General Education courses
  • 32 credits of Elective

Note: credit totals may vary depending on coursework selected by students. For example, some physical activity courses are 1 credit while others are 2 credits. Additionally, General Education credit requirements can be reduced by selecting one course that will satisfy multiple requirements. Elective credit totals may vary based on incoming transfer credit, including AP/IB credit.

Explore All Kinesiology Degree Requirements on the UMD Catalog

Review Four Year Plans and Benchmarks on the CASA website
Find Courses by Semester on Testudo

Sample Kinesiology Course Offerings

Course Name Course Description
KNES401: Zip Code: Prediction on Physical Activity & Health An exploration of the relationship and impacts of built and other social environments on health, including physical activity, social equity, gentrification, and many others. Hide Se
KNES484: Sporting Hollywood Popular representations of sport within the film media related to wider social discourses on bodies and the politics of various categories of subjectivity (gender, sex, race, class and nationality).
KNES457: Managing Youth Programs: Educational, Fitness and Sport An examination of the basic functions involved in managing physical education, fitness, and youth sports programs. Focus on leadership skills, organizational management, and techniques for applying learned skills in a variety of organizational settings that serve the nation's youth.
KNES465: Physical Activity and Disease Prevention and Treatment Critically examines the scientific evidence that supports the use of physical activity to prevent and treat age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, abnormal lipoprotein-lipid levels, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis and cancer.
KNES405: Principles & Techniques of Manual Muscle Testing It is critical for sports medicine and sport performance specialists to understand the location and inter-relationships of the structures of the body that impact human movement. Thus, the primary purpose of this course is to facilitate an in-depth, understanding of the muscles of the body. Specifically, students will learn the origins, insertions, primary and secondary functions, as well as nervous innervations of the major muscle groups of the body. In addition, students will develop palpation skills and learn to grade the function of each muscle through manual muscle testing techniques.
KNES334: Adapted Physical Activity: Empowering People with Disabilities to Lead a Healthy and Active Lifestyle. Study of the field of adapted physical activity and its impact on the health and wellness of individuals with disabilities. Students will design an adapted physical activity program proposal and develop the skills needed to empower people with disabilities to participate in physical activity and sports programs and to lead active lifestyles.
KNES332: Exercise Testing & Prescription for Fitness Professionals Practical applications of exercise physiology and psychology to target fitness instruction for the general adult population Includes discussion of certification standards and professional development as well as evaluation of program safety and current trends.
KNES306: Prosthetics for Limb Amputations Introduction to the science of prosthetics and the artificial devices that are designed, developed and fit to replace the missing body part or parts lost through trauma, disease or congenital conditions.
KNES402: Biomechanics of Sport Mechanical determinants influencing sport techniques. A quantitative, scientific basis for sport analysis with emphasis on the application to numerous sport activities. Evaluation and quantification of the filmed performance of athletes.
KNES226: The Cybernetic Human Can the profound and rapid technological advances experienced in the 21st century change what it means to be human or the nature of humanity? Emergent technologies, new materials, increased computer power, engineering innovations, and groundbreaking work in the sciences of cognition and action provide myriad opportunities for repairing and enhancing the human body and brain. Examines the ethical, social, and technological implications of an increasing synergism of technology and the body in sports and the arts, at work or home, rehabilitating the body and the brain, and society at large.

Planning to become a physical therapist? Visit the SPH Dual Degree page to learn more about the guaranteed admission pathway with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Explore our academic minors

The Department of Kinesiology offers three minors for students interested in a more focused area of our interdisciplinary field. These minors are not available to students in the kinesiolgoy major.

Minor in Biomechanics and Motor Control

Analyze human movement and the physical and physiological principles upon which it depends and the influence of growth and development upon human and motor performance.

Minor in Exercise Physiology

Enhance your learning of whole-body and molecular aspects of cardiovascular physiology, metabolism, aging, health, and disease.

Minor in Sport, Commerce, and Culture

Study modern sports culture through interdisciplinary lenses like anthropology, sociology, economics, gender studies, history, race studies, and urban studies.