About the School

In the School of Kinesiology, you can find undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in both discipline-based and professional areas ranging from the broad study of physical activity and biomechanics to sport management and human performance to recreation and leisure across the lifespan.

Our work

The School of Kinesiology focuses on the biological, developmental, social, and behavioral bases of physical activity, recreation, sport and human performance through its programs in Kinesiology, Sport Management, and Recreation Administration. Our academic degree programs prepare students for a variety of professional opportunities in both public and private sectors that include teaching, research, health promotion, rehabilitation, medicine, coaching, sport administration, and services related to physical activity and fitness. Positions are found in settings that include schools, colleges and universities, public and private agencies, clinical environments, government, business, and the military.

Kinesiology faculty conduct research across a wide range of topics, including:

  • metabolic syndrome and obesity
  • childhood and adolescent obesity
  • physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity prevention
  • posture stability and motion sickness in virtual environments
  • development of motor control and adaptive behavior in patients with neurological damage
  • physical activity, health and disease
  • psychological and social development of youth through sport participation
  • youth sport
  • sport management ethics and policy
  • contributions of sport to positive social development
  • media representations of females in sport
  • use of technology in physical activity and health interventions
  • culturally relevant physical activity programming

The school is home to an internationally recognized program in exercise science and health enhancement in the Laboratory of Physiological Health and Exercise Science (LPHES) and to the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, the first center in the world dedicated specifically to issues related to girls and women in sport and physical activity. The Tucker Center is supported by an endowment from U of M alumna Dr. Dorothy McNeill Tucker.

Our discipline

Kinesiology, broadly defined, is the study of human movement. In American higher education, the term is used to describe a multifaceted field of study in which movement or physical activity is the intellectual focus. Physical activity includes exercise; activities of daily living; work, sport, dance, and play for improvement of health and physical fitness. It often involves special populations such as children and the elderly; persons with disability, injury, or disease; and athletes. Kinesiology can include many specialized areas of study in which the causes and consequences of physical activity are examined from different perspectives.

The specialized areas of study apply knowledge, methods of inquiry, and principles from traditional fields of study ranging from the natural to the social sciences. Areas of investigation typically include: exercise physiology; biomechanics; history and philosophy of sport; sport and exercise psychology; sociology; movement science; neuroscience; recreation; pedagogy; sport management; and sports medicine. An interdisciplinary approach involving several of these areas is often used in addressing problems of importance to society.

The study of kinesiology can lead to a variety of professional careers in teaching, research, coaching, and delivery of services related to physical activity and fitness, recreation, health promotion, rehabilitation, sports medicine, and allied health. Career advancement includes professional occupations in a variety of settings including schools, colleges and universities, public and private agencies, clinical environments, government, business, and the military.