Kinesiology (M.S.)

Kinesiology (M.S.)

Athletic Training student

Why get your master’s degree in kinesiology?

At UNH, a master’s degree in kinesiology allows you to choose among three specialization areas: exercise science, outdoor education or sport studies. Each area focuses on applying cutting-edge knowledge to practice and will prepare you to take the next career step in healthcare, program management, sport administration or advanced research.

Why choose UNH’s kinesiology M.S. program?

UNH’s kinesiology graduate faculty are recognized leaders in their fields. The program emphasizes both classroom learning and hands-on learning in the lab and the field. You will graduate from the program prepared with the leadership skills and confidence needed to succeed in the workplace and emerge as a leader in your chosen area.

Potential careers 

  • Academic instructor/professor 
  • Adventure therapist 
  • Athletic administrator 
  • Clinical exercise physiologist 
  • Intercollegiate coach 
  • Outdoor program coordinator 
  • Sport marketing and business analyst 
  • Strength and conditioning coach 
  • Youth program specialist
Department of Kinesiology
New Hampshire Hall, 124 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2071

Curriculum & Requirements

The Department of Kinesiology offers a degree with the following areas of concentration: exercise science, outdoor education, and sport studies. In addition, the Departments of Kinesiology and Social Work offer a dual degree program, which consists of a master of science in kinesiology with a concentration in outdoor education, as well as a master in social work (M.S.W.).

Exercise Science Concentration:

The MS in Kinesiology: Exercise Science prepares individuals for advanced careers in health and fitness promotion and education programs in hospitals, sports medicine centers, wellness clinics, universities, and rehabilitation facilities. Students are also prepared for terminal degree programs in the health professions, basic biology fields, medicine, or other health-related fields. The MS in Kinesiology: Excercise Science falls on the National Science Foundation list of STEM degrees. The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) number is 26.0908.   Students must earn a grade of B- or better in every required course and must complete a capstone requirement to finish the degree. Interested students should consult with the option coordinator, Dr. Summer Cook.

Outdoor Education Concentration:

The University of New Hampshire is a leader in graduate education in the field of outdoor experiential education. Our graduates have gone on to run collegiate outdoor programs, pursue Ph.D.'s and join college faculty, design executive leadership programs, direct outdoor education centers, work in non-profit management, administer state and federal projects, lead international programs, and teach in K-12 schools in both the public and private sectors.

The goal of the Master of Science program is to prepare outdoor experiential educators with the skills necessary to become managers and directors of outdoor/experiential education programs, conduct advanced practice, and/or pursue a related degree at the Doctoral level. In addition to core courses, students focus on one of three areas: higher education outdoor programming, youth development outdoor programming, or adventure therapy (through the combined MS/MSW dual degree with Social Work).

Students focusing on higher education outdoor programming gain an understanding of college-level policies, practices, and program structures common to outdoor programs in institutions of higher education, particularly those with outdoor orientation programs (OOPs). Students focusing on youth development outdoor programs learn about contemporary perspectives on youth development, especially related to participation in non-formal educational programs in a variety of outdoor settings and activities. Students focusing on adventure therapy become eligible for licensure and clinical social work practice in wilderness, community-based, or other settings.

Sport Studies Concentration:

The Kinesiology Sport Studies graduate program focuses on preparing professionals in youth, interscholastic, intercollegiate programs and elite sport agencies to provide extraordinary sport experiences. Providing an understanding of the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills within the context of sport is essential in developing sport professionals at UNH. Our curriculum provides a framework of coursework, and the flexibility to focus preparation on careers in coaching or administration or additional graduate study in sport psychology.  In addition, students have opportunities for applied experience and research with faculty. The graduate program in Kinesiology: Sport Studies engages students in learning experiences in the classroom, in applied settings, and in research.  The focus on a theory-to-practice approach is infused throughout the curriculum with the goal that our students will be well prepared professionals as they enter the workforce or further graduate study.

Degree Requirements

All degree candidates will be required to complete courses listed in the Masters Degree Core, the designated concentration core, and electives as required in order to meet the 30-credit minimum necessary for graduation.  In addition to coursework, students follow either the thesis, the non-thesis, or the advanced research plan as described below.

MASTERS DEGREE CORE

Select one of the following graduate statistics courses or equivalent:
EDUC 881Introduction to Statistics: Inquiry, Analysis, and Decision Making4
SW 962Data Analysis and Statistics3

Exercise Science Concentration

KIN 896Advanced Research in Exercise Science6
KIN 901Analysis of Professional Literature4
KIN 902Colloquium (may be repeated once for a total of 4 credits)2-4
Additional elective courses are selected in consultation with academic advisor to meet the 30-credit minimum necessary for graduation 1

Sport Studies Concentration

KIN 880Psychological Factors in Sport4
KIN 840Athletic Administration4
Select one advisor­-approved KIN elective at the 800 or 900 levels3-4
KIN 901Analysis of Professional Literature4
Additional elective courses are selected in consultation with academic advisor to meet the 30-credit minimum necessary for graduation

Outdoor Education Concentration

KIN 883Psych Factors of Adventure Ed4
KIN 884Historical Foundations of Outdoor Experiential Education4
KIN 885Program Models and Evaluation in Outdoor Education4
KIN 886Organization and Administration of Outdoor Education Programs4
KIN 897Advanced Topics in Outdoor Education2-6
KIN 993Teaching Practicum2
Students pursuing the Higher Education Outdoor Programming focus also must take the following:
KIN 950Internship2-4
and
RMP 872Law and Public Policy in Leisure Services3
or EDUC 897 Special Topics in Education
One Approved Elective 23-4
Students pursuing the Youth Development Outdoor Programming focus must take the following:
HDFS 950Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Development4
One Approved Elective 33-4
Students pursuing the Adventure Therapy focus must be dually enrolled in the MSW program and also take the following:
KIN 882Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Programming4
For additional information on the dual MS/MSW degree, see Program Description above.

Thesis Plan

A minimum of 30 approved graduate credits, including a thesis (24 graduate course credits plus 6 thesis credits), as well as an oral defense of the thesis, are required in the thesis plan.

Non-Thesis Plan 

A minimum of eight approved graduate courses (with a minimum of 30 credits) are required in the non-thesis plan. Four credits of KIN 895 Advanced Studies are required. A student may begin taking KIN 895 Advanced Studies only after completing at least three approved graduate courses.

Advanced Research Plan

Exercise science students who elect this plan must take a total of 6 credits of KIN 896 Advanced Research in Exercise Science. Outdoor education students who elect this plan must take a total of 6 credits of KIN 897 Advanced Topics in Outdoor Education. In addition, exercise science and outdoor education students must orally present their research to faculty and peers.

Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: VT (MA ME CT Outdr Educ)*

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

In addition, if applying to the Exercise Science or Sports Studies option, at least two of the letters must come from professors that you took classes from at your undergraduate institution.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful personal statement regarding: 1) reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives, and 2) your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field. 

Outdoor Education: Prepare a concise and focused personal statement describing: 1) Reasons you wish to pursue graduate study in outdoor education, including your career objectives, and 2) your specific research or professional interests. Be sure to specify how your interests match with the scholarly or professional focus of a specific faculty member in our program. Please visit the Outdoor Education faculty and research web pages and review faculty publications. It is also appropriate for you to contact the faculty member/s you are interested in studying with via email or phone for more information about their current research. 

Exercise Science: Applicants to the Exercise Science M.S. program should provide a 500 word maximum statement pertaining to how their research interests align with current faculty interests. This research interests statement should be included as part of your personal statement in your application and is to aid in aligning prospective students with faculty mentors. Please review the Exercise Science faculty and research web pages and review faculty publications. It is also appropriate for you to contact the faculty member/s you are interested in studying with via email or phone for more information about their current research.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Additional Department Requirements

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

The Adventure Therapy dual degree program between Social Work and Kinesiology is New England Regional eligible for CT, ME, MA, RI, VT. 

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

Exercise Science Graduate Assistantships
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available each academic year. These assistantships are highly competitive and are awarded to meritorious students exhibiting skill sets that coincide with exercise science option & faculty needs. Graduate assistants carry a full academic load (6-12 credits per semester) and are expected to contribute 20 hours per week in the area that the assistantship is held. The areas are typically associated with: a) clinical programs; b) laboratory research; or c) teaching. Graduate assistantships are for one year with possible renewal the second year depending on performance and funding availability. In order to be considered for a graduate assistantship, go to the application link below and fill out and send in (email, FAX, or regular postal mail) the application by the due date. Late applications are generally not considered.
Application for Graduate Assistantship

Master of Science in Kinesiology: Outdoor Education
The University of New Hampshire is a leader in graduate education in the field of outdoor experiential education. Our graduates have gone on to run collegiate outdoor programs, pursue Ph.D.'s and join college faculty, design executive leadership programs, direct outdoor education centers, work in non-profit management, administer state and federal projects, lead international programs, and teach in K-12 schools in both the public and private sectors.

Goal of the degree program and focus areas
The goal of the Master of Science program is to prepare outdoor experiential educators with the skills necessary to become managers and directors of outdoor/experiential education programs, conduct advanced practice, and/or pursue a related degree at the Doctoral level. In addition to core courses, students focus on one of three areas:

  • Higher education outdoor programming
  • Youth development outdoor programming
  • Adventure therapy (through the combined MS/MSW dual degree with Social Work)

Students focusing on higher education outdoor programming gain an understanding of college-level policies, practices, and program structures common to outdoor programs in institutions of higher education, particularly those with outdoor orientation programs (OOPs). Students focusing on youth development outdoor programs learn about contemporary perspectives on youth development, especially related to participation in nonformal educational programs in a variety of outdoor settings and activities. Students focusing on adventure therapy become eligible for licensure and clinical social work practice in wilderness, community-based, or other settings.
Accelerated degree pathway
In addition to the tradition two-year residency-based Masters program, we offer a 15-month accelerated pathway. Students spend one year in intensive study on the Durham campus, then work remotely during their third semester to complete their culminating project, joining faculty at the AEE international conference for final presentations.
Helpful links
Searchable Graduate Course Listings
Graduate Program Catalog with Course Descriptions
Contact
Dr. Michael Gass, Program Coordinator
Michael.Gass@unh.edu

  • Five Outdoor Education and Leadership students created a series of virtual activities to help educators engage their students in the online learning environment.
    Five Outdoor Education and Leadership students created a series of virtual activities to help educators engage their students in the online learning environment.
  • Name: Rebecca Daniels Hometown: Andover, MA UNH Major: Kinesiology: Exercise Science Graduation Year: 2016  What are you currently doing? I am a research coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital, working on exercise intervention studies to improve recovery following concussion. 
    Name: Rebecca Daniels Hometown: Andover, MA UNH Major: Kinesiology: Exercise Science Graduation Year: 2016  What are you currently doing? I am a research coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital, working on exercise intervention studies to improve recovery following concussion. 
  • Name:  Sean McGrimleyHometown:  Seneca Falls, NYMajor:  Physical Education & Health PedagogyGraduation Year:  Undergraduate 2010, Graduate 2011 What are you currently doing?I am currently teaching elementary physical education at Little Harbour School in Portsmouth, NH.  Along with teaching...
    Name:  Sean McGrimleyHometown:  Seneca Falls, NYMajor:  Physical Education & Health PedagogyGraduation Year:  Undergraduate 2010, Graduate 2011 What are you currently doing?I am currently teaching elementary physical education at Little Harbour School in Portsmouth, NH.  Along with teaching...
  • Faculty Spotlight
    Name: Michelle Grenier Title: Associate Professor Department: Kinesiology  What is your research about? I work with teachers and students (both with and without disabilities) in the physical education setting, examining how teacher practices can enhance student learning across social, physical and...
    Faculty Spotlight
    Name: Michelle Grenier Title: Associate Professor Department: Kinesiology  What is your research about? I work with teachers and students (both with and without disabilities) in the physical education setting, examining how teacher practices can enhance student learning across social, physical and...
  • NH Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health
    UNH Health and Physical Education students received the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Awards for Physical Activity and Health for Residents with Disabilities. The New Hampshire Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health, on behalf of Governor Christopher Sununu, aims to recognize those who...
    NH Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health
    UNH Health and Physical Education students received the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Awards for Physical Activity and Health for Residents with Disabilities. The New Hampshire Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health, on behalf of Governor Christopher Sununu, aims to recognize those who...

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