Kinesiology (M.S.)

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.  Students must earn a grade of B- or better in every required course and must complete a capstone requirement to finish the degree.

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.


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)1-2
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
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.

  • Demonstrates mastery of major theories, approaches, concepts, and both current and classical theoretical findings within their selected field of study.
  • Compiles and critiques current peer-reviewed research, practice of industry standards, and theoretical foundations to produce a paper or project of publishable quality that enhances existing knowledge or creates new knowledge in a specific area within the option.
  • Demonstrates proficiency and mastery of specific skills within the profession, which is grounded in evidence-based practice.
  • Displays professionally appropriate behaviors, ethical standards, sensitivity, compassion, tolerance of individual differences, and demonstrates the ability to work in a diverse and interprofessional work environment.