Kinesiology Major

Defined as the study of movement, kinesiology opens the door for a career in everything from fitness-related industries to teaching, coaching and health-related fields like medicine, public health and physical or occupational therapy. If you want to turn your passion for physical fitness into a rewarding career that directly impacts people's health and wellness, a major in kinesiology could be for you.

Kinesiology is a dynamic, quickly growing, multifaceted field focused on the academic study of movement or physical activity. Physical activity includes exercising for improvement of health and fitness; learning movement skills; and engaging in activities of daily living, work, sport, dance and play. It involves the general population as well as special groups such as children and older adults; people with disabilities, injuries, or disease; and athletes.

Why UVA?

We understand the passion for health, fitness and sport performance. The satisfaction that comes with seeing an injured athlete recover, a patient use nutrition and exercise to improve his health, or a wheelchair-bound student learn to play tennis—it’s immeasurable. Regardless of where your passion leads you, our faculty will help to nurture and develop it.

Why the UVA School of Education and Human Development?

We’re big into hands-on experience at the School of Education and Human Development. That means you’ll not only learn in the classroom, but on the field, in the lab, in the clinic and with faculty. Together, we’ll prepare you for what comes after college—graduate school, medical school or a career in a variety of areas.

The blend of experiences you’ll receive as a Kinesiology major, especially the field and clinical practice, will prepare you in ways that other majors cannot. As a Kinesiology student, you’ll be working alongside some of the area’s finest in the wellness field.

What You'll Get

The Kinesiology major leads to a B.S.Ed. degree. If you have dual enrollment, AP and/or IB credits you can opt to accelerate your studies, earning a B.S.Ed. and M.Ed in five years. Accelerated study is available in Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities and Health and Physical Education Teaching. You'll need to apply to one of the M.Ed. programs by October 15 of your fourth year. GRE scores are due before the end of fall semester. An admission decision is made before the beginning of spring semester.

Though you'll have a number of required courses, you'll also have opportunities to shape your coursework according to your career goals, including adding a second major or a minor inside or outside of the School of Education and Human Development. A faculty member from kinesiology will serve as your academic advisor, assisting you with the selection of classes. Your advisor will also help you consider optimal settings for gaining hands-on experiences in clinical, athletic, or school settings.

“I began with an interest in athletic performance. Now, I have experience in cardiac rehab, fitness & wellness, and research, and I feel prepared for medical school and a health care career.”

– Andrew Paisley, 5th year Kinesiology M.Ed. Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology

Want to learn more?

The Kinesiology major is a direct-admit program. Students from high school apply directly to Kinesiology through the University's Office of Undergraduate Admission. Once enrolled, students take courses both in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Education and Human Development. Students are expected to meet all general education requirements in their first two years, so they can concentrate on Kinesiology courses in years three and four. In addition to coursework, students in the Kinesiology major have a practicum requirement.

Current UVA students can also apply to transfer into the Kinesiology Major. For information and step-by-step instructions on the transfer process, please see the School of Education and Human Development Admissions.

If you are interested in visiting us and finding out more about our Kinesiology program, please contact David Edwards ( and join us for one of our upcoming information sessions, held monthly each fall and spring term.

Also check out the tours offered through the undergraduate admissions office. The tour of grounds, taken together with our Kinesiology specific tour, should give you most of the information you need to decide if UVA is the right fit for you! Contact undergraduate admissions to make your reservations for their on grounds tour.

Kinesiology Information Sessions

Please visit the Undergraduate Programs Information Sessions and Events page for prerecorded sessions and additional information.

Program Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    High school students should have a strong GPA and competitive SAT scores. When completing the Common Application, they must be sure to indicate an interest in Kinesiology and adhere to application deadlines set by the University's Office of Undergraduate Admission.

    Current UVa students who are interested in transferring to the School of Education and Human Development can apply to the Kinesiology major by February 1. Space in the major is limited. Preference will be given to students who are taking/have taken Biology 2100, 2200 and 2040 and Biology 3410, are making good progress toward completing general education requirements, and performing at levels that will make them competitive for graduate schools in exercise science, medicine, and allied health fields. Current students can apply using the online application.

    Students who have begun their third year of study are not eligible for the undergraduate Kinesiology major. However, they may qualify for one of the graduate programs in Kinesiology. 

    Transfer applicants from other universities need to follow procedures outlined by the University's Office of Undergraduate Admission. Applicants must indicate an interest in Kinesiology on the Common Application. Preference will be given to students who are working towards the completion of the general education requirements, particularly science and physiology courses.

  • Application Due Date

    High school students and transfer applicants from other universities must follow deadlines set by the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. Current UVA students must apply by February 1 to transfer into the major. Admissions decisions are typically made within 2-3 weeks after the application due date; admitted students begin their studies the following semester.

  • Degree Requirements

    As an undergrad Kinesiology student, you’ll take general education courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences, and core Kinesiology courses—classes like anatomy, exercise physiology, motor development, biomechanics and contemporary health issues. Based on your own career goals, you’ll take additional prescribed courses and electives. You have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of courses and experiences so that you can be exposed to the many different aspects of the field.

    • if you plan to apply to Medical School or a Physician Assistant program, you will take additional science and clinical courses.
    • if you plan to apply to Physical Therapy School or a graduate program in Athletic Training, you will take additional electives in Sports Medicine.
    • if you plan to apply to graduate school in Exercise Physiology or Nutrition, you will take additional courses in exercise science and nutrition.
    • if you wish to pursue graduate training in Adapted Physical Education or Teaching School Health and Physical Education, you will take electives in those areas.

    There are four sub-disciplines within the Kinesiology Program at the graduate level: Adapted Physical Education, Athletic Training/Sports Medicine, Exercise Physiology, and Health and Physical Education. Each of these sub-disciplines offers master’s and doctoral degrees.

    Degree requirements and required course information can be found in the Undergraduate Record

  • Funding Opportunities

    Students may apply for federal financial aid and work-study opportunities through the Office of Student Financial Services. There are also some paid positions for experienced students in practica sites. Check with your advisor about this option. Kinesiology is also participating in the USOAR program.

  • Typical Length of Study

    Students must meet all undergraduate degree requirements in 8 semesters. Accelerated study and early entry into a relevant master’s degree program is possible.

    Semester of Entry:

    Admitted students enter the major one semester after their application is reviewed.

    Full or Part Time:

    This is a full-time program of study.

  • Course Overview

    Students are encouraged to attend University Career Services Pre-Health Advising for information regarding planning for pre-requisites in various fields. For example, pre med and pre PA students will need Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry; pre-PT students will need Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. Although biology is required for the Kinesiology major, the other sciences are not and would be considered electives. Various schools change their requirements and it is important for students to be aware of requirements for course planning.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at