Explore a Kinesiology Degree… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of Physical Education, Health, & Kinesiology


Trainer helping student with muscle problems
Department of Physical Education, Health, & Kinesiology


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Prepare for a career in the health and wellness industry with an understanding of physical healing and fitness. The kinesiology major focuses on exercise, movement, nutrition, and disease prevention while preparing you for clinical health-related fields. This major also provides a solid foundation for further graduate study.

Why study kinesiology at Northwestern?

In the kinesiology program, you are able to choose from the following four tracks:

Health & Fitness
This track provides many avenues to help people improve their personal health. Health and fitness instructors assess a client's level of physical fitness and help them achieve health goals within typical work environments which includes fitness and sport training centers and health clubs. A health educator informs the public about important issues, such as disease prevention and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Health educators may work in a variety of settings, including universities, hospitals, non profit organizations, private businesses, or public health institutions.

Health Management
This kinesiology track is where health meets business. Equipped with a business minor,you will be able to work in broad healthcare industry roles, in the public and/or private sector.

Students interested in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and athletic training can enroll in a kinesiology pre-therapy program to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help restore movement to patients suffering from serious physical injuries, disease, or to enhance the abilities of those with physical challenges. This track includes coursework that focuses on injury prevention and evaluation, movement efficiency, rehabilitation, habilitation, and prerequisite coursework for advanced graduate schools.

Sports Management
This track prepares you for career opportunities as a professional manager in areas such as sports marketing, facility management, sports information, amateur and professional athletics, and sports and entertainment event planning. Coursework focuses on key kinesiology and business skills with specific application to the sports industry.

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving business and kinesiology industries.

If you enjoy learning about health, body mechanics, and how you can serve others, this might be the right degree for you.

I was amazed at the intricacies with which God designed the human body and found it fascinating to learn about. Seeing how important faith was in each of my classes was one of the things I loved most about Northwestern.

Careers in kinesiology

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in kinesiology.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Exercise specialist
  • Dietetics
  • Health and wellness coach
  • Weight loss center specialist
  • Group exercise instructor
  • Strength and conditioning coaching
  • Coach or referee
  • Fitness instructor
  • Recreation director
  • Corporate health programs
  • Fitness, pharmaceutical or exercise sales
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Biomechanics

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Nursing/assisted living homes
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Community education programs
  • Health/nutrition-related retail
  • Chiropractor offices
  • Health/fitness corporations
  • Corporations that sponsor employee wellness initiatives
  • Health clubs/specialized fitness studios
  • Sports and recreation facilities
  • Parks and recreation departments
  • Correctional facilities
  • Colleges and universities
View Career Guide

of seniors view the faculty as available and accessible

4 tracks

available for this degree


of Northwestern Kinesiology graduates plan to pursue further education

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Some fields listed above require professional certification. Though many entry-level positions may be obtained with anundergraduate degree, most will require additional clinical experiences and a graduate or professional degree.
  • There are many different ways to work within the health and fitness industry. Identify a particular area of interest and then seek to gain the best combination of educational preparation, experience and skills.
  • If you plan to go to graduate school, take the time to look at various graduate school websites and speak with admission counselors. Be sure the Kinesiology track you choose has the right prerequisites to get into grad school. If it does not, be sure to pick up those classes as electives.
  • Given the growing number of aging adults, many positions available in these areas will involve working with the elderly.
  • Fitness communication is also a growing field offering opportunities to write, research, and report on health and fitness related topics for newspapers, magazines, and websites. If interested in this area, take supplemental course work in English, journalism or broadcasting and seek opportunities to volunteer with local or campus newspapers or television/ radio stations.

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