The Top 5 Online Bachelors in Kinesiology Degree Programs
Kinesiology refers to the study of the mechanics and systems involved in the movements of the human body, though some academics study kinesiology in non-human species. Generally speaking though a degree in kinesiology focuses on the physiological, chemical, and even psychological mechanisms that drive the various movements or physical actions of people in various contexts such as sports, injury, recovery, or simple day-to-day life. While the applications of this science are quite broad the degree is usually attained en route to a career in coaching, physical education, orthopedics, or in athlete training and consulting. It is also one of the best degrees for those seeking to become a professional coach, as described in our article exploring The Best Degree Types for Coaches.
Considering the general applicability of kinesiology to various areas of study and career paths, the degree offers students an impressive amount of freedom as a choice for undergraduate study. The applicability of the field also means that many students and professionals may seek the degree as an enhancement of a current career or as a supplement to a different area of study. For those who are looking to earn this degree amidst a current profession or during another degree program, an online option affords the level flexibility needed to earn a degree amid burdensome workloads and demanding schedules. Thus we have focused this list on the best programs that can be completed entirely online, and have narrowed it down to eight of the best undergraduate kinesiology degree programs available.
- Affordability (1/3): The tuition of the program and estimated cost per credit hour for out-of-state student.
- Flexibility (1/3): The number of flexibility-enhancing elements including concentrations, emphases, prior learning or experience credits, accelerated courses, and competency-based credit options.
- Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the parent institution as by other other prominent ranking entities such as US News & World Report.
1. Concordia University St. Paul
Concordia University Saint Paul (CSP) is a liberal arts institution with a rich history steeped in the Christian philosophy and principles implied by the school’s name. Concordia embraces students from all belief backgrounds, however, and though its degree programs are designed to foster spiritual growth they do not impose belief systems on students. Concordia is also a leader in online education and employs a student-centered approach through small class sizes and high levels of student-instructor engagement. The success of this focus on student growth and success is demonstrated by highly impressive employment stats with over 92% of CSP receiving jobs after graduation.
CSP’s focus on student success outcomes is also evident in its Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science program. While many kinesiology programs are designed according to broad learning outcomes, such broad backgrounds can often be burdensome to students seeking employment in a specific area if their education is more generalized than their specific career goals. CSP has tackled this problem by offering a highly focused kinesiology degree, that is, exercise science–which will prepare students for successful careers as athletic trainers, sports coaches, chiropractors, wellness coaches, physical therapists, and more.
- Tuition per credit hour: $420
- Flexibility enhancing features: Accelerated program track available.
2. American Military University
The American Military University has been ranked a top online university by U.S. News & World Report for 4 years running (2013-2016), and has received numerous awards and distinctions for its excellent treatment of veterans. It is also the #1 provider to the U.S. military, servicing over 65,000 students through degree programs that can be completed entirely online. These programs offer amazing flexibility through the availability of monthly class start dates and personalized class-work schedules, so students can plan their education even amidst the most hectic of schedules, and literally choose when, where, and how they learn.
The American Military University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences, which as the name of the degree implies is more encompassing than a kinesiology degree. This generalized approach allows the program to cover a wide range of coursework and subjects that might otherwise be left out of a more traditional kinesiology degree. This allows students to study areas of business skills, sports law, psychology, and how they relate to a health science career. For students who desire more specialization in their degree program there are three concentrations available: Coaching Studies, Exercise Science, and Fitness and Wellness Professional Studies. And for students who enjoy a more broad foundation there is a General degree concentration, which delves deeper into a large number of interdisciplinary subjects.
- Tuition per credit hour: $270
- Flexibility enhancing features: Highly affordable, 4 degree concentrations available.
3. California Baptist University
California Baptist University Online was designed to meet the needs of a generation of students who seek to further their education while balancing professional and family responsibilities. Thus all of the University’s degree programs can be completed entirely online, and in many cases, in a short amount of time compared to similar programs. 100% of the University’s faculty is Christian, and thus a primary focus of its degree programs is the spiritual growth fueled by encouraging relationships between students and instructors. Students are also assigned personal academic advisors to help them make the most of their time in the program.
The University’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program is completed in an average of 18 months, making it one of the most fast-paced programs on this list. Students can choose, however, to speed up or lower this pace according to personal needs and learning propensities. The program also delivers a much broader and complex curriculum than the name of the degree implies with topics ranging from professional presentations, career advancement, to mastering industry technology. And in the place of degree specializations, the program offers course electives that can tailor the degree to meet individual student’s career goals. The program also integrates Christian faith, values, and ethics into the practical application of kinesiology, making it a prime option for students who wish to foster their faith while earning their degree.
- Tuition per credit hour: $547
- Flexibility enhancing features: Average completion time of 18 months.
4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is determined to become a leader in the online education industry. Through a unique focus on student needs and the maximization of digital learning technology, the University is certainly at the forefront of distance learning practices. Faculty of the online degree programs are specially trained in digital education strategies and interfaces, so that students can receive the utmost of today’s technology. The University is also constantly adapting its methods and strategies to national and international best practices and standards, so distance students can remain assured that they are participating in some of the most well-designed programs the online learning world has to offer.
The University offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Wellness which distinguishes itself on this list as one of the most research intensive, as it requires students to both explore and analyse the industry’s newest research and also requires that they go out into their communities to conduct their own field research. And as the name of the degree implies the curriculum extends beyond that of a traditional Kinesiology education, and emphasizes skills of leadership, research, and advocacy, so that students can apply their degree to a vast variety of professions. And to this end, the program offers students the opportunity to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), so that they stand out from the competition immediately upon graduation.
- Tuition per credit hour: $748
- Flexibility enhancing features: CHES certification option.
5. Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) is a school that has been at the forefront of online education for over a decade, implementing cutting-edge virtual learning technology and introducing a high standard of ‘best practices’ for the online higher d. industry. In 2016 ASU was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 most innovative university in the country, just ahead of Stanford in 2nd place and MIT at 3rd place. ASU has received numerous other accolades that demonstrate its commitment to delivering a world-class education in the online format, an encouraging prospect for students who may have had doubts as to the quality of online degree programs.
Though ASU offers a traditional Bachelor of science (as well as masters) in kinesiology, the degree is unfortunately not available online. What is available, however, is ASU’s bachelors in interdisciplinary studies. This degree can be used to craft a course of study that can include everything from kinesiology to video game development. In fact, students are required to choose two separate disciplines to inntegrate into their course of study. Some that might pair well with the study of kinesiology include personal health, psychology, family and human development, or global health. Through a varied and extensive array of electives, students may also tailor their course of study to more closely follow the traditional kinesiology program as well.
- Tuition per credit hour: $500
- Flexibility enhancing features: ‘Build your own major’ option