Graduate degree programs offered in kinesiology are available at the master’s (M.Ed. and M.T.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) levels.
The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program is designed to develop an understanding of major factors affecting specific aspects of physical education, sport, and exercise. The program area offers specializations in adapted physical education, athletic training, exercise physiology, pedagogy and sports medicine. Requirements within each option are distributed among: (1) a core of related courses usually taken within the department; (2) a supporting area suitable to the student’s specialty; (3) research projects, independent study, thesis, and/or practicum experiences as recommended by the advisor; and (4) electives. Graduates are prepared to work in educational settings such as schools, hospitals, athletic organizations, and private industry. The program also provides opportunities for the development of research skills and preparation for advanced graduate study. A minimum of 36 graduate credits must be earned for the M.Ed. degree, including the successful completion of a comprehensive examination or 30 credits and a thesis.
The post-graduate Master of Teaching program culminates in the M.T. degree and teacher licensure for health and physical education (grades K-12). Students interested in this program should contact the health and physical education teacher education coordinator for details regarding this two-year program.
The doctoral program (Ph.D.) in kinesiology is organized to provide an in-depth analysis of specializations in kinesiology through a course of study shaped by a faculty advisor, a doctoral program committee, and the student. Graduates are able to initiate, conduct, and evaluate research related to specific aspects of kinesiology and to demonstrate teaching behavior appropriate for college or university faculty. The program of study is shaped to meet the requirements of the selected specialization and the skills and qualifications of the student.
Adapted Physical Education The focus of the Masters program in adapted physical education (APE) is to prepare future adapted and general physical educators to meet the physical, motor, social, and learning needs of children with disabilities. The program is offered in cooperation with Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS), and this cooperative agreement allows APE Masters students to participate in a year-long internship providing APE services to children with disabilities in ACPS. The program consists of 36 credit hours spread across one year (summer, fall, spring, summer). Coursework and practica are planned to provide a core understanding of concepts and theories in APE, general physical education, and special education. Through carefully sequenced practica and coursework students are trained (a) in planning individual education programs following the Achievement-based Curriculum (ABC) Model, (b) to use a variety of assessment tools, (c) to apply a variety of teaching and consultative techniques including adapting the general physical education curriculum, (d) to understand the legal aspects of APE and special education, and (e) to understand and carry-out all procedures related to the IEP process. Graduates of the program are eligible to become nationally Certified Adapted Physical Educators (CAPE).
The Doctoral program in APE is designed to prepare future college university professionals and public officials in adapted physical education. The emphasis at this level is on developing research skills and applying them to current questions in the field as well as developing teaching, supervision, and advising skills needed to become a successful higher education professional.
Athletic Training This specialization provides M.Ed. graduates with advanced knowledge and skills in this allied health discipline. Students enroll in courses that reinforce the points of distinctiveness of the program: neuromuscular aspects of injury and exercise, therapeutic interventions, evidence-based practice, and clinical research. All students engage in advanced clinical experiences and conduct original research in the Exercise & Sport Injury Laboratory as part of a Masters thesis. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association accredits the post-professional Athletic Training masters program. Students must be a certified athletic trainer (ATC) as credentialed by the Board of Certification or be eligible for certification in order to qualify for the program. Students must be licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to practice Athletic Training.
Exercise Physiology This specialization acquaints graduate students with physiological concepts related to the acute and chronic effects of exercise on human subjects. Special areas of emphasis include interactions between exercise and health status, adult fitness, human performance, aging, environmental conditions, and nutrition. There are currently three areas of study in Exercise Physiology at the Masters degree level: 1) a Masters degree specialization which prepares students for advanced graduate study in Exercise Physiology and potential academic/research careers; 2) a Masters degree specialization which prepares students for clinically oriented careers in Adult Fitness, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Strength and Conditioning, and Health Promotion; and 3) a Masters degree specialization which allows students to combine options 1 and 2. At the Ph.D. level the specialization in Exercise Physiology is designed to prepare students to conduct original research in human and clinical aspects of Exercise Physiology and interpret and communicate the results of this research as authors, university professors, and/or governmental or research agency officials.
Pedagogy This area of emphasis is for students who already possess bachelors and master’s degrees in teaching physical education. This specialization prepares individuals to assume positions of leadership in teacher education at university or college levels. Academic experiences include preparation in the pedagogical knowledge base related to effective teaching; the utilization of both classroom and field experiences to train future physical education teachers; and research skills for investigating questions about effective teaching practices. A minimum of two years K-12 teaching experience is required of all entering doctoral students. Doctoral students participate in both ongoing research and original research. Further, doctoral students demonstrate mastery of supervisory techniques in field-based practicum experiences.
Sports Medicine The doctoral degree option in sports medicine is designed to prepare candidates to conduct research within athletic medicine and sports science.
Research experiences are gained by assisting with ongoing projects in the Exercise and Sport Injury Laboratory, by developing independent research projects, and by assisting with master’s theses in the athletic training specialization.
Teaching assistant opportunities are available in the undergraduate program in kinesiology and the NATA-approved graduate program in athletic training. Clinical work in athletic training and/or physical therapy is available through the on-Grounds athletic training clinic, as well as through several local private schools.