Program overview

Majors: Kinesiology (Exercise Science Concentration), Physical Education Teaching

What is Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the study of human movement and physical activity.  The study of kinesiology employs an interdisciplinary focus that includes anatomy, physiology, psychology, nutrition, history, education, athletic training and more.

Why Study Kinesiology

Currently, students of kinesiology are presented with an unprecedented variety of options for study leading to specialized graduate study, careers, and service to people of all ages in a variety of academic and professional settings.

Kinesiology majors may enroll in graduate schools to pursue degrees in medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, athletic training, chiropractic medicine, sports psychology, nutrition, and education. Others choose to become teachers and coaches, or work in fitness/wellness programs in hospitals, private businesses and corporations.

Why Cornell’s Kinesiology Department is Perfect For You

The Department of Kinesiology offers a range of courses for majors and non-majors that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the study of human physical activity.  Cornell’s One Course At A Time curriculum offers students the unique opportunity to immerse themselves full-time in exciting and varied internships and research projects to supplement their coursework.  At the end of their college career, our majors are prepared to pursue a broad array of graduate programs and career options.

Cornell offers two specific degree programs in the Department of Kinesiology: exercise science and physical education teaching, as well as courses that lead to Iowa Department of Education coaching endorsements and authorizations.  

Exercise Science Major

The exercise science major is designed to provide students with a solid academic foundation in the psychological and physiological principles of human physical performance. This is a flexible, science-based curriculum that helps prepare students for careers in the health and fitness industry, or for graduate studies in health fields including medicine and physical therapy. You can read more about our pre-professional programs in physical therapy and medicine here.

Our students are also prepared for graduate study in exercise science, sport and exercise psychology, occupational therapy, athletic training, nutrition, cardiac rehabilitation, and chiropractic medicine. Our new exercise science laboratory provides an excellent venue for faculty-student research, offering students valuable practical experience.

Physical Education Teaching Major

Those majoring in physical education may apply for teaching licensure at the elementary and/or secondary level. Physical education teacher preparation majors complete courses in methodology, motor learning, anatomy, adapted physical education, and field experiences prior to student teaching.  

Coaching Endorsement or Authorization

Many students are interested in qualifying to be a head coach or an assistant coach in any sport offered in the Iowa public schools. Course work is available leading to State of Iowa Coaching Authorization licensure.


Finally, the Department of Kinesiology offers opportunities for exciting internships in a broad range of fields and experiences including corporate fitness/wellness, physical therapy, athletic administration, and more. Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule makes it possible for students to fully engage in these experiences without scheduling conflicts.