Kinesiology and Sport Sciences

Students working in the sports science lab

UNK’s Kinesiology and Sport Sciences Department offers some of the most popular and dynamic programs in the region. Our focus is on preparing students for a variety of fields that involve pedagogy in health and exercise, recreation and sport sciences - with graduate opportunities in the health and medical professions.

With our state of the art Wellness Center, Physical Activity and Wellness Lab along with our newly renovated Athletic Training Education Lab, students study human movement from the physiological, mechanical and psychological aspects getting a holistic view of a healthy mind and body.

Our graduates are prepared for careers in the growing fields of sport management, athletic training, PE and coaching, managing parks and recreation facilities as well as fitness and wellness.

Find out more about our nationally acclaimed and ranked programs.

Contact us:

Kinesiology and Sport Sciences
Cushing 129

Athletic Training Education Program

The University of Nebraska Athletic Training Education Program (UNK-ATEP) is developed in accordance with the CAATE Standards for the accreditation of athletic training education programs. Courses include didactic and clinical instruction in subject matter areas as determined by the NATA Athletic Training Educational Competencies. The program offers the student a wide variety of field experience settings for the practice of applying the knowledge and skills acquired.

The Curriculum

The Athletic Training Education Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney has a clearly defined position within the university and departmental framework. The program is in compliance with the CAATE standards for the accreditation of athletic training degree programs. The program contains three distinct parts. They include 1) the educational core courses as they fit into the university model, 2) the clinical or practica that stands together with the official course progression, and 3) the continuation of clinical education through field experience opportunities. The clinical experience is thorough, progressive, applied, and it exists within a competency based framework. The three aspects together are designed to compliment one another while offering the student exposure to a wide variety of experiences within the field. The program has a clear acceptance criteria, which allows for a selection process for entry and maintenance of its students as they progress through the program. The department and university have demonstrated financial support as well as demonstrate the ability to offer a wide variety of resources to support the program and its growth. Facilities and equipment reflect what is in use and comparable to that commonly found within the professional setting. There is a qualified individual, designated by job description, as the program director who provides an administrative and supervisory role for the program. There is adequate staffing that operate in compliance with required competency based educational outcomes. Staffing not only meets academic requirements but also addresses the needs demonstrated by the athletic department for coverage of the university sports teams.

Click here for more information on the Athletic Training Education Program.

Exercise Science

The Exercise Science major is designed to prepare professionals for the popular for-profit health and fitness industry and for careers in research, academia and medical professions. People desire to keep fit, eat properly, lose weight, and enjoy an active healthy life-style. Professionals in exercise science assist in this through providing services in profit-making organizations such as fitness clubs, health clubs, racquet clubs, corporate fitness/wellness organizations, and in private training. Employment opportunities are also available in rehabilitative and preventative fitness programming at hospitals and sports medicine clinics. Some students in exercise science choose to continue their education after completing our program by attending recognized masters and doctoral programs in exercise science and medical professional schools such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractics or dietetics.

  • The Major in Exercise Science is designed for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the medical profession, research or are interested in pursuing a masters or doctoral degree. Students who choose the Major in Exercise Science are required to declare a second major or a minor. Student advisors are able to help select a minor to complement the major for the students’ individual goals.& Popular minors include Health Sciences, Public Health, Psychology or Biology.
  • The Comprehensive Major in Exercise Science Fitness and Wellness is designed for those desiring careers in fitness and health clubs, corporate wellness and fitness settings, personal training and strength and conditioning.

For more information about Exercise Science click here.

Health Education

For more information on Health Education click here.

Physical Education

In many ways, this is an exciting time to become a teacher in Physical Education and Health. Currently, the United States is feeling the effects of a "fitness" boom. Most Americans now realize the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. With this knowledge, many parents have become allies of Health and Physical Educators, and are pushing for more opportunities for their children to exercise in school. It is also an exciting time to be a Health or Physical Educator due to the recent upsurge in teaching positions available. The advent of the "Rule of 85" in Nebraska has left many school districts scrambling to replace retiring teachers. Placement of our graduates the last two years has been outstanding. We invite you to become a part of the excitement!

For more information on Physical Education click here.

Recreation, Outdoor, and Event Management

The Recreation, Outdoor, and Event Management program is designed to prepare persons for careers in organizations serving the public with recreation programming. City recreation programs, hospital or institution programs, YM & YWCAs and local, state and national parks, and camp operations are examples of agencies or organizations that hire recreation and park management majors.

The program consists of three specialization options for students:

  • Management - for those interested in administration of programs found in above agencies;
  • Travel and Tourism - for those interested in the tourism and hospitality field;
  • Natural Resources and Park Management - for those interested in games and parks or outdoor recreation.

Coursework is varied but includes foundations of recreation and parks, camp leadership, computer applications, program development, facility planning, management of programs, therapeutic recreation for special populations, and research. Also included are additional courses for each area of specialization.

Click here for more information on Recreation, Outdoor, and Event Management

Sports Management

The Sports Management Major is a business-oriented program designed for the individual who desires a career in the business side of sports. Preparation is focused toward employment in professional sport, sport regulatory agencies (NCAA, NAIA, AAU), conference headquarters (Big 12, Big East, Pac 10 as examples), athletic departments of division I or II colleges and universities (sports information, development, marketing to name a few), and facility management (for example the Alamodome, Kemper Arena, and United Center).

Students complete a set of comprehensive courses including sport psychology and sociology, sport law, sport marketing, organization and administration of sport and financing sport, as well as an array of business courses (accounting, finance, advertising and public relations to name some). We strongly encourage the majors to complete an additional six business courses which would qualify them for a business administration major to compliment their Sports Management Major.

Click here for more information on Sports Management Program

Supplemental Endorsements

The department offers these Supplemental Endorsements for students wishing to specialize and make themselves more marketable upon graduation. Students should realize that these are Supplemental Endorsements, and therefore students must pair them with either a Teaching Field Endorsement, or two Teaching Subject Endorsements in order to graduate. Any Teaching Endorsements offered at UNK are acceptable except in the case of the Adaptive Physical Education Endorsement, which must be paired with a Physical Education Teaching Endorsement.

When an individual graduates with these Supplemental Endorsements, they give themselves an edge when looking for teaching positions. Often the ability to coach or serve as an adaptive specialist is the reason our students are selected over other applicants.

Interscholastic Coaching Supplemental Endorsement
Designed to prepare future teachers as coaches for school sponsored athletic teams. Currently, coaches are in high demand across the country. This Endorsement will give the future teacher/coach an edge on both the athletic field, and in their jobs.

Students who complete two Teaching Subject Endorsements or one Teaching Field Endorsement may complete one or more Supplemental Endorsement.

Graduate Degree Programs

Online Programs

Master Teacher of PE Handbook