By Published On: September 20, 2022

If you’re considering a degree in the exercise science field, deciding what area of specialization to study can be challenging. Depending on your career goals and interests, you may choose to study subject areas ranging from kinesiology, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports performance, or study under a broader exercise science degree program. 

When deciding between a general exercise science program, and a specialized program, such as a degree in kinesiology, there are a few key considerations to take into account.

Definitions: Exercise Science vs. Kinesiology

What is Exercise Science?

Exercise science is a broad term that encompasses the study of the human body’s response to exercise. It incorporates aspects of exercise physiology, kinesiology, and occasionally nutrition, and looks at how these elements impact human performance. 

What is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is a specific area of study that looks at biomechanical and physiological mechanisms of human movement. Those who study kinesiology will study areas such as musculoskeletal anatomy, movement analysis, motor function, and neuroplasticity.

What Do Exercise Science and Kinesiology Have in Common?

Exercise science and kinesiology programs typically have a lot in common. Those studying exercise science will typically study kinesiology as a part of the program. Kinesiology programs are less broad than general exercise science programs, but will also cover courses in anatomy and physiology, motor function, and movement, typically in a more-in-depth way. 

Exercise science and kinesiology programs can prepare students for similar careers, though some career pathways may prefer students take one or the other: for example, someone seeking a career in sports nutrition would get more out of an exercise science program than a kinesiology program, whereas someone looking to pursue a career as a physical therapist might get more benefit out of a kinesiology specific program. 

Differences Between Exercise Science and Kinesiology

Exercise science and kinesiology programs can prepare individuals for different careers. Those who study exercise science will study aspects of kinesiology, but will typically study a broader range of topics to gain general knowledge in the field that can help prepare individuals for advanced study in a variety of specializations. Those pursuing careers as fitness trainers, sports nutritionists, health coach, or fitness center managers would benefit from the broad curriculums of exercise science programs. Kinesiology programs typically dive deep into the science of biomechanics, anatomy, motor function, and movement, and can prepare students for pursuing careers in physical therapy, chiropractic, occupational therapy, and exercise physiology. 

Depending on where your interests lie within the exercise science field, a kinesiology specific program might be most beneficial for you to meet your goals. 

Educational Paths for Aspiring Kinesiologists

If you’re looking for a kinesiology bachelor’s program to prepare you for your future career, Concordia University Chicago’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program is 100% online and designed for working adults. With a tuition guarantee and over 50% transfer credit opportunities available, Concordia University Chicago makes it easier to earn your degree while balancing work and your personal life. 

Classes start every eight weeks. Ready to get started? Learn more about our BS in Kinesiology, and when you’re ready, fill out a free application. 



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