If you are a new student, pre-kinesiology major, or non major looking for additional information, please review our degree options or contact Education Academic Services at or (608) 262-1651.

The undergraduate program in Kinesiology has three major options:

  • Exercise and Movement Science

    Exercise and Movement Science: Admission is limited and competitive. Students are admitted to the program only once a year, effective for the summer following selection. Once admitted, exercise and movement science students typically spend two years completing their remaining coursework.

  • Athletic Training

    Athletic Training: Admission is limited and competitive. Most students apply for admission during their sophomore year. Students are admitted to the program only once a year, effective for the summer following admission. Once admitted, students usually take two years to complete the professional part of the AT degree program.

  • Physical Education Teacher Education

    Physical Education Teacher Education: Undergraduate physical education students generally apply to the professional part of the physical education degree program in their sophomore year. Currently, students are admitted to the program twice a year, effective for the fall or spring semester following selection. Once admitted, students typically spend five semesters completing their remaining coursework.


What you’ll need if you apply for a graduate degree in the Department of Kinesiology:

  1. Online Application: The UW Graduate School Online Application, including its supplemental apps section (to name your area of specialization or track), must all be submitted at the Graduate School website.
  2. GRE: Kinesiology requires GRE scores for the general test. GRE scores may be self-reported when you apply, but if admitted we will require an official report. Official scores can be submitted to UW–Madison using the institution code 1846. Copies, faxes, and PDFs are considered unofficial
  3. Personal Statement: Kinesiology needs your personal statement of reasons for graduate study included within your online application to the UW Graduate School. As part of your personal statement, you should discuss why you want to be considered for the track or area of specialization identified in the supplemental application portion of the online application.
  4. Letters of Reference: Identify at least three persons who can recommend you as qualified for graduate study.
  5. Transcripts: All university-level educational transcripts should be provided. You may upload electronic transcripts. Your unofficial transcripts, if legible and complete, will suffice for departmental review. If admitted, official transcripts will need to be submitted to the Graduate School
  6. International Students: TOEFL (or similar). Official scores are requested by the student and submitted electronically to UW–Madison institution code 1846 by Educational Testing Service. Copies are considered unofficial.
  7. Application Fee Grant: The Graduate School offers a limited number of fee grants to ensure the application fee is not a barrier for potential students. Please see the Graduate School site for more information. You can also contact the Kinesiology Graduate Coordinator to ask about fee waivers if you are not eligible or do not receive a grant through the Graduate School.


All applicants should direct administrative and procedural questions to the Kinesiology Graduate Studies Coordinator at

Mailing Address:
Kinesiology Grad Office, Rm. 1013
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2000 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI  53706


The Kinesiology Department reviews applicants and has the right to recommend an applicant’s admission to the UW–Madison Graduate School. The Graduate School retains the right to make the final admission decision. To apply for admission, you must submit, via the UW Graduate School, your online graduate admission application. The Kinesiology Department reviews your application after you complete and submit it online to the Graduate School. Kinesiology decides whether to ask the Graduate School to certify your official admission.

Please NOTE that there is usually substantial time, sometimes months, between application completion and notice-of-outcome. During this time our faculty members do their review. For further discussion, see deadlines below.


Your Kinesiology graduate admission requires scores, with percentile, from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). For general information on taking the GRE , please visit the exam provider’s website.

  • Kinesiology requires scores from the GRE General test (Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing).
  • Kinesiology doesn’t set any GRE minimum scores (or minimum total score) for admission. Faculty will evaluate your GRE scores as one factor among all factors in an admission decision.

HOW TO PROVIDE GRE SCORES: We will take your GRE scores and percentiles (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) in either or both of two ways when you apply.

  • Self-report: You may self-report your scores and percentiles in the online application’s education section for the purposes of departmental review.
  • Official Score Submission: If admitted to Kinesiology, you will need to provide your official scores. You should submit your official scores directly to the UW–Madison Graduate School using the institution code 1846. Because you submit scores directly to the Graduate School, any and all departments to which you apply will see your official GRE scores via your online application. Historically, official scores have taken from two weeks to eight weeks to become visible to departments.


Your statement is your formal application’s most consolidated, direct, intensive, and personal communication with Kinesiology faculty. It tells them why you think they should admit you for graduate study and outlines your specific areas of interest. We recommend that you prepare your statement before beginning an online application. Your statement is a significant intellectual exercise, so we hope you will use considerable care and thought in making it compelling and persuasive.


If you are admitted to the Kinesiology Graduate Program, your admission is to a specific Graduate Program Area, often called a specialization or track. This can be either a research specialization or the non-thesis MS track. Please visit the UW Guide for the MS program and PhD program to see advisors, a description of the specialization, specific requirements, and prerequisites. We encourage students who are interested in performing research to contact faculty advisors within their area of interest to inquire about specific requirements and lab openings.

The Graduate School Application will require you to select an area of specialization from the drop down menu in the supplemental application section. You should also discuss your specialization area of interest in your Personal Statement to explain to the Kinesiology faculty reviewers why you want to be considered for the area of speculation identified. If you are interested in more than one area, be sure to discuss during your personal statement.

Research-based Areas of Specialization:

  • Biomechanics (MS and PhD)
  • Exercise Physiology (MS and PhD)
  • Exercise Psychology (MS and PhD)
  • Motor Control and Behavior (MS and PhD)
  • Physical Activity and Epidemiology (MS and PhD)
  • Occupational Science (Formerly Therapeutic Science) (MS and PhD)

In a research track, you eventually must develop and apply an experimental methodology in which you hypothesize results about a narrow experimental question in consultation with your faculty advisor. You then evaluate and report actual experimental results in an effort to contribute new knowledge to the expertise in that research area (or to develop new hypotheses for further research).

Non-Research Based Area of Specialization

  • Non-Thesis Track (MS only)

The non-thesis track is designed for students who have a broad general interest in Kinesiology and would like to receive graduate-level training across all areas of Kinesiology rather than focusing on one specific area. Students may choose from a variety of electives to tailor their MS to their specific educational and career goals.


A bachelor’s or master’s degree in Kinesiology or a related field generally satisfies all the prerequisite requirements. If the bachelor or master’s degree was completed in an area outside of Kinesiology, the applicant must complete and Anatomy and Physiology course in addition to two courses from within one of our areas of specialization.

Applicants who lack some prerequisite courses may still be considered for admission. These students would be admitted with “deficiencies.” The deficiencies must be made up before a graduate degree will be granted. Often the deficiencies are made up during graduate study, but early applicants with few deficiencies and access to an institution of higher education can sometimes take and document their deficient courses prior to graduate matriculation.


At least three letters of recommendation are required for an application to the Kinesiology graduate program. The UW–Madison Graduate School accepts online letters of recommendation and the online application includes a section that you may use to request online recommendations.

Do not submit paper letters or other paper application materials to the Graduate School or to any office or address other than the Kinesiology Graduate Program. If you do, they are likely to be delayed, sometimes substantially, or lost/ unidentified.


All university-level educational transcripts are required for an application to the Kinesiology graduate program. The Kinesiology graduate program strongly prefers online uploads of transcripts at the application stage. This facilitates online application review. We hope that it is also cheaper, easier, faster, and more efficient for applicants, especially those applying to multiple institutions. If you are able to scan a personal copy of your official transcript, or if you can obtain an unofficial electronic transcript, you may upload it to your online admission application.

If the Kinesiology Department ultimately recommends your Graduate School admission, then we will need your official transcript(s) so we can send them to the Graduate School for their final review. When we require official transcripts, we will notify you.

If you submit paper transcripts when you apply, be sure to send them directly to the Kinesiology Graduate Program Office, not to the Graduate School. Paper transcripts (or any mailings) sent to any office other than the Kinesiology Graduate Program Office will be delayed, sometimes substantially.


The UW Graduate School requires all graduate students to have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) prior to entry into graduate status at UW–Madison. Applications may be submitted while the bachelor’s or other undergraduate degree is still in progress, but the undergraduate degree will need to be completed by the start of graduate study. If the bachelor’s or equivalent degree will be conferred (officially granted, listed on transcript) after graduate study begins, the UW Graduate School will allow a short grace period for proof-of-degree.

The Graduate School’s official minimum GPA for undergraduate work is 3.0 (if the grading scale was A=4.0 as a maximum). A department may seek a waiver of the GPA minimum if it feels that the applicant has a particularly compelling qualitative background.

Applicants whose undergraduate work was evaluated on a grading scale other than A=4.0 may submit transcripts with the original institution’s grades, marks, or scores, and UW will do its own conversion.



Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide evidence of English competence on the TOEFL or accepted alternate assessment. Please see the page on Graduate School Admission Requirements for more information.


International students must comply with United States law that requires a showing of adequate funds to cover all expenses, including tuition, for the expected duration of studies here. The Graduate School enforces this requirement. See the international applicant financial information page for details. If you are an international student (required to make a showing of funds), please do NOT submit financial documentation until the Graduate School specifically instructs you on when, where, and how to do so.

That will occur: a) after you complete your application; and b) only if you are recommended by a department for admission. A showing of funds is unnecessary when you first apply. It can be counter-productive to submit funding information too soon. The amount of funding that an international student must prove is offset by any offer-of-support that the department might make (for example, a teaching assistantship).

The Department of Kinesiology sets no formal deadline for applications, but we recommend having all materials submitted by February 15 for fall semester admissions. This is particularly applicable to non-thesis MS applicants. In general, for all applicants, the Department will review applications until we have no further openings.

  • The Kinesiology graduate program can admit for the fall or spring semester.
  • You may apply as early as you wish, if the online application is available for the desired term of admission.
    • Most applications arrive five to ten months before the desired admission date.
  • Faculty may review individual applications as they become complete, or they may consolidate several applications for batched review.
  • Non-thesis MS applications will always be reviewed in batches by a committee.
    • Application completion by Feb. 15 facilitates this non-thesis committee process.
  • Sometimes faculty can reach a decision within a few weeks of an individual application being completed. Most of the time, faculty review will take several months.
  • Most admissions decisions are reached four to eight months before the start of classes.

The UW Graduate School does have some deadlines. Applications should be submitted AT LEAST:

  • Domestic applicants – two weeks before the start of classes
  • International applicants – six weeks before the start classes

If you will not be able to complete your application by February 15, we might still be able to consider you, but the later your application, the greater your benefit in checking in advance with a graduate faculty member of interest or the Graduate Studies Coordinator about specific circumstances.

While there are no departmental deadlines for admission, there are deadlines for applications for competitively awarded scholarships/fellowships. These applications are generally due in January or February. Graduate students who have been admitted to a program are eligible to compete for scholarship/ fellowship awards for their first year of graduate study. Scholarships and fellowships are competitive, and there is never any assurance of an award. Applicants to the graduate program who wish to be accepted by January should plan to complete their graduate application a minimum of several weeks prior to January of the calendar year they wish to begin graduate study.



Education Academic Services

(608) 262-1651

139 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
FAX: 608-262-0095


Kinesiology Graduate Studies Coordinator

Kinesiology Graduate Office, Rm. 1013
University of Wisconsin–Madison
2000 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI  53706

Main Office

(608) 262-0259

School of Education
Unit II Gym
2000 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-112