M.S. in Kinesiology student handbook


Program overview

On behalf of faculty and staff at the School of Public Health (SPH), we welcome you to the Master of Science (MS) Kinesiology Program! This handbook can be used throughout your program to provide guidance for requirements, expectations and opportunities within the SPH and the Graduate School.

Vision of the School of Public Health

Equitable, healthy, and resilient communities. We achieve this vision through these values:

    1. Promoting health equity
    2. Embracing diversity
    3. Advancing knowledge
    4. Succeeding through collaboration
    5. Developing workforce excellence

Mission of the School of Public Health

To develop, disseminate, and apply knowledge to protect and promote the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The school’s goals that describe strategies to accomplish the defined mission:

  1. Develop and advance knowledge for public health through research and practice
  2. Cultivate and prepare a skilled and diverse workforce that can sustain equitable and healthy communities
  3. Prepare students to become public health practitioners, researchers, educators and leaders
  4. Lead innovative approaches to improve public health and reduce health disparities
  5. Engage with diverse communities through professional, educational, and scholarly service

MS Kinesiology Program

The SPH offers a Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited Master of Science (MS) degree in Kinesiology.

The goal of the M.S. Kinesiology program is to educate the best-prepared leaders who have training in the research areas (i.e. biomechanics, injury prevention and physical activity). 

Contact Information

For any program or application related questions or inquiries, please contact the Kinesiology Chair, Dr. Nora Constantino, at nlc@unr.edu, Kinesiology Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Nicholas Murray, at nicholasmurray@unr.edu or the Student Services Coordinator, Melanie Flores at melanief@unr.edu.

MS Kinesiology competencies

  • Design programs to promote exercise and physical activity to improve health, fitness, performance and quality of life for all people of all ages.
  • Measure and evaluate physical activity from a public health perspective.
  • Evaluate and refine foundations of movement, fitness, and performance.
  • Create and evaluate the practice of movement and physical activity.

Advisement and degree requirements

Required forms

All students will have an academic advisor beginning their first semester in the program. Students will meet regularly with their academic advisor to ensure that they are completing the appropriate degree requirements. Each student must complete a Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair form and submit it to the Graduate School no later than the end of the second semester of coursework.  Students will also meet with their academic advisor to discuss and complete a planned Program of Study (POS), a written plan of the courses required to complete their M.S. degree. This plan must be approved by the student’s advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies, and should be completed no later than the end of the third semester.  Finally, students will work with their academic adviser to complete the Notice of Completion form in order to graduate.  The Notice of Completion form should be submitted by the deadline listed in the University of Nevada, Reno academic calendar of their final semester

Graduate School Forms

Although uncommon, circumstances may arise that require the change of advisor. The SPH will consider the request for an advisor change for a legitimate, professional reason. All conversations and documents relevant to an advisor change are confidential, will be added to the student’s file, and will not be disclosed to unrelated parties. Either the student or the faculty advisor may initiate a change. In the event that a student wishes to initiate the change, please communicate directly with the Director of Graduate Studies about your intention to change advisors and they will go over the required procedure and documentation.

Required prerequisite coursework

Completion of an undergraduate degree, or graduate courses, in kinesiology and health related fields are required prior to admission into the M.S. Kinesiology program.

In addition, students who did not graduate from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health must complete the Basics of Public Health course that covers the 12 Foundational Public Health Knowledge learning objectives. The Basics of Public Health course is completed for no academic credit and the student pays no fees or tuition for completing the course. This course should be completed before the start of the program.

Degree requirements

All M.S. Kinesiology students must complete a minimum of 30 - 33 graduate level credits.


Courses are subject to change and should be confirmed with your advisor and the University course catalog.

Core courses (18-21 credits)

Professional paper options (6 credits)

  • KIN 794 – Professional Paper (3 credits)
  • KIN 786 – Practicum – Clinical Practice and Application (3 credits)

Thesis option (6 credits)

  • KIN 797 - Thesis (1- 6 credits) (6 credits required)

Elective courses (6 credits)

  • KIN 671 - Advanced Exercise Physiology: Cardiopulmonary Physiology (3 credits)
  • KIN 737 - Biomechanics of Strength (3 credits)
  • KIN 786 - Practicum - Clinical Practice and Applications (3 credits)
  • EDCT 647 – Curriculum Development in Career & Technical Education (3 credits)
  • EDCT 665 – Teaching Career & Technical Education (3 credits)
  • EDCT 671 – Career & Technical Student Organizations (3 credits)

Suggested course progression for thesis/professional paper students

Year 1: Fall semester

9-12 credits

  • EDRS 740 Univariate Statistics in Educational Research (3)
  • KIN 662 Advanced Athletic Training (3)
  • KIN 670 Exercise Physiology II: Principles of Training (3)
  • PBH 698: Graduate Seminar (1-3)

Year 1: Spring semester

9 credits

  • KIN 752 Physical Activity Measurements (3)  
  • KIN 756 Rehabilitation Techniques in Sports Medicine (3)
  • KIN 736 Biomechanical Applications in Kinesiology (3) 

Year 2: Fall semester

9 credits

  • KIN 797 Thesis (3) 
  • Elective (6) OR
  • *PED 466/666 Methods of Teaching Adaptive Physical Education (3)
  • +Elective (3)

Year 2: Spring semester

6 credits

  • KIN 797 Thesis (3) OR KIN 794 Professional Paper (3)
  • +Elective (3)

*Students who have previously taken PED 466 are not required to take this course; underlined courses are required core courses; KIN 797 thesis requires a minimum of 6 credit hours.

Master of Science, Kinesiology thesis

The requirements of these include

  1. To formulate a research question or identify an area of inquiry in biostatistics that is significant and timely;
  2. To analyze and synthesize a body of literature to address a question or area of inquiry;
  3. To unravel the research question through developing, modifying or approving biostatistical methodologies;
  4. To prepare a written document that effectively articulates the results and implications of scholarly literature.
  5. To effectively present and defend the findings of the thesis.

Before beginning the thesis, students must have their thesis proposal form and their program of study form approved by their academic advisor and committee members. Program of study forms are due the fall semester preceding enrollment of expected graduation. 

Once all requirements have been met, students need to submit a Notice of Completion form in order to graduate.

Part-time students should consult their faculty advisor to determine thesis timing.

Graduation process

Students have a total of 6 years to complete all degree requirements. All candidates for graduation should communicate with their advisor to confirm expectations for the final semester.

The student should purchase a graduation application before the posted deadline.  The Graduate School will review each application and email the students within 3 to 8 weeks with the result of their graduation review.


Academic and professional standards and policies

Academic standards

The University Academic Standards Policy defines academic dishonesty, and mandates specific sanctions for violations. See the University Academic Standards policy: UAM 6,502. Sanctions for violations of university academic standards for academic dishonesty may include academic and/or disciplinary sanctions. Academic sanctions for both undergraduate and graduate students may include: filing a final grade of "F", reducing the student's final course grade one or two full grade points, giving a reduced grade or zero on the coursework, or requiring the student to retake or resubmit the coursework. Before beginning the program, all students must review the University Academic Standards Policy.

Good standing

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are placed on probation. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.

To be counted toward the M.S. degree, each graduate course must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. To remain in good standing in the program, students are required to maintain a 3.0 “B” grade point average in both the core and the specialization, individually.

Probation and dismissal

According to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Code, Title 2, Chapter 11, “a student may be dismissed from a program for academic reasons which may include but are not limited to inadequate grades or failure to remain in academic good standing as defined by the program, a lack of professionalism or unethical conduct, or failure to comply with other specific program requirements. Failure to comport with professional and/or ethical standards applicable to the particular discipline or program may be grounds for dismissal from a program.” The School of Public Health has developed a dismissal policy that includes dismissal for failure to maintain required grades or required grade point average, dismissal for lack of professionalism, unethical conduct or failure to comply with other program requirements. Before beginning the program, all students must acknowledge that they have reviewed the School of Public Health dismissal policy.

Master's degree timeline

All course work must be completed within six (6) years preceding the awarding of the degree.

Transfer credits

Transfer credits are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at the University of Nevada, Reno in another program do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit is requested by using the graduate credit transfer evaluation request form available on the Graduate School website and must be signed by the student, advisor, and Director of Graduate Studies. Up to twelve (12) transfer graduate credits are permitted.

Graduate courses

Only graduate courses (numbered 600 or higher at the University of Nevada, Reno) are applicable toward the M.S. degree and can include web-based courses, however graduate credit may not be obtained through professional development, extension or correspondence courses.

Student unit loads

A full-time graduate student may not register for more than sixteen (16) graduate units in any semester, or more than six (6) graduate units in any six-week summer session. Audited or undergraduate courses will not be counted toward the 6-credit minimum requirement. Graduate assistants may not register for more than twelve (12) graduate units per semester.

Students who register for nine (9) graduate units or more in a semester are considered full-time. For graduate assistants on a 20-hour (half-time) contract, six (6) graduate units or more constitute full-time. To be considered full-time for financial aid purposes, all graduate students, including those on assistantships, must be enrolled in nine (9) graduate units; to be considered part-time for financial aid reporting purposes, graduate students must be enrolled in five (5) graduate units. For those graduate students who are required to take intensive english language center bridge courses, these courses can be considered part of full registration upon approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Continuous enrollment

To maintain in “good standing” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine (9) graduate credits each fall and spring semester depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each fall and spring semester they hold the assistantship.

Leave of absence

Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a leave of absence form available on the Graduate School website during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leave of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.


When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, he or she may request reinstatement via the reinstatement form. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to gradate standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.

Managing student complaints in the School of Public Health

  1. The University of Nevada, Reno has clear policies either through the Administrative Manual (UAM) or other sources for policies and procedures for handling grade complaints (final grades) and those related to Title IX (discrimination based on sex).  The following policies and procedures are designed to address complaints from students and from faculty not covered by these policies. Such complaints may involve grades, course management, faculty and/or student interactions, curriculum issues, and professionalism issues.
  2. Complaints made by a student should follow these steps whenever possible:
    1. Always start with the instructor to see if the issue can be resolved at the class level. This is an important skill for students to learn as they progress through their studies and is highly encouraged as a first step. If the complaint is related to your advisor, it is best to start at this level.
    2. If the student feels uncomfortable bringing the issue to the instructor/advisor or if the issue remains unresolved, the complaint may be submitted to the SPH Associate Dean who will work with the dean, appropriate division leads and/or program director to resolve the issue. A student’s name will not be disclosed during this process.
    3. If the complaint is not resolved at level b, it will then go to the SPH Dean for resolution/action.
      1. Important Notes: There is no wrong door for submitting complaints. Students can skip any of the steps described above.  While it is best to work directly with the instructor first, certain complaints that deal with professionalism or other sensitive concerns may be best handled by the Associate Dean or Dean as a first step.
      2. Students may file a complaint using the complaint form on the School of Public Health website. These complaints will be forwarded directly to the SPH Associate Dean, unless the student requests that the complaint be submitted directly to the SPH Dean. Complaints can be submitted with your contact information or anonymously. While anonymous complaints may be more comfortable, it can make resolution more difficult if additional information is needed.
      3. Students who choose to share their contact information will receive an individual response within one week for individual complaints. Students who submit a complaint anonymously will only receive acknowledgement that the complaint was received.
      4. The concierge service through the Provost’s office is also available for all students if that is more comfortable. Complaints submitted through the Concierge service will typically be forwarded to the Associate Dean and Dean.


Graduate assistantships

Graduate assistantships (GA’s) may be available for full-time and part-time students who qualify. Graduate special students and students on probation are ineligible for an assistantship. To apply for a GA position, complete the graduate assistant application that was sent to you with your notice of acceptance into the program.

GA’s may be for 10 or 20 hours of work per week. Typically, graduate assistantship work is teaching, or research related. In addition, state-funded GA’s are expected to serve in leadership positions, be on search committees, assist in recruitment of new MS students, assist with new MS student orientation, and serve as mentors to newer students. All GA’s must maintain satisfactory work performance during the duration of the assistantship.

All graduate students holding a GA position are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. GA positions include a monthly stipend, health insurance, and a full tuition waiver. To be eligible for a GA student must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) during Fall and Spring for the duration of the assistantship. Federal financial aid is based on full time enrollment (9 credits) of graduate-level courses (600-700 level). An enrollment of less than 9 credits of graduate-level courses (600-700 level) will proportionately reduce federal financial aid.

State-funded assistantships (GTA/GRA) may be held for a maximum of three (3) years for master’s degree students.


Health insurance

All domestic degree seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University online waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly.

General information about graduate health insurance


Graduate student association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents all graduate students and promotes the welfare and interests of the graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The GSA works closely with appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and student services and reports to the president of the University. The GSA government functions through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council, and established committees.