Kinesiology, M.S., Sport Performance

Kinesiology, M.S., Sport Performance


You’re ready to accelerate your life — your learning, your career, and your effect on others. At the heart of your interest in the study of human movement and well-being is a passion to serve others in body, mind, and spirit.

Earn your Master of Science in Kinesiology (MS-KIN) through PLNU’s accelerated program in just one year. The program offers a flexible course load suited to your professional and academic goals, giving you the tools you need to pursue your calling in the dynamic and growing field of exercise science.

Designed for careers in exercise physiology, cardiac rehabilitation, and fitness assessment and exercise prescription, the exercise science concentration will prepare you to:

  • Incorporate current best evidence and practices to make effective clinical decisions and advance scholarship in exercise science
  • Collaborate with colleagues to determine health, fitness, and disease states in clients and patients to enhance care
  • Create exercise interventions to prevent and treat chronic diseases

The program will prepare students as clinical exercise physiologists and cardiac rehabilitation specialists to receive the highest level of certification by the ACSM, which requires the completion of a master’s degree.


Accelerate Your Life

Earn an M.S. in Kinesiology in One Year

Program director Dr. Jeff Sullivan gives you a look inside PLNU's M.S. in Kinesiology.

Watch Video:
M.S. Kinesiology at PLNU

Relevant Experience

Take courses that pair a functional, applied learning approach with the latest industry research and trends, giving you the real-world experience today to fulfill your potential tomorrow.

PLNU Kinesiology Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant Positions

Each year, the program selects a number of highly motivated students for various graduate assistant and teaching assistant positions. The positions range from 5-20 hours per week and compensate students with a benefit comparable to 25%-50% of their tuition.  

Professional Preparedness

Foster relationships with industry leaders, gain exposure to internship and job opportunities, and learn from faculty and professional colleagues through a robust, flexible, and customizable curriculum.

Pursue Your Purpose

Develop a deeper understanding of how to faithfully apply your work to the wellness of the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — in the context of your particular concentration.

PLNU's MS-KIN program is designed to prepare knowledgeable and career-focused professionals for the dynamic and growing fields of exercise science, sport management, sport performance, and rehabilitation science. Through a robust curriculum, collaborative group work, and direct professional experiences, you’ll be equipped to integrate the current best research evidence with your professional practice to solve relevant problems for clients, patients, or businesses related to the healthcare, sport, and fitness industries.

This accelerated 12-month program offers flexibility, speed, and quality, making it ideal for working professionals and recent graduates with a four-year baccalaureate degree looking to advance quickly in their career. Graduates of undergraduate kinesiology programs such as exercise science, strength and conditioning, athletic training, physical education, sport management, exercise physiology, and pre-allied health are well-situated to pursue this master’s program.

The curriculum of the MS-KIN includes 30 total units. All students in the program will complete 18 units of core courses. Upon completion, students are required to follow a 12-unit concentration in either exercise science, sport performance, or sport management.

Take a tour of PLNU's Balboa Regional Center, which offers state-of-the-art classroom, research, and fitness spaces for PLNU graduate students.

Application Information

Program Start Date(s):

  • Fall 2022 - August 29th, 2022

Application Deadline(s):

  • Fall 2022 - August 10th, 2022

For those interested in applying to any of our Fall 2021 Graduate Assistant (GA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) positions, please scroll to the bottom of this page for information regarding Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant opportunities. 

For any additional questions regarding the GA and TA positions, please contact Jessica Elam at or Raaya Harris at, and for any questions regarding the MS-KIN program application, please contact Graduate Admissions at

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your undergraduate GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission-under-exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's MS-KIN, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript from that institution indicating the completion of an undergraduate degree.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

*Exceptions Policy: If you have a GPA below 3.0 in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Program Prerequisites

Please refer to the program prerequisite course descriptions below for any concentration within the MS-KIN program you may be interested in. 

Sport Performance Concentration

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Examines the human body from an integrated perspective. Topics include an introduction to chemistry and cell function, tissue types, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system.

Structural Kinesiology

In-depth study of the structure and function of neuromusculoskeletal components of the human body in motion.


Quantitative and qualitative assessments of human movement through the use of kinematic and kinetic means. Students apply the physics of motion to the understanding and teaching of movement in the physical activity and rehabilitative contexts.

*The Master of Science in Kinesiology, Sport Management is transitioning to a fully online format beginning in Fall 2021. Beginning Fall 2021, there will no longer be a face-to-face modality for the sport management concentration. We will only accept applications for the online modality. 

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admissions (including $50 non-refundable application fee, which is waived for PLNU alums, current or former military and their dependents, and PLNU employees).
  2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. (If you are a PLNU alumnus, please notify your counselor to have your transcripts retrieved. You do not need to request transcripts from the PLNU Office of Records.)

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
  3. Submit personal essay. Specifically state how you would like to use your master’s degree from PLNU to further your career. Make sure you clearly touch on these three points:
    • Clarify what job setting you see yourself pursuing upon completing the MS-KIN and specify how this degree program will help you in that setting.
    • Describe how you will appraise, use, and integrate current evidence in kinesiology into your professional practice.
    • State how your previous education and work experiences have uniquely prepared you for success in this program.
  4. Submit a resume/vita.
  5. Submit three professional references, including name, title, phone, and email for each reference.
  6. Ensure undergraduate course prerequisites are met:
    • Exercise Science Concentration: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Exercise Physiology
    • Sport Performance Concentration: Human Anatomy and Physiology, Structural Kinesiology, Biomechanics
    • Sport Management Concentration: No prerequisite other than those required for courses offered in the Fermanian School of Business

Start Application

Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistant Positions:

We offer a variety of paid Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant positions within our Kinesiology programs.

View Available Positions

You can indicate your interest in any of the positions during the application. If you have any questions, please contact your enrollment counselor.


Admission into a distance education program offered by Point Loma Nazarene University is granted at the time of initial acceptance into the program and is dependent on authorized program availability in the state where the student is physically located at the time of admission. If a student moves to another state after admission to the program, continuation within the program will depend on whether Point Loma Nazarene University is authorized to offer distance education courses in that state and/or whether Point Loma Nazarene University meets the professional licensure requirements for a specific program in that state. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the institution of a change in his or her physical presence.

State Authorization

State authorization is a formal determination by a state that PLNU is approved to conduct activities regulated by that state. PLNU is not required to obtain state authorization in every state, and the university has opted at this time not to seek authorization in some states. Additionally, PLNU meets the criteria for exemption from authorization in certain states.

At this time, PLNU does not have authorization in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, which means residents of these states cannot enroll in any PLNU online program or course. For more information refer to our disclosures page.

Authorizations in specific states may change periodically. PLNU recommends individuals contact PLNU admissions at (800) 733-7770 for the latest information.

Career Opportunities

This degree provides invaluable knowledge and experience on coaching, conditioning, and training athletic individuals and teams. Sport performance professionals work closely with individuals and communities to achieve distinctive fitness goals, exhibiting how the profession can be both mentally and physically rewarding as you will be able to grow alongside those you work with. There’s a large variety of jobs for sport performance professionals, and the projected growth of many sports performance career opportunities is growing much faster than the average for all occupations. A master’s degree furthers this field of opportunity and helps elevate graduates so they stand out and can secure high-paying and engaging jobs.

PLNU’s master’s in sport performance is designed to prepare you for careers in education, athletics, healthcare, sports administration, business, and many other specialized fields.

Sport Performance Career Routes:

Director of Strength and Conditioning

Top athletes need athletic trainers to stay injury-free, but strength and conditioning coaches make sure  they’re making their muscles stronger to prevent said injuries year-round. 

Yearly estimated total pay: $70,532 
Projected Growth: 39% from 2020 to 2030

Athletic Trainer

From the NBA to the NFL to the NCAA, athletic trainers play an important role in the development of athletic institutions, making sure athletes are their healthiest selves. 

The average salary in California as of 2022: $57,000 
Projected Growth: 23% from 2020 to 2030

Fitness Professional

Fitness professionals work with individuals or small groups to instruct and implement exercise and general fitness plans. Fitness professionals develop exercise regimens for clients, teach clients how to use complex equipment, and also help develop dietary plans for some clients with specific fitness goals in mind. 

2020 Median Annual Salary: $85,665
Projected Growth: 39% from 2020 to 2030

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists help patients manage their condition while also providing the best practices to achieve long-term healthy habits.

2020 Median Annual Salary: $91,010
Projected Growth: 21% from 2020 to 2030

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Kinesiology Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant Positions are available.

Each year the M.S. Kinesiology program seeks highly motivated students for various graduate assistant (GA) and teaching assistant (TA) positions. Compensation for these positions is based on experience, work hours, and hourly rates. The positions range from 5-20 hours per week at a benefit comparable to 25% - 50% of tuition. 

Learn More

Questions About Financial Aid? Meet Your Advisor

If you have any questions about your student account balance, payments, financial aid, or just need to talk about all of your options, please feel free to contact your assigned student financial services advisor:

Office of Student Financial Services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to be admitted into this program?

To be admitted into PLNU's MS-KIN program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript that indicates the completion of an undergraduate degree. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process.

Can I work while completing the program?

Absolutely. The MS-KIN program consists of blended in-person and online courses that allow for a flexible schedule, so you can continue to work full- or part-time.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for MS-KIN graduate and teaching assistant positions that include hourly compensation. Compensation for these positions is based on experience, work hours, and hourly rates. The positions range from 5-20 hours per week at a benefit comparable to 25% - 50% of tuition. This program also qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. For specific details, please contact PLNU’s Graduate and Professional Student Services.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The expected completion time is 12 months.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Two days a week (some quads only one day a week because one of the classes is online)
Quad system – six units per quad and two quads per semester

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 20 to 25 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Yes! As an international student, you can apply as a senior in university or any time after you obtain your bachelor’s degree. If you earned your baccalaureate degree outside of the United States, all documents must be translated into English and evaluated by members of National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). You must also submit official proof of English proficiency (TOEFL). Please contact Graduate Financial Aid and Student Support Services for more information.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

What if I have work or personal commitments that interfere with completing the program in 12 months?

We understand that work or personal commitments might make it difficult to complete your degree in the accelerated time frame. We'll work to accommodate you as best as possible to ensure you finish your degree while fulfilling your other obligations. For specific questions related to your circumstances, please reach out to your enrollment counselor.

Course List

Program Eligibility

To be reviewed for acceptance into this program, the following must be in place:

  • Completed application for admission to the PLNU Graduate programs and Master of Science in Kinesiology program, including a $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • Personal essay that describes why the candidate desires to participate in the Master of Science in Kinesiology and outlines professional goals for the future
  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution, as evidenced on an official transcript with a posted degree.
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.000 or higher.
  • Two references (e.g., professors or employers )who have current knowledge of the applicant's character, academic ability, and professional potential. 
  • Special Undergraduate course prerequisites:
    • Sport Performance concentration - courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology and Structural Kinesiology/Biomechanics; BOC-Certified Athletic Trainers or Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (NSCA) will be looked upon favorably for graduate assistantships.

Core Courses for Exercise Science, Sports Management and Sports Performance

KIN 6000 - Foundations in Kinesiology

This course provides an overview of the theory and applications in Kinesiology with specific emphasis on the exercise and sport sciences.  Leadership, professionalism, and engagement in these disciplines from a Christian approach will be emphasized.  Students will engage with the concept of incorporating exercise as preventive medicine.  The course will also include an exploration and overview of laboratory procedures in each discipline and facilities tour (i.e. EMG, ultrasound, metabolic cart, movement screening, exercise testing).  Students will formulate an initial research or capstone project idea as part of the MS degree, interfacing with program faculty and the university library to initially form and develop their research question or capstone project.

KIN 6010 - Evidence-Based Practice and Decision Making in Kinesiology


This course will enable students to practice the judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients and clients. Students will learn to integrate the best external evidence with their clinical expertise and patient concerns to: ask a focused question to satisfy the health needs of a specific patient; find the best evidence by searching the literature; critically appraise the literature; apply the results in clinical practice; and evaluate the outcomes in patients. This course is offered online.

KIN 6060 - Directed Readings

This course provides advanced study in the essential research of a specific discipline in Kinesiology.  Fundamental skills in reading and evaluating research will be acquired, including examining research paradigms, critically appraising study design and findings, and determining the practical relevance of the results.   This course may be repeated for up to two units of credit.

Prerequisite(s): KIN 6005, KIN 6010 or equivalent.

KIN 6088 - Internship or Practicum in Kinesiology

The Internship or Practicum experience provides the student with practical knowledge and direct and relevant experience in their chosen discipline.  Students may arrange the site(s) of internship or may inquire with their faculty advisor about opportunities in the San Diego region. Students can repeat KIN 6088 and are required to complete three units total.

Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor.

Choose one course from:

KIN 6095 - Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination tests mastery of applied and theoretical concepts appropriate for the Master of Science degree. Exams consist of a one-day written exam (4-6 hours).  $175

Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor.

KIN 6098 - Capstone Project

This course provides an extended experience for the student to produce a final project on a specific topic of professional interest.  Under the direction of a faculty advisor and thesis committee, and after completing KIN 6000 and KIN 6005, the student will conduct further data and will advance through the preparation and defense of a capstone project*. This course aims to enable graduate students to gather and/or analyze data to advance their field and professional standing. The qualified student will have previously defended a project proposal successfully in KIN 6005 .

*Note: If a student does not successfully defend their Capstone Project, a Program Extension Fee of $745 will be charged to the student’s account each semester until they complete the project.

Prerequisite(s): KIN 6005 or equivalent, and consent of Program Director.

KIN 6099 - Thesis

This course provides an extended research experience for the student in a specific topic of professional interest.  Under the direction of a faculty advisor and thesis committee, and after completing KIN 6000 and KIN 6005 , the student will conduct further empirical research and will advance through the preparation and defense of a thesis*. Course Aim: This course aims to enable graduate students to conduct original research to advance their field and professional standing. The qualified student will have previously defended a thesis proposal successfully in KIN 6005 .

*Note: If a student does not successfully defend their Thesis, a Program Extension Fee of $745 will be charged to the student’s account each semester until they complete the thesis.

Prerequisite(s): KIN 6005 or equivalent, KIN 6050 , KIN 6060 and consent of Program Director.

Sport Performance Concentration (17 units)

KIN 6005 - Research Methods

This course is an introduction to research methods to acquaint the student with analyzing the professional literature. The course will explore both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including descriptive and inferential statistics.  Topics will include: 1) selected techniques and designs used in research, with special emphasis given to planning, conducting, and reporting of research; and 2) applied statistical analysis and interpretation of data from the field of exercise and sport science. Students will produce an original pilot research project proposal including preliminary statistical design. 

*Students in the Sport Management concentration may substitute a BUS course for this core requirement (up to 6 units total may be substituted).

KIN 6015 - Biomechanical and Neurological Basis of Human Movement

Students will explore advanced concepts in biomechanics and motor control (neuromechanics). Topics will include muscle/tendon function and architecture, motion analysis, sensorimotor system architecture, reflex pathways and excitability, and postural control. A combination of lectures, group work, demonstrations, laboratory experiences and prescribed readings will be used within the course.

KIN 6025 - Special Topics in Exercise and Sports Science

The topics of this course will alternate based on faculty expertise and student interest. Each topic will provide students with a unique opportunity to gain certification or advanced specialization in an area of their choosing. Topics may include: Applied Function and Corrective Exercise; Exercise as Preventive Medicine; Movement Interventions for Aging, Disease Prevention and Health promotion;  and Electrocardiography and Interpretation.

KIN 6035 - Advanced Practice in Movement Interventions and Corrective Exercise

This course will provide the fitness professional with in-depth expertise in various movement interventions to improve function, eliminate pain and enhance performance. Emphasis will be placed on designing individualized strength training and corrective exercise programs, and utilizing movement screening during functional interventions.

KIN 6050 - Research Project Seminar in Kinesiology

This course provides students with guidance in the research process to deepen knowledge in an area of their professional interest.  Students will complete and present an original research project including preliminary statistical design, data collection, data analysis, and presentation of results.

KIN 6075 - Gross Anatomy of the Musculoskeletal System

This course provides students with an intensive four-week experience in anatomical cadaver dissection and the application of structure to kinesiological function. The primary purpose of this course is to provide clinicians with a solid anatomical basis for understanding normal and abnormal function of the musculoskeletal system. This information is essential for the development of effective treatment interventions. There is an additional fee of $400 to supplement cadaver dissection associated with this course.

Prerequisite(s): Human Anatomy and Physiology or consent of Instructor.

Department Faculty