About Us

Welcome to the UBC School of Kinesiology

Kinesiology involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life. It includes exercise science, sports management, athletic training and sports medicine, socio-cultural analyses of sports, sport and exercise psychology, fitness leadership, physical education-teacher education, and pre-professional training for physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine and other health related fields. What career possibilities can a Kinesiology degree lead to?

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The School of Kinesiology is one of the top ranked programs in Canada and globally and is among the most admission- competitive programs at UBC.

The School is home to internationally recognized research scholars, with ~$50 million in principal and co-investigator research grant funding from Tri-Council and other funding sources over the past 5 years. The School provides a rich learning and mentoring environment attracting top domestic and international students.

The School is unique in British Columbia for its commitment to the biological, behavioural, and sociocultural study of physical activity, sport, para-sport, and health. The broad scope of the School’s academic, research and community engagement programs incorporates physical activity and sport participation to examine and generate knowledge on the full range of human function spanning molecular-to-system-to-society levels and as a basis for promoting individual and societal health across the lifespan.

The Faculty’s extensive domestic and international research networks include collaborators in diverse cognate areas across faculties, institutions and the community. We are delighted to be part of a leading global university that is committed to an outstanding research and learning environment that fosters inclusivity and citizenship.

robert boushelDr. Robert Boushel

Professor and Director
School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia

To generate, advance, and disseminate knowledge about the biophysical, psychosocial, managerial, and pedagogical dimensions of human movement to enhance the health and quality of life of all populations across diverse settings. The School of Kinesiology seeks to meet its mandate through three specific goals:


Through research and scholarship to advance the state of our knowledge and understanding of; (a) the factors underlying human physical performance, (b) the nature of the human quest for excellence in competitive and expressive forms of human movement, and (c) the role of sport, leisure and exercise in society from both a contemporary and a historical perspective.


Within the broader context of a liberal education to impart to students the state of our knowledge about physical activity in general and about sport, exercise and leisure in particular. Additionally, to prepare educated professionals to serve the present and future needs of society in a variety of professional settings related to the active health, leisure, sport and physical education fields.

Knowledge Dissemination

Through the professional expertise of the faculty to facilitate the application of pertinent knowledge to professional and lay agencies concerned with the promotion of recreation, physical education, sport, fitness and active health at the local, provincial and national and international levels.


Old War Memorial GymAlthough there was a voluntary physical activity program, as well as compulsory physical activity associated with university based cadet or military training at the university, the first courses leading to a degree in physical education began in 1946. The Department of Physical Education, now a unit of the Faculty of Arts and Science, offered courses leading to the four-year degree of B.P.E., the first such degree to be established in Western Canada, and the third in Canada. All first and second-year students began taking Physical Education courses as a requirement of graduation with a bachelor's degree from UBC; a wide range of elective courses is offered, largely in individual sport and dance. The School of Physical Education was officially established by the U.B.C. Board of Governors on January 2, 1952. At this time the mandate from Senate was:

  • To supervise the academic courses leading to the degree of B.P.E. and other course offerings in Physical Education.
  • To foster, control and integrate the intramural and extramural athletic programs

On February 10, 1960, the name of the School was changed to the School of Physical Education and Recreation andthe first Bachelor of Recreation degree was awarded in 1969. From 1945 until 1963, the School offered a required physical education program for all first and second year university students in addition to the degree programs.In the Fall of 1958, a graduate program at the Master's level was introduced with the first M.P.E. degree being awarded in the Fall of 1960. In 1963, the School was removed from the Faculty of Arts and Science and re-located in the Faculty of Education. In 1969, the undergraduate degree program branched into two options (A and B), with students interested in teaching physical education entering a separate option from those interested in studying the science relating to physical education.

Kinesiology studentUndergraduate student enrollment reached an all time high of 730 students in 1975. In 1978, the university reflected an increasing emphasis on research and scholarly productivity and the School also began to move in this direction. Associated with this emphasis on studying the science relating to physical activity, the existing laboratories began to develop and to grow. In 1979, a Sports Medicine Clinic opened in the School's John Owen Pavilion on the south campus with specific faculty of this clinic also being associated with the School in both teaching and research. The Bachelor of Recreation degree was discontinued in 1985 but the name of the School still contained the word "Recreation".

students engaging children in physical activityAlthough the original mandate of the School included both intramural and extramural athletic programs, a special committee established in 1987 by the President of the university recommended that ties between the School and Intramural and Extramural Athletics be severed with the exception of selected areas of cooperation. The undergraduate B.P.E. degree expanded in 1987 to include seven programs: Exercise Science, Health and Fitness, Leisure Studies, Leisure and Sport Administration, Motor Performance and Control, Instruction and Coaching, and General Studies. The School initiated a restriction on enrollment in 1989 in order to maintain the high quality of the programs. These programs were reduced to four programs in the Fall of 1993 and the total number of credits for the undergraduate degree was also reduced at that time (from 132 to 120 credits). In 1991-92, an advancement policy was also approved to ensure a continuing high quality of students in the School's programs. Undergraduate students are accepted on the basis of their GPAs and although the intent was to reduce undergraduate enrollment to a total of 550 students, enrollment figures are over 750. There are 170 "new" undergraduate students accepted each year ( this number is divided between years 1, 2, and 3). In 1994, the name of the School became the School of Human Kinetics which faculty generally felt better reflected the breadth of programs and interests in the School. During the same year, the M.P.E. degree became the M.H.K. degree and two additional Masters degrees (Master of Arts and Master of Science) which offer opportunities for original investigation at the Masters level were initiated. The School's doctoral program also began in 1994.

In 2011, the School changed its name to the School of Kinesiology and the degee BHK became Bachelor of Kinsiology (BKin) and the degree Master of Human Kinetics became Master of Kinesiology (MKin). Alumni are able to change their parchment retroactively. Go to this link for more information.

The Future

historyshirtToday, our graduates are employed in many different fields, as the School of Kinesiology is a spring board of opportunities to many careers in a variety of disciplines ranging from sports administration and coaching to biomedical research and health sciences. The future is now, and together we can make it a reality.