About Us

Welcome to the UBC School of Kinesiology

Kinesiology is 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.

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Physical activity is part of our human nature, our biological and cultural heritage, and is essential to health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Over the course of human history, our identities, cultures, and even our genes were shaped by high levels of physical activity. Here in BC, robust physical activity was part of Indigenous Peoples everyday life and cultural orientation. Dating back thousands of years, the Thunderbirds of the Musqueum people were known for their running ability. In modern times, insufficient daily physical activity now threatens the health of Canadians from coast to coast.

The School’s outstanding scholars are addressing these challenges through research and knowledge dissemination across disciplines of history, sociology, culture, psychology, biology, and medicine. From the molecular to organ system level, to lifestyle and behaviour, to cultural identity, social justice, indigeneity and equity, to public policy, our faculty and students are making research discoveries that reach across borders and offer worldwide applications for the future. The School has an international reputation of research excellence in diverse areas of Kinesiology including the physiology of exercise, sport and exercise medicine, neuromechanical regulation of posture, gait and balance, motor skill acquisition and physical literacy, the psychology and behavioural factors underlying physical activity and sport participation, equity and inclusion, identity and self-image, sport, society and sustainability, and Olympism and high performance coaching. The multidisciplinary research activity within the School and our local and international collaborative networks has fostered a thriving scholarly environment and citizenship that is committed to improving the lives of Canadians.

The School provides a rich learning and mentoring environment and unique community culture, attracting a growing number of talented domestic and international undergraduate and graduate students interested in the exciting, diverse areas of study in the field of Kinesiology. Our vibrant outreach programs translate best-evidence knowledge to action in service to the community across all ages, while providing rich experiential learning opportunities for students. Our talented and dedicated staff bring a supportive professionalism across all operations of the School. With significant growth and impact of our research activity, renewal of undergraduate and graduate learning pathways, and energized community outreach, I’m looking forward to working with our talented and dedicated faculty, staff, and students helping to shape the future of the School of Kinesiology.

Dr. Robert Boushel

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

The School of Kinesiology is dedicated to creating, advancing, and disseminating interdisciplinary knowledge that fosters individual and societal health and wellbeing through sport and physical activity.  The School seeks to fully drive this mission by focusing on the following priorities:

Teaching, Student Learning, and Engagement

The School offers a world-class environment and exceptional learning opportunities for training the next generation of leaders in kinesiology.

Research Innovation and Excellence

The School has a highly regarded international reputation for multidisciplinary research excellence, community impact, and cultural collaboration.

Knowledge Exchange and Community Engagement

The School is a leader in engaging diverse communities in the study and promotion of physical literacy, physical activity, sport, and health.

Outstanding Work Environment

The School strives to provide an exceptional and sustainable working environment that fosters intellectual and social vibrancy, wellbeing, and a culturally diverse and collegial atmosphere grounded in mutual integrity.


Old War Memorial GymThe first courses at UBC that lead 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.