For over a century, the Department of Kinesiology has been a cornerstone department of the University. Beginning as the Department of Physiology and Physical Culture in the Women’s College in 1892, the department took the progressive view that women should be physically active to improve their health and wellness. As the department evolved and grew with the university, our name changed, but our mission to promote education in and instruction of physical health remained at our core.

Explore the interactive timeline to see highlights of our history.

The department expanded to the Department of Physical Training in 1907 and then to the Department of Physical Education in 1917, a name that would stand for 72 years. Graduate programs first appeared in 1951 with the addition of a Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) degree, which was followed by a Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree in 1959 and doctoral degrees in 1966 (Ed.D.) and 1987 (Ph.D.). The Department of Physical Education became the Department of Exercise and Sport Science in 1989 to reflect its broader and deeper academic mission. On March 26, 2009 the department name was changed to the Department of Kinesiology. The department currently offers B.S., M.S., M.S.A.T., Ed.D., and Ph.D. degrees.

Throughout its history, the department has contributed to the growth of the field of physical education, and now to the broader field of kinesiology, producing award-winning teachers, leaders, and scholars. The history of the department and of various professional organizations in the field of kinesiology shows the tremendous impact current and former faculty have had on the field, and the success of our alumni as physical education teachers, researchers, athletic trainers, fitness professionals, community youth development professionals, and much more.

The students and faculty of the Department of Kinesiology recognize that our current and future success is built on our legacy of accomplishments. Our students and faculty are continually motivated by this legacy, one that encourages a willingness to take bold chances and make conscious, continuous efforts to develop a strong sense of community, within our department, the communities we serve, and the greater field of kinesiology. By embracing our trailblazing past and looking ahead to the future, the Department of Kinesiology continues to be a leader both in our institution and in our field.

You can learn more about the Department of Kinesiology’s beginnings and evolution as a forward-thinking foundational pillar of the University.