MA in Kinesiology, Sports Coaching

MA in Kinesiology, Sports Coaching

Be an Inspiration

The Master of Arts in Kinesiology program is designed to ensure that graduate students are exposed to classical and contemporary knowledge in the component areas of the field while allowing them to specialize in one of two concentrations: Sport Management or Sports Coaching.

The Sports Coaching curriculum prepares students for versatile and competitive careers in an athletic coaching environment. With a focus on physiology, philosophy, motor performance, programming, psychology, and research within the area of the coaching field, students are better prepared to navigate the administrative, motivational, and organizational aspects of coaching at all levels.

Students studying, one holding a baseball.

Gain Hands-On Experience

Each year the MA Kinesiology program offers different opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience, including:

  • Graduate Student Coordinator Fellowships
  • Graduate Student Teaching Opportunities
  • Department of Kinesiology Student Employment Opportunities

Set your own pace

Saint Mary’s offers the opportunity to complete your degree in 14-26 months.

Entry-level program

We look for motivated students who want to learn and make a difference in the lives of others. No GRE required.

Small student-centered community

Helpful, supportive faculty and fellow students.


Core Courses

All courses are three (3) units, unless otherwise noted.

KINES 600: Introduction to Graduate Study and Research 
This course is an introduction to science and research in Kinesiology. It is designed to foster an understanding of the research employed in the sub-disciplines. It is also intended to prepare the student to write comprehensive literature reviews. Ethical issues in research are discussed, the qualities of good research are reviewed, and students learn how to critically analyze the empirical research in our field.

KINES 605: Philosophical Basis of Kinesiology 
This course is an introduction to the basic foundations of philosophy as they relate to the sport and physical activity domain. The course is designed to promote an understanding of the nature of philosophy and the major schools of philosophical thought. Topics include: The importance of philosophy to physical education and athletics; various teaching and coaching philosophies; ethical issues in sport and physical activity (e.g. drug use); and close examinations of contemporary social issues associated with race, ethnicity, and gender.

KINES 624: Human Motor Performance 
This course is an overview of the neurophysical foundations of motor behavior in the sports and physical activity domain. Current theories, empirical research, and applied practices in the areas of coaching, psychology, pedagogy, and motor skill development are discussed. Topics include: motor program theory, facilitating an ideal learning environment, and the roles of the learner and the instructor in motor skill acquisition.

KINES 670: Psychological Analysis of Sport and Exercise
This course is an exploration of the psychosocial dimensions of physical activity. Current theories and empirical research are discussed in an effort to understand the mental aspects of sport and exercise. Topics include: Goal orientation, motivational climate, self-esteem, arousal regulation, performance enhancement techniques, leadership, and character development through sport.

KINES 675: Physiology of Sports Coaching
This course is a study of the physiological adaptations that the body makes to exercise. Current theories and empirical research are applied to the response of acute exercise and the chronic adaptations that occur in the metabolic, cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. This provides the basis for constructing suitable conditioning programs for sport and exercise participation. In-class laboratories are designed to present measurement techniques and evaluate physical fitness.

KINES 681: Applied Concepts of Sports Coaching (Strength and Conditioning)
This course provides graduate level instruction on the theory and science of strength and conditioning. This course is designed to meet the needs of coaches, physical educators, and others interested in the fitness profession. Students will have an opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the principles of strength training and conditioning, including: anatomical and physiological considerations, lifting techniques, equipment selection, program development/evaluation, and weightlifting safety. Several in-class laboratories will be conducted for practice in the creation of strength and conditioning programs and measurement techniques to evaluate human performance and injury risk. Upon completion students may pursue certifications such as the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).


KINES 620: Administration of Kinesiology
This course is designed to give students an understanding and appreciation of the administrative process as it applies to K-12 and college physical education and athletic programs. Current literature in the areas of business and management are discussed. Topics include: developing administrative styles; diversity issues as they relate to effective management of human resources; revenue acquisition and budget development; media relations; intra-organizational competition; sponsorship acquisition and retention; marketing; and event management.

KINES 630: Supervision and Legal Aspects 
This course focuses on proactive risk management for teachers, coaches, and administrators that will minimize their organizations’ legal liability. Topics include: an overview of the legal system, tort liability through negligence in supervision, facility care and maintenance, and hiring. These topics will be examined primarily in the context of case law in the California courts.

KINES 671: Leadership and Governance in Sport Organizations
This course provides a detailed understanding for the application of general principles of management and leadership to the sport industry and the management of sport organizations. It provides an overview of the sport industry, the issues encountered by managers of sport organizations and how management techniques can be applied to effectively address these issues.

KINES 672: External Relations: Media, Public Relations, Marketing & Sponsorship
This course focuses on understanding and managing the relations between sport organizations and media agencies. Topics include both the historical perspectives on the influence of mass media on sport, as well as present day techniques used by sport organizations to manage all aspects of media relations including significant recent changes brought about by the increased use of social media.

KINES 674: Planning and Staging Sport Events
This course focuses upon the political and organizational dynamics required to plan and stage sporting events. Topics include: political processes required to gain event approval, security and risk management, financial analysis and budget planning, event marketing, human resource needs, media and public relations, spectator and VIP needs, transportation and parking, medical and safety requirements, and design requirements for temporary and long term facilities to host events.

KINES 678: Socio-Cultural Aspects of Sport 
This seminar-style course is designed to focus on sport as part of the social and cultural world in which we live. The emphasis is on sports and sport-related actions as they influence and are influenced by the social and cultural contexts in which they are created and played. Historical events are introduced to understand how they have influenced sport in our present society.

Experience-Based Curriculum

*KINES 580: Colloquium (Summer - 1 unit)
During the first week of each summer session, a group of leading scholars and professionals is invited to campus to address the department’s graduate students. The 4-day colloquium focuses on contemporary issues in our field. The following are samples of topics that have been covered in previous years:

  • Concussions & Student-Athlete Mental Health
  • The De-Evolution of Wellness
  • Gender Equity in Athletics 40 years after Title IX

KINES 705: Portfolio - 1 unit
This portfolio course serves as the capstone activity for the MA in Kinesiology. It will provide the student an opportunity to develop a portfolio from a variety of artifacts accumulated during their studies in the program and serves as a showcase of their individual suite of talents. Contents of the portfolio may include: professional work product, creative work, applicable coursework examples, writing samples, or highlights of special projects, volunteer work, or works in progress. Through this course students will be able to feature professional and academic work, refine their personal brand, and share evidence of core competencies in order to better prepare themselves for post-graduate success. The student will integrate applicable knowledge from both the core Grad Kin courses as well as elective courses into the final portfolio. This course promotes real world application of what a student has learned, and may be used to better prepare them for a position right after degree completion.

KINES 795: Internship (Fall and Spring - 1-3 units)
This one, two or three unit course allows students to gain practical experience in areas of the field of most interest to them. The student applies to and is selected to an internship site either on or off campus and then completes the necessary work and academic requirements.

KINES 799: Independent Study (Fall and Spring - 1-3 units)
This one, two or three unit course involves an independent review of literature or original research project in a topical area of interest in the field. The student proposes a topic and reading list to be approved by the faculty member with a specialty area most closely relating to the student topic.  The student then completes and discusses the readings and research under direction of this faculty member.

Please note: Students can take up to 5 units of internship (795) and/or independent study (799).

*Students are required to take KINES 580 at least once.

Fall & Spring Semester: Courses are offered once a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) from 6:00p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Summer Semester: Courses are offered twice a week (Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday) from 6-8:45 p.m, in a seven-week term. The Colloquium is offered during the first week of June from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

COVID-19 Update (01/31/23): In Spring 2023, courses will be delivered in-person with masking encouraged. We’re looking forward to being in the classroom together again!

All students must complete 30 units of coursework, including five (5) core courses, and portfolio/internship completion. All coursework must be completed with a B- grade or better and students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their time in the program.

Full-Time Option

If taking courses full-time, requirements may be completed in as quickly as 14-16 months depending on a student's start term.

Part-Time Option

If taking courses part-time, these requirements may be completed anywhere between 18 and 26 months, depending on a student's start term and how many units they plan to take each semester.

Contact Collin Skeen, Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruitment, at to learn more about sample curriculum plans.

Students meet with the Graduate Program Director in advance of their first term to develop an academic plan that works specifically with their interests and goals, and to establish a specific time to graduation.

Photo of Daniel Sheets

Student Highlight: Daniel Sheets BA '19, MA '21

In 2019, Daniel Sheets earned his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Health and Human Performance, at Saint Mary's College. He immediately started pursuing his master’s degree in our Graduate Kinesiology program. Dan also played on the SMC’s Men’s Basketball team for five consecutive seasons giving him first-hand experience as a Division I student-athlete.

About four years ago, Sheets also started his own basketball training business from the ground up. He started with just one kid and currently has over 120 kids participating in the Lamorinda community, helping them develop their basketball skills from a young age.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Admitted students in the MA in Kinesiology are eligible for student employment, scholarships and financial aid.

School and Department Information

Derek Marks
Program Director, Graduate Programs in Kinesiology

Collin Skeen
Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruitment