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When I was in university studying Human Kinetics I got this question a lot. What is the difference between Human Kinetics and Kinesiology?

First of all, they are more similar than different. That makes things confusing. When I was at UBC I did a degree in Human Kinetics (HKIN). Now the exact same program is called Kinesiology (KIN).

How Kinesiology and Human Kinetics are Similar:

  1. They both relate to human movement, anatomy, health, performance and sports. Same general topic.
  2. The course work in Human Kinetics courses is sometimes exactly the same as Kinesiology courses. They shoulder retraction shown by kinesiologist Ryan Murphywill both have human anatomy and physiology, for example. No matter what program you pick, the heart and lungs are in the same place….
  3. The job opportunities are similar for grads. I have seen dozens of job postings that read: “requires degree in kinesiology or equivalent” It doesn’t seem to matter which one you have. I have never seen a job posting that says: “only human kinetics degree holders need apply”.
  4. The post graduate opportunities: many KIN and HKIN students go on to Physiotherapy, Chiropractic or Medical Schools.
  5. Certifications for Personal Trainers and Kinesiologists are similar. I hold certifications with CSEP and BCAK. This provides me with insurance and continuing education as it relates to the fitness and rehabilitation work that I do.
  6. In demand. Preventative health care is the future. Work related to health, fitness and rehabilitation is key to living a long and healthy life. I see a real and immediate demand for plenty of people in the KIN/HKIN field.difference-between-kinesiologist-physiotherapist

How Kinesiology and Human Kinetics are Different:

  1. Specialization. Often, but not always, Human Kinetics programs focus more on coaching and athletics. They have this slant to a lot of the course work. Many people are in HKIN programs to become teachers or professional coaches. Kinesiology has more of a healthy, rehabilitation and clinical slant to it. Again, often but not always, people in KIN programs are moving more towards physiotherapy or chiropractic, and more clinical work.core strength plank with Kinesiologist and personal trainer alyssa
  2. Schools. Typically, a school will offer one or the other. It is more likely that someone will choose kinesiology or human kinetics based on the school that they want to attend and not based on the difference in programs.
  3. Do you have one to add? In my experience they are pretty similar. If you have a key difference to add I would love to hear it. Please leave a comment.


Jobs in Kinesiology and Human Kinetics

  • Positive Shift Job Posting
  • Personal Training
  • Group Fitness Instructor
  • Active Rehabilitation¬†also known as exercise rehabilitation
  • Health Promotion: for example, wellness coordinators.
  • Erogonomics- the design of workspaces to suit good body positions
  • Health and safety
  • Disability Management
  • Research
  • Exercise specialist as it relates to a medical condition


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