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Master of Science in Kinesiology (MSc)

As a student in the Master of Science in Kinesiology program, you have an opportunity to create original research and work with expert researchers. You may also be able to move directly into the doctoral program with a strong recommendation from the supervisory committee and approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For a brief look at the program, see the Master of Science in Kinesiology program overview or see at-a-glance the important deadlines and a checklist (PDF) of what you will need to complete your degree. 

MSc program details

Typically it takes two to three years of full-time study, four years maximum, to complete the MSc program. During the course of your degree, you are encouraged to present your work at one or more national conferences specific to your field of study. Funding support is available to attend conferences. 

Find a supervisor

Secure a supervisor with similar interests to oversee your research and the development of your thesis. 

Our researchers

Take courses

Complete two graduate level half-courses, though more may be required at the discretion of the supervisory committee. See details below. 

Research proposal

Prepare a research proposal in a standard format early in the program. The document will be critically reviewed by the supervisory committee. 

Write a thesis

Write a Master’s thesis and successfully defend it during an oral exam. See the thesis handbook for the details. 

Thesis Handbook 2023-24 (PDF)

Courses for a thesis-based degree

Before you register for courses, contact your graduate supervisor to determine which courses to register for. Thesis-based students may take only one half-course at the 500-level to meet course requirements. Only one special topics or directed study (603/703, 604/704) can be used to meet the course requirements.

You are encouraged to take as many courses as necessary to get the basic knowledge you will need for your research. The following courses meet the minimum requirements for the program.

Required courses

  • One graduate-level 3 credit course in Analysis (such as KNES 609 – Statistical Techniques in Kinesiology or KNES 610 – Qualitative Research Analysis).
  • One graduate-level 3 credit course in Research Methods (such as KNES 611 - Research Methods and Design in Sport and Fitness).

The Graduate Supervisor/Supervisory Committee may require additional coursework in your area of research.

Taking courses in other faculties

If you would like to take a course in another faculty, or a course at the undergraduate level, you must do the following:

  • fill out a Change of Course (PDF) registration form
  • have the form initialed by the course instructor and signed by your supervisor
  • submit the form to the Office of the Associate Dean (Graduate) for approval at

*Please note, as a graduate you may have to pay additional tuition for taking undergraduate level courses.

Thesis exam requirements to graduate

You must prepare for the exams weeks in advance. Review what you will need to do to be ready for your thesis and to graduate.

A form entitled Notice of Masters Thesis Oral Examination is prepared by the Office of the Associate Dean (Graduate). Information for this form MUST be submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean (Graduate) at least five weeks before the scheduled date of the examination. Email for more information.

Information required: 

  • Date, time and location of examination
  • MSc thesis title 
  • Specialization
  • Committee composition  

The committee composition is (normally) as follows:

  1. Neutral Chairperson – Appointed by the Office of the Associate Dean (Graduate)  (Non-Voting Member of Examining Committee) 
  2. Supervisor
  3. Supervisory Committee Member
  4. Supervisory Committee Member
  5. 'Internal' External - UCalgary faculty member outside Kinesiology who meets criteria below  

The "Internal" External criteria:

  • well-established research reputation
  • expertise in the area of the student's research
  • experience in evaluating theses at the graduate level
  • experience in supervising to completion at the graduate level
  • Is not a close personal friend of the Supervisor
  • has not collaborated with the supervisor in the last five years 
  • is not related to the student, and has not worked with the student
  • The thesis must be distributed by the student and received by each examiner no less than 21 days before the oral examination date. This deadline is extremely important.
  • The 'Examiner's Report on Thesis' will be sent to the examiners after Faculty of Graduate Studies has approved the examination. This is the report on which each examiner will complete his/her written report of the thesis.
  • Review the processes and forms required to submit the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies: Electronic Submission Thesis Forms. You must bring the Thesis Approval Form (PDF) to your defence. 
  • Apply to graduate (the Application for Degree is on your Student Centre) by the following deadlines:
    • September 15th for November Convocation
    • January 15th for February Conferral of Degree
    • March 31st for June Convocation
  • Submit your dissertation and all required forms* to the Faculty of Graduate Studies by the following deadlines:

    • Fall Fee Deadline (approximately September 30th) for November Convocation
    • Winter Fee Deadline (approximately January 27) for February Conferral of Degree
    • End of Winter Term (approximately April 30) for June Convocation

The deadlines are subject to change. Confirm the dates on the Graduate Calendar

Please note: The Thesis Approval Form must be signed by the entire examining committee, and the Notice of Completion form must be signed by the supervisor and the Associate Dean Graduate. Leave yourself enough time to get these signatures.

So you do not pay fees for the next term, all program requirements must be completed by the next term's registration deadline. This includes defending, revisions and submitting required paperwork to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Supervisor & committee roles

Supervisors and supervisory committees establish and monitor all aspects of your graduate program. Please review pages 17 & 18 in the Thesis-based Student Handbook 2023-24 (PDF) for more information about roles and expectations. 

Moving to doctoral program

If you make exceptional progress in the MSc program, provisions are in place so you can move into the doctoral program -  with a strong recommendation from the supervisory committee and approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Thesis-based student handbook

The thesis-based student handbook 2023-24 (PDF) was created by the Faculty of Kinesiology Graduate Office to help you at every step of your degree. Please review it, and be aware that it is updated each year.