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Graduate Admissions


Master's Degree Application Process

The Department of Kinesiology offers three master’s degree concentrations: exercise physiology, sport administration, and sport pedagogy. The concentration in exercise physiology prepares students for careers in fitness and allied health care professions. The concentration in sport administration prepares students for careers in the sport industry, including positions with professional, collegiate, and recreational sport organizations. The concentration in sport pedagogy prepares students for leadership roles as coaches, physical educators, and K-12 athletic directors. These concentrations also prepare students for advanced study at the doctoral level. The following items are required in applying to master’s degree programs in the Department of Kinesiology:

  1. A completed MSU Graduate School application form
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions attended since high school
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores
  4. Three professional letters of recommendation. While these letters can come from different sources, it is imperative that at least two of these letters are written by individuals that can specifically comment about the applicant's academic ability, such as former professors or instructors. These letters should speak directly about the ability of the applicant to be successful in the graduate program that the applicant is applying for.
  5. A written statement of purpose, which should highlight the applicant’s qualifications, abilities, and academic/professional background; the statement should reflect a strong sense of career direction relevant to the program the applicant is seeking to enter.
  6. A resume/curriculum vitae
  7. TOEFL or IELTS scores (only required for international applicants whose native language is not English; refer to the MSU Graduate Catalog for specific English language test score requirements).

The admissions process is competitive. Positions within the programs are limited, and more individuals may apply than are able to be accepted. Competitive applicants will usually have a GPA of 3.0 or better in their final 60 undergraduate hours as well as scores of 145 or greater on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections and 3.5 or greater on the analytical writing portion of the GRE exam. An applicant's statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and professional experience are also considered in the admissions process. Because of the competitive nature of admissions, it is recommended that individuals apply as far in advance of a deadline as possible. Students who wait until near the application deadline to apply may find there are no remaining spaces available in the program.

Application deadlines for graduate study at Mississippi State University are as follows:

Applying for Domestic Deadline International Deadline
Fall Semester July 1 May 1
Spring Semester November 1 October 1
1st Summer Term April 1 March 1
2nd Summer Term May 1 March 1

All application materials must be submitted through the MSU Office of the Graduate School.

Graduate assistant positions in the Department of Kinesiology are available on a competitive basis. All GA positions are nine-month appointments, beginning in the fall semester and running through the end of the spring semester. Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses in the department as well as assisting with various administrative duties. Students who wish to apply for GA positions in the Department of Kinesiology must submit a copy of the GA application form via email to Graduate Coordinator Dr. Adam Knight. In addition, students must have completed an application for admission to graduate school at Mississippi State University to be considered for a GA position. To receive priority consideration for GA positions in the Department of Kinesiology, all materials (the GA application and your application to graduate school) should be submitted by February 15th.

Graduate assistant positions are also available in other units across campus, such as athletics and recreational sports. If you are interested in GA positions outside the Department of Kinesiology, you may contact Graduate Coordinator Dr. Adam Knight, who can help direct you to the appropriate representative to contact.


Doctoral Degree Application Process

The Department of Kinesiology offers two doctoral degree concentrations: exercise science and sport studies. The focus of the exercise science concentration is the scientific study of how biological systems function during physical activity, exercise, and sport, emphasizing applications to both clinical and healthy populations. The sport studies concentration involves studying sport from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the areas of sport management, sport pedagogy, sport sociology, and sport philosophy.

Prior to formally applying to the doctoral program, students should familiarize themselves with the research interests of graduate faculty members in the Department of Kinesiology and identify a faculty member whose research agenda aligns with their interests. A prospective applicant should then contact that faculty member to discuss his/her “fit” with the faculty member’s research interests. If possible, prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the MSU campus. When an informal understanding is reached regarding the student’s suitability to enter the doctoral program under the guidance of the faculty member, the student may then formally apply to the Graduate School. This does not guarantee a student admission to the doctoral program, but it is a necessary step prior to the formal application.

The following items are required to formally apply to doctoral degree programs in the Department of Kinesiology:

  1. A completed MSU Graduate School application form
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions attended since high school; students must have completed a master’s degree prior to being admitted to the doctoral program.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores
  4. Three professional letters of recommendation. While these letters can come from different sources, it is imperative that at least two of these letters are written by individuals that can specifically comment about the applicant's academic ability, such as former professors or instructors. These letters should speak directly about the ability of the applicant to be successful in the graduate program that the applicant is applying for.
  5. A written statement of purpose, which should clearly explain the applicant’s research interests and highlight how these interests align with faculty members in the department, particularly the faculty member who the applicant wishes to serve as his/her advisor.
  6. An academic writing sample (e.g., a published research article, thesis, or other academic paper)
  7. A curriculum vitae
  8. TOEFL or IELTS scores (only required for international applicants whose native language is not English; refer to the MSU Graduate Catalog for specific English language test score requirements)

The admissions process is competitive. Applicants should be aware that faculty members only advise a small number of graduate students at a time, and more individuals apply to the program than the program can accept. Competitive applicants will generally have a GPA of 3.5 or better in their graduate coursework as well as scores around the 50th percentile on the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing portions of the GRE exam. Because of the competitive nature of admissions, it is recommended that individuals apply as far in advance of a deadline as possible.

Application deadlines for graduate study at Mississippi State University are as follows:

Applying for Domestic Deadline International Deadline
Fall Semester July 1 May 1
Spring Semester November 1 October 1
1st Summer Term April 1 March 1
2nd Summer Term May 1 March 1

All application materials must be submitted through the MSU Office of the Graduate School.

Graduate assistant (GA) positions in the Department of Kinesiology are available on a competitive basis. All GA positions are nine-month appointments, beginning in the fall semester and running through the end of the spring semester. Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses in the department as well as assisting with various administrative duties. Students who wish to apply for GA positions in the Department of Kinesiology must submit a copy of the GA application form via email to the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Adam Knight. In addition, students must have completed an application for admission to graduate school at Mississippi State University to be considered for a GA position. To receive priority consideration for GA positions in the Department of Kinesiology, all materials (the GA application and the application to graduate school) should be submitted by February 15.


Kinesiology Graduate Handbook

The Kinesiology Graduate Handbook provides information about policies and procedures pertinent to graduate study in the Department of Kinesiology. Students and faculty should be aware that this publication is a supplement to the information contained in the MSU Bulletin of the Graduate School. Click on the link below to view the Department of Kinesiology Graduate Handbook.