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Department of Kinesiology

Master's in Kinesiology

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Coaching, Sport Administration, and Student-Athlete Development Concentrations

What is a realistic timeline for completing the M.S. degree?

Full-time students should be able to complete the M.S. degree within two academic years. The maximum time period for completing the degree is five years. The following chart provides a timeline. Click on the hyperlinks for more information.

Task Semester #1 Semester #2

Semester #3

Semester #4
Select permanent advisor x      
Complete course work including any field work x x x x
Develop M.S. program plan ? x    
Choose capstone experience ? x    
Choose guidance committee for capstone experience   x    
Develop and defend proposal for capstone experience   x    
Do capstone experience     x x
Write final report and defend capstone experience results       x
Update resume and portfolio x x x x
Graduate       x
How should I select a permanent advisor?

KIN assigns a temporary advisor when you are admitted to the M.S. program. This decision is based upon your interests as described in the goal statement part of your admission materials, as well as faculty expertise and availability. Usually the temporary advisor becomes the permanent advisor; however, students may change to a different person if both the "old" and "new" advisors are notified and agree to the change.

Which courses should I take and how many credits do I need?

Master's degree students must complete a minimum of 30 semester credits, including the credits associated with capstone experiences. The descriptions of the coaching, sports administration, and student-athlete development concentration list suggested courses. Students should select courses from these lists with help from their advisors.

What is meant by field work? Am I required to do field work? Can I count my graduate assistantship or work experiences as field work? Who can grade and supervise field work? What is the difference between field work and an internship?

Although field work is optional, many master's degree students in the coaching, sport administration, and student-athlete development concentrations enroll in KIN 894 - Field Experiences in Kinesiology to obtained mentored practical experiences in their chosen professions. Students may accumulate up to 6 credits of KIN 894 across the degree program.

Students may count GA or work experiences as field work, but only if those experiences are characterized by clearly-defined, defensible academic objectives approved by a KIN faculty member.

A KIN faculty member must be the instructor of record for a KIN 894 fieldwork. An expert in the field such as a coach or athletic administrator serves as the supervisor. The faculty member typically bases the student's grade on evaluations from the supervisor, as well as products/reports developed by the student.

KIN 894 - Field Experiences in Kinesiology is used any time during a student's degree plan to gain experience in the student's chosen profession. KIN 893 - Internship is a capstone experience completed near the end of the degree program in which the student demonstrates ability to integrate and synthesize the knowledge and expertise gained during the degree program. The number of credits for a fieldwork experience varies. The capstone internship experience must total at least four credits.

Click here for a sample fieldwork proposal.

What is an M.S. program plan, why do I need a program plan, and what is the deadline for submitting the program plan?

The program plan is a contract between the student and MSU that specifies exact degree requirements. A completed, approved program plan is a blueprint for completing your degree - you will know exactly which courses to take and which capstone experience you will complete. Although the program plan may be revised with mutual agreement by the student and advisor, neither party may make capricious changes in the plan. The KIN M.S. Handbook includesinformation about developing the program plan, with reference to both KIN and MSU policies. You must develop your program plan and submit it for approval by your advisor and the College of Education within 18 credits of starting your degree program, preferably sooner.

See sample program plans for the coaching, sport administration, and student-athlete development concentrations

What is meant by a capstone experience? What are my choices?

A capstone experience is a culminating scholarly endeavor that helps you to integrate and synthesize the knowledge and expertise gained as an M.S. degree student. Your choices are as follow. Most students in the sport administration and student-athlete development concentrations choose the internship route. Students in the coaching concentration tend to select either an internship or courses only.

Capstone Experience Certifying Examination
Courses only 3-hour written examination covering entire M.S. degree program
Internship Final written internship report + oral defense of that report to internship committee
Project Final written project report + oral defense of that report to project committee
Thesis Completed research thesis + oral defense of that thesis to thesis committee
Who should I select to be members of my guidance (certifying examination, internship, project, or thesis) committee?

You must have two faculty members on your M.S. guidance committee if you do courses only, internship, or project. Three members are required for a thesis committee. Select a guidance committee as soon as you have decided upon a capstone experience, preferably during your second semester of study.

What are some tips for completing the capstone experience? What does a proposal entail? What does the final report entail?

Courses-only option. You may take the final written certifying examination when you have completed at least 80% of the courses/credits described on your approved program plan. It is a good idea to choose your guidance committee members during your 2nd or 3rd semester in the program and to ask them for reading lists or similar advice to help you prepare for the exam. The exam usually is taken during your last semester of study.

Internship and project options. Start planning your internship or project early during your degree program, preferably during your second semester of study. Determine internship/project objectives that will help you develop expertise needed for your future career, then discuss possibilities for achieving those objectives with your guidance committee.  After mapping out a general plan, start writing the formal internship or project proposal and schedule a proposal defense with your guidance committee. Plan on implementing your proposal during your 3rd and/or 4th semester of study, and defending your work during the 4th semester of study. FYI - students are responsible for finding their own internship locations. The internship experience may be completed in the student's GA or work location if approved by the guidance committee.

See sample internship objectives and the outline for a sample internship proposal and report.

Thesis option. Students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in the future should strongly consider choosing the thesis capstone option. The timeline for the thesis proposal, implementation, and defense is the same as for the internship and project options. However, students in the thesis option should also plan to complete KIN 871 - Research Methods in KIN during their first year of study (students in that course develop a research proposal that can be used as the start of a thesis proposal) and should take an additional research methods or statistics course that will be useful in completing the thesis.

How often should I update my resume and professional portfolio? What is a portfolio and why do I need one?

M.S. students in the coaching, sports administration, and student-athlete development concentrations are well-advised to read job announcements and interview experts to determine knowledge and expertise needed for employment in their chosen careers. Compare current abilities to the knowledge and expertise needed in the future. Plan course work, fieldwork and capstone experiences that improve your knowledge and expertise.

Every semester, update your resume with your new accomplishments. Also develop a professional portfolio with documentation (examples) of the accomplishments cited in your resume. Possible resume and portfolio contents include: (a) contact information; (b) career objectives and related knowledge and skills; (c) education/degrees earned; (d) employment history; (e) scholarly products such as presentations, publications, and grants; (f) professional activities; (g) volunteer activities; (h) honors and awards; and (i) references. It is a good idea to have a "hard copy" printed resume and an electronic CD version of the portfolio.

What are the procedures for graduation?

Students must apply for graduation during their last semester of study. Contact the Graduate Studies secretary for assistance.