Master of Science in Biokinesiology

The Master of Science (MS) in biokinesiology gives you the knowledge and skills to conduct high-quality basic or clinical research in biokinesiology. We emphasize collaboration across disciplines and translational applications of your growing expertise.

Our MS curriculum provides you with broad exposure to biokinesiology concepts as well as the advanced proficiency needed to excel in the field. A set of required core courses is enhanced by electives in your chosen concentration, a summative project and research in one of our laboratories.

“Biokinesiology integrates the study of movement at the molecular, cellular, organ and systems levels, giving students a unique, interdisciplinary perspective of the biological bases of normal and disordered movement.”
– Chris Powers, PhD, PT
Director, Biokinesiology Program


To earn the MS in biokinesiology, you must complete 32 credits of coursework plus a qualifying summative research project.

Required courses are:

  • BKN 550 Neurobehavioral Basis of Movement (4 units)
  • BKN 551 Musculoskeletal and Biomechanical Basis of Movement (4 units)
  • BKN 552 Physiological Basis of Voluntary Movement (4 units)
  • BKN 553 Experimental Methods for the Study of Human Movement (4 units)
  • BKN 559 Readings in Biokinesiology (4 units)
  • BKN 590 Directed Research (4 units)
  • PM 510L Principles of Biostatistics (4 units)

By the end of the first year of study, you should select a project advisor — a professor in the division whose work interests you — and devise a summative project with their approval. You then sign up for BKN 559 Readings in Biokinesiology and review the literature pertinent to your project. The following semester, you will sign up for BKN 590 Directed Research and complete your project in collaboration with your advisor.

Admissions Requirements

To apply for the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy’s MS in biokinesiology, you must have earned a bachelor’s degree (or higher) with a science major or equivalent. Courses completed must include chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology, with appropriate laboratory study. Coursework in anatomy, physiology, calculus, histology, kinesiology, trigonometry, analytical geometry, exercise physiology and biochemistry is highly recommended. You should have some degree of computer literacy.

If you are deficient in certain prerequisites, you may be admitted subject to completion of requirements within two years of admission. An additional year may be granted by a faculty committee upon review of your program. Work in any prerequisite course will not be part of the required units for the MS.

International applicants will be considered with an evaluation of credentials.


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Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year is $2,199 per unit, plus fees of $467 per semester. Costs are subject to change each year.

Health insurance coverage is required during the academic and clinical portions of the curriculum. You may show proof of current coverage or may purchase USC health insurance — coverage for the fall semester is $753 (student only) and for spring/summer is $1,363 (student only).

You will be responsible for your living expenses and transportation to clinical facilities. Because of limited public transportation in Los Angeles, a car may be a necessity. Upon request, we can provide suggestions for where and how to find housing. You will also be responsible for purchase of personal tablets or laptops, textbooks, scrubs and supplies.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to USC students. Learn more about your financial aid options. Some students may be eligible for university-wide scholarships. Learn more about USC Awards and Fellowships.

Government financial aid is not available for international students. International students must provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses while enrolled in the program.

The division does not provide teaching or research assistantships for students enrolled in the MS program.


Application Deadline: January 1

Admission will be considered for the fall semester only. Once completed, your application will enter the review process. You will be notified of our admission decision by the end of February.

To apply for the MS in biokinesiology:

1. Complete the online USC Graduate Application. The application requires you to submit:

  • Résumé or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals able to comment on your academic and research capabilities and potential
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (you must score at least 160 verbal and 150 quantitative)
  • Statement of purpose, in an uploadable document, double-spaced

To assist in preparing your statement of purpose, consider the following questions:

  • Why have you chosen to apply for admission to the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy?
  • What is the area of your current research or clinical interest?
  • Which USC faculty member do you hope to conduct research with?
  • Why are you interested in the MS in biokinesiology?
  • What are your professional goals or objectives?
  • How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
  • How will this program facilitate the accomplishment of your professional goals?
  • How do you feel you will contribute to the field of physical therapy and/or science of movement?

2. Mail your official transcripts from all schools attended to:

USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

International Applicants

International applicants must provide TOEFL results. There is no minimum TOEFL score requirement for international students. However, students admitted with a TOEFL score below 600 (paper-based exam) or 237 (computer-based exam) will be required to take an English proficiency course.

If you earned your degree outside the United States, review the country-specific requirements to determine whether you must submit original-language copies of your academic records. In such cases, a word-for-word English-language translation of all academic records must also be submitted. The translation should either be issued directly from the university itself or by a professional, certified translator. It must contain all information shown on the original-language documents and mirror them as precisely as possible. Dual-language transcripts are also acceptable.

For more information, see the FAQ on immigration and other international student concerns.

Student Handbook

Master’s of Science in Biokinesiology Student Handbook 2020-2021