Island University’s Online Master in Kinesiology a Top 10 Program on 3 Lists

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As the vast majority of programs offered at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have been adjusting to a new normal online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, one program is earning national accolades for its ability to offer quality instruction and flexibility in an entirely online format.

The Master of Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport and Exercise Science program  has been ranked 5th in a 2020 list of Top 19 Online Master’s Exercise Science Degree Programs by the Guide to Online Schools. The program was also ranked 8th on Sports Management’s 20 Best Online Master in Kinesiology and Exercise Science programs list for 2020. The two new rankings are in addition to the 2015 ranking by Sports Management Degree Hub in which the Island University’s program placed 9th in the Top 10 Best Online Master in Kinesiology Degree Programs list.

Dr. Frank Spaniol, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Kinesiology, said the program launched fully online four years ago, several years after the traditional hybrid format was added.

“We are honored to be included in a ranking such as this and it adds increased recognition and credibility to our program, especially with a national presence,” Spaniol said.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s online master in kinesiology program is one of the few online programs in the United States to emphasize sport science and athletic performance and is modeled to work with the schedule of a working student, Spaniol said. Classes are offered at an accelerated pace – students take one class for 7.5 weeks – which allows each student to focus on one class at a time and still complete two classes per semester.   

The popularity of the program has led to increased enrollment numbers, a situation that could lead to additional sections in the near future, Spaniol said. 

“We have experienced significant growth in this program from about five students a few years ago to 65 students this past semester,” Spaniol said. “One of our strengths has been a quality graduate faculty that includes numerous nationally known researchers.  In addition, our faculty has worked extremely hard to develop a strong online delivery model that works well for our students. While we had taught some online graduate classes in the past, it wasn’t until the administration approached us a few years ago that we decided to go all in.  The President, Provost, Deans, and Department Chair have all been very supportive of our transition to a completely online program.” 

Spaniol said the growth is due in large part to the online program’s ability to attract a much wider pool of students.

“We have students from coast to coast,” he said. “We have a large contingency of military students, we have professionals – we just had a very high-profile lawyer with a passion for sport science graduate from our program. It’s an eclectic group of students.”

One such student is Dr. Alejandro Osuna, a chiropractor who runs a full-time private clinic in San Antonio. Osuna said his experience in the biomechanics course has inspired him to work toward a Ph.D. in biomechanics.

“The sequence of courses is fantastic,” Osuna said. “I encourage anyone who is interested to take a look at this program because the professors are highly knowledgeable, and you can keep working while doing it, so it allows for work-school-life balance.”