U ottawa or UBC kinesiology? Top 5 Canadian Universities to study a Kinesiology Undergraduate Program

If you are looking for the best Canadian university kinesiology program, then look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss the five best universities in Canada for studying kinesiology. Each of these universities has well-respected kinesiology programs for Canadians and international students that will help you launch your career in kinesiology and health science.

The good news is that the best kinesiology programs in Canada are each delivering quality education. Prospective undergraduate students at kinesiology undergraduate programs have access to exceptional professional development training in kinesiology and health sciences. There's no need to choose between a public research-focused university and the best sport-related schools as these universities have it all.

Read on to learn more about these distinguished kinesiology and health science schools.

University of Ottawa School of Human Kinetics

Kinesiology at the University of Ottawa combines broad knowledge domains and award winning teaching to deliver students an exemplary education. The undergraduate program offers 5 undergraduate majors and a minor in kinesiology.

U of O kinesiology
Social Sciences building at U of O, Jean Gagnon

Students can choose between honours studies in applied, science, education, sports management and the social science aspect of kinesiology. Each track offers students a different focus on human movement, from sport organization governance to evidence-backed techniques that apply to exercise therapy. These kinesiology and health studies programs are blends of 5 knowledge domains: Socio-cultural and leisure, Sport management, Psychology and pedagogy, Biomechanics and Motor Control and Physiology.

Kinesiology degrees have huge value in Ontario as it is the only Canadian province in which Kinesiology is regulated. Regulation effectively opens more career opportunities for kinesiologists. I would expect to find more students who are interested in kinesiology as a career here, rather than on route to becoming a physiotherapist, athletic therapist or occupational therapist. The same applies to U of T.

University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education is one of the largest and best established in North America. The faculty, based at the downtown St. George Campus, has a long-standing reputation for excellence in teaching and research. The school offers both a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree and research opportunities to undergraduates.

U of T kinesiology
Sign at U of T, Maksim Sokolov

The kinesiology program at U of T is one of the most comprehensive in Canada, with a strong focus on hand-on experiential learning. Canadian and international students have the opportunity to specialize in areas of physical and mental health.

This includes biophysical, physical-cultural and psychological domains. Kinesiology and health science course topics include exercise physiology, psychology of injury and rehabilitation, motor learning and control, ethical issues and biomechanics. There is no doubt U of T kinesiology is one of the best in Canada.

University of British Columbia Faculty of Education School of Kinesiology

The School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia offers undergraduate students a comprehensive and challenging health sciences program. The school boasts multiple kinesiology research laboratories including the Puterman lab, in addition to student labs giving students access to hands-on education and professional research.

UBC kinesiology
The clock tower and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, Dllu

The UBC kinesiology curriculum includes courses in active health, biomechanics, motor learning, sociology, anatomy and physiology. But what sets UBC apart from the rest is the opportunity for students to specialize in Neuromechanical and Physiological Sciences (NPSC), Social and Behavioural Sciences (SBSC), or Multidisciplinary Science (MDSC) in second year.

UBC sport related courses benefit from UBC's sports dominance in the western Canadian province. Kinesiology students benefit from the university's emphasis on soft skills for undergraduate students. These outcomes are particularly useful for graduates entering the workforce, well worth the UBC kinesiology requirements for new students. I ranked UCB's kinesiology program high due to topnotch sport related programs and quality education.

Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

Simon Fraser University Kinesiology (BPK) offers a comprehensive health science program that positions undergraduate students well for a career in health. The department goes beyond the degree to offer additional certificates in health and fitness and nutrition. Don't let the scant website fool you, this is a rock solid education for students ready to make impact in their careers.

SFU kinesiology
Pond in the middle of the Academic Quadrangle at SFU, Jonathan Sloan

Students of SFU Kinesiology receive top notch training from world class lecturers and researchers. Faculty of BPK run a number of labs including the Aerospace Physiology Lab which collaborates with the Canadian Space Agency, the Molecular Cardiac Physiology Group, a specialized tissue lab and The Sensorimotor Neuroscience Lab advancing our knowledge of the link between vision and movement. This is a huge and successful department with around 1000 total students and many research labs and lab groups. SFU is an excellent school if you are interested in continuing in research fields past your undergraduate degree. 

Working with many SFU grads myself and seeing their skill and knowledge it's clear to me that SFU kinesiology is one of the best kinesiology programs in Canada, and possibly one of the best program in Canada.

McGill University Faculty of Science Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education

McGill Kinesiology
Redpath Hall and Morrice Hall, McGill University, Jean Gagnon

McGill University's kin program sets a high bar for undergraduate studies. It goes far beyond preparing high school physical education teachers, this is a top notch education and research university. It's also my alma mater so I'll make sure to say: I'm saving the best for last.

McGill’s undergraduate program in kinesiology explores the theory and application of  exercise science. Courses cover a range of topics including anatomy, ergonomics to psychology. The degree is geared towards internship opportunities in the second year of the program.

Beyond kinesiology programs at McGill

While the rest of the schools do well but where McGill kinesiology really delivers is it’s magnificent sports facilities and ample sport related programs. McGill athletics and its fully kitted sports facilities is a perfect compliment to the university's academic excellence. And yes, there's even an ice hockey research group.

Which Canadian university has the best kinesiology degree program?

If you’re fortunate enough to be deciding among these top notch universities for kinesiology, go with your heart. There is so much to the undergraduate experience beyond academics, like location, sports, museums and culture. Instead of choosing based on a random blog on the internet, choose the university that feels best to you.


The five universities listed above offer competitive kinesiology programs to undergraduate students that will prepare students for a successful career in the health and fitness industry. These programs are comprehensive and cover a range of topics from biomechanics to sociology.

Students at these universities can look forward to receiving an excellent education as well as opportunities for hands-on learning preparing you to register as a kinesiologist and work in the field. So if you are looking for a kinesiology program in Canada, any of the universities listed above would be an excellent choice.

If you're taking the next step and applying to a kinesiology school make sure to read our blog on what to know before starting an undergraduate degree in kinesiology.


University of Ottawa School of Human Kinetics

University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

University of British Columbia Faculty of Education School of Kinesiology

Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

McGill University Faculty of Science Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Photo credit to wiki commons, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

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