BKin degree created

Beginning fall 2015, Wilfrid Laurier University will no longer be offering separate bachelor of arts kinesiology and bachelor of science kinesiology degrees.

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Beginning fall 2015, Wilfrid Laurier University will no longer be offering separate bachelor of arts kinesiology and bachelor of science kinesiology degrees. Incoming students will instead be working towards a single bachelor of kinesiology.

“We tried to take the best part of our old BA program and the best part of our BSc program, and combined them into one degree,” explained Pam Bryden, the chair of the kinesiology and physical education department.

The existence of two separate kinesiology degrees has long confused students and their parents, as there were very few areas where the programs differed. The kinesiology components of both degrees are almost identical — BSc students were required to take both first-year introductory math courses and 1.0 credit from first-year chemistry, physics or computer science.

By combining the BA and BSc degrees, the department hopes to eliminate this confusion while offering a unique, high-quality program.

This change has allowed for a complete reorganization of the progression requirements.

“Some of our courses were a little out of order [before] than what we would have wanted from a pedagogical structure,” said Bryden.

The new BKin requires students to take numerous in-depth courses in their first two years before being given a little more freedom when choosing compulsory courses and electives in their third and fourth years.

The department has also created concentrations such as “human movement and performance,” which would lead to jobs assessing the performance of professional athletes or sports teams, and “teaching, coaching and management,” which would allow students to go to teachers’ college or become a coach.

“We’ve tried to take places where we know our students are interested in going and say ‘here’s a combination of courses that you would really need to [take] to go to that place,’ ” Bryden explained.

Kinesiology students will be able to have these specializations featured on their transcript if they take all of the courses a concentration requires.

It is currently uncertain whether or not their work will be recognized on their diploma, however, Bryden and the department are working towards this goal.

Another key change revolves around the balance of qualitative, quantitative and physical-focused courses offered each year.

In the past, BA and BSc students have had very “heavy” terms where they focused on a specific aspect of kinesiology. Now, there will be both science and writing-based courses offered each term.

In addition, instead of having to take four quarter-credit activity courses in their first-year, such as tennis, rugby and aquatics, BKin students will be allowed to take up to 2.5 credits worth of these courses throughout their program — half a credit each in first and second year, and 1.5 credits in the third and fourth year.

So far, many high school students have shown interest in the program.

“I’m hearing good things from recruitment and admissions,” said Bryden.

She believes that this is partly due to the flexibility of the program — students will now “get to kind of create what they want out of it.”

Current kinesiology students have also vocalized their support, according to Bryden. But since the new program integrates completely new courses, current BA and BSc students will not be able to transfer to the BKin degree.

As such, Bryden expects some students to be a little disappointed in missing out on the opportunity.

However, she says the department will ensure that those students will “get the BA and BSc that they signed up for.”

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