Core Courses

Information on the Academic Core Courses Required for Professional Membership

To qualify for professional membership with the BCAK applicants must have completed the Seven (7) core courses outlined below as part of their Degree, achieving a minimum grade of (60%) or greater.

The defined core courses and their required content are detailed below.

1. Human Anatomy

A systematic study of human anatomy with emphasis on functional applications. A comparative study of organs and body systems using laboratory dissections/models to provide an understanding of the three dimensional organization of the human body.

Key areas:

  1. Understanding the general structure and function of the human body; defining anatomy, physiology, homeostasis and posture; and explain how they are related.
  2. Understand the microscopic anatomy of the animal cell, its life cycle and how it generates energy.
  3. Distinguishing major anatomical regions of the human body, distinguishing anatomical positions, body planes and neuromuscular anatomy.

Theoretical Content Required:

  • General Microscopical Anatomy
  • The Skeletal System
  • The Muscular System
  • The Cardiovascular System
  • The Nervous System
  • The Endocrine System
  • The Respiratory System
  • The Gastrointestinal System
  • The Renal System
  • The Reproductive System
  • General Surface Anatomy
2. Human Physiology

A survey of human physiology with an emphasis on mechanisms of regulation and integration. Anatomy of structures is detailed only when it is critical to understanding function.

Key areas

  1. Understand the basic physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, reproductive and nervous systems.
  2. Understand the regulation of human body functions by the endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune and neurological systems.
  3. Understand the basic physiology and pathophysiology of the skeletal and musculotendinous systems of the body.
  4. Differentiating between positive and negative feedback control systems in humans.

Theoretical Content Required

  • The Respiratory System
  • The Cardiovascular System and Blood
  • The Gastrointestinal System
  • The Renal System
  • The Nervous System
  • The Endocrine System
  • The Muscular System
  • The Reproductive System
  • The Immune System
3. Motor Control & Learning or Motor Skill Acquisition

Basic concepts in the sensorimotor planning and control of movement. Topics include the factors and disorders affecting movement, sensory and motor physiology, sensorimotor integration, current theories of motor control, and motor learning. A focus from a behavioral and neurophysiological perspective that explores psychological influences on motor control.

Key areas

  1. Understand motor control theory including the classification of motor skills, the measurement of motor performance and motor abilities.
  2. Understand the role of activity performance and feedback in functional skill acquisition.
  3. Understand the principles of learning, including the stages of learning and transfer of learning as they relate to motor skill acquisition.
  4. Understand the theories related to activity practice including; variability, specificity, distribution, components and mental practice.

Theoretical Content Required

  • Classification of Motor Skill
  • Measurement of Motor Performance
  • Motor Abilities
  • Neuromotor Basis for Motor Control
  • Motor Control Theories
  • Sensory Component of Motor Control
  • Performance and Motor Control Characteristics of Functional Skills
  • Action Preparation
  • Attention
  • Memory Components, Forgetting and Strategies
  • Defining and Assessing Learning
  • Stages of Learning
  • Transfer of Learning
  • Demonstration and Verbal Instructions
  • Augmented Feedback
  • Practice Variability and Specificity
  • The Amount of Distribution of Practice
  • Whole and Part Practice
  • Mental Practice
  • General Statistics and Data Interpretations
4. Biomechanics of Human Movement

The application of mechanics to human movement. Basic understanding of how forces act on body segments and how movements are produced by quantifying all forms of physical activity, from activities of daily living, physically challenged movement patterns, tissue biomechanics and high performance athletics. Biomechanics has applications in medical settings, including rehabilitation and sports medicine.

Key areas

  1. Understand the basic biomechanics of human tissues, including stress, strain and force generation.
  2. Understand how to collect and interpret biomechanical information for use in treatment.
  3. Understand human kinematics, including the lever systems of the human body, torque, momentum, angular momentum and fluid mechanics as they relate to activity and movement.
  4. A basic understanding of work, power and energy as they relate to human activity.

Theoretical Content Required

  • Forces
  • Linear Kinematics
  • Linear Kinetics
  • Work, Power, and Energy
  • Torque and Moments of Force
  • Angular Kinematics
  • Angular Kinetics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Biological Material
  • The Skeletal System
  • The Muscular System
  • The Nervous System
  • Qualitative Biomechanical Analysis to Improve Technique
  • Qualitative Biomechanical Analysis to Understand Injury Development
  • Techniques in Biomechanics
  • General Statistics and Data Interpretations
5. Exercise Physiology

The human physiological responses and adaptations to acute and chronic exercise, including the cardiorespiratory, cellular and metabolic adaptations for health and performance.

Key areas

  1. Understand how the major systems of the body adapt to exercise.
  2. Understand the bodies short term response to exercise.
  3. Understand how and when to assess strength, fitness and capacity.

Theoretical Content Required

  • Understand the acute physiological responses to exercise
  • Understand the chronic adaptations that occur with regimented consistent exercise
  • Critically examine research and other written material as they relate to health and wellness
  • Evaluate measurement techniques for assessing health and fitness.
  • Discuss and compare peripheral and central fatigue and its precursors
  • Understand the distinct demands and biochemistry of the energy systems
  • Examine environmental factors that can affect the body's response to exercise and subsequent adaptation
  • Discuss the adverse effects of exercise and discuss strategies to mitigate risk
  • Understand the body's response to detraining and deconditioning
6. Clinical (Advanced) Exercise Prescription

Course content to include both basic and advanced principles of exercise prescription, including client screening, program design, implementation, and progression for enhancing and/or improving human health and performance. Content covers prescription for both non-clinical and selected clinical persons, groups, and populations. Clinical practice treatment knowledge and skills constitutes the primary learning outcome.

Key Areas

  1. Apply knowledge of risk factors in obtaining informed consent and conducting client pre-screening.
  2. Apply knowledge of physiological adaptation to exercise to progress treatment for both apparently healthy and unhealthy (disease and injury) populations.
  3. Design and deliver safe, evidence-informed exercise programs based on client needs and goals in an effective, efficient manner.
  4. Recognize when exercise is contraindicated or requires modification to ensure client safety and prevent injury or reinjury which corresponds with the treatment goals and needs of the client.


Knowledge of:

  • Exercise prescription principles - including type, intensity, duration, frequency, progression and reversibility, regardless of age, functional capacity,
  • The role of exercise in disease management,
  • The role of exercise in disease prevention,
  • The effects of common medications on exercise response– e.g., Beta Blockers, diuretics,
  • The role of training types in enhancing health and function,
  • Health factors that necessitate program modification,
  • Evidence-informed practice,
  • Knowledge of current exercise guidelines,

Knowledge and applied skills in;

  • Exercise prescription for non-clinical and select clinical populations. Select clinical populations include;
    • Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis,
    • COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema,
    • Oncology,
    • Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Cardiac Conduction Disorders,
    • Metabolic Disorders (including Diabetes - type I and II),
    • Multiple Sclerosis,
    • Aging,
    • Soft Tissue Injuries (Sprains, Strains, Tears, Overuse),
  • Client safety, preliminary screening (including basic screening tools for absolute and relative contraindications to exercise) and risk stratification,
  • Client communication related to equipment types, exercise, techniques and applications,
  • The application of high performance and advanced athletic training principles,
  • Applied basic principles in exercise prescription for mental health and chronic pain management
7. Research Methods in Kinesiology

Critical analysis and evaluation of research studies and methods with emphasis on the area of physical activity and kinesiology.

Key areas

  1. Understand the nature and purpose of research as it relates to sport and health science.
  2. Understand the qualitative approach to research, methodologies used by qualitative researchers and the assumptions and limitation inherent to research of this kind.
  3. Understand the quantitative approach to research, methodologies used by quantitative researchers and the assumptions and limitations inherent to research of this kind.

Theoretical Content Required

  • Describe the ethical requirements of human and animal research
  • Critically analyze and identify rigorous research articles and constructively critique those articles that do not meet this standard
  • Communicate research findings in multiple ways to varied audiences
  • Research proposal development, research design or research project
  • Describe the purpose of a research paper and its components
  • Investigate various methods of data analysis and statistical interpretation

If you have not met the BCAK's requirements for satisfactory completion of the core courses as detailed, including;

  • completing a course that does not substantially cover the content outlined,
  • you are not able to provide sufficient evidence that a core subject course or courses you completed meet the content requirements, or
  • you achieved a grade lower than 60% (or a C- grade in absence of a percentage grade) in a required course,

you must:

  1. Complete the required coursework at a Canadian Post-Secondary institution which is recognized by the BCAK, or
  2. Satisfactorily complete a corresponding BCAK Course Equivalency Examination(s) which the BCAK will accept as meeting its course content competency requirement

Note: BCAK will provide this option to accommodate applicants who do not meet the requirement for 3 or fewer core courses. Applicants who do not meet the requirements for more than 3 courses must complete those courses at a Post-secondary institution recognized by the BCAK.

Follow this link for Exam Information

Click here for a list of accepted core courses at BC Post-Secondary institutions

Click here to view Sample physiology questions

Cookies are used to analyze traffic to this site and improve your on-site experience. By continuing, you consent to the use of cookies. Read more