Academic Core Courses

Practicing and Non-Practicing Applicant Core Course Requirements

To qualify for Practicing membership with the BCAK you must meet specific academic and curriculum requirements and standards. In addition to a four-year Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in kinesiology or an equivalent discipline, your undergraduate degree must include the completion of the Seven (7) core courses (listed below) achieving a minimum grade of C- or better, along with sixteen (16) additional elective courses covering a minimum of 5 course categories (minimum of 20 elective courses).

The Core Courses and Their Required Content Are

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, it's 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

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

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


The application of basic 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, to elite athletic performance. 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

Exercise Physiology

The basic 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 it relates 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 bodies response to exercise and subsequent adaptation
  • Discuss the adverse effects of exercise and discuss strategies to mitigate risk.
  • Understand the bodies response to detraining and deconditioning

Exercise Prescription

The basic principles of exercise prescription including the design, implementation and progression of exercise programs for enhancing or improving human health and performance.

Key Areas

  1. Discuss the importance of pre-screening and obtaining informed consent
  2. Apply knowledge of how the body adapts to exercise in order to advance treatment.
  3. Design safe and effective exercise programs based on the clients needs and the best available evidence.
  4. Recognize when exercises and other aspects of an exercise program must be modified to meet the client's needs.

Theoretical Content Required

  • Knowledge of exercises for healthy and unhealthy populations
  • Role of Training types in enhancing health and functions
  • Knowledge of health factors that necessitate program modification
  • Safety and pre-screening techniques
  • Discussion of specific equipment types or exercise techniques and their applications.
  • Application of Advanced training principles
  • knowledge of the role of exercise in disease management
  • Knowledge of the role of exercise in disease prevention

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.
  • Develop a research proposal, 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 completed 1 or more of the core courses or the content requirements are not met, you must complete an appropriate course with a minimum C- grade or write and pass a BCAK Core Course Competency Examination(s)* for any course content which does not meet the above requirements.

(*Option applies only for core courses for which the BCAK offers examinations) See here for details on available Core Course Equivalency Examinations

See here for practice physiology questions.

Click here for a list of accepted core courses at BC institutions.

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