10/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Kinesiology Major Gains Following, But Does It Have Support?

By 2018, the number of physical therapists in the United States is projected to grow by 30.3 percent, but the number of students majoring in kinesiology -- a field in which many physical therapists hold a degree -- is growing at an even faster rate. According to the American Kinesiology Association, the number of undergraduate kinesiology majors grew 50 percent from 2003 to 2008, to more than 26,000 students, making it one of the fastest-growing majors in the country.

Kinesiology, or the study of physical movement, has seen a surge in popularity over the last 20 years that experts attribute to its social relevance, its relation to the obesity epidemic, and the growing societal importance of sports and athletics. Although kinesiology may find critics among those who just picture it as a gym class, the curriculum has developed over the years to offer courses that extend beyond physical education to psychology, sociology, neurology and biomechanics.

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