Your Guide to Studying Human Kinetics and Ergonomics

human kinetics and ergonomics

So you’re interested in the human body? Mishka Reddy, a Rhodes University graduate tells us a little more about her experience studying towards Human Kinetics and Ergonomics.

What is Human Kinetics and Ergonomics you ask?

Human Kinetics and Ergonomics (or HKE for short), is an interdisciplinary subject that integrates knowledge from different disciplines such as anatomy, biomechanics, neurology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, engineering, computer science, management, economics etc. This variety makes it a fascinating subject but also a challenging one.

Human Kinetics and Ergonomics provides the knowledge about the function and the reaction of the human body in order to:

  • optimise human performance
  • avoid injury and keep health in professional activities as well as in private life, and
  • improve productivity and quality of output in all domains of work life.

This is of essential importance for the South African society to further develop and help individuals for a healthy, wealthy and independent lifestyle.

Before University Fever Hit

I matriculated in 2009 from Crawford College La Lucia in Durban. My main subjects were English, Afrikaans, Mathematics and Life Orientation.  I also took a few elective subjects:  Accounting (which I then dropped after 6 months), Visual Arts, Physical Sciences and Engineering Graphics and Design.

After much hard work, but also lots of fun, I obtained distinctions in English, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Visual Arts and Engineering Graphics and Design. At this point I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school, let alone for the rest of my life! So I applied towards different degrees at all the South African Universities (I didn’t take a gap year, although I wish I had taken one – check out the awesome EduConnect Gap Years section).

Taking the Exciting Plunge

I eventually decided to study at Rhodes University, where I completed a BSc in Chemistry and Human Kinetics and Ergonomics, followed by a BSc Honours in Chemistry at Rhodes and then a BSc Honours in Sports Science at UKZN. In my Undergraduate years at Rhodes I failed two subjects- not ideal! I advise students to go to all their lectures and to take the subjects that interest them. Don’t do a subject purely because you think it will be an easy credit. The subject needs to stimulate you!

To complete a BSc in HKE you need to take Human Kinetics and Ergonomics, Cellular Biology, Statistics and any other science subject such as Botany, Chemistry or Zoology.

I found that studying a BSc at Rhodes was a time consuming degree. You don’t have as much free time as you expect to have. You typically have lectures in the morning and then practical’s in the afternoons. You can expect to finish up at about 5pm every day. However the practical’s are awesome since this is where you get hands-on experience in your field! Most of the work is done during lectures or practical’s, so it’s easy to have a part-time job too. In fact it is encouraged to become a tutor, since this is another way to help other students out, gain experience and is great for your CV! Another awesome part time job for HKE students is to become a sports coach at one of the nearby schools.

It is important to consider that HKE at Rhodes doesn’t have a built in Honours. You will have to apply towards Honours. Your application is normally considered based on your final year results and experience. This being said, I didn’t partake in any job shadowing, although I would encourage students to do this if they can! It gives you so much experience in your field!

Adjusting to University life

I lived in Durban and went to Rhodes University in Grahamstown. This was a huge adjustment at first but I loved every moment of it! Most of my closest friends also came to Rhodes, which helped me to stay grounded. I stayed in a residence for the first two years of my Undergrad and then moved into digs for my final two. I think it is very important for students to stay in residence at first. This is where you make friends and it allows you to bond with people from so many diverse backgrounds.

Advice 101

Unfortunately I haven’t found a job in my field of study yet, since there are very few jobs available and they usually require up to three years of experience.

  • Study something that your passionate about, something that will excite you in the morning and make you go to lectures. Study something that inspires you and forces you to challenge yourself!
  • Try to gain as much experience in your field (during vacations) as possible by job shadowing and interning.
  • Take part in your University activities and let the lecturers and older students get to know you (this will help when applying for Honours).
  • Start putting together your CV and cover letters and keep adding to them as the years go by. This will save you much stress at the end of the year when you need to start gathering all of the information.
  • Always remember that lectures and practical classes are extremely important (so take it from me, don’t skip them!) The long hours of lectures and practical work will pay off in the long run!

I couldn’t possibly try to name only one best experience at Rhodes University because all four of my years at university were amazing! If you have an interest in:

– how to improve hazardous working conditions, to optimise fitness and performance of sports people,

– how to enable maximum productivity without harming the human body,

– and how to help people live a healthy lifestyle,  then Human Kinetics and Ergonomics may just be the degree for you!

EduConnect 2cents

At EduConnect we try our best to fuel all sorts of passions and dreams churning inside our hearts. That said, we urge you to do the same! Life is too short to do something you hate. So before you decide what to study – take a moment to analyse your end goal. If you know you’re working your way towards a dream or passion, your hard work will eventually pay off. Take it from us – we’ve got your back!

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