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Arnold School of Public Health

Graduate Degrees in Exercise Science

Our exercise science programs will help you expand and disseminate the body of knowledge concerning the relationships between exercise participation, physical activity and human health.

As chronic disease rates increase across the globe, the need to study the relationship between physical activity and human health is at a forefront of these challenging issues. The Department of Exercise Science prepares students to examine the complex relationships between exercise participation, physical activity and human health and focus on the development and delivery of preventive and rehabilitative physical activity programs that promote health and prevent disease.

A Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy (ranked No. 1 in the U.S.) degree in Exercise Science will lead to careers in academia, research, clinical settings, rehabilitation/therapy facilities and more.


Master of Science in Exercise Science (MS)

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Exercise Science prepares students for careers in academia and multiple health-related specialties and professions within the broad scope of Exercise Physiology, such as exercise physiologist, fitness coordinator, rehabilitation coordinator, and many more.  Additionally, the curriculum and related research opportunities prepare students for pursuing additional graduate work (e.g., PhD, MD, DPT).  The curriculum includes coursework in exercise physiology, clinical exercise testing, epidemiology, research methods and statistics, physical activity and health, and motor control and development. Elective coursework is also embedded within this framework to allow for individual interests, examples include skeletal muscle physiology, endocrinology in exercise and health, neural repair and rehabilitation, and community-based interventions for physical activity. There are countless opportunities to participate in ongoing research through assistantships and independent study courses. Students have the option of completing a thesis (focus on research training) or a project (focus on clinical or applied skills training). 

Ph.D. in Exercise Science

Applied Physiology

The purpose of the doctoral program is to prepare students for research and academic careers in the area of Applied Physiology. The Ph.D. curriculum includes coursework in advanced exercise science, statistics, research design and research seminar. The student will also be required to form a cognate of specialization, which can include electives from areas, such as biology, physiology, immunology and biochemistry as well as independent study and dissertation hours. For more information, view the Applied Physiology Program of Study [pdf].

Health Aspects of Physical Activity

Are you interested in a research and an academic career in the area of physical activity and health?  If this is your aspiration, then the Ph.D. degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health Aspects of Physical Activity may be the degree program for you. Our flexible curriculum will be tailored to individual students, with courses selected from exercise physiology, exercise psychology, biostatistics, epidemiology and population health, nutrition, or other areas deemed to provide a solid foundation sufficient to understand and conduct research in this area. This approach will provide you with the essential knowledge, skills and experiences that will prepare you for scholarly research and teaching in this area.  

Our most recent graduates are in assistant professor positions either at a teaching-based university (e.g., Citadel) or at a research-based university (e.g., Iowa State University, Tennessee State University, Kentucky State University). Others continue on for post-doctoral work prior to establishing independent research programs at domestic and international institutions, such as Brown University and Curtin University. Still others have opportunities for employment in adult fitness, corporate fitness, military fitness, or sales and management in corporate fields (e.g., sports nutrition, athletic footwear, fitness equipment, sports clothing weight control programs). If you desire to be among those who are well prepared for research-focused careers in these areas, come join us. For more information, view the Health Aspects of Physical Activity Program of Study [pdf].

Rehabilitation Sciences

As the rates of chronic disability increase across the globe, the need to develop novel rehabilitation treatments that can reduce disability and increase engagement in physical activity is vital for improving the health and wellness of individuals with chronic disabilities. The Rehabilitation Sciences emphasis prepares students to examine how the development and delivery of rehabilitation therapies can be used to reduce disability, promote health and prevent further disease. A Ph.D. degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis on Rehabilitation Sciences will lead to careers in academia, research, clinical settings, rehabilitation/therapy facilities, and more. For more information, view the Rehabilitation Sciences Ph.D. Program of Study [pdf].