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Top Universities for Masters of Exercise Physiology

by Suzy Kerr

Obtaining a master’s degree in exercise physiology requires a range of coursework, including classes that explore kinesiology -- the study of human movement -- biology, exercise and much more. Students seeking this degree must have a keen interest in the science of the human body, understand how exercise can impact a person’s well-being and must be conscientious and dedicated to the field. Once you earn the degree, you’ll find yourself with career options ranging from cardiac rehabilitation to physical therapy to chiropractic services.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion offers one of the leading exercise and wellness programs in in the country. Students seeking a master of science, or MS, from this school will be required to complete core classes, along with rigorous, focused study in either health promotion and physical activity or fitness and conditioning. Graduate students also have the option to complete a thesis within their focus area, or they can elect to take additional credit hours that culminate in a comprehensive exam.

University of Texas at Austin

At the University of Texas at Austin, students can pursue a master’s in kinesiology, with a focus on exercise physiology. The curriculum is science-based with a broad range of courses, including biomechanics, developmental science and more. Students have the option of completing either a thesis, a report or neither, and the required credit hours will be determined by their choice. Upon completion of the graduate program, students will have a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that are especially useful in clinical and sport settings.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M has a reputable degree program for prospective graduate students seeking their masters in kinesiology. With an emphasis on exercise physiology, students here will explore how the body responds to exercise and the different adaptions the body undergoes during physical training. Coursework in kinesiology research, statistics and other classes related to the field are required, and students can choose a thesis or a non-thesis track. In addition to their academic studies, students will also have numerous opportunities for research and practical experience.

Pennsylvania State University

Students in the Kinesiology Department at Penn State study the human body from a variety of perspectives, from how the body responds to exercise and other stressors on a molecular level – known as exercise physiology -- to how aging affects physiology. Research projects are a primary component of the graduate program, and students can expect to spend a great deal of time in the university’s lab, studying both animals and people and coming up with their own hypotheses. The class schedule includes courses in motor control, sports ethics and other related areas.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduate students can specialize in one of four areas, including exercise physiology, while working on their MS degree. Within this focused program, students will explore how exercise affects different body systems, looking specifically at energy transfer, movement efficiency and work output. Some of the requirements for the degree include coursework in kinesiology and related classes, a research course and, if the student chooses, a thesis.

About the Author

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.

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