Purpose The Master of Science degree program in Exercise Physiology is designed to prepare students to access key positions in the health, fitness, athletics, rehabilitation and research fields and to empower them with the knowledge and hands-on experiences to make a successful transition into post-graduate work. Students are encouraged to think critically and apply evidenced-based practices to address health and fitness issues.
Program Description The program consists of classroom and laboratory courses designed to develop exercise physiologists as critical thinkers, healthcare professionals, and researchers. Students will be prepared to assist in the ongoing development of programs in health and wellness, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, hospital-based clinical research and fitness programs that evaluate athletes and human performance activities. The program also prepares the students for advanced graduate work. The full-time Exercise Physiology graduate program is a 32-credit concentrated one-year academic degree. Students begin the program in the fall semester and are scheduled to complete the degree at the end of the summer session.
Admission Requirements Students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A major or a concentration in exercise physiology or exercise science is preferred. A student is expected to have undergraduate course work in the science areas including kinesiology and exercise physiology. When these courses are lacking, it is expected that students will make up the deficiencies. A student may be admitted to the program contingent upon successful completion of undergraduate deficiencies. Although not a prerequisite, it is strongly recommended that applicants have some academic background in statistics, research methods, anatomy, physiology, and chemistry.
Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 in undergraduate coursework and have completed (or will complete) a baccalaureate degree prior to enrolling in our program. The application is online and can be found with detailed instructions on the Graduate Admissions page for Exercise Physiology. An essay describing career goals, previous experiences, and research interests is uploaded to the online application. The application also requests contact information for two people who can submit recommendations on the applicant's behalf. Official transcripts of baccalaureate and graduate coursework must be mailed from each institution attended directly to the Graduate Admissions Office.
Degree Requirements Students enrolled on a full-time basis must complete all courses in sequence. Part-time students must consult with the chair of the department to identify the appropriate course(s) per semester. Following completion of the academic component of the program (24 credits), the student chooses either the internship track or the thesis track (8 credits each). Internship experiences will be arranged through the program's clinical coordinator at places of interest throughout the United States.
Credit towards the degree will be given for courses with a grade of "C" or better; students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 during both semesters. If approved by The College of St. Scholastica, a maximum of six graduate semester credits may be transferred from an accredited graduate program. Once enrolled in the program, students must receive prior approval from the chair of the department for the course(s) to be taken at another university with the expectation of transfer. Evidence of progress means registration in a minimum of one course per semester during the academic year. The Master of Science in Exercise Physiology graduate program must be completed within seven years. Credits more than seven years old as of the date of graduation will not count toward the degree.
EXP 6521: Functional Anatomy 3 credits An advanced, regional, musculoskeletal anatomy course that emphasizes the study of functional relationships between musculature, nervous tissue, vascular, and skeletal components for the extremities and axial skeleton. Cadaver dissection laboratory experience is used to enhance understanding of three dimensional anatomical relationships for specific body regions.
EXP 6522: Biochemistry, Nutrition and Exercise 3 credits Principles of biochemistry and metabolic processes in relation to nutrition and exercise. Basic elements of carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism and their role providing energy, building/repairing tissues and regulating metabolic processes during physical activity. Impact of nutrition on health, fitness and athletic performance. Regulation of cellular metabolism at the level of DNA replication through transcription to RNA and translation for protein synthesis. Effectiveness, ethical considerations, and the proposed biochemical/physiologic mechanisms of the most prevalent ergogenic aids used to enhance athletic performance.
EXP 6531: Applied Exercise Physiology 3 credits The human body's adaptation to acute and chronic exercise, including hormonal responses, under standard and nonstandard environmental conditions. Physiological variables are contrasted based on age and gender. Laboratory sessions are used to collect data to physiologically profile the human response to selected stressors.
EXP 6535: Cardiovascular Physiology 3 credits Normal functioning of the cardiovascular system especially the integrative aspects of cardiovascular control and regulation in humans; cardiovascular responses to physiological (e.g., orthostasis, exercise) and pathological (e.g., hypertension, cardiac failure) situations.
EXP 6536: Clinical Exercise Physiology 3 credits Pathophysiology of common chronic diseases for which exercise has been shown to be a therapeutic benefit including diseases associated with the cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, metabolic, neurological, and immune systems. Focus is on preparing students to work with clinical and special populations in medical and nonmedical settings.
EXP 6538: Exercise Testing and Electrocardiography 3 credits Graded exercise testing using different test modes and protocols; preparticipation screening procedures; contraindications and termination criteria for exercise testing; emergency procedures and risk management; and use of metabolic analyzing systems for the identification of disease risk in addition to the assessment of cardiorespiratory function. Emphasis is also placed on the importance of resting and exercise electrocardiogram interpretation for the identification of arrhythmias and other heart-related abnormalities.
EXP 6540: Psychophysiology of Health and Exercise 3 credits The psychophysiological factors thought to be involved in the development and maintenance of health and fitness. The nature, physiology and psychology of stress. Effects of stress on the immune system and disease. Management of stress through various cognitive, psychological and behavioral techniques. Use of empirical evidence and critical thought in determining the effectiveness of alternative medications and treatments. Effects of stress on the mind/body complex and the biobehavioral interventions used to elicit relaxation at rest and during exercise.
EXP 6542: Strength Training, Conditioning, and Physiological Assessment 3 credits Scientific theory and practical application of strength training and aerobic exercise to enhance the function and capacity of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. Laboratory sessions focus on a variety of physical/physiological measurement and evaluation techniques related to the practice of exercise physiology.
EXP 6555: Internship 8 credits A semester internship in an off-campus setting, including but not limited to cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, adult fitness and training, corporate fitness or a clinical research institution. While off-campus, the student is supervised by an exercise physiologist or a practicing clinician. All internship activities are monitored by the clinical coordinator in the Department of Exercise Physiology.
EXP 6888: Thesis 8 credits The student writes and submits a research proposal to an advisor and/or the chair of the Department of Exercise Physiology and the College's Institutional Review Board. If accepted, the first three chapters of the thesis (introduction, review of related literature, and methods) are written. The student collects, analyzes and interprets the data, then writes the final thesis chapters (e.g., results, discussion, and conclusions).
Student Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of the Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology at The College of St. Scholastica, the graduate will be able to:
Justify the roles exercise physiologists play in health care, fitness, and athletics, including the treatment and prevention of a variety of diseases that have a strong behavioral component such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Perform and interpret assessments of physical and physiological parameters that indicate client health and fitness.
Critically evaluate research studies and apply the results to athletes, various patient populations, and the general public.
Display professional behavior in all interactions with clients and colleagues.
Develop individual exercise programs for a wide assortment of clients including athletes, various patient populations, and the general public.
Discuss the mind-body connection and the role that emotional health and stress management play in maintaining an individual's health and well being.
Demonstrate effective written and oral communications skills.
The Exercise Physiology academic program consists of the following graduate courses: EXP 6521: Functional Anatomy 3 cr. EXP 6522: Biochemistry, Nutrition and Exercise 3 cr. EXP 6531: Applied Exercise Physiology 3 cr. EXP 6535: Cardiovascular Physiology 3 cr. EXP 6536: Clinical Exercise Physiology 3 cr. EXP 6538: Exercise Testing and Electrocardiography3 cr. EXP 6540: Psychophysiology of Health and Exercise 3 cr. EXP 6542: Strength Training, Conditioning, and Physiological Assessment 3 cr. EXP 6555: Internship 8 cr. EXP 6888: Thesis 8 cr.