About This Masters Degree
What will I study?
The M.S. in Exercise Science & Nutrition is designed for students interested in a graduate program that examines strength, conditioning and clinical exercise science with a strong emphasis on the nutritional sciences. This program includes common foundation and track-specific (performance or clinical) courses as well as applied experiences.
Students successfully completing this program will be able to:
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge in exercise physiology, human anatomy, performance/health-field specific research methodology and nutrition as it relates to chronic disease prevention
- Develop a deeper understanding of strength and conditioning concepts, nutritional influences on training adaptation and performance, coaching methodology/philosophy and biomechanics (performance track)
- Obtain an innovative familiarity in clinical exercise testing and prescription for cardiac, pulmonary, cancer, diabetic, osteoporotic rehabilitation settings and nutrition as it relates to weight management, and concepts in health behavior change (clinical track)
- Appropriately prescribe post-orthopedic rehabilitation resistance training protocols
- Lead and manage in clinical practice, strength and conditioning settings and/or coaching
- Actively engage in the professional literature in order to demonstrate best practices in these work settings
- Contribute to research activities in clinical exercise settings, sport or clinical nutrition and fitness/sport-related exercise programming
- Continue your education in the acquisition of a terminal degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D.)
Why choose the M.S. in Exercise Science & Nutrition at SHU?
The M.S. program at SHU has a career-specific focused approach, ensuring that students have the knowledge, clinical skill set and abilities to practice and lead in diverse fields under the exercise science umbrella. Our curriculum is focused upon both the understanding of basic science and the application of performance and clinical sciences. As the name implies, the program has a greater emphasis on the nutritional aspects of health, disease and performance than typical M.S. programs in exercise science.
The program utilizes three separate laboratory spaces. The motion analysis lab contains force plates, EMG equipment, a 3D motion analysis system and an AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill. The human performance lab maintains a ParvoMedics Metabolic Cart, BOD POD Body Composition Tracking System, a Wattbike Trainer and equipment suited for cardiovascular, pulmonary and musculoskeletal testing and exercise. Graduate students have access to all the equipment for their research needs. The human cadaver lab is also used for demonstrative purposes within the functional anatomy class.
The program's student to faculty ratio is approximately 6:1, providing students with greater access to individual professors than many other universities. Students may also elect to engage in research activities with graduate faculty members, whereas at other universities master’s-level students may often be relegated to working under doctoral students as opposed to directly with professors.
Will I have internship opportunities?
Yes, both clinical and performance tracks have internship opportunities within the curriculum. To date, 100 percent of the clinical track students have chose to engage in a multi-semester internship. Performance track students have a similar opportunity, however since many students already work part- or full-time in the field, they have been more likely to decline internship opportunities.
Are there special admission requirements?
Prerequisites for the M.S. program include the completion of a bachelor’s degree in a related science such as exercise science, athletic training or physical education. Individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field may apply for program admission if the course prerequisites are complete, however they must enroll in an undergraduate exercise prescription-related course before or during their first semester of study. The minimum cumulative GPA standard from an accredited four-year college is a 3.0.
Prerequisite courses for the program include undergraduate anatomy and physiology I and II, exercise physiology, nutrition and statistics or a health science-related research methods course. A kinesiology course is preferred. The minimum prerequisite-specific GPA standard from an accredited four-year college is a 3.0.
What are my career opportunities with a M.S. in Exercise Science & Nutrition?
The M.S. program was designed with both a performance and clinical track to meet the demands of a diverse professional field. It should be noted that although the curriculum contains a greater emphasis on the nutritional sciences compared to most other exercise science M.S. programs, it is not a dietetics program. Individuals who wish to be employed as full-time nutritionists/dietitians should seek out graduate programs that offer the R.D. (registered dietitian) credential.
Graduates of the performance track will have opportunities for leadership, administration and coaching in fitness and sports performance settings. Graduates of the clinical track will have opportunities in hospital or hospital-affiliated settings working in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and long-term rehabilitation of cancer and immune disease patients. Meanwhile, some current students already have desired employment in the field and are furthering their education for a broader skill set and improved compensation package.
Graduates of this program have gained employment as hospital-based exercise physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches for private companies and university teams, trainers for post-orthopedic rehabilitation, graduate assistants within doctoral programs and even as a lobbyist for a multinational food corporation.
Candidates for the MS in Exercise Science & Nutrition will have an accredited bachelor’s degree in a related major such as Exercise Physiology, Exercise Science, Physical Education, Public Health, Psychology, Applied Physiology, Athletic Training or Nutrition.